“Defying the Status Quo”

For someone standing on the outside of the photography industry, I can understand how all of us look different. Each photographer has their own cute website with a handcrafted logo, different personalities, and obviously different photographs. However, are we truly all that different? In a community that seems consumed with the latest on Style Me Pretty and creating their own version of the same, how can we stay true to who we are while setting ourselves apart?

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in what every photographer is doing these days. I could spend hours scrolling through my social feed just to get a millisecond of a sense to what is going on outside my own world. I keep hearing this #GirlBoss mentality but what is exactly does it mean to be a #GirlBoss if all I keep doing is “Keeping up with the Jones’”? What’s the big secret to defying the status quo and just kicking ass all on my own without fear that the community will reject me?

You have to stop caring.

I don’t mean that in a derogatory way of course. But there has to be a separation between what you want to be doing and what others are doing and the best way to keep those separated is to not worry about what the others are doing. It’s easier said than done, I am fully aware.  It’s also hard to do without alienating your friends and friendors. I rarely follow any local photographers for this exact reason and I totally see how that can come across as rude, like I am not being supportive. When in fact, it’s just for my own sanity.

I’ve always been a bit of a ‘loose cannon’. I say what I want; do what I want, when I want. It gets me into trouble sometimes but it’s just who I am… and maybe it’s because I’m an only child, who knows.  When it comes to my photography business though, it really helps me remember the most important piece; it’s my photography business. There’s no one to tell me “No you can’t put a cuss word on your website” or “No you can’t use 148,935 colors in your branding.” I’m the boss. The #GirlBoss.

Around this time last year, I started to develop a really crazy passion for food photography. It’s something that I had never done before and I was a little timid to post anything online because I was predominately known for weddings and what if posting my food photography wasn’t good? What if I sucked and only I thought I was good? What if it messes up my pretty Instagram feed? What if it’s not “cool” and what if people start saying things like “she’s probably shooting food because she can’t book any weddings?” Those little bugs sat in my ear for all of two seconds and then guess what… I stopped caring. Now I post my food work on the regular and am even considering starting up a side business.

Once you push past that barrier of “it’s not what everyone else is doing”, the more you creative and free you will feel. Isn’t that why we all started photography in the first place? To be creative?



Ashley Lester


My name is Ashley and I am a wife, a dog mom, and a self proclaimed Professional Beach Bum. I am the happiest when the sun is warm, skies are blue, and my toes are sandy. I speak exclusively in puns and bad jokes, so please just laugh along to make me feel better. I could live off of a diet solely made of Taco Bell, sangria, and spinach artichoke dip. My husband is a huge nerd but it's now rubbed off on me too. While he is Team Stark I will always be Team Captain. We are polar opposites on most things in life but it's what keeps us on our toes. I long for the beach while he dreams of cold winters in the mountains. I consider my photography style to be vibrant, spontaneous, and bold. Color is my muse and it's a major part of every photo I take. I'm not a big fan of photography "trends" and I hope that when you look back at your memories 20 years from now, the feeling of that moment hits you just the same.

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