I wear the title CEO and founder, my name is Ashley. I started Heirlooms and Lace Studios, as a family photographer, now found over on Smitten Mitten Photography, by absolute accident. Let me give you a quick story of how I got here. It’s a weird story of family history, a love of photo & film engrained from almost infancy, with a touch of a mothers love/obsession with their new baby.
To give you the family history portion, my Grandfather was a wedding, non-profit, occasionally studio photographer in a small town called Linden, Michigan, For a small window myself and my sister two years younger than me were his muse. Through my childhood my Grandfather had a camera grabbing snapshots of us before dance recitals, in the backyard playing in our Barbie power wheel, or during the holidays when the whole day was recorded with the video camera. There was some sort of camera somewhere in my life. I didn’t realize how much it impacted me until my Grandfather passed away in fall 2003.
I found photography wiggled it’s way in to my life in the most casual ways. Being the gal with friends always taking photos. Whether at school in the halls, at the football game, or a night bowling with friends. I still have boxes of 4×6 prints I swore I would eventually scrapbook. When I started college, just after my Grandfather passed, I found myself doing it more. Insisting on photos at events like graduation or Christmas. The void of being asked for photos was WAY too loud to not fill.
That journey continued for me through college & eventually after meeting my husband, his gift for our wedding was an upgrade to a DLSR from my good ole point & shoot. I took photos of everything & every one that would let me. While living in South Florida I took basic photographer courses & workshops. Mostly though I worked the craft on my own thanks to my manual & YouTube. The biggest lesson though was trial & error.
How did I get here? Easy…my daughter. She was born in 2013 and was just growing so fast! However, the biggest push came in three ways. Three groups of people trusting me with their precious moments. The first my parents. They hired me to do my youngest sisters high school graduation photos. That led to a few referrals for $50 each session. The next came from friends of my sister who had a little one that was around one. They wanted Christmas photos, so I met them at a park to take them. I didn’t charge them. The last & biggest push I got was from our very good friends Craig & Lynn. I truly will never be able to thank them. They are the reason I am where I am today. They allowed me to take their pregnancy announcement photos and they spread the word like wildfire.
One thing led to another and by Spring 2014 I was taking on paid clients. $100 sessions, with a 6 month old at home, all while working an 8-5, 60 hour a week marketing & events job at a university. I added weddings in 2015 and by this point I had started to question what I wanted, whether I wanted to try to do something with this. Financial security was a must for me with a boat load of student loan debt & a baby at home. So I decided after 4.5 years to move to something part time. That happened in 2016 which lasted about 2 years before my morals of missing work for weddings/photo work left me feeling like a terrible person.
Since then I left that part time job, our daughter has grown, basically mirroring the growth of my business. I have raised my prices, decreased prices. Added more weddings & then less. Traveled to other states and eventually other countries for weddings, sessions, workshops & retreats. I continue to pour back in to my business to make it run more efficient & more fine tuned. While at the same time working on my craft. Something I really want to do more of the next few years.
The journey hasn’t been perfect, but I will tell you it’s my story. I can never compare where I am to someone else, even though I do often & then remember why i can’t. My journey has been slow. It has been over thought & in some points held back by a lot of fear. Shoot if half the stuff that was in the world now when I started almost 10 years ago I would VERY likely be in a different place. However for today I am so happy with where I am even if some days are harder than others.
So who is Heirlooms and Lace Studios? It’s me, Ashley, Lead Photographer, CEO, Owner for almost 10 years. I am based in Detroit Michigan, but ready with a passport & quick packing skills to take on any project.
Here’s what I promise to every couple who book me: I promise to welcome you & immediately treat you like family. I promise to cherish our time together & the moments we are capturing. To remind you that your images are your family heirlooms, just waiting to be cherished & shared with your family for generations to come. I promise to give you an experience that reminds you that this is more than just photos. That I actually & unequivocally give an absolute shit about you. So much so I spoil you & shower you with planning materials, planning assistance & so much more. I am also here beyond the wedding day as a newborn & family photographer. It’s honestly the best part of my job to capture your growing family after the “I Dos”.
I am so grateful you are here and found me in this small sliver of the internet. I hope we get to work together! Lets work together to capture memories & make them together! I hope to see you in my inbox!!
Looking to book a wedding photographer? Please reach out! I would love to get to know you!