Want to know something quite surreal, completely in alignment with where I’ve been expanding into? A realization that just recently happened?
I’ve been photographing dreams turned reality for a decade and a half.
As I grow into supporting women turning their dreams into realities in a very specific and tangible way, I am in awe, in inspiration, in connection to every single soul I’ve photographed over these last nearly 15 years.
You see, each and every one of these individuals, couples and families have been guideposts – a beautifully, expansive expression and connection to souls realizing their dreams.
🌱That of individuals, becoming business owners.
🌱Lovers, becoming lifelong partners.
🌱Partners, becoming parents.
🌱Children, becoming siblings.
These very expressions have been the catalyst for being in awe of life, this world and realizing our potential. It’s been the lens through which I can connect to the courageous nature within all of us.
Each and everyone of us were born to do extraordinary things in this lifetime.
Extraordinary being uniquely defined, by each and every individual. Some are simple and grounded. Others are complex and distant.
Nonetheless, we are all living out our truths in the greatest expression imaginable.
This weekend, I documented these two sensational souls sharing their intimate vows and first kiss in front of their most favorite people in this world. I was reminded of the dynamic paths all of our lives take and how they lead us to exactly the right place, at the right time.
For being witness to this couple and all that have come before, I am beyond grateful for its impact and impression on me connecting deeper to my dreams and supporting others connecting to theirs.
The most beautiful expression of the cyclical nature of our paths and this life.
What is that dream living inside you?
Vendor Love :
Photography : @ashleystrongsmith_
Planning : @palmandpineevents
Florals : @thebloomoftime
Venue : @olehansonbeachclub
Video : @noahrtaher
DJ : @djgriff
Hair & makeup : @beautifuldaybrides
A question I’ve been getting asked A LOT lately is if I still do photography.
The answer, YES.
I am still documenting my favorite souls in this world alongside my courage coaching business.
You definitely do not see as much in this space as I am so insanely passionate about sharing all the goodness behind that which makes up my coaching business.
You see, truth is, photography is embedded in my soul.
For as long as I can remember, 13 years professionally, for my whole life as a hobby — photography has been my vessel, my way of being in exchange and communicating that which I am inspired by within this world.
Truth is, it was far easier to hind behind other people and my photography than it was to put myself out there and follow my calling.
So here we are, in this incredible harmony where I have grown, my business has grown, my way of being in community, in exchange, in connection with you and the universe, has grown.
I am at the latter part, although I am INSANELY HONORED to document the most inspirational souls, I am courageously putting myself out there, in ways I never had the confidence, courage, trust to do so.
Courage coaching and photography coexist.
Behind it all, my immense dedication to seeing a person, people through the most pure, positive, real kinda way.
Where this very reality creates this space, this connection, this exchange for us to truly see, hear and honor each of us.
As we are.
Where we are.
Who we are.
This reality, damn is it so beautifully supportive. So dynamically, sincere.
Behind my ways of being in exchange, lies the same foundation — that of my values and the why behind what I do.
My values — honesty, presence, sincerity, quality time, acknowledging, honoring, holding dear, expressing gratitude and love, compassion, being kind.
My why — I have been blessed to live a life far beyond my dreams and I am committed, every single day to supporting others in realizing their dreams.
Here are portraits from a few weeks back when two of my favorite souls got to intertwine their lives and love as they intimately said I-do in front of a handful of their most favorite people. Truly, one of the most special days!
Couples : @theophiluslka & @joybear21
Bride's Hair : @rawwintuition
Groom's Hair: https: @mobilehairpros & @vdrip1
Makeup : @shelsealuxe
Florals : @fantasyfloraldesigns
Oh, I see you girl!
Are you wanting to know the tricks, tools, resources in living this intentional, courageous, present life?
I break it down, day by day, week by week.
These are the 7 tools - my guidepost, my pillars, my foundation that I use every single week to really enable me to stay connected to where I am and where I am doing AND exactly what I need to do.
Are you ready?
1. Identify what the most supportive routine is for your life.
2. Ground Yourself.
3. Create your to-do list .
4. Create your to-be list .
5. Personal Goals .
6. Business Goals .
7. Reconnect to and celebrate yourself each day.
9 Secrets to Lifelong Clients : A step-by-step guide with insight, examples and questions to consider for creating lifelong clients AND increasing your bottom line.
After jumping in 2013 enabling me to live, love and teach around the world, being a photographer for 12 years, an entrepreneur for seven years, a mama for the past three - it's been my greatest honor yet to share these very moments of turning my dream life into a reality with YOU as you build your intentional business and live YOUR dream life.
In 2015, I launched my photography business (previously known as Ashley Strong Photography, now Ashley Strong Smith) with very little knowledge of actually knowing how to run a business. Within two years, I went from making cold calls and giving away photo sessions to having a waiting list for months.
What was the secret behind this rapid expansion?
Creating a foundation for cultivating an intimate connection with my clients, turning them into lifelong clients. I’ve documented souls from their engagement to their wedding, their maternity portraits to their birth, the child’s six month and year portraits, to their siblings along the way, to their sibling joining the world, to their grandparents' anniversary, birthdays and yearly holiday portraits in between. It all. One client. I’ve then used these same 9 steps, more recently as I launched my coaching program for female entrepreneurs.
These 9 steps below, are the foundation in which I’ve been able to cultivate intimate connections with my clients, ultimately turning them into lifelong clients. Are you ready?
1. Be human and honest
First and foremost, we are all maneuvering this thing called life, doing the best we can in this moment, with the resources we have. Yes, you are running a business, but you are a HUMAN BEING running a business, remember that with each interaction and exchange.
Honesty builds trust and as trust begins to build, so too does the connection, the authenticity of that very connection and therefore the foundation of your exchange is formed. The beautiful cyclical nature of life - build a solid foundation - trust and connection - exceptional customer experience - repeat clients.
Examples of being human and honest :
Questions to consider :
2. Be clear on the service(s) you provide.
The more clear and connected you are to your service, the more you will attract your dream and ideal clients.
Remember you are you. Although there may be many in your industry, no one has had the life experiences that have brought you to this very moment, exactly where you are today. Use those very life enhancing moments to connect with your clients. In doing so, you’ll be able to live in your truth and provide a clean, supportive, expansive service.
Examples of being clear on the service(s) you provide :
Questions to consider :
3. Be connected to your craft, skill and mission.
The more connected you are to your craft, skill and mission, the better you can serve your clients. Passion leads to purpose. As your passion expands, so too does your knowledge and eventually you’re able to share that knowledge with others. The more you tap into your connection with the service you’re providing, the deeper the service becomes.
Examples of being connected to your craft, skill and mission :
Questions to consider :
4. Get to know your client.
Your clients are the pulse of your business. After all, without them, would you even have a business? Not only is it important to really define your ideal client, create your client avatar and speak to that, but really understand what it means to truly connect with them, ultimately creating an intimate, intentional, in-depth experience.
One of the most effective and supportive ways of doing this is turn your email conversion into a phone (or zoome, skype, facetime) to really get to connect the name, to a face, to a voice, to the person on the other end. Prior to this call, create a series of questions that you want to ask them, to really get to know them as a person and not just as a client. Through getting to know them, you’ll understand if you're the right fit to serve them.
We receive answers, through asking questions. Those answers then become our guidepost for what is to come next. You know, layer upon layer.
Examples of getting to know your client :
Questions to consider :
5. Create a streamlined process.
Oh, do I get so excited with creating streamlined processes for my business. It’s important to create both internal and external processes.
Let’s break them down.
Internal processes are how you do business.
External processes are how you are in relationship, in exchange with your client.
You need the internal process to have the external. They are like day and night, you cannot have one without the other.
Examples of creating a streamlined process :
Questions to consider:
6. Have impeccable communication & prepare them for success.
Being impeccable with your communication is holding your clients hand throughout their journey.
Examples of having impeccable communication and preparing them for success:
Questions to consider :
7. Be fully present, engaged, intentional in the moment and remember to breathe.
An exchange, well - is an exchange. Your energy with whomever you’re in contact with. Energy is felt, fully. As you prepare for your exchange (session, coaching, interaction, etc.), be very mindful of what you need to do to fill up your up and be fully present, engaged and intentional. The more centered you are heading into the session, the more present you will be, therefore the more intentional the exchange will be. When this happens, trust is built, people open up and a more fluid, real conversation and exchange can be had.
Please remember that people can sense when you’re distracted, when you’re off, when you’re not present. When this happens, they pull away, become disconnected from the situation at hand and that’s when trust starts to get lost. This can all be eliminated by preparing yourself before the session.
Also remember, to breathe throughout the exchange. At any time you need to reset, are feeling overwhelmed, feel like you need to go in a different direction, are getting too excited, stop for a moment, put your left hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths. You can even invite your client into this very experience.
Examples of being fully present, engaged and intentional in the moment:
Questions to consider :
8. Live authentically, show up as you.
Truth is, your client hired you because they have a connection to the service you offer. This connection is formulated through a series of small interactions that has built a like, an understanding, a trust. By being you, doing you, they are connecting to the true person behind your brand. Live into this, honor this, show up as you.
The greatest gift we can give ourselves and one another is to be true to who each and everyone of us are. As you honor the unique light within you, so too do you give others the permission to do the same.
A great practice for truly listening to and honoring the authentic you, is sharing from the heart, not the mind. What do you feel, not what do you think? As you tap deeper into what you feel, you’ll become more and more connected to the authentic you. Then, use this inquiry to share it with the world.
Examples of living authentically and showing up as you:
Questions to consider :
9. Stay in touch.
When I first started my photography company, someone told me (I wish I remembered who) to never leave an exchange asking for more money. That struck such a cord as I knew all too well how it felt having an interaction with someone and I owed them more than they quoted.
I since then have expended on this, with my philosophy being, never leave the exchange without expressing your gratitude for them, their support and the very exchange. We all want to be wanted. We all want to be needed. We all want to know that were important (and please remember, we all are, in our own unique ways). To be seen, to be heard, is the greatest gifts of the lifetime. Ensure your clients are seen and heard.
End your interaction with next steps, send an email communicating those next steps. Once the next steps are performed, add them into your system to stay in touch.
Examples of staying in touch :
Questions to consider :
2022 Holiday Mini Sessions include --
3 dates with 3 locations and limited spots at each location!
Location #1 : Saturday, October 15th at Elfin Forest in San Diego*
Location #2 : Sunday, November 6th at Exploration Trail in Running Springs
Location #3 : Saturday, November 19th at Caspers Wilderness Park in Orange County
Each session includes 30 minutes, 30 images (always more), 1 photographer, 1 location.
Investment : $395.
*Please note, this location is an additional $50 for a shoot fee (per the venue)
Ya’ll I most definitely told you I’ve been photographing my favorite people along the way
and you better believe I’ve been doing so with absolute joy, love and inspiration!
A few weeks ago we were insanely blessed to have our family come from New Zealand.
My husband's sister and her fiancé!
This time, was truly so intentional, so loving, so sincerely supportive, so needed for all of us.
To be with family, to be reminded of connection, to get to be witness to Orion spending time with her auntie,
to finally be together, in this grown, expanded way.
Oh my heart!
While here, it was so important to celebrate their engagement
(of which happened a few months prior while on a magical hike in New Zealand).
We did this through a yummy sunset session at one of the highest peaks in Running Springs.
You can witness, by these very time capsules how fiery their love and connection is
and how complimentary the setting sun was.
The dynamics, damn did they give me us all the feels, bringing these very moments to life!
Curious what makes magical shoots like this come to life?
- Picking a location that is inspirational and reflective of the souls connection.
- Selecting outfits that are complimentary to their styles, bodies and the environment.
- Being okay with "off roading" - the best paths are those that aren't paved.
- Knowing where the light is coming from and where the sun is setting.
- Getting an idea of what they're comfortable with
(Ie : Do they have favorite sides? Are there things they're not okay with?
Or that they always do?)
- Having fun, truly encouraging the subjects to have fun with one another.
- Being present and really paying attention to the subtle reflections that make them, them.
Congrats Savannah and Justin!
I am beyond excited for you!
Oh hey girl!
Are you finding yourself in a space, a place where you feel stagnant, even stuck?
You know that you’re meant to be more, to do more, to live a life that feels far better than it looks?
Yet, you don’t feel like you have the tools or the roadmap to get there?
Oh girl, I got you!
Here are 5 ways to move from dreaming to doing:
1️⃣Create space to go inward.
2️⃣With your awareness of going inward, what came up? Go into the inquiry and begin to research.
3️⃣What is your why behind this dream?
4️⃣Visualize : Embody where you’re going, who you’re becoming, this grown, expanded version of yourself.
5️⃣Trust in yourself and have the courage to act on that awareness and put the research into action
Check out the videos below for deeper insight!