Ash Imagery

Wedding, Portrait & Boudoir Photography based in Philadelphia and traveling worldwide

Ash Imagery is a film photographer based in Philadelphia and Upstate NY.  Ash Imagery will photograph weddings and elopements in Philadelphia, Lake Placid, the Adirondacks and around the world.  Ash Imagery also offers Boudoir photographer and commercial photography such as lifestyle sessions.  Ash Imagery is considered to be a Film Wedding Photographer and a Film Photographer with a unique style and vision.  Ash Imagery is owned by Michael Ash Smith, a portrait and lifestyle photographer based in Philadelphia using film as his primary medium.

Mae + George. A Brooklyn, NYC Wedding.

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As a wedding photographer, I get to photograph friends - or friends of friends - often.  But getting the chance to photograph a really good friend doesn't happen nearly as much.  It's also, in my opinion, the most nerve racking.  I've photographed a vast amount of weddings over the years and only and handful have been for close friends.  Actually, I think I can count them on 1 hand.  So when one of your best friends ask you to photograph their wedding a few things immediately go through your mind:

1.  You're honored
2.  You're excited
3.  You're suddenly nervous

When my buddy George, who also happens to be my associate, asked me to photograph him marrying his best friend, Mae, at city hall in NYC those things went through my head.  On top of that, both George and Mae photograph weddings so they could have chosen anyone in the industry.  But mostly, I was super excited - especially knowing that George and Mae would plan something super cool and all I needed to do was tag along and document.  And that is where I tend to excel and relax the most ... documenting.  There is an added benefit of being good friends with your subjects ... they already feel comfortable around you.  I was going to be there anyway, I would just have a few cameras on me this time.

And so that is what happened.  George and Mae got ready at their apartment in Brooklyn surround by several close family and friends, did a first look on the rooftop of the complex, took the subway to Manhattan, got married in a few short minutes at city hall, took the subway back to Brooklyn, got some pics done, at a magnificent lunch, and then danced off the calories at a new bar just a couple blocks from their home.  I carried around too many cameras, fired off a ton of instant film, and just spent the day documenting a couple good friends having a blast.
 

The Montgomerys. A family session in Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada.

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Sometimes my commitments to endeavors, such as weddings, translates into other opportunities like portrait sessions.  This was the case when I photographed a wedding in Tahoe with my buddy back in December.  Emily and I have been chatting for a few years off and on via social media and when she saw I was going to be in the Tahoe area she jumped at the chance to book a family session.  Its always a good feeling when someone does that, especially when its another photographer.  So before I flew back home from Reno where the Montgomery family lives they offered me a place to crash so I got to spend pretty much an entire day with them - which always makes for some great pictures because the kids warm up to me much better than if it were an hour or two.  We hit up Sand Harbor in Tahoe first, then stopped in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the way back to Reno to get some shots in the snow, grabbed some In-N-Out (which I sorely missed) and then just hung out at their place the rest of the day.  And of course some of my favorite shots were from that time period - the time everyone is most relaxed.

Thank you, Emily, for allowing me to stay with you guys and trusting me to photograph your awesome family.  I hope you love the pictures as much as I do.

I had several chances to photograph families this past year and I had a blast doing so.  Each one was in a different part of the country which makes them even more incredible for me.  I already have a few planned out for this year so if I'm going to be in an area YOU live please don't hesitate to shoot me an email about photographing you.  I would be honored to.

Here are a few of the areas I have lined up so far this year ...

San Francisco - end of April
Louisville - mid May
Boston - early August AND early October
Minneapolis - September
Maui - August
Portland/SLC - mid to late July (still working on this one)

Carli + Jesse. A Friedman Farms Wedding.

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This is the bride's email to me after seeing her wedding slideshow.  It pretty much sums up the day.  I am so thankful to have clients like Carli and Jesse and this is exactly why I photograph weddings:

Mike, 

I don't mean to be awkward, but I think I love you! No seriously, I am artistically completely in love with you. These are spectacular. 

I was so happy at the big day, but after I started worrying about, did we get one with my sister? Did my boobs look crazy big, am I going have one that I love that I love the way everyone looks ect? Should I have done a first look and/or one with the flower girls and grandchildren??? I actually agonized over this a bit because some pictures went up on Facebook and I started picking things apart. 

Then I got this slide show, and I was right back in my happiest day. I love the way I look, which I know is vain, but I'm not a picture person usually. I love that I remember what was happening right around each picture and that I didn't even realize you were there for some of my absolute favorites. I especially love the one where I am hugging my cousin and and the one where Jesse is on the phone trying to convince me to move the ceremony inside, HA! They are beautiful, but more than that, I don't care how beautiful they are because all I can think about when I look at them is how much I love my husband and my family and my friends. They, the pictures, are all so alive. I'm an opera singer, and you have some how managed to make me not be critical of my appearance in photos but to really see that they are more about the story than the bodies. They are about the tears and smiles and hugs and surprises and bad dancing and all of that. 

You are a very special person, and have a very giving spirit, and I was glad to have that with me on the big day. I will never forget freaking out because all those people were in the room and I thought we were behind, and you calmly showed me the time and said we were ok. I really think you were the only calm one there, lol. Also, when you told my Aunt Angel that you were a professional, i.e. chill out, everyone in my family wanted to kiss you! 

What I am trying to say is thank you. Not only have you immortalized the happiest day of my life in such a beautiful and artistic way, but you have woken me up to what photography can be. I'd never taken the time to see how artistically special it could be, and now I want a film camera so I can start experimenting.

Carli