Ash Imagery - Colorado & Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

Colorado & Philadelphia Wedding & Portrait Photographer

Ash Imagery is a film photographer based in Denver, Colorado but working in Philadelphia as well.  Ash Imagery will photograph weddings and elopements in Denver, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Lake Placid, Philadelphia, the Adirondacks and around the world.  Ash Imagery also offers Boudoir photographer and 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 Denver using film as his primary medium.

Wedding Reality // Weather

Rain, Rain, go away. Come again, no wait, stay.

Rain, or any inclement weather, has a bad reputation when it comes to weddings. Understandably so when you are trying to plan for an outdoor wedding. I get it. Over the years I've been part of many weddings where some sort of inclement weather has threatened to "ruin the party." On the contrary, I've been part of many more weddings that "bad weather" made them memorable!

I've photographed weddings in the midst of large scale tropical storms, unseasonal October snow, lightning storms, and unrelenting downpours. I've been part of weddings that have been threatened by tornado warnings and looming hurricanes. I remember each of them, vividly, because it represented a unique circumstance to alter the day.

A perfect day with the perfect light will always be memorable, that's a non issue. But those imperfect days where it may seem like everything is being ruined by weather, or anything for that matter, are just as memorable - if not more. Embrace it. Enjoy it.

A backyard wedding in the suburbs of Philadelphia. 

A backyard wedding in the suburbs of Philadelphia. 

Danielle & Tommy. A Lake Placid Lodge Wedding.

It was an intimate wedding which didn't call for me to be around for more than a few hours. Winter, that week, had gone missing which left mild temperatures in the Lake Placid region. But the day before Danielle & Tommy's wedding the Old Man arrived back home. And he was apparently moody because he made the temperatures plummet, to below zero. Undeterred by the circumstances presented before them, Danielle & Tommy were determined to get some pictures outside - in the snow - and in -10 degree wind chills. I sometimes forget I'm involved as well, not even thinking about wearing gloves or the correct clothes to make it happen. I'm a 3rd wheel at weddings and I was determined to endure what my couple's do ... and this was no different. So we stepped outside ... 

We fit a lot in those 3hrs I was there ... some getting ready, a first look, ceremony, portraits, and a portion of dinner. But it didn't feel rushed on my end. It's amazing what can be done in such a short period of time and when you are photographing a couple that are game for anything. I'm super proud of Danielle & Tommy making sacrifices to get some pictures that will easily transport them back to their wedding day when they view them in a decade. I couldn't feel my fingers as I changed a roll of film, but I think it was worth it.

Wedding Reality // Mishaps

You'll plan for months. Some of you will plan a lot more than others. But everyone will plan. You'll hope the day goes off perfectly. No issues or problems that come to light. Some will pray, all will hope. Nobody wants something to go wrong in any way, though nobody can guarantee that. You don't wish for mishaps, mistakes, or mess ups but they'll happen. Some minor. Some major. Every error, mess up, or mishap I have ever seen hasn't changed the end result of a wedding. Whether it's 2hrs or 12hrs, shit happens. And when it does, because it will, let it roll off your back like water off a duck's. Trust me on this one. Breathe. All will be good.

Danielle slipped on ice while doing portraits but she couldn't care less. She got up, and pressed on. In the freezing cold. And not 30 degree freezing cold, -10 wind chill freezing cold. She kicked ass.

Danielle slipped on ice while doing portraits but she couldn't care less. She got up, and pressed on. In the freezing cold. And not 30 degree freezing cold, -10 wind chill freezing cold. She kicked ass.

Christina & Jenn. A Philadelphia Wedding.

We got in the LYFT outside of the hotel on a 75 degree day in mid February in Philadelphia. 75. No one expected this weather. We had mentally planned for cold, possibly rain, possibly snow, but never sun and 70. It felt like we were cheating. It just felt odd. But it also felt so wonderful that it would line up with one of only 2 winter weddings this year. Ironically, the 2nd winter wedding was by far the coldest day of the year for me with temps below zero. Back to the LYFT ... we got in and told the driver where we wanted to go.

Driver: "Are you both getting married?
J&C: "No, we are getting married?
Driver: "Both on the same day?"
J&C: "No, to each other!"
Driver: (silence)
J&C: "Thats why we said getting into the car that we hope you like gays!"
Driver: "wait, you are getting married to each other?"
J&C: "Yes!"
Driver: "You are gay?"
We all kind of look at each other.
Driver: "I AM GAY TOO!" 
Shouts of laughter from everyone fills the car.

From that moment on it was easily the best LYFT ride I've ever had. And I believe it was the same for Jenn & Christina. It was 20-25 minutes of pure fun, stopping here and there for some pics at planned locations. The weather was beautiful, the car ride was beautiful, and the people involved were beautiful. Sometimes, things don't go as planned at weddings. And sometimes, if you are lucky, the things that don't go as planned end up being the best part of the day.

(Thanks to my buddy Scott for 2nd shooting ... a couple images in the post were made by him)

Expression

Art is expressive. It's designed to make you observe, question, and react .. and not always positively. Good visual art tells a story without using words. Each person interprets what they are seeing differently, altering and skewing the story to their taste. An artist will utilize tools at his or her disposal to visually create what is going on in their mind, not yours. We are inundated daily with monotonous, conformed images that rarely provide any meaning except to look pretty. Therefore its easy to condemn something that doesn't look like everything else, and that's ok. We are brainwashed to do that with many things starting at an early age. Hence outcasts, weirdos, and those non conforming individuals we don't now how to label, so we gawk at.

In a bubble where "one click presets" and fabricated photography reigns, any challenge of the norm is always greatly respected by me. I think all artists strive to create a unique voice, but few will truly ever achieve it. Artistic boundaries are meant to be pushed, and the desire to do so is what keeps me going.

Rachel & Chris. An elopement in Sedona, Arizona.

Its a joke between us now, but its still a great story. Before Rachel and Chris decided on getting married in Sedona, they knew they wanted me as their wedding photographer. Humbling, for sure. I had nearly 100 emails back and forth with Rachel discussing 2 or 3 different regions and 4 or 5 different venues. Every time a place was decided on, I'd get an email from Rachel saying it was changed. I remember laughing out loud a few times.  After much discussion, Arizona was chosen as the backdrop for what they had in mind. I admired their determination to find a place that suited them the best, not everyone would do that. Their wedding started off as a 100 person affair in Baltimore and ended up a 4-5 person elopement style wedding in the red rocks of Arizona. That's quite the shift but it paralleled their personalities and lives wonderfully. They chose wisely and ended up with some wicked images to remember it by. We laughed together, about all the emails, the night before their wedding over beers and burgers in an old, haunted, mining town. Those moments are the best, the unplanned ones that happen surrounding being invited to take pictures. I hope it never gets old.