Ash Imagery - Philadelphia Wedding Photographer

Philadelphia Wedding & Portrait Photographer

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.

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)


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.

Elizabeth + Jesse. An Anniversary Session.

I watched them through the branches of the autumn toned tree as they renewed their vows, just yards from me. I watched through my camera how she looked at him, and him at her, as they reread those words they each spoke aloud exactly one year prior.

I get to see a lot of things in regards to love, and you'd think I'd be an expert on it. Alas, I am not, haha. But what I have gotten good at over the years, is recognizing a deep connection where love is able to blossom and grow.

I watched Jesse and Elizabeth recite those vows they wrote as a stream trickled below their feet and down through rocks, carving a path into the land. That water, like their love, can only navigate through the obstacles directly in front of it. It can't possibly fathom what looms in the distance. But just like the water that does whatever it possibly can to push forward, these two will do the same. They will navigate life and around the obstacles in the best way they can. Together, through rapids, rocks, small and large crevasses they will hopefully settle into a lazy river that meets with the vast expanse of the ocean.

If any couple can make that trip, these two are it.