Welcoming Little Brother | Orlando Maternity and Newborn Photographer

This beautiful expecting mama contacted me soon after I moved back to Central Florida. She was pregnant with her second baby (a boy this time!) and was on the hunt for a photographer to tell the story of welcoming a new baby into her family. She wasn’t looking for traditional, posed “maternity” portraits – her vision was to capture some real moments with her daughter before little brother’s arrival. And, once the baby made his arrival, she wanted a more candid approach to newborn images.

When I heard that, I immediately knew we would be a good fit for each other – and that my Belly and Baby package was the perfect collection for her since it includes a family session with a focus on the bump and in-home newborn session! 

A few weeks later, I got the call that baby boy had arrived. Once they were home and settled in, I came back for the  This sweet little guy was a dream to photograph. Here are just a few of my favorites from his gallery.  

If you’re expecting, I’d love to hear from you! I offer family (in-home and outdoors), maternity, fresh 48 and in-home newborn sessions. CONTACT ME to learn about my availability. 

 

Five Tips for Photographing Halloween Like A Pro!

It’s been two years since I’ve been motivated to photograph Halloween with my girls. I mean, technically, I could have photographed last year – but it was dark and raining in Costa Rica. ¡La lluvia no es buena para las fotografías!

The year prior to last, I did pull my camera out for a few shots, but only for portraits of the costumes (remember Kenzie the cupcake? OMG. Sooo tiny and bald!).

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Anyone who knows me or follows my work knows I love to tell stories with my pictures, and last time I really captured the entire story of trick-or-treating Maddie was two and Kenzie was in my belly.

A few friends and Click and Capture alumni have reached out over the past two weeks asking if I have any tips for photographing Halloween. Instead of responding to each individually, I promised to put together a blog post for some very basic tips for photographing your kids trick-or-treating. Well, in usual Ashley Rogers fashion, I’ve waited until the last possible second. But I work best under pressure. So here goes nothing….

1)    Safety First. Maybe it’s being back to work in the corporate world, but I feel it is necessary to say that the first thing you should always consider when taking pictures outdoors with lots of excited and distracted kids (and drivers) roaming the street is to be mindful of your surroundings. Please, don’t be too distracted by your quest for the perfect image. No image is worth anyone getting hurt.I have no image to share with tip one, because I am always safe. Haha <3

2)    Time your “head out time” according to the sunset! You can google “Sunset on October 31, 2017 in Oviedo, Florida” for example and amazing Google will tell you the exact time it will set. For the best light, you want to plan to head out trick-or-treating the hour before sunset. Where I live, the sun will be setting at 6:40 p.m. So I plan to head out around 5:45 -6. Any sooner, you might end up with really harsh light (if it isn’t cloudy) and it can be difficult to take photos in harsh light. Once the sun dips low enough (starts to happen the hour prior to sunset) you get nice, even, golden light – and that’s much more flattering.

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3)    Be mindful of composition. Looking back at some of my photos from two years ago, a lot of what I’m seeing in them that makes them seem less “technically strong” is my composition. There are simple things you can do to make an image stronger. Like in this image, if I would have stepped back a bit, I wouldn’t have chopped her feet off. Her tap shoes are part of her costume, hence part of the story. Look before you click. If you’ve chopped off a leg or an arm, take a step back and try the shot again – limbs included!

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And in this shot, I had her right in the center of the frame. This one would have been stronger if I would had positioned my camera differently. If i would have taken a few steps to my right (to put her on the first third of the frame), gotten lower to the ground and shot her straight on (so the garage door would be the background instead of the random patch of grass) it would have made such a difference here!

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4)    Don’t forget the candid shots. Of course, all moms want the “look at me and smile” shot but don’t put the camera down after you’ve checked that off the list. Some of my favorite images from two years ago are the candid ones of Maddie checking out her candy, strolling on the sidewalk, walking up to the door of a neighbor’s house to trick or treat. Seeing these takes me right back to that moment two years ago. My, how fast time flies.

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5)    Just say no to pop up flash. I know, your fancy camera has a pop up flash and it triggers automatically when it needs to in auto mode. Makes your life so much easier. I get it, I do. But please, just try. Just TRY to avoid using that thing. Pop up flash is not flattering. If you’ve never shot in manual mode, do not try tomorrow. Just don’t do it – you will get frustrated trying to figure out what all the numbers mean on your own and give up.  If you have shot in manual but you’re a little rusty, I cannot tell you the magic combination of numbers to use because it’s all about the light you have available to you. But, I would guess that you can try to set your ISO between 400-800 at the start of the evening, your aperture wide open if you’re on a kit lens or 2.8 if you have a nice prime (or wider if your confident in your ability to shoot wide open), and then adjust your shutter speed. If your shutter speed is able to stay above 1/250 with the combination of ISO and aperture you’ve chosen – great. If not, crank the ISO – but don’t dip the shutter. I repeat, do NOT let your shutter speed go too low. You will likely end up with blurry images.  And remember, as the light goes away (as it gets later) you will need to crank the ISO. Your settings at the beginning of the night will be different than the settings at the end of the night.

POP UP FLASH. JUST SAY NO!

POP UP FLASH. JUST SAY NO!

 

IF that was gibberish to you but you’re motivated, you can put your camera in Aperture Priority and set the aperture as wide open as your lens allows and that will likely get you better results than auto – especially as the sun starts to get lower (when the pop up flash tends to come out).  Then, you can sign up for my Click and Capture class and I’ll teach you everything you need to know about taking control of your DSLR camera. <3

 

I hope these tips were helpful and I wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!

C Family of Five – Costa Rica Family Photographer

Two weeks ago, one of my talented friends, Melissa from Bebecitos Fotos, sent me a message asking me if I’d have time to shoot a session for one of her clients since she had a last-minute conflict. While Costa Rica used to be home for this lovely family, they are currently living in the United States and were only back for a little Pura Vida for a short time. Mom and I connected and set a time and date for her Family Play session.  

It’s rainy season in Costa Rica. Essentially, that means we have torrential downpour every afternoon. Since I’m a chaser of beautiful golden light, my clients have to wake up before the sun to meet me during that ideal time for photos. When you’ve got three kids, that can be quite a challenge and some clients are less-than-thrilled with the idea. Good thing these kids were natural early risers, because mom didn’t hesitate and agreed to meet me at the top of my favorite hill at 6 a.m.

When her three adorable children hopped out of the car, I knew it was going to be a great session. Not only were they the cutest things I’ve ever seen, they each had the sweetest little personalities and I couldn’t wait to capture those for mom and dad.

One of the reasons why I love this particular hill for my Family Play sessions is because it has this great little playground with a killer view. The playground is an amazing tool to make a family photo session less torturous for kids. I don’t like boring – I like fun – and what is more fun than a playground? The view is normally stunning. Normally… but on this particular morning the view was blocked by fog – and lots of it! While I was a tad bummed about that, the fog did keep us all cool and bought us some extra time to shoot before the light got too harsh.

Toward the end of the session, the sun did peek out from the fog and I was able to grab some beautiful shots with the twinkling golden light that I adore so much.

I hope you love your photos as much as I do, C Family!

If you’re in Costa Rica and want to snag a session like this before I leave, CONTACT ME. While I am all booked up on the weekends, I do have a couple weekday mornings available! You will have to wake up early, but I promise it will be worth it!

Adorable Family of Four | Central Florida Family Photographer

It’s been more than 10 years (I won’t say exactly how much more) since I graduated from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale. I have some great and not-so-great memories from that place, but one of the best takeaways from walking those outdoor halls (because if you went there, you know NEVER walk on the grass) is the many individuals I’ve had the privilege of keeping in touch with.

While Social Media certainly has its drawbacks, it’s undeniable that platforms like Facebook and Instagram facilitate keeping up with others no matter the distance. Lucky for me, this beautiful mama and I have stayed in-the-know of what’s been happening in each other’s lives - post high school and college.

When Lauren reached out to me a few months back about my schedule because she wanted some family photos, I was super excited. We had run into each other a few times at a mutual friend's house since we graduated from college, but I hadn’t yet met her adorable boys and it had been years since I’d seen her husband, who I also went to high school with. 

The moment her oldest son hopped out of the car, I knew I was in for some fun. And I sincerely mean that! To me, nothing is better than a rambunctious little kid! I don’t want kids to be on their “best behavior” because that’s boring. I want to capture wild. I want to capture crazy. I want to capture funny faces. I want to capture REAL LIFE. Yeah yeah, we started the session with the whole “Ok let’s get the look at me and smile out of the way with” but that was done and then we were all ready for some fun.

Well, not all of us. Poor baby Finley was NOT having it. I tried to reason with him, but the 5-month old didn’t listen. Weird… But I had some tricks up my sleeve and assured mom and dad not to worry, that I would get some sweet shots of him too. I blame teething for the lack of smiles, because I assure you I am very funny!

While the kids stole the show (they always do!) I absolutely fell in love with one of the shots I got of just mom and dad at the end of the session. When I showed it to mom, she said “That reminds me what I fell in love with at 14.” And I got teary eyed. Because that, my friends, is why I love what I do.

If you want some updated family pictures, I’d love to be the person to capture them! I’m now booking sessions in Central Florida beginning in August. CONTACT ME to get on my calendar.  

Sweet Baby Sadie | Orlando Newborn Photographer

Traveling back and forth from Costa Rica to Orlando so frequently has given me the opportunity to continue to photograph many of my former clients from Central Florida. When I found out Monique and Stewart were expecting their second child, I immediately tried to figure out how I could coordinate schedules so that I would be around to capture not only her growing belly (check out her Maternity session here!) but also her sweet baby girl once she arrived.

The original plan was for Sadie to arrive in early April, so imagine my excitement when I found out I had to plan a trip home right around her due date! Even though she showed up a few days earlier than I did, I had plenty of time to visit their house one morning for an in-home lifestyle newborn session.   

One of my favorite things about these non-posed newborn sessions is how laid back they are! No one is stressed out about whether or not the baby will sleep the entire time or how often he/she will need breaks for feedings and/or diaper changes. There is minimal prep involved for the new parents which, obviously, is a huge benefit. It’s one less thing to worry about when they’re already in such a chaotic phase in their lives. When I showed up, Sadie was eating and (with mom’s permission of course) I just started snapping. Sadie made the rules – I just went along with whatever she had planned.

Once she was ready to take a break from one of her many meals she had this morning, I walked into baby’s stunning nursery and found some adorable patterned blankets and knew I had to incorporate them! I loved the soft neutral tones with slight pops of color. Three simple swaddles allowed me to get some sweet shots of baby alone, each with a beautiful background that matches her nursery perfectly.

I used several rooms in their home to tell the story of Sadie’s arrival into her new family. Big brother Brantley was so sweet and interested in his baby sister – I just love the way I was able to capture him sweetly kissing her on his bed. We also spent a lot of time in Mom and Dad’s room. As you can tell, things even got a little wild!

Despite the fact that Sadie spent at least 85 percent of the session eating (haha), I was able to deliver a diverse gallery filled with moments that this family will cherish forever. Mom plans to make an album will all of the images, so when Sadie is older she can look back on her first few days at home.  

Sadie’s big brother Brantley was one of the first newborns I photographed several years ago, and this sweet family has continued to trust me to capture all of their family’s milestones over the years. I’m so thankful to have them as repeat clients, and more importantly wonderful friends.

If you're expecting and would like some classic and timeless newborn photography, I'd love to help! I'm now booking Family/Maternity, Fresh 48 and Lifestyle Newborn sessions in Central Florida starting in August. CONTACT ME to learn more about my availability and the collections I offer. 

Storytellers Blog Circle April

Those who know me know that I have a passion for photography – and those who know me well may even call it an obsession. And I don’t deny it – I never will. I admitted it here first; I am obsessed with photography. Whether I’m doing school drop off, taking a trip to the grocery store, heading to the park in the afternoon or venturing out on a vacation getaway, my camera and a couple of my favorite prime lenses are always by my side (I’m still working on declaring a favorite).  

When I left my job in the corporate world two years ago, I had this void of feeling what my “thing” was.  I was the communicator, the writing and editing guru. I used words to tell my stories. But that responsibility left when we moved to Costa Rica for my husband’s career, and I was left wondering how my stories would continue. What was my “thing” now? And that’s when I decided to attempt my second 366 project (yep – overachiever over here starting on a leap year).  My “thing” quickly became obvious – to me and to others.

For an entire year, I used daily pictures to tell my story. My story of leaving the United States with my two girls, aged 3 and 1 at the time. Storytelling through my photographs helped keep my family and friends feel close to us – even when they were in another country. With just one picture a day, mindfully selecting the focal length of my lens, aperture and shutter speed, I could ensure that my family and friends didn’t miss a thing.

When I was approached about joining the Storytellers Blog Circle, a monthly educational series, I immediately jumped on board.  The hard part was selecting one image to feature, and to explain the thought and technical process behind the final product. So, I paused to think about why photography is so important to me. I closed my eyes… and the image that I saw was this –  one of my favorites from my project last year. This right here, this is why it’s important. Because moments like this come and go, but, because I clicked that shutter, I have it forever.

So let me tell you a little bit about this image. This is my Poppy and my oldest daughter. My Poppy and my Grandmere have, for as long as I can remember, held Sunday breakfast at their house. One of the saddest things about moving away was knowing how many Sunday breakfasts we would miss. This image was taken during one of our visits home. We were all eating on the deck on a Sunday morning, with harsh sun and a distracting backdrop. But, I still had my camera (Nikon D750) and my trusty Sigma 24 mm 1.4 by my side. This moment happened on its own. I did not direct, I just observed them interacting and got my camera set up with the appropriate “safe” settings for the light I was working with (ISO 800, f/3.2, SS 1/400), so I would be ready at any moment to click. I intentionally closed down my aperture a bit because I was quite close to them, and wanted to make sure I didn’t blow the shot and miss focus by shooting wide open. I also kept my shutter speed up because they were playing and wanted to be ready to freeze motion if I needed to.

And, this is what I got. No wow factor, right? I almost didn’t want to feature the image because more processing went into this than my normal photographs, but I also wanted to make a point to share that processing can also enhance a story. I’m so glad I had faith in this image and didn’t just give up or not take the shot at all because the light and backdrop wasn’t flattering.

While this is quite a dramatic before and after, the processing was quite simple. I simply converted this to black and white, and then darkened the background so I could create some negative space and remove distracting elements. Now, when I see this image my eyes go straight to where I want them to go – to the moment that I captured, of my Poppy and his first great grandchild. They may be 89 years apart, but they sure do know how to play, laugh and love. I can feel it when I look at this image, and I hope you can too. This is why storytelling is important.

If you’d like to see more storytelling images, click through this blog circle to learn about the thought process behind the other talented featured artists!  Next up, here,  my friend Rebecca Hunnicutt Farren from Hunnicutt Photography. 

 

 

 

Welcome Baby Boy | Orlando Newborn Photographer

I had a lovely two-week vacation visiting my home town of Orlando. I took a short break from blogging so I could spend time with family, but I’ve been eager to share one of my latest in-home newborn photography sessions.

After I took this family’s maternity photos (if you missed them, check them out here!), we were all patiently awaiting baby boy’s arrival. I was so happy to learn that he came in time for me to take some natural newborn photos before I left for my trip. So, the day before my flight, I visited this family’s home and had such a wonderful time hanging out with them and documenting their joy with their new baby boy.

Mom’s family flew in from all over the world to meet their grandson, and nephew. It was obvious how much in love everyone is with the newest addition to their family. And, proud big brother was all smiles too. I loved being there to capture the moment when his dad was teaching him how to hold his baby brother. Swooon!

This session really re-sparked my love for this non-posed, lifestyle approach with newborn photography.  There is something about a new baby in their natural atmosphere that I can't get enough of. I can't wait to start taking clients in Orlando this summer once I move back to Central Florida for good! 

If you're expecting, I'd love to talk to you about how I can capture your belly, your baby's first moments in the hospital and his or her first few days in your home. CONTACT ME to learn more.

Baby Boy On The Way | Orlando Maternity Photographer

I met this stunning mom several months ago when I was teaching my first run of Click and Capture. She was expecting her first child, a baby boy, and was eager to learn how to use her fancy DSLR camera to document his upbringing. Even though the class was over, we kept in touch.

A few weeks ago, mom approached me about professional newborn photography. She said she loved the photojournalistic approach to my images, and wanted me to capture her son’s first images – starting with when he was still in her belly!

For now, I’ll share some of my favorites from her perfect in-home natural maternity session. We kicked off the session jamming out to some of their favorite tunes. I took some beautiful portraits of the most photogenic mom-to-be and her adorable and perfect baby bump.  They sang, they danced, they cried (happy tears), they did yoga, they played. And, most importantly, they loved. It is SO evident how much these two individuals love each other. Photographing them really moved me. They are amazing people, and are going to make the most wonderful parents to their sweet baby boy.

I can't wait to do his lifestyle newborn session this weekend!

Are you expecting? CONTACT ME today to learn more about how I can capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments. 

I’m Coming Home | Orlando Lifestyle Family Photographer

I remember it like it was yesterday. I took this image of my youngest daughter, Mackenzie, when she turned four months old. I had had a love affair with photography for a while before I captured this image; however, this was “the” photo shoot that made me realize that I wanted to pursue photography as a business.

I grabbed my adorable baby girl, a lace romper, a bow, my living room ottoman, Madison’s Pottery Barn Kids comforter, my camera of course, and I started snapping.

Clearly, my style and my skills have evolved over the past two years (truth – I sort of laugh looking at this now). But, all laughter aside, when I look at this picture it brings me right back to that moment where I was sitting in my living room, really excited to start this new venture. That’s one of the things I LOVE about photography. While this image was taken almost two years ago (exactly), it takes me back in time, instantly.

Once I made the decision to open up Ashley Rogers Photography, I began working really hard to build my portfolio and to get my name out there. I was so thankful for all of the support that I got -- from family, friends and strangers! I was working a lot and really finding my niche - lifestyle newborn photography. 

And, just when things really started to take off, we got the news…

Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited to move to Costa Rica! But, it did cause me to have to put most of my client work on hold for a while – and that was a total bummer. So, while I’m sad that our time in Costa Rica is coming to an end, at the same time I’m so incredibly happy to announce that I’m coming home! Flights to Florida are booked, and June 22 is the big day!

To celebrate my homecoming, I’m offering a limited time $300 off special on my “The Complete Experience” maternity/newborn package. This package includes a maternity, Fresh 48 (hospital) and lifestyle newborn session in your home. You get three sessions, all of the digital images, prints and a beautiful album to tell your entire story!  

I’m now booking sessions in South Florida in July, and in the Orlando area beginning in August. If you’re expecting and due this summer, now is the perfect time to contact me to reserve time on my calendar! 

The Importance of Generation Photography | Orlando Lifestyle Photographer

Every year around the holidays, I ask my mom what she wants for Christmas. Since photography has become such a strong passion of mine, gifts usually incorporate photos of some sort – but in the past it has just been of the grandchildren. Last year, I encouraged my mom to get in the frame, and I’m so glad she (hesitantly) accepted.

I have to admit, the pressure of doing an entire session with my own children (and my mom) is SO intimidating. I remember driving to the field where we were heading, Madison had already fallen asleep in the car, Mackenzie was throwing a tantrum of some sort and we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. “It’s a sign!” I said. I was almost ready to turn around and go home. I pretty much knew it would be torturous.

There is this syndrome that photographers speak of. It’s called “Photographer’s Child Syndrome.” It’s real. Google it if you don’t believe me. Because it was a gift for my mother, I decided to keep on driving and just see how things would play out. My nephew, Grayson, and sister were waiting for us. Kristen is a photographer as well, and Grayson has moments when he exhibits “Photographer’s Child Syndrome” as well. I knew I was in for a treat!

I don’t dare to claim the session was easy. These three kids were certainly my worst clients to date (I can say that, because I love them dearly and it’s true!). I’m pretty sure I captured every split second where there wasn’t screaming, nose picking or fighting -- but the sweat and tears were SO worth it in the end.  

The best part is now my beautiful mother has professional pictures of all of her sweet grandchildren, who she adores more than anything. Generation photography makes such a wonderful gift, and Mother’s Day is coming up soon! If you’d like more information about the collections I offer, contact me!

In-home Newborn Photography | Costa Rica Lifestyle Photographer

I get a lot of questions about what a newborn session with me is like. “What do I need to do to prepare my home?” “What should we wear?” “How long will it take?” “What kind of pictures can I expect to see in my gallery?” “Will I still get posed shots of the baby?” Today, I’m going to answer all of the most common questions I receive, and give you a sneak peek into a few of my favorite lifestyle newborn sessions I’ve done.

What do I need to do to prepare my home?

That’s one of the most common questions that my clients ask me. The answer is NOTHING! Isn’t that amazing? I will come to your house and I will scope out the rooms with the best light. I may move a few things around to ensure I get the best shot possible, but that is nothing that my clients need to worry about. Your home is perfect just as it is. Just let me in, and allow me capture these sweet, once-in-a-lifetime memories. 

dad holding his newborn baby in nursery

What should I wear?

I always suggest that Mom picks her outfit first, and then finds complementing choices for the remainder of the family. It is so important that Mom feels good about herself and the outfit she's chosen. During lifestyle sessions, I mostly keep the baby in a swaddle blanket, so having those on hand is a good idea. (I always bring some as well.) Regarding color, I suggest selecting mainly neutral colors for in-home newborn sessions. Think cream, beige, off-white and grey. 

mom kissing her newborn baby boy during lifestyle newborn photography session

How long will the session take?

I don't set a time limit to my lifestyle newborn sessions; however, they generally take around two and a half hours. Newborn babies need breaks for eating, diaper changes, etc., and I factor that into my schedule. If I am taking photos of a newborn, it will be the only session on my calendar for the entire day. That way, no one will feel rushed and we will take all the time we need to ensure I get enough photographs to deliver a beautiful and diverse gallery. 

baby boy yawning in crib | Costa Rica Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

What types of images can I expect to see in my gallery?

There are many reasons why I love lifestyle photography, but one of my favorite things about this approach with newborns is that the final galleries tend to be extremely full and diverse! Every session is different; however, here are a few of the types of shots that are frequently delivered. 

Lifestyle galleries always include shots of mom and the newborn, dad and the baby, newborn with parents and of course the new baby alone.

mom holding newborn baby girl over her shoulder during in home lifestyle newborn photography

If there is a big brother and/or big sister in the family, of course we will capture the siblings together as well.

big sister kissing newborn baby sister

Oh, and if you have a fur child, I'm always happy to incorporate them too! 

family photo with newborn and pets

I will document the baby's nursery that parents always work so hard on! I'm also going to document all the details that won't last long but want to forget -- like how their small hands fit perfectly around your finger and their flaky newborn baby skin. 

cute little boy's nursery and baby boy holding dad's hand

A common theme with a lifestyle approach is that the images are not posed. I will guide my clients in beautiful light and simply capture connections as they are happening. 

Will I still get posed shots of the baby?

I do not bring props to any of my sessions; however, I always take shots of the new baby alone in his/her natural atmosphere. So while you will not receive any images of your baby in a bucket, you will receive plenty of frame-worthy images of your newborn looking like the sweet newborn he/she is. 

If you're expecting and you like what you see, contact me to book your session! Don't forget to mention this blog post for *$100 off! 

*$100 off only applies to lifestyle newborn sessions. Session must be booked by March 1 and redeemed by June 1 to qualify for the discount. 

Guanacaste Getaway | Costa Rica Lifestyle Photographer

Our family decided to go on a weekend getaway with some friends. We’ve been in Santa Ana for a little over a year, and have visited quite a few beaches since we moved to Costa Rica, but we hadn’t yet made out way over to the beautiful Guanacaste area. Oh. My. Gosh. Why did I wait so long?

Scott took the day off Friday so we could get an early start on the four hour drive. You see, in Costa Rica, four hours can quickly turn into six or seven, depending on how bad traffic is. We figured an early start would help ensure a speedy trip. It paid off.  We arrived at the Westin, Playa Conchal, an all-inclusive resort, just after 1 p.m. and immediately knew the next couple of days would be amazing.

I tried really hard to keep my camera in my bag and just enjoy my vacation, but those who know me well know it’s SO hard to not photograph everything – especially since it was just such a stunning location.

The highlight of our trip – Maddie and her buddy went horseback riding at sunset. While it looked like a romantic first date, the two spent almost the entire ride arguing about who was better at riding horses. Haha. <3 *Note: There was a guide with these kids and horses the entire time and safety was certainly a priority. I just used a little editing here to remove the extra person to make the pictures a little more visually appealing haha.*

Here are a few of my favorites from our vacation. I can’t wait to go back!

Baby Boy Makes Four | Costa Rica Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

When I moved to Santa Ana, Costa Rica in 2015, I never imagined how many amazing friends I would meet here who would soon become like family. These four fall into that category. I met mom when she was still pregnant, and we immediately hit it off.  I learned they also had a daughter around Maddie’s age and, bonus, they lived walking distance from my house. Wahoo!

Months later, we were all anxiously waiting Baby M’s arrival. After 40+ weeks, he finally decided it was time to meet his mom, dad and big sister. I was so excited to meet him, too, and to take some lifestyle newborn photos in their home.

I love the timeless, classic approach that comes with lifestyle family photography. In just two short hours, I was able to document feedings, snuggles, diaper changes, snoozing, sibling bonding, and family portraits. The joy you can see in big sister’s face is everything.

It’s really hard to be far away from your family when such an important life event happens, so these images are even more special. It not only meant a lot to the M family, but it also meant a lot to their families and friends back in the United States who couldn’t be here to see this cutie in person right away. Here are just a few of my favorites from their in-home newborn session.

If you’re pregnant and interested in some maternity, in-hospital or lifestyle newborn photography, contact me! I’d love to document your growing family! 

Baby Girl on the Way | Orlando Lifestyle Family Photographer

Last year ended on such a high note. I not only got to spend one month in Florida, but I also managed to squeeze in some photography sessions while I was in Orlando. I’ve been photographing this family since Brantley was in his mama’s belly, so you can imagine my excitement when Monique asked me to take some updated Family Play pictures.

Two very special occasions were due for documenting. Brantley recently turned two, and he is about to become a big brother! That’s right, a baby is on the way and this time it’s a little girl. So our session focused not just on the family – but I did some special portraits for Brantley’s birthday milestone and of course we had to showcase expecting mom and her adorable bump.

Mama and soon-to-be big brother met me in Oviedo and the fun started right away. He is the sweetest little guy – he gets it from his Mom.  Dad met us at the field about halfway through the session and that’s when things really got rowdy! I swear, I’ve never seen a bond like these two guys have. I’m so thankful that this family constantly chooses me to capture these memories for them! Now I just need to figure out a way to keep this baby girl comfy in mama’s belly until I head back to central Florida!

If you’re expecting, I’d love to hear from you! I offer three unique collections for maternity, hospital and newborn photography. Contact me if you want to learn more or to book a session. 

New Year, New Look | Orlando Lifestyle Photographer

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working really hard behind the scenes. At the end of 2016, I realized my old logo didn’t seem to match my photography style, my website was filled with really outdated content and it wasn’t super user-friendly. My clients’ experience is SO important to me, so I knew that fixing my website had to be at the top of my to-do list.

After several weeks of hard work, I’m happy to announce that my new website and branding is live! Check it out at www.ashleyrogersphoto.com. While you’re there, you can learn more about me and my style of photography. I’ve also added tons of new images to my fresh 48, lifestyle newborn, family play and family in-home portfolios.

Like what you see? Contact me to book a session!  

 

C Family’s In-Home Session | Costa Rica Lifestyle Photographer

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” Karl Lagerfeld said it first, but I couldn’t agree more. There is no better way to capture true, genuine moments than to hire a photographer for an in-home family session.

Over the holidays, I was contacted by this amazing family in Costa Rica who was in need of some annual family photos. After our initial discussion, I learned that they wanted their photographs to be done in their own home. I was elated, because one of my favorite places to shoot is inside a family’s home – where they are most comfortable.

Upon entry into their beautiful house, I was greeted by the two sweetest little boys who were eager to show me all of their favorite things! They relaxed and did that they wanted. They read, played with Legos, colored, climbed their favorite tree and had sword fights. I just took a step back, and captured it all as it was happening. No props, no posing – just real, natural fun.

These images are so special, because they really show who those boys are right now. My hope is that in 10, 15, 20+ years, the parents look back on these images and are immediately brought back to this exact time in their lives.  The time when they were living in beautiful Costa Rica, when their two adorable and amazingly-smart boys loved to read, play with Legos, climb trees and have sword fights.

Thank you, C Family, for inviting me into your home, and allowing me to capture your family exactly as they are.

If you’re interested in family photography in your own home, I’d love to hear from you! Contact me to book your lifestyle/documentary session!

Five Reasons Why I Choose to Shoot Often | Costa Rica Lifestyle Photographer

Last year, I completed my first 366 project. While I did want to throw in the towel at times, it was such a rewarding project and I am so thrilled that I finished! Yes, there were days when I dreaded bringing the camera everywhere I went. There were times when my children were less-than-cooperative. There were moments when my friends were annoyed.  I get it, I really do. But, when all is said and done, it was one of the best things I could have done for my family and here are five reasons why.  

1)    Document the Memories.

This is by far the most important thing to me. My family had such a cool opportunity – how can I pass up documenting the heck out of it? Moving from Orlando, Florida, to Santa Ana, Costa Rica, came with lots of change and adventure – and several moments worth remembering forever.

Like this one right here.  My sweet big girl, so excited to get on an airplane to move to a new country. There were certainly a few eye rolls when I pulled my “big” camera out to take pictures in a chaotic airport – heck, even I was a little embarrassed. But as I look back on this image more than one year later, I have an overwhelming feeling of joy. I’m happy that I have this moment to look back on forever – one of the last moments before the big “unknown” adventure. One of the final moments before we got on an airplane as a family of four for the first time. This image right here was the final chapter of our first story, as well as the first page of a new chapter in our lives.

little girl waiting looking at plane at Orlando International Airport

2)    Capture the Growth.  

One of my favorite things to do in my free time (haha, free time?) is to look back at my old pictures of my kids. Before sitting down to write this blog, I came across a shot I took of Mackenzie at the beginning of this year. Look how tiny this chubby little bald baby in diapers was!! Madison has grown a lot too, but the baby – WOW. So I looked at this image and reminisced about this exact moment, and then wanted to see more. So I kept scrolling through my image collections and I was able to see her growth in a series of images. Mind blown.

3)    It’s for the Family Too.

While I do shoot for myself, I would be lying if I said I didn’t do it for family too. I am VERY close with my family, and that was the absolute hardest part of leaving Oviedo. My in-laws lived in the neighborhood across from us, and we spent at least one weekend a month visiting my side of the family in Fort Lauderdale since it was just a quick drive down I-95. While Costa Rica isn’t far from a “miles” perspective, it’s certainly more challenging (and expensive) to see our loved ones on an impromptu basis. So I shoot for them too. So they don’t feel so far away. So they can also see the kids grow. So they get a glimpse of what our life in the Pura Vida is like.

girl laying on the beach in Uvita, Costa Rica

 4)    Work Hard, Play Hard.    

Before moving to Costa Rica, I worked in Internal Communications for one of the largest technology companies in the world. Writing, editing and building communications plans was my first “thing.” While some days at the office were tough for sure, I felt a large sense of satisfaction knowing that I was really good at what I did—I had a purpose.

Leaving Orlando meant I also had to leave that job – and gosh – that was SO scary. I’m a worker by nature. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my kids, but I can only handle so much play-doh, puzzles and coloring.

So I switched gears and filled that work gap with my photography. I gave it my all, as I always did with my former job. It was a win-win! The frequent shooting encouraged me to do fun things with the girls that I knew would make for great photographs.  And the evenings I spent editing often gave me such satisfaction. After the lovely (torturous) dinner, bath and bed routine, I was able to sit at my desk and reflect on the fun times we had throughout the day. I not only felt so thankful for the opportunity I have to be able to stay home with the girls now, but I also often felt proud of myself as an artist.

little blonde girl making heart-shaped cookies in her home in Costa Rica

5)    See Your Skills Soar!

Practice makes perfect, right? Do you have any idea how much you will improve as a photographer if you make it a point to shoot often – especially daily? I started this journey in 2014, when I got my first DSLR camera. I know it can be frustrating and easy to get discouraged when the pictures you are producing aren’t matching you vision, but nothing is mastered overnight. My journey with photography has taken a lot of practice, a lot of education and a lot of patience.

I was once a new mom with a nice DSLR camera and was disappointed with my pictures too, we’ve all been there! At the end of last year, I combined my passion for photography with my passion for communicating and I taught a four-week course on the basics of photography. I know first-hand that with a little bit of knowledge about the basics, you can take your photographs to the next level. If you’re interested in joining my February run of the class,  head on over to my learn page to learn more, read reviews and sign up!

Oh, and little one. I'm sorry for the shirt your Auntie Kristen made you, but there is not a chance! 

four year old wearing "No More Pictures" shirt in her home in Santa Ana, Costa Rica

Learn How to Take Control of Your DSLR Camera | Costa Rica Lifestyle Photographer

Five years ago, almost to the date, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. As a soon-to-be first time mom, one of the items on my “must have” list was a camera that “took great pictures.” I decided to go with an entry-level Nikon DSLR. Why Nikon? Well, because someone told me to – no other reason in particular at the time.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of one of the first pictures I took of Maddie with my Nikon D3100 and the last picture I took with that exact same camera and lens three years ago. Notice a difference (and I don’t mean in the child)?

Well, what changed? My camera didn’t change. My lens didn’t change. I changed. I changed HOW I was shooting. I stopped allowing my camera to make decisions for me. I learned how to shoot how I wanted to shoot. I learned about exposure, focus, light and composition. I took full control, and gosh, it made SUCH a difference.

I hear ALL the time that people want to upgrade their cameras so they can get better pictures! But, unless you are shooting in full manual mode and still not happy with your results, chances are the camera you own is just fine!

Of course, gear matters. If gear didn’t matter I wouldn’t have invested so much in the camera and multiple lenses that I currently own; however, I only upgraded my gear when I fully grew out of the camera I was using and when I decided to turn my hobby into a business.

I will forever be grateful for the one person who took the time to encourage me to shoot daily and teach me the basics of shooting in manual mode (thank you, Meghan!). She gave me the BEST gift ever – the skills and confidence to document my little girls. That is the most important thing. 

When my sister found out she was expecting, she also got an entry-level Nikon D3100. I had learned SO much about photography over the past four years and was eager to teach my sister how to use her camera to its full potential! Here is one of her first pictures and her last -- again, same camera and lens. 

I moved to Costa Rica earlier this year and took a break from client work, I had this little idea in the back of my head. I wanted to teach others. I had so much fun helping my sister learn the ropes of photography and saw how much she improved. So, I tried it. I did a trial run of a four-week beginner’s photography course. I had the pleasure of teaching and getting to know some amazing women at the end of last year, and I’m so looking forward to offering a second run of the course in February.

The course can be taken online only, or, for those who are interested in the Santa Ana area, we will meet weekly to discuss the class topics.

To learn more about the details, head over to my LEARN page. If you want more information or if you want to express interest in signing up, you can do so by CONTACTING ME.

Hope to see you there!

Ashley
 

The “S” Family of Three | Costa Rica Lifestyle Photographer

This sweet mama was one of the first friends I made when we moved to Santa Ana, Costa Rica, last year. We immediately clicked because were both from the United States and also had little girls around the same age.  We soon learned of each other’s obsession with Lilly Pulitzer and the rest is history.

We had been trying to schedule some family photography for a few months, but our schedules weren’t meshing. You can imagine my excitement when she snagged the spot for my last Family Play session of 2016 in Costa Rica.

Mom had a perfect spot in Belen with an amazing view that she selected for her session. When I saw it in person, I was SO excited. While the location was stunning, it was her adorable one-year-old daughter that stole the show. From her quirky personality, adorable expressions and the outfit – my goodness – perfection.

I absolutely love photographing children at this age. All of us had fun and played hard at this Family Play session, and I got some amazing images so this family can remember these moments forever. Here are just a few of my favorites.

If you’re interested in some custom family photography in Costa Rica, I’d love to hear from you! CONTACT ME today to learn more about how I can document some memories for your family.  

 

Baby Boy's First Photos | Orlando Newborn Photographer

What a blessing it was to be able to take photos of this sweet baby boy while I was in Florida visiting Orlando!  Newborn and Fresh 48 photography are two of my favorite genres to shoot, so you can imagine my excitement when I realized my trip home coordinated perfectly with this baby’s due date. Not only was I able to get some beautiful maternity photos of Mom and her family while she was still pregnant at the beginning of my trip, I managed to go on a week-long cruise and still make it back to Orlando in time for his birth and hospital session (thanks for hanging in there until past 40 weeks, buddy!). The stars definitely aligned!

Birth photography is something I’ve loved since I captured my nephew’s arrival last year, and I’ve been eager to explore this genre more. I was so happy that Mom was just as thrilled with the idea of me documenting her baby’s birth as I was.  It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am really looking forward to offering this type of service to future clients.

This sweet baby boy (surprise!) arrived healthy and adorable as ever earlier this week.  About four hours after he was born, mom, dad, and big brother celebrated his birth day by singing happy birthday complete with a cupcake and candle.

Here are just a few of my favorites from his in-hospital Fresh 48 session.

Are you expecting? CONTACT ME today to learn more about my hospital, newborn and family/maternity sessions.