No Good at Goodbyes.

Hawaii Fuji Instax Polaroid

 For some reason or another, I'm marvelously horrible at saying goodbye. I was shunned as my study abroad friends cried their eyes out our last morning in France and I straight up laughed. I gave pitiful excuses for goodbyes when we moved to Hawai'i and even skipped out on going to the bus when my husband deployed. For a year. TO AFGHANISTAN. I don't know what it is, but I simply can't deal. So instead, I avoid. I pretend and avoid at all costs. I am about as nonchalant and casual as they come when parting ways, consciously maneuvering through the awkward "see ya"s, unconsciously blocking the uncomfortable sensation of missing a person who's standing right in front of you. I hate lumps in my throat and Marshall may be right, I don't prefer change. So when I dropped my rattan bag to gently hug my friend B after our beach day, I made sure to keep my grip loose. Not to think the words "some day" or even let my mind consider that her little bun wouldn't be bopping alongside me on wedding days anymore. I went about the entire afternoon completely shutting off the fact that they would no longer be living in Hawai'i, for God knows how long, living God knows where. Instead we casually exchanged "have a great rest of your day!" sentiments while I hopped in the car, covered in sand, as she headed back to their VW Westfalia. Only then, and for a brief second, did I allow myself to stop feel the weight of yet another friend continuing their ventures off island. Maybe one day I will find a healthier way to manage my emotions, but for now, I'll ignore it. Thankfully, B does casual goodbyes, too.

Hawaii Polaroid
Hawaii Beach Umbrella Polaroid
Hawaii Beach Polaroid
Hawaii Beach Polaroid

B. + Tim -- it's easy to say I am excited for your adventures, but truly, I am. You guys have found one GEM of a new house on wheels and your passion and ambition to live the life you've been dreaming is inspiring. Tim, thank you for your service -- your soon to be military freedom is well deserved! Seeing your lack of hesitation for this unconventional #vanlife is infectious, do the damn thing! I am forever grateful Hawai'i was a stopover on your journey that brought you to this point and am seriously SERIOUSLY happy that we became friends along the way. Dude, your Savannagon adventures are going to be epic. I am cueing all the wanderlust already. Lots of love for your travels and prayers for cool breezes and 120 horsepower joy. :)

Savannagon VW Westfalia Hawaii
Savannagon VW Westfalia

ps:   I'm all for innovation, but whatever you do Tim, pleaseeeee, for the love of all things holy, don't build a toilet in that thing! ;)

[ Photos taken with a Fuji Instax Wide ]

Always Never Enough.

We sat across from one another, hands tightly wrapped around paper coffee cups, quickly getting to know each on the balcony of the popular Kailua cafe. 

What’s you biggest struggle today?”, I prodded. A personal question no doubt, but we had already connected as fellow photographers, sharing dreams, glories and worries as she was committed to make her passion of photography in Hawai’i come to life, an ambition I certainly could relate to. I wanted to know more.

Not being good enough,” she declared from across the round table without an ounce of hesitation. 

Yeah, me too…” I admitted, feeling the weight of my words heavy on my lips, especially on this particularly challenging day.

Modern Monstera Leaf

 

To my surprise my candid answer was met with disbelief and confusion as I explained to her the highs and lows of being a business owner, most of which fluctuate on a daily basis, and how I wake up loving my work but a barage of emails, thoughts perfect snapchats and subconscious messages from social media can keep you doubting yourself, hitting especially at lunch time on a random Thursday. I could have consciously chosen to hide my insecurities and doubts about my own talents, but I just didn’t have it in me. In the spirit of consistently oversharing, over 12 ounce lattes I unloaded on this sweet, unexpecting girl. 

YOU? How do YOU feel like you’re not good enough? Your work is great and you’ve worked hard, I can tell!”. Deep down I knew she was right. I have worked hard, real hard, have seen tangible growth and am proud I'm doing it. Like, I'm doing it. We are living in Hawai'i, going to Whole Foods for crying out loud. Still, more often than none, I have the nagging sense that’s it’s still not enough. I haven’t gotten good enough. Enough for what, I have no idea. Because it's bullshit. It's a lie. A fake scale, Ashley.

“…but your worth does not come from your work — you know that, right? It’s not what you create, do or don’t do, your worth comes from God….” I boldy wrapped up my lamenting, speaking truth to myself more than anything -- completely unaware of this budding photographers general thoughts on God -- absolutely compelled to speak honesty into her life, and well, mainly my own emotional day. 

I continued meaningful conversation with this new found friend, shared marketing ideas and uplifting one another, her invitation to coffee being a necessary treat in my day and as I left I remembered this: THIS is what I’m here for and what I love. Uplifting other women, candidly telling the truth, doing battles and life together. We may not feel like they live up or compare to what this industry’s or society’s standards are, having a hard time keeping up with a 1/3rd of our own to-do list, but that’s not the point. We are here, working hard. Not sugar coating it, not making it look like rainbows and butterflies — putting our hearts on the line. We are not the sum of how many hours we sit behind the computer, how many emails we answer in a day, or how many new ideas we dream up and immediately put to action -- after the laundry gets done. Today I may be back to feeling like a shitty photographer and crappy business person, staring down the barrel of all the would do could do should dos, eyeballing my maltese sleeping high atop a pile of dirty laundry, but that’s not who the Lord says I am. I get the pleasure of being an Entrepreneur but that that isn’t what MAKES me. We are meant for more than that — we simply get to make the world a little prettier in the process.  Most importantly, we are in this together.

Lauren + Ian in Pacific Weddings

It was 9:45pm, well passed my scheduled photography end time and the celebration raged on below, guests merrily scattered across the cafe speckled lawn of La Pietra. I had been in the parking lot conversing with Leilani, my assistant for the day but moreso friend, as we took time to catch up on each other's lives post work. It was a warm summer evening and we were both exhausted, ready to call it a night. I made my way down the series of stairs back into the depths of the reception for one last bottle of water before groggily heading home. High atop the stairs we gazed across the cafe lit lawn nestled against the Honolulu skyline. "Wow, that's pretty, huh?" we observed in wonder. "Dang, that would make a great photo..." I muttered. Without missing a beat, Lan volunteered and happily made her way back up the series of steep stairs to bring my camera for one last photo. As I waited, I slipped onto the railing's edge in hopes of reliving me aching feet when it happened. Guests roared in joy as spontaneous fireworks brightly rang in the distance. I couldn't believe it. Against such a gorgeous, shimmery backdrop this well deserving couple was getting a complimentary firework show! Without a second though I kicked off my shoes, tied my hair into a bun and ran as fast as I could up the stairs to the parking lot, yelling out "Lan!  LANNNNNNNNN!!!", scrambling for my gear. Barefoot toes skipping every other stair, Mark3 in hand, bun loose and sideways atop my head, I internally paused and smiled at the sheer merriment in it all. Here I was, flippin' exhausted and hours past our end time, lit with excitement and passion as I booked it to get a few photos of this wedding day treat. 

It's those little sparks that fuel my creativity and build into an arrangement of twinkly, fizzly patterns, making my heart go boom and my soul ring out a chorus of "ooh"s and "ahhhhh"s, reminding me I really really love photographing weddings.

Hawaii Wedding Photographer Pacific Weddings

Bonus points if they get featured in print. Beyond happy to relieve Lauren + Ian's own gorgeous (and wayyyy fun filled) La Pietra wedding in the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of Pacific Weddings. 

Aftin + Dan | Halekulani

They started off working together. She knew he was the one when he helped meticulously carve a Hello Kitty pumpkin for Halloween. He admired her even more when her less than nature loving self agreed to join his family hunting. He keeps her steady while she dreams big. The deal was sealed over warm candlelight and wine at Vino, one of their favorite local spots, and bound tight with a sparkly Cartier jewel. 

Aftin + Dan -- with your impeccable style, fun sensibility and insider scoop on all the great places in Napa, you two can't be rivaled! It has been nothing short of a joy to document your fabulously luxe wedding journey. Here's to the exciting future to come (and great new home) Bonzaaaiiiiiiii!

Wedding Day Perfume
Bridal Makeup
Halekulani Wedding Photo
Cartier wedding band
Halekulani Hau Terrace Wedding
Halekulani Hau Terrace Wedding
Cartier Wedding Ring Band
Halekulani Wedding Photo
monogram wedding aisle runner
Halekulani Hau Terrace Wedding
Luxe pink and gold wedding
Luxe pink and gold and white wedding
Luxe white and pink and gold Halekulani Wedding
Wedding desserts
Sweet Father daughter dance
Gold animal place card holders

Photography: Ashley Goodwin Coordination: Say I Do by Karisa Cinema: Aria Studios Florals: Su-V Expressions Venue: Halekulani Hau Terrace + Ballroom Rentals: The Wedding Linen Co. Bar: Curate Decor + Design Dance Floor Topper: Accel Party Rentals Officiant: Jon Nouchi Photo Booth: Photo Ops Hawaii DJ: Jimmy Taco Bubble Tea: Tea Boss

West Coast Trip Pt. 3: Las Vegas

The last stop on our west coast tour got us back on an airplane and headed into the desert of Las Vegas and the crux of the journey: WPPI. Instead of buying tickets for educational courses my sister Sarah and I took advantage of the yearly photographer's mecca and used the opportunity to see one another, visit friends (Alyssa, Katie, Josh, Serena, Jen and Alan DANNNNNNGGG), tour the expo for a little market research and mostly introduce me to her FIANCEEEEEEEEEE! OMG Sarah is engaged! TO A MAN WITH A RED BEARD! We are living parallel lives. Being in Las Vegas during WPPI was fun, even if we did get dejected from standing in line at the opening night party and hanging out with close friends was of the utmost importance. 

I'm gonna keep it real, here. Walking around WPPI for the third time (it's been a few years since my last trip), I battled finding a balance between a business savvy mind; always making the most of every situation and conversation, planning ahead to maximize experience and exposure; with living in the moment for pleasure.

Sure, I got serious fomo when I saw someone at Red Rocks shooting a gorgeous "bride", wondering if I missed a good opportunity to organize a styled shoot, and at least over 100+ times considered "man, maybe I should have been more savvy about XY and Z while I was there". Instead I chose quality time laughing with friends and days with my sister, Jen, and our men. We teetered on the edge of a rocks I and got to use my craft to photograph newly engaged Sarah and Chris and happily in love Jen and Alan DANNNNNGGGG (ever since I found out that was his last name I simply can't say it any other way). Way better than any styled shoot.

There will always be missed moments, other business opportunities, hands you wish you'd walked across the room to shake and parties you regret not RSVPing to. But you know what? It's about choosing what feels right in that very second, making the most of the present and sometimes, mayyyyybe sometimes, sending your 24/7 thinking business brain on vacation while you wile out to trap music in da club.

West Coast Trip Pt. 2: Yosemite

We hopped in our rental car and jaunted from unsually warm Northern California (read Part 1 here) to our next adventure. What used to be hours of easy, relaxed road tripping turned out to now be a feat; traveling long distances in a car isn't something we are accustomed to after living on an island all these years. Bouts of motion sickens were met with rounds of extreme grumpiness; nothing a little In-n-Out couldn't fix. Hours crept by as we finally made it from Napa to our next stop: Yosemite. Marshall had been craving the cold (we even dug out snowboarding apparel out in anticipation of hitting the slopes!) and we checked in to our room at Tenaya Lodge -- dreaming of s'mores, fire pits and hot tubs, hoping for a glimmer of fresh snow. Marshall, typically one who recoils at a hectic vacation schedule, hustled me to pick an outfit already eager to hit the road to see the sites. I slipped on my oversized coat, nineties style shades and metallic loafers that had no business being on this trip whatsoever and declared "hey! Who do I look like?? (answer: Becky Goodwin circa 1994). Quick, let me send her a picture!". And we were off.

Winding through the narrow roads of the park, I noticed a side of my husband I hadn't seen in a while. It was as if being amongst these rocky cliffs and gargantuan trees brought new life into him. The rich, woodsy landscape was one he thoroughly enjoyed and found passion in trekking. In our two days at Yosemite National Park we circled the valley floor twice, rehashing old camping sagas, splitting road trip snacks and took turns watching for cover as we sent our drone up. He laughed at me as once again my inappropriate choice of footwear got me into a pickle and guided me over fallen tree trunks as we hunted for legendary sequoias. We acted like teenagers sneaking into the hot tub and vowed to one day come back and actually hike the park (this seemed like the most legit way to experience the majesty). And just as he said his trip would have been perfect if he saw some wildlife, we spotted a magnificent little deer family that practically turned Marshall into a 10 year old. It was like he wanted to catch and hug and squeeze them to death. But don't tell him I told you that. 

Riding through the contrasted, muted tones of a forest barely out of winter as it slowly warms up to spring, I looked out the window and to my husband declared "You know what I'm drawn to most? Color! Bold color!" Not giving him a moment to even consider responding. "Then light. Lastly, atmosphere. Yesterday when we were choosing were to sit for breakfast I gravitated toward the seat in the brightly lit window nook. And now, while driving, this is gorgeous, but doesn't make my heart JUMP. I need color. And light. Then comes the ambiance" He quietly nodded, confirming what I had just taken an hour to resolve but he's known about me all along.

West Coast Trip Pt. 1: Napa

Very few things fuel me more than a solid adventure. Seldom do I sit on a plane, watching th clouds roll by without dreaming up the next opportunity to jetset. This time I had my sights set on Napa. Marshall and I both travel a lot, but between work, the military (and now FORMER problem, HOORAY!) and his softball, we don't get the chance to regularly check out new places together. Matter of fact, we never even make it to visit family as a couple! That's all going to change, and I decided it would start with Northern California. I figured since we both are into our 30's and have developed a sudden and deep appreciation for wines alongside a solid cheese plate (yes, that mustached man SWIRLS AND SNIFFS HIS WINE) this would be an awesome mini-trip, making it the first stop on our West Coast vacation this past March. 

When deciding where to travel, I usually pick based on resorts. Yes, resortsBut for THIS trip I did lord knows HOW many hours of research (i.e. instagram stalking) in search of two things: the views and the food. That was all I wanted. Who cares about the wine? Gimme the pretties and the goodies. This girl wants to take some photos over here! Okay okay, and have a legit excuse to get a little tipsy without judgment in a fancy-ish place. Marshall wanted to experience some place cold (that's what an island will do to ya!) so we only had a few short days to pack in wine country before heading to snowy Yosemite.

We stayed at 1801 First (booked through Jetsetter, my favorite travel site!) and would both consider this, by far, our favorite part of the trip. The fact that we oh so dearly loved a victorian bed and breakfast is living proof that we have officially become old. O.L.D. But whatever, the bed was crazy comfortable, the room cozy, and there was a killer wine + cookie pau hana in the living room every night. They know the way to OUR hearts, and those chocolate chip cookies were da bomb. And...free booze. Sold, sold and sold. Upon arrival we were given a glass of wine and selection of truffles in which I promptly ate mine...and most of Marshall's.

Complimentary port wine in the lounge area. I don't know what that is, but sounds real legit. 

Your choice of a chef-made breakfast every morning was some kind of delicious! A simple meal never tasted so good. Dining in the bright bay window and making plans for the day amongst couple's having coffee and reading the newspaper was endearing. And, you know, kept with the "we're clearly old" theme.

Since I was busy sampling wine most of the days, here are some details of our trip:

We wandered Oxbow Public Market (a trip to Napa just isn't complete without!). Honey, bakery delights, cheeeeeese heaven, So many great local offerings and gifts to choose from. While inside we became STARVING and had lunch inside at Kitchen Door.

Enjoyed a wine + chocolate pairing at Castello Di Amarosa (Marshall's favorite). Man, I never knew just how good wine and chocolate were together. I also found out I am horrible at picking wines to sample and Marshall does better. Thus, I must taste his, too. 

A few other fun stops we made along the famed wine road:

Rose + Charcuterie at Auberge de Soile (the Bistro deck)

Champagne flights at Domaine Carneros during sunset, duh. Most of our trip was planned around colors, photo opts, and, of course, the light. And food. I had lost a few pounds I needed to find. 

Fried Chicken at Farm at Carneros Inn. Holy smokes this was my favorite meal there! This southern girl was impressed. I have a friend who highly recommends staying at Carneros Inn. I would have loved to, but we're not that bougie. 

Farmstead for pupus. The deviled eggs were bomb. 

Enjoyed wine flights + cheeses at Cadet. There was a truffle crunch cheese so good I'm still talking about it. So good, in fact, at the time it made me STOP talking.

The hype is right, chocolate croissants from Bouchon Bakery are where it's at.

Rachel + Will in the Knot California

Let's be for real, here. I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't secretly jumping for joy holding this shiny magazine in hand - aching to flip it open and show anyone who would lay their eyeballs upon it. From the banyan tree ceremony to that insane Vera Wang gown, Will + Rachel's Dillingham Ranch wedding was a stunning affair, well deserved of it's recognition. It never ceases to illicit sheer excitement to see couple's hard work and a creative team's beautiful visions come to life via photographs perfectly embedded in glossy pages.

Photography: Ashley Goodwin Florals: Passion Roots Coordination: Best Day Ever Hawaii Hair + Makeup: Leslie Faire Videographer: Fisheye Studio Venue: Dillingham Ranch Catering: Memoirs Rentals: Pacific Party Rentals  + Hawaii Tents and Events Transportation: Royal Star Hawaii + Oahu Party Bus Cake: A Baked Romance Music: Maunalua + Oahu Strings Entertainment:  DJ:  Showtime Djs Hawaii Invitations: Design Des Troy + Minted Guest Book: Woodlack Gown: Vera Wang Resort: Turtle Bay Bride Shoes: Tabitha Simmons and Chanel Menswear: Armani + Dior, Black Tie Affair

 

 

NEW WEBSITE LAUNCH, hallelujah.

It is with MUCH excitement, a proud smile that as I stare down the barrel of an empty cup of coffee that I hoot and holler: my new website is LIVE! HOORAY! What was quite an undertaking, especially when you D.I.Y that baby, but I am beyond thrilled to have a little corner of the internet that reflects my style, inspirations and eye for bold and celebratory film photography. www.AshleyGoodwinPhotography.com. This calls for some rosé!  

 

2013 Shay Cochrane

If you have a minute today take a peek and tell me whatcha think on Instagram. Engaged or traveling to the islands? Get in touch!

 

 

Cyber Monday Sale!

A handsome portrait of you and your new hubby for desk at work, a canvas of Hawai'i for that empty living room wall you keep contemplating, heirloom prints that are sure to make your momma cry. 40% off ALL prints (weddings + sessions!) on AshleyGoodwinPrints.com. No minimum, not valid on previous orders, and way easy + fun. Boom. Christmas complete. Code: WANNACYBER (yeah...I asked it! ;)). 12331826_947146452037358_1279703384_n

 

Networking, Social Media + Hustle: Photo Field Notes Podcast.

Maybe it was the early wake up call, accidentally putting espresso roast in my coffee pot instead of decaf or the added SPARK energy drink I totally got sold from my Advocare dishing friend, but I'm a little ball of oddness today. A tightly wound, somewhat frayed collection of energy and excitement mixed with endless wild ambition for the dreams that are to come set to Beyonce's 7/11...resisting every and all temptation to Periscope myself while singing. Work! New ideas! Sunshine! Spinning while my hands up, GIMME ALL THE GOOD STUFF, I'm ready to conquer the world, smack it. inna. air.  A tremendous turn around from where I was when starting my photography business in Hawai'i back in 2011 (even further from my first wedding, a friend's, in 2008!) If you too are feeling gungho today, or even need a little boost, check out my interview with the way smart Allie Sarto on Photo Field Notes. From secretly interviewing wedding vendors as potential new B.F.F.s to my one favorite instragram tip to the recent time I freaking butchered photos from a once in a life time trip, I keeps it real.

Photo Field Notes Podcast

Cocktails in Hawaii_0001

Back in the day when I was a kid I used to hook a microphone up to my double-sided tape recorder and talk and talk, creating radio DJ inspired mixed tapes that I would play back. I could literally lay on my carpeted bedroom floor and listen to myself talk. Times have changed, so while I will be tuning out, lemme know how it is. I leave you with an image of 3 cocktails. If you listen to the interview you'll know what's up. ;)

 

 

Kimberly + Damien | Kalaupapa, Molokai Engagement

She leaned the 11 inches across our 10 seater plane, intertwining her fingers softly within his. Picnics packed, hair in rollers and both families in tow, we all said a silent but known prayer as the chartered plane hurled it's self into the cloudy sky. We circled our way past some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world, landing on the remote peninsula of Molokai; Kalaupapa: once an isolated leprosy settlement established in 1866 now refuge for the remaining residents and a place of roots for Damien's family. We quickly deboard the plane and looked around in wonderment and awe. The "airport", a tiny three-walled pavilion with several plastic chairs, greeted us, setting the tone for the true quiet and seclusion of the day. Our travel arrangements, a giant yellow school bus marked "Damien Tours", picked us up in style as everyone said their hellos and Kimberly was first introduced to Damien's grandmother. When the idea of heading to Kalaupapa, a region you must either take a tour to visit or be invited into arose, I danced with glee at the idea. Sitting across from Kimberly and Damien over Starbucks the two kept me wildly entertained. Deep into our photography consultation he recalled summers spent on Molokai as a young boy where he skipped rocks across the sea, always picturing himself taking wedding photos on the beach in front of his Grandmother's home. Being that they had not made the trip in ages, it was decided both his family and Kimmy's would head over for the day, exploring the island, connecting their past and introducing his future: Kimberly. There we were, amongst a population of less than 120, taking it all in.

Damien, named after Saint Damien who lived in isolation with the patients of Hansen's disease, rode along the back of the bumpy buss, sharing stories of jumping off the dock into deep blue waters with his soon-to-be-wife, each hopping at out memorable locations. As most days in Hawai'i the weather was ever changing but that didn't take away from the incredible views and untouched landscape of such a stunning place. We road along the island, staring deep into the mountains and laughing in thankfulness we had not booked the donkey ride down from the cliffs. (That's a thing). His family, proud to be back, and Kimmy elated to experience this soon joint piece of history.

As the 6 of us shared lunch under a pavilion waiting for the passing rain to subside, I myself couldn't help be but met with overwhelming appreciation. These were my clients who were opening their hearts and incredible family stories with me. I was getting a true V.I.P tour of Kalaupapa. I had gotten the inside scoop on stories (like how the barge from Honolulu comes once a year with everyone's new goodies!) straight from the people who had lived it. I'd had the chance to share in this piece of history alongside them. I just flew on a tiny weight-distributed plane that I maybeeeeee fudged a few pounds on the paperwork for and lived to tell the tale! This was a GREAT freaking day.

At 2:45pm, on the way to catch our 3pm flight, we stopped at Damien's family's beach house. Kimmy took his hand and under his careful instruction skipped a series of smooth, flat rocks across the crystal blue sea.

This was, by far, one of THE coolest and most adventurous days I have had as a photographer. I literally kept stopping and thinking "wow, we are DOING this. What a DAY!". Damien, thank you so much for the idea, for arranging it all and trusting me with your family heritage. And Kimberly, for being so sweet, gorgeous, and fun and bringing such fab outfits girlfriend. I know the weather was temperamental but it was nothing short of extraordinary. I dream of going back to this untouched land! Ya'll are the bomb.com.

An Ode to Le Pups

It's National Dog Day! How'd I figure that out? The same way I get ALL my daily news: Facebook! Although I love a good celebration I happen to think all these crazy dates deemed "holidays" are ridiculous (expect for Donut Day, that's legit), I can't pass up the opportunity to give out a shout out to our Boos, our Babydogs. Honey Bunches of Oats, Sweetie Babies and sincere troublemakers. Our fluffy children, Guardians Of The House, cuddle bugs and Loves Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor of France and Leonardo Raphael. They are my shadows, confidants, and lazy sleep-under-my-desk coworkers. They keep me company when Marshall is away playing softball. They are my nurses who never leave my bedside when I am sick. They bark at anyone who comes in the house or leaves the house. Or maybe sounds like they are coming to come in the house. Or passes by the house. Or locks their car door but isn't going to come in the house. The lick themselves into a coma on the reg and me into a fit of annoyance. The jingle of their collars greets me at my every turn. Napoleon's Houdini skills are still under investigation and Leo's ability to eat plumerias chocolate unpopped popcorn packaging popcorn slugs razor blades anything and everything without consequence is a sheer and total miracle...and possible party trick. I love their individual quirks, like when Napoleon gets cabin fever and runs super fast circles from room to room (all by himself) and Leo's sense to bite your dang finger off for a carrot. Or how Napoleon buries himself under the covers and sleeps by my legs and Leo lays on his back and cuddles into Marshall's 'nook', snoring.  'Des babies get all the love and in turn love us unconditionally....no matter HOW many bad haircuts they've endured by the very hands that feed them (very expensive raw food). We love these crazy abnormally big for maltese pups like whoa. 

Brooke + Jarrod | Kualoa Ranch Wedding

Brooke and Jarrod, both teachers (she teaches the wee ones and he uses his skills as a Professional + semi professional football player to coach high school PE), were set-up on a blind date by mutual friends. Over 3 years later they figured 'why wait', deciding to forgo traditional event planning and hop over from South Perth, Australia to make it official with a destination wedding they would later surprise friends + family with! Excited by all fun things Hawai'i (+ Disney!), the couple couple stayed at the Aulani resort and planned for a gorgeous and simple elopement by the water at Kualoa Ranch on O'ahu, a scenic spot for movie buffs! Backgrounds of "50 First Dates" and "You, Me + Dupree" set the stage at Moli'i gardens.  Local officiant Kahu Bruce wrapped their ceremony with a strong Hawaiian chant just before they sealed the deal exchanging handwritten vows. Intimate, romantic and full of joy, these two were just as insanely lovely as their afternoon elopement. But can we all have a moment of silence for that incredible gown? To see more from their weddings + get the scoop from the Bride, check out their feature on Pacific Weddings.

Shot on a Contax 645 with Portra 400 film | Coordinator: O'ahu Wedding (Kibby Fergusson)| Officiant: Kahu Bruce | Location: Hale Moli'i at Kualoa Ranch| Dress: Lover | Videographer:  Crane Media| Flowers:  Watanabe Floral |Film Processing: Goodman Film Lab 

Mandy + Addison | Kaua'i Anniversary

After spending their honeymoon on Maui over a year ago, Mandy + Addison just knew they wanted to head back to the Hawaiian islands they had fallen so deeply in love with. Craving the lush greens and scenic beauty the state has to offer, they opted to make their first trip to Kaua'i, the Garden Isle, in celebration of their one year anniversary. Addison, a student of cinema and photography + Mandy, a wedding + Interior Design lover (a.k.a. all things pretty, I feel ya, girl) dreamed of luscious, warm photos documenting their extraordinarily youthful (and well-dressed!) adventures. These two from Texas were a treat! :) Anniversary trips, now THAT'S the way to do it! :)

Shot all on film. Connate 645 + Fuji 400h

 

Grateful for Hawai'i

I'm rather embarrassed to say that when the opportunity to be stationed in Hawai'i arose, I was upset. Not just upset, but kinda sorta threw a mini tantrum. I know, right? I was a complete brat who, at the time, wanted nothing more to head to back to Europe and the military was sending those dreams a crashing down. Three months studying abroad was simply not enough of croissants and Kronenburg 1664 and I needed to be back galavanting through Germany. Or England. Or SWITZERLAND, DAMMIT! Naively I had also spent time in Hawai'i as a teenager (when, let me remind you I swore to myself I would be back, I even considered going to UH I loved it so) but in reverse like an old lover remembered the bad parts of O'ahu instead of the good and chimed on and on annoyingly about how "Hawai'i isn't the paradise people think it is" (granted I had stayed in hot + dry Makaha and never saw much further than that) and sulked in my white girl tears. I just wanted to pretend to be french, uh uhh oui oui. Feel free to SMACK ME NOW. My husband certainly doesn't but he will, on occasion, remind me of how much I didn't want to come to Hawai'i and how fabulous it has turned out to be. Usually he brings this up when the opportunity for change is around the corner and I am busting out my cement, ready to pour myself into it and not budge, which brings me to my love note to the islands...

I'm Grateful to Hawai'i For:

1. Showing me what may feel like the worst thing in the world often winds up being the best thing that could have happened. Great things can sometimes be veiled as devastating and it's not until we pull back and see the bigger picture that time shows us just how much of a blessing that speed bump was. I can't even tell you how many huge disagreements, missed opportunities or simply tough work days have turned into incredible rather pivotal moments in my life and faith. I have learned this time and time again and, just like ending up in Hawai'i instead of southern France, I find growth and great purpose in the challenge and change.

2. Taking the girl out of the city. I adore Charlotte, but years of living in the young and bustling city surrounded by southern belles and shiny new things hardened my heart and left me slightly superficial. Don't get me wrong, a girl still loves her nice things! Maybe it's the make-up free atmosphere or the fact that people wear aloha shirts and slippahs when they are dressing up but I've become a lot more laid-back and carefree in my style, owning cut-offs and a t-shirt and totally legit shooting attire, and ultimately relaxed my heart. I certainly still keep myself presentable, trust me, I can only schlep it for so many days, but there's something about beach showers and going barefoot that have increased my confidence and acceptance. You didn't wash your hair? No judgement here! It's hard to explain, but there's been a shift.

3. Surrounding me in nature. I don't know what I am going to do when kayaking, snorkeling, boating, or hitting up a morning hike AREN'T daily options. Not only the mix of activities, but having interesting and fresh local produce and single fern leaves the size of your head has inspired me to venture outside more, eat healthier, and encouraged ideas throughout my brand.

4. Reintroducing me to Jesus. This one. THIS is the one that matters the most, and as ridiculous as it sounds makes me want to burst from the inside out whenever I think about it. When we moved here I was in an odd in-between stage; I had quit my job, our long awaited wedding had gone off with many speed bumps, and as excited I was for an adventure I was leaving friends and heading into the unknown. Completely depressed, I packed on a ton of extra pounds in a matter of months and was starting all over again. It was a year of drastic change and I was vulnerable and (now I can thankfully see it for what it was worth) the devil was trying to pull me down, down, down. THANKFULLY I found courage to consult in a new friend (Alyssa!) and she got me going to church with her. Lots has happened between those days crying on the floor, unable to sleep because of crazy visions flashing before me to NOW, dancing around my living room in the joy of the Lord, planning my next mission trip with Inspire Church and feeling God LITERALLY peel back layer upon layer on my life for something much bigger I NEVER would have fathomed myself, and I owe it to Hawai'i. To the friends, the church, the warm beach and the quiet times.

I don't know where we are meant to be next (hopefully it's still here for several more years...but I can always still bank of Europe, right?) but I know beyond a doubt, that Hawai'i was and is exactly where we are supposed to be right here, right now. And dang am I thankful for it.

Photos taken from a Na Pali Coast Helicopter Tour on Kaua'i. Contax 645 + Fuji 400h

My Brand in One Image

The other day I checked out an article by SLR Lounge showcasing 20 photographers alongside one image that represented each of their brands. One image I thought. ONE?!?! Thank goodness they didn't ask me I kinda sorta lied to myself I'd send over an entire gallery to choose from! The more it floated through my mind I was able to peel back the layers from my favorite images spanning the years, narrowing it down to a few characteristics that are innately Ashley. When it comes to my personal ever evolving style there are certain tidbits that are forever me; well-traveled mixes of lively prints, bright colors and lots and lots of white...and gold. duh. Gotta have gold. But what single photograph intermingles the spirit of my brand? Essentially, of me?

Bright, playful and completely of-the-moment, Lauren + Kawika's soiree was something from a dream. Showered with passing rains, the laid-back pair popped open umbrellas and carried on the soiree. Spontaneous, stylish and a little bit wild, Lauren says Kawika "makes her feel like a kid again" and in this spontaneous moment as newly minted husband and wife, it radiates. I take great pride in crafting gorgeous scenes where couples don't see a pretty posed photograph from their wedding day but instead look back and can say "that's us, that's exactly us". Therefore this celebratory photograph takes the cake. ;) Oh, and confetti. Confetti wins.