Archive for February, 2010

This week I will be trying to answer some of the common questions I get regarding newborn photography. As I am being asked for these sessions more and more these days, I thought this would be a good way to answer some of the questions I receive from clients. Newborns are one of my favorite types of sessions. They are also some of the most challenging. The goal is to capture as much of that beauty and innocence of fresh life before they start to change….and that happens so quickly!

So firstly, I am often asked, “When should I schedule my newborn photo session?” The answer is always “as soon as you possibly can!” Babies come in their own time…..usually not when you have planned it. At least in most cases, their arrival cannot be scheduled. It is important to put your name on my calendar as quickly as possible because I only allow for so many newborns per time period. I have to keep my schedule somewhat flexible so we are able to photograph the baby at the optimal time.

Which leads to my next question: “At what age should a newborn session take place?” Answer: “hopefully before 2 weeks of age.” In the first couple of weeks of life your baby will sleep A LOT. And that is a great time to capture your little bundle. If the baby sleeps harder, it makes it easier to get all the beautiful curled and sleepy poses every parent loves. If you were unable to schedule a newborn session right away and your baby is already 3 or 4 weeks old, don’t worry. I have had great success with babies 2-5 weeks of age, although those sessions can be a bit on the long side. Of course, I photograph babies and children of all ages. But your window for a “newborn session” is relatively short.

Q: Where is the session held?
A: The session is held at your home. There is no need to pack up and take your baby somewhere else. I come to you and when the session is over, you are already relaxing in your own home!

Q: How long is a newborn session?
A: The baby runs the show so that is hard to say. I do ask that parents put aside 4 hours, just in case we need it. That is just the beginning of the time I spend on newborn sessions though. From the processing of the images (which produce more proofs than any other session) to the design and ordering and packaging of the products, I spend approximately 25 hours or more on each client.

Q: 4 hours?! That’s a really long time!
A: I agree. And I won’t shoot any longer than necessary. It may be only 2 hours. Your baby will determine the pace of the session. We don’t spend the whole time shooting. At least half of a newborn session is spent in feedings, comforting, cleaning up “accidents”, setting up shots…. It is definitely worth it. You will see just how quickly they will change and you will be so glad you decided to document these first few days your baby was home.

Q: Accidents? What kind of accidents?
A: The kind that generally occur when you are working with a very sleepy, very full, and very naked baby! Have plenty of towels on hand:)

Q: How do you get those cute poses?
A: Patience is key. Patience and experience and a love for what I do. That’s the recipe!

Q: Do those cute hats belong to you and if so, where did you get them?
A: Yes, most of the hats you see on my blog and website are mine. There are just a few that I purchased but most of them were handmade by me! I was lucky enough to have two grandmothers who were fabulous at crochet. My great grandmother was amazing at it and actually had a line of her handmade crocheted baby outfits, layettes, and booties carried in the Dillards in her city. She gave me some coaching as well. That was a long time ago.

Q: Do you bring any other props with you?
A: Oh yes! You might think I am moving in when I arrive for your session. I will bring baskets and blankets and hats and anything else I might like to try. But I will definitely use any of your own interesting or loved pieces during the session.

Q: How much does a newborn session cost?
A: That depends on what products you want. At this time, newborn sessions are the same price as a regular session – $200. A typical newborn photography session client spends anywhere from $850 to $3500 on prints and products, depending on the types of items they want to document this time and how many.

Q: What types of products do you offer?
A: Standard wall and desktop prints, custom storyboards, DVD slideshows, canvas gallery wraps, digital files, birth announcements, storybooks and mini storybooks, mini accordion albums, and fine custom art albums. This Spring I will also offer a line of gorgeous and unique jewelry.

I think that covers the most frequently asked questions regarding newborn baby photography sessions. Please contact me if you have any other questions or wish to schedule your session at 803-348-3306 or

Another FAQ next week. Send me an email if you would like to make a suggestion for a question. Or visit my fan page at:

One quick newbie image to close out tonight – an oldie but goodie:)


Amy: what a cute baby... She looks really cozy there too..

Zoe Berkovic: Fantastic Post! The image that is with it is flawless! It makes me sigh.

Brandi-lee: Love that shot!! The colours in that painting match the tones in the hat perfectly.

Amanda Leatherberry: Love that shot! The hat and painting go so well together too.

Jason: Ashley, what a great post!! I'm sure it will help you a lot down the road when booking newborn sessions! Of couse, the image is perfection!!

Jack Anglin: 11/2/2016 @ 10:24:55: lorem ipsum

It’s been a long time coming. How long can a photographer go without a great headshot of her own? I have a speaking engagement next month and the organization had requested some of my images and headshot for promotion. Gulp!! I can’t believe I didn’t have a headshot. My images of just me consisted of my self-portrait work – and it was never intended to be something to use for my business….just documentation of my personal life and exercises in skill. I have needed to take care of this little piece of business for so long. Thank goodness for good friends. A call to another local photographer and about 45 minutes of shoot time and I had what I needed. And I think my friend Molly Harrell did a wonderful job. I admit I am not the greatest on the other side of the camera, but Molly was great. So she shot the picture and let me do the editing. Here are the results from that day:


Finally having my own headshot taken has inspired me to get moving on some ideas I have had to show you a little bit more of me and who I am as an artist and photographer and a little bit about what it’s like to have a session with me. Molly will be helping me with that project too and I am really excited about working with her again. But more on that a little later when I have some cool results to share;)

One of my goals this year is to blog a little more. I have always gotten such a positive response when I have shared something a little extra here so I am trying to find ways to keep doing that. One way I would like to do this is to answer a frequently asked question once a week. And let’s start tonight! If you have a question for me, just send it to and I will put it on my list:)

Weekly FAQ!
“What’s in your bag?”
I am frequently asked what camera and lenses I shoot with. I am proud to be a Nikon gal! I think Canon makes great stuff too….I just prefer Nikon. It feels and handles better for me.
I shoot with a Nikon D700 and I do have a backup body.
I love prime lenses since I really love to shoot as wide open as possible. My go to lens is my 50mm 1.4 Nikkor. It rocks. It’s on my camera 90% of the time. Although, it’s not the greatest for flare….and I do love flare! Typically a zoom would be better for flare, but I have had great success with my 50mm 1.8 Nikkor and I still keep that lens in my bag just for that purpose.
I also always carry my 35mm 2.0 Nikkor with me. It’s a great lens too and gives beautiful sharp results.
Those are my main lenses. I have dabbled with a 60mm macro and a 14-24mm 2.8f that is awesome. I like to stay pretty close to my subjects. I did also recently acquire a lens baby (a tilt-shift lens) and can tell it will be a great tool for tapping into my creativity. I am excited about getting to use it more but can also tell it is going to take quite a bit of practice to get the results I want.
I also use a Wescott TD5 softbox with daylight fluorescent bulbs sometimes for indoor shoots. It gives beautiful light – just like a giant window. And it is wonderful to work with during newborn and baby sessions. No popping of flash to startle my sleeping babes.

That’s about it! I know this question was more geared toward other photographers, but I had to start somewhere. Next week I will answer a question I get from clients:) And thank you for stopping by the blog! Leave a note if you can. I love to hear from you!

Veronica - Vera Photo: Wow, you are beautiful! Thank you for your wonderful blog!

Julie Wagoner: Ashley, you are gorgeous!! I enjoyed reading more about you in this post and look forward to the next FAQ!

Zoe Berkovic: You are beautiful Ashley!

shalonda: woooweeee you should step ont he other side more often lady!

nancy: you look so beautiful! glad you finally got on the other side of the camera

Ashley: Yall are way to kind to me! xoxoxoxoxo

Samantha Proctor: Great picture of you Ashley!

Kelly Lindsey: Lovely!!! I like the modern look. Much better than sitting in front of a black backdrop!

Rebecca Knowles: You are beautiful! You should be on the other side more often!

Jennifer Mott: You're so pretty Ashley! It's so scary getting on the other side of the camera isn't it? Love this!

Jason: Great SP, I did not know you were a Nikon Girl. Very cool!

I’m taking a little time tonight to post some images from our fabulous day of snow here in South Carolina. But first, just a little information about 2010 available session dates. I find myself doing more and more newborn photography sessions these days. If you are expecting and are interested in a newborn photo session with Ashley Ward Photography, please contact me as soon as possible to book your session date. Although babies don’t always arrive when expected, I plan for this in my scheduling and have a cushion that allows me to be more flexible on the exact date of your session. But as we start to move closer to Spring, my calendar starts to fill up again. Right now I have appointments on the books through November. At this time, April and July are close to booked. Putting your session on the calendar early guarantees we will be able to capture your little one at the optimal time for the best results:)

Now, on to a little personal posting! Can you believe the amazing snow fall we had last night here in Columbia!? Just amazing how much snow fell! And this is MY kind of snow fall…..the kind I wish for every winter. I always joke about wanting one amazing snow storm with white powdery snow and NOT ICE and wanting it to clear out and be gone the next day. Well, I can hardly believe that is exactly what we got!!! And it was so good for my family. We have been caring for my husband who had foot surgery this week. He is doing very well considering he is confined to the bed and can’t do anything at all. Thank goodness the madness of being bed-ridden hasn’t set in yet. But I know he would have liked to have been out in the snow with us. We opened the shades for him to see the amazing snow fall and my daughter went outside and lightly threw snowballs at him (at the bedroom window). And of course we took pictures and brought the cameras inside and showed him the amazing snow everywhere and the antics of our crazy boxer, Jovie, who adores the snow and loves to “kill” snowballs! We wrapped up our play with a fantastic snowball fight. I love it when I can lose myself in play with my daughter. It is one of the most amazing feelings and always makes me so thankful. I really need to do it more often:)

So here are a few images from our day. Hope you enjoy!






Jason: These are just awesome!! Great tones and exposure with all that bright snow! Wish we had snow here in FL.....

Fabiana: This looks like such a fun day! You have more snow there than we have here in Idaho!!! Love the clarity and color in these - your work is so inspiring - sigh....

ckmetrophotos: I just love these shots and I love the black and white it is beautiful. The ones of the boxer ?? jumping in the air are great as well such fun in the winter !!

Laura: Ashley these are all beautiful but I LOVE that black and white! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Also love how you captured all the fun with the dog!

Brandi-lee: What great shots, you captured the fun and feel of the day perfectly!

Amanda Leatherberry: LOVE these! And the dog catching the snowballs is too funny!!!!

Zoe Berkovic: I love how vibrant these are! Great captures!

Georgina Streets-Russell: so much fun! The dog and the snowballs has me in stitches!! Great images.

shalonda: oh me i adore those freckles

nancy: Rivers just squealed at these precious puppy dog pic's! I love the contrast b/w your daughters' blue scarf and her beautiful red hair.

Ashley: Thank yall so much for stopping by! I'm so glad Rivers enjoyed them! I'll have to tell Riley in the morning:) I have some short video clips of this day. Maybe I will have to share them on FB or something:)

Jennifer Mott: Wow, love these! I can't believe you got all that snow! The first three are soooo gorgeous, love them all though!

Finally posting a preview for this newborn session. A special thank you to mom for being so understanding. My husband had foot surgery and I have been very busy taking care of him:)

This is my second time to photograph this lovely family. My how the big brothers have grown since I last saw them! And they are so handsome! And good! And energetic! And although it is obvious that these boys are adored…..I bet mom is happy to add a little girl to the family to balance all that “boy” energy:)

Check out this devine nursery! Mom did such a wonderful job and I had so much fun shooting in there. And little miss T was fantastic. You would never believe she was almost 5 weeks for how well she slept in our session.

Mom, I can’t wait till our proofing appointment. Hope you enjoy this preview. Have 35 unique friends or family members leave a comment on this post along with an email address and you can choose a 5×7 or set of wallets with the image of your choice on me:)









Meaghan Cook: That one of mum smiling with her new little bundle of joy is perfect. That's what motherhood is all about. xox

Amber: These are all so beautiful Ashley! Her room is so sweet.

Laura: Precious. I love the last set w/ her big brothers loving on her.

Julie Wagoner: A beautiful baby and an amazing nursery! You captured it all so beautifully, Ashley!

Katherine: These are beautiful! You did such a fabulous job capturing her!

Meghan Rickard: These are just stunning! I think Mom's going to have a hard time choosing :)

Paige: These images are divine! They are all just gorgeous. Well done Ashley!

Melissa: Ashley these are so adorable!

Leya Stefanski: Fantastic pictures. Great variety, bonding and just generally wonderful!!

Tammy Wahl: These are very sweet Ashley! I bet the family will love them.

ckmetrophotos: another wonderful and beautiful session -congratulations and best wishes

beverly wright: ooooo...ijust LOVE this series of images ashley!!

Laura: Wow you did a super job capturing this baby and her family! I am particularly crazy about the ones of mom and baby in front of the window. Those are just breathtaking!

Amanda Leatherberry: LOVE all of these. The light is just gorgeous.

Ashley: Thanks so much ladies! It was fun and mom is a joy to work with:)

Alisha: These are absolutely beautiful you have captured motherhood

Belle: awwwe super sweet images!

Lori Porter: My one and only beautiful granddaughter, Kadrian. I love you dearly, Grandma Lori.