Learning About Your Subject to Truly Capture Them

long braid on senior photos on ektar film by ashley crawford

The color in Ashley Crawford’s senior photos of this lovely girl just grabbed me. I especially love her use of light and the golden hues she managed to capture. I quizzed Ashley on what drove her obvious creativity in this set:

“As an avid people watcher from day 1 (or maybe day like 500 something, since I don’t really remember day 1) I’ve always been drawn to the details and the different. Glances, faces, clothing, reaction. In college, my favorite class was art history. I was most enchanted with the Rococo movement and I used to spend hours delving into my textbooks even after finishing the assignments. I was glued to the use of vivid colors & deep shadows. When I began using my camera to tell people’s stories, that quickly manifested itself as using color & light to get to the heart of who they were. I try to see through a person or people and show them themselves with new perspective. Switching to film-only sessions has been a great tool for me to accomplish that. When I shoot film, I slow down. I take shots with more thought & more purpose. I find myself planning sessions and specific frames more so than ever before. In order to do that, I try to have a sense of who my subject is before ever beginning, always pre-visualizing some of the posing I want to use to invoke the feeling I’m aiming for. Something that really still highly influences me is people watching. I get so many ideas from just watching families spend time together; the way they touch, the looks they give, the way I see mom show her love to her children. Sometimes it’s just the way they’re sitting in a certain light that gives me ideas of how to use it at a session. I so much prefer being inspired by real movement & real emotion and I find it all around me. It’s a goal of mine to have these ideas in my head before the shoot ever begins.

So much of the high-profile wedding & family film work that’s out there right now is such a similar, specific aesthetic. It’s either light & airy or it almost just doesn’t exist. There are a few exceptions I appreciate but I sometimes find it frustrating not to see film stocks being used with more variety to show mood & emotion. I try to choose what stock to use according to the kind of vibe/feeling I get, paired with the location(s) we’ll be using and keeping in mind the sentiment I want to portray. My goal is always for my subject(s) to see the result and say ‘that is ME. That is US.'”

Follow Ashley online:
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boho chic senior photo by ashley crawford

shooting through window of girl drinking coffee image by ashley crawford

gorgeous golden shot through light on senior photo by ashley crawford

girl with flowers senior photo by ashley crawford

senior photos in garden by ashley crawford

long braid on senior photos on ektar film by ashley crawford

golden senior photography by ashley crawford

senior photos with long braid and boho style by ashley crawford

colored wall portrait by ashley crawford

senior with hat pics by photographer ashley crawford

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