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Meet Ashlyn

ASHLYN COLEAL PHOTOGRAPHY IS AN EQUINE, WEDDING, AND LIFESTYLE PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER BASED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

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Hello world!

Personal

Hi sweet friends!

Thank you so much for tuning in to my first ever blog post! Gahh, I’m so excited to embark on this new adventure, and also a little nervous, let’s be honest. I’ve never thought of myself to be particularly exciting or intriguing that people would want to read all about who I am, what I do, and where I go, but here we are. Whether you know me well or barely know me at all, my goal for this post is to answer some of my most often asked questions about me and my business and hopefully allow you to feel like we’ve been friends for years. So let’s get started…

Clearly I love what I do. Photo credit: Chad Farris

I’ll be sure to make it quick and to the point and not pretend this is a full autobiography (aint nobody got time for that). Two of the biggest questions I get asked when I meet new people or even when chatting with new potential clients is ‘how did I get started in photography’ and ‘what does photography mean to me’.

I can see now looking back to when I was younger that I had an interest in photography long before I was even aware of it. As a teenager, I was always the one who demanded to be in charge of photos on family vacations, taking photos of us and the landscape, and of course the pets with my point and shoot camera. Meanwhile, my mom’s side of the family ran Coleal Arabian Horse Farm and my dad was a large animal veterinarian, so I also spent ALOT of time around horses (my other passion in life). Well, I began taking photos of them as well just for fun and one day some of my photos sold one of our horses to a gentleman overseas and something literally just clicked for me. Thus, I began borrowing better camera equipment from people I knew, shadowing equine photographers that were friends with my parents, traveling to horse shows to photograph and practice, as well as set up more intricate shoots with our own horses. By the time I was a senior in high school, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue seriously.

In college, I began taking photography classes and loved it! It was definitely challenging stepping out of my comfort zone with some of my assignments that were so far off from what I was used to, but I was encouraged by my instructors, who quickly became not only my mentors, but friends too, to take it further. I began dabbling in portraiture asking my friends to model for me. Fast forward through the remainder of my college career, still photographing the horses, seniors, and families in between assignments and papers, I graduated Cum Laude from California State University Sacramento with a Bachelors of Science in Entrepreneurship. After graduation, I immediately dove straight in to running and growing my business with all my newly free time and effort.

Documenting every moment the most recent workcation in Aachen, Germany. Photo credit: Maggie Capitano

So then, what does photography actually mean to me? Photography is more than a skill, talent, or occupation. I know first-hand how truly powerful, meaningful, and emotional photos can be. There is a quote I have published on my website multiple times that reads “Photography is the art of frozen time… the ability to store emotion and feelings within a frame”. I didn’t include it just because I like the way it sounds; I whole-heartedly believe every word! Life is short. Time seems to fly by without us even realizing it. Kids are born and grow up in a blink of an eye, people and pets pass on, and the best days of our lives are over before we know it… and the only concrete visual things we have to hold on to these precious and fleeting moments are quite frankly, photos and videos. Great photos can feel like time travel because a photograph comes alive when it is printed. It has the opportunity to tell a story over and over again and when you look through the story, it creates and emotion and takes you back to that time.

Photo from 2013 when I asked (made) my dad model for me for a photography assignment, obviously still learning what good lighting is and isn’t. I had no idea then how special these images would become.

This I know. My beloved Dad unexpectedly gained his angel wings in July 2016. While I was the one responsible (voluntarily of course) for creating his in-memorium slideshow, let me just say that in moments like that, there is no such thing as too many photos of someone. Even if you have a million, you always want more. The best days, the happiest memories live on through images. Because of photography, our loved ones are perpetual. What a magical thing!

The last professional photo I took of my parents walking on the beach in Kauai on our last family vacation as four.

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