A photographer with heart, getting to know Ashleigh Haase
Ashleigh Haase is a true creative at heart and when she discovered photography she soon found herself drawn to weddings and capturing the natural love and connection between a couple on what is one of the most special days in their lives.
Ashleigh’s talent has only grown over the years and she finds that she is drawn to couples that are natural and relaxed and keep their day focused on their love story.
We loved sitting down with Ashleigh and learning more about her journey with photography and some tips when it comes to keeping those nerves away.
Ashleigh, we absolutely love your photography style, so how would you sum this style up in five words?
Natural, authentic, with genuine emotion.
Your natural style really resonates with people. why do you think this is?
I think over the last few years, there has been a real shift in wedding photography, and what is important to couples on their day. A lot of couples I photograph are wanting to move away from a ‘traditional’ wedding, shifting their focus to telling the story of their relationship, and celebrating with family and friends in a more relaxed way. I do my best to tell that story in a natural, unscripted way.
Each wedding I photograph is unique in its own way, and I make sure that nothing is ever ‘the same’ or ‘posed’. I’m a very relaxed person, and find that my approach to a wedding day is quite different to a standard photographer. I don’t have a script or ‘shot list’ that I aim to capture each and every wedding. Of course, I have an idea about what I want to capture, but I follow the light on the day, and the story being told through the couple and guests, and capture it in a really natural way.
I love capturing the laughter, the dancing, and the tears (happy of course!). You cannot fake these moments and I love creating images that make people truly feel something, a connection with my work.
How did you come to be a photographer, is it a passion you’ve always had or discovered along the way?
I have always been quite a creative person. I spent most of my childhood and high school years painting, drawing and dabbling in film photography. Knowing that my artwork had meaning to someone else was so rewarding, and encouraged me to push myself further in a creative field. It wasn’t until my twenty-first birthday that I invested in my first camera DSLR camera and made the switch to digital photography. I did this as a hobby for a few years while I completed a four-year university degree in psychological science. In mid-2017, I realised that I wasn’t living the life I wanted to, so I decided to quit my ‘real’ job, and officially become a full-time wedding photographer. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be photographing so many wonderful people as a ‘job’. I am so excited to be able to share in so many wonderful stories, nothing makes me happier.
Do you meet with your couples in advance of their big day?
Of course! I love getting to know my couples prior to their day. My photography really relies on the natural connection between two people, as well as their connection with me. Especially since I will be around for most of the day. I love hearing all about my couples, their love story, and their plans for their day, as well as allowing them to get to know me also. Ideally, I want my couples to feel like I am a friend on the day, rather than just another supplier, there to do a job. A wedding is so much more than that. The more relaxed and comfortable people are around me, the more real, and organic the images will be. Oh, and I also have a cute puppy that you get to cuddle if we meet prior to the day.
What can a couple expect from you on the day when it comes to their photography experience?
As soon as I step through the doors of the preparation rooms, I love to show just how excited I am to be there. I don’t jump straight into shooting photos, because that’s not what the day is about. It’s not a photoshoot. I love to chat with everyone involved, and allow them to feel comfortable with me being around too.
On the day, a bride and groom can sometimes be overcome with nerves, do you have any tips to keeping these nerves at bay so it doesn’t reflect in their photographs?
Being photographed is really weird hey? It’s not like you do it all the time. My biggest tip would be to find a photographer with experience in weddings to put your mind at ease. See their work, and look at a handful of their galleries. If you can do that and see yourself in the photos, then you are on the right track. Find a photographer who you are comfortable with, and knows exactly what you are after. Someone you could have a laugh with naturally, and chat about weird stuff without any hesitation.
My style of photography is authentic, and truly relies on me having a connection with my couples and creating a comfortable atmosphere for photographic magic to happen. I place a lot of emphasis on getting to know my couples prior to photographing them, with lots of contact throughout the planning process. The attitude and care I place on my experience helps the emotion and connection couples have with each other naturally shine through in photographs. Because of this, it is very rare that nerves come back before portraits are about to start with me.
You’re a local in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, what is it about this area that you love so much?
I absolutely adore nature and exploring through tall trees and rainforests in the Dandenong Ranges. It is so peaceful, and surreal. I also love the long drives, and stunning views no matter which way I look throughout the Yarra Valley. An area filled with stunning views, awesome wineries and entertainment, and have you tasted the food? YUM.
How would you describe yourself, so potential couples can get to know you a little better.
More often than not, you will see me with a camera in hand. I love documenting life, but rarely take selfies. I love going on big adventures and enjoying the serenity the world has to offer. I try to cook (emphasis on try), constantly binge on Netflix, reality television, and play with my gorgeous puppy, Ollie. I also spend a bit of time with my boyfriend, Joel. He’s the main reason why I decided to specialise in weddings. That feeling of being able to have such a natural connection with someone is something that I never really believe existed until I met him. The connection that we have together, an endless sense of pure happiness and joy, is what I want to capture in other people too!
Ashleigh, what you do you just love about your job as a wedding photographer?
Most days I don’t even see what I do as a job. I love being able to document real love, and capture real moments of such a joy filled day, for people to cherish forever. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that others are enjoying and appreciative of the work I produce. Photographing weddings also allows me to connect with so many people I wouldn’t normally connect with, and allows me to explore new places every weekend, and experience so many interesting things. No day is the same, and it truly is a wonderful ‘job’.
Finally, group photo or no group photo?
I prefer smaller group shots with your guests than a big group photo, but it doesn’t bother me. In smaller groups, you can see everyone’s eyes, and smiling faces, rather than being crammed up really close with all your guests, and half of them not paying attention.
If you’re drawn to Ashleigh’s photography and want her to share in your day, head here to make your booking.