Featured: Ashley Morton Photography

I met Ashley Morton about a year or so ago and we hit it off fairly quickly. I recently did some headshots for her and I wanted to feature her business on my blog. She’s a photographer, a military spouse and a mom.

Every photographer has their own specialties and styles. Ashley doesn’t photograph newborns and she prefers a more story telling approach to photography, where as I’m more traditional.

How long have you been in business?

I officially launched my photography business 6 months after moving to Jacksonville and I’m going on my second full year in business.  
How did you get your start?

Having a child was the catalyst for my photography passion but I actually got my start through blogging. In blogging, it’s crucial to have engaging and interesting images in your content, especially when partnering with brands. So I found myself working hard to better my photography for work, which spilled over to my kids and the here I am today!
What do you photograph?

I specialize in families, engagement and weddings.
How do you define your style?

In my photography I combine traditional portraiture with documentary and lifestyle work. My images are vibrant in color but lean toward the light and airy.

What drew you to lifestyle photography?

I’m passionate about capturing children as they are and documenting the moments and relationships that matter in our lives. I felt like traditional portraiture doesn’t leave a lot of room for this story telling experience and that’s what drew me to lifestyle photography. I didn’t realize it at the time but beginning my photography journey was the culmination of my life’s passions: I’m a storyteller, a historian, a joy seeker. and a travel addict. Photography allows me to do & be all of those things. I believe in love & in family. I believe in documenting experiences today so that one day our grandchildren will open old & worn photo albums to learn about the history of people they love and where they came from.

What is a piece of advice you can give to newbies?

Pick up your camera every day, for yourself and for your business. Try everything. You will never know what genre or style is going to speak to your heart.

What’s something you can’t live without (besides your loved ones)?

Soda. I’m an addict and I’m pretty sure it’s running thru my veins. I also can’t live without travel. Which sounds so cliché but it keeps my life from feeling stagnant – which is why my family jokes that I was made to be a military spouse. I’m always up for the next adventure.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?|

We’re in the military so it’s almost impossible to tell but I’m hoping someplace overseas! I’m pushing hard for us to get stationed over there.

What’s your favorite food?

I’m a pasta addict. Actually, give me all the carbs. Bread, pasta, and pizza for days.

Favorite dessert?

My favorite dessert is homemade strawberry rhubarb pie but when I can’t get that I’ll settle for Key Lime Pie at Poe’s Tavern or the Cheesecake at Maggianos.

Favorite restaurant?

That’s so tough! Jacksonville has so many great options. The last place we visited was Hawkers, it’s never a bad choice!

Favorite place to hang out in Jacksonville?

We love bike riding at Hanna Park and my favorite beach is Big Talbot.

What is your favorite thing to do around Jacksonville?

Definitely beach days. We live a mile from the beach and I try to get down there as often as possible. I grew up in a state where it’s cold about 8 months out of the year so I try to take advantage of living in Florida.

When your family comes to town, what is something you guys always have to do while they are in town?

First, we always take them to Poe’s and then head around the corner to Whit’s Frozen Custard. It’s becoming a tradition that on their first visit we take them to Poe’s. Then they request to come back each time.

What’s your favorite movie?

Bridesmaids is always my first thought when I get asked this. I’m a HUGE Melissa McCarthy fan. But I’m also a big fan of 80s coming of age movies.

What’s your favorite song?

I grew up on country music but right now I’m loving on Ed Sheeran and almost everything he does. It’s a toss up between Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran or Marry Me by Thomas Rhett.

You’re a military family. Where are you from originally?

My husband and I grew up, got married, bought our first home and had our first child in Michigan. It’s still my favorite place on earth during the summer months and we go back every year. But I hate it the other 9 months of the year, which is one of the reasons we joined the military and moved to Florida! We just celebrated the 3 year anniversary of our move to Jacksonville and we love this city so much. It’s definitely a place we see ourselves coming back to once we’ve seen some more of the world.

What’s the biggest difference between your hometown and here? Any surprises?

The difference between our hometown and Jacksonville is night and day. I grew up in a town of less than 3,000. There was no such thing as delivery. The closest major retail store was a good 20 minute drive and getting to the mall involved a day trip. Needless to say I’ve fallen in love with all the little luxuries that come with living in a major city and I don’t think I could ever go back!

And Ashley was kind enough to send me this as well. So if you’re wondering about the headshot experience:

Having my headshots done with Christy was an awesome experience. As a photographer, I’m so often behind the lens that I forget what it’s like to be in front of it. Especially because when I do hand my camera over to someone to snap a photo, it’s just never the same! Needless to say, I was so nervous showing up for my headshots. Especially because I have some insecurities (don’t we all)? But Christy was great about addressing my issues head on and posing me in the most flattering angles. I haven’t got to see all of the images yet but the sneak peek I did see took away all of my worries!


You can find Ashley here:




Studio Announcement: Wedding Photography

I’ve been doing wedding photography in the Jacksonville area for probably 15+ years. I started my career as a journalist (both writer and photographer) and had so many people ask me to photograph their families and weddings that I eventually started doing that full time.

However, in the last year or so, I’ve been changing how I run my business and what I focus on. And I really love working in the studio with families and babies.

And with that, I am saying goodbye to weddings.

Don’t get me wrong, if the right wedding came along, I might do one every year or so, but for the most part, I’m done.

This industry has changed so much since I started. Not just from film to digital (yeah, I remember taking 20 rolls to get developed from a wedding!) but also the vendors and how they react to each other. Social media has turned grown adults into drama llamas.

Not only am I tired of giving up all my weekends away from my family, not going to funerals, and aching for days after, I’m also tired of the drama that goes on in the wedding industry. And it’s not just here. It’s everywhere.

But there are people who make this industry great. Who are what they seem to be and are loyal. And those are the types of people I want brides to use!

One of the things I always recommended to my brides was to get a wedding planner. Not a venue coordinator (99% of the time they are only there until you walk down the aisle and they don’t help you with any issues that don’t involve their venue), but a REAL wedding planner.

Someone who, when the crap hits the fan, can save your day. Tuxedo come up missing? Caterer wrote down the wrong date and now you don’t have food? Zipper on wedding dress or bridesmaids gown breaks and won’t zip up? Yep, this stuff happens. And all of it has happened to Tanya Hendricks over at Southern Charm Events.

(The first headshot of many I did for Tanya, 9 years ago.)

I met Tanya about 10 years ago maybe. With vendors, you’re always trying to make a connection, build off each other, I’ll help you, you help me. Most promise it, but it never happens. The relationship is always one sided. Tanya and I hit it off immediately. Maybe it was our similar backgrounds, but ultimately it was the fact we were loyal and did help each other out.

This is a rare quality for a vendor in any city. But when you meet someone like that you stick with them.

Tanya was the only wedding planner in this city who made the effort with me and for that I have to commend her. I would think as a bride, you’d want a planner that is loyal and is a friend and is genuinely concerned about you.

So to Tanya, I say, THANK YOU. Thank you for showing me that not all vendors are only concerned about themselves and say one thing and do another. I hope I have helped you out as much as you have helped me.

(The first of several headshots I did of Susan Kass, over the years.)

When I met Tanya, she also introduced me to Susan Kass, with A Fantasy in Flowers. We haven’t worked together as much as we used to, but I appreciated her faith in me early on and how kind her words were about me to other vendors. I can only hope I helped her as much as she helped me. BTW, her staff is fantastic. Super sweet and so genuine.

So with that, I hope to see all my past brides and their new babies in the studio. I love photographing newborns and families.

I will be making recommendations for wedding photographers in the area in upcoming blog posts, so stay on the look out!

Featured Vendor: Tanisha Campbell of Shades, Colors & Coils

I met Tanisha recently when she inquired about some product photography. When she came in, I immediately liked her. Not only was she young, smart, super sweet and driven, but she impressed me with what she was doing with her business.

She’s only been in business for 11 months, but her website looks professional and she was seeking out professional photographers to make sure her products looked right for her website. She was def. on the right track!

Tanisha is only 25, and not only is this her first business venture, but she’s also an active member of the military. I had to know more!

Where can people buy your products at?

Online (www.shadescolorscoils.com). Etsy is coming soon!

How did you get your start?

It actually all started on a cruise ship. I was on a cruise with my best friend and I wasn’t have the “perfect” hair day on the cruise due to the products that I was using on my hair. So the gears started turning and I decided to start thinking about the hair products I needed and then I started thinking of names for the products. Once the cruise was over and I got back to Jacksonville I went to a health store called “Grass Roots” and I began to purchase ingredients to mix to start making shampoo! And that’s how it all began.

My brand Shades, Colors, & Coils, LLC was built off diversity and individuality. I don’t want my brand to be “JUST” portrayed as a hair care line. I want everyone to recognize that this brand is based off confidence, diversity, and individuality from all walks of life! Whether you have a lot of hair or a little bit of hair or whether you’re a man or woman this brand is here for you! 

How did you come up with the name of your business?

I wanted a name that would help reflect people’s diversity and individuality. I wanted a name that everyone could be apart of. My cousin Kymeshia also played a big part with helping with the name and tying everything together. Shades- (Means to be comfortable with the color of your skin no matter how light you are or how dark you are! Be comfortable and confident in your skin! Colors- (No matter what color, race religion, or gender you are you will always be represented within this brand) Coils- (Everyone has unique hair and sometimes straight hair is always seen as the norm but no matter how curly, coily, or straight your hair is these products will benefit you!)

What product of yours can you not live without?

Hydrating Conditioning Cream (Deep Conditioner)

How do you come up with the scents?

I always loved tropical and fruity scents. So I always aim for scents with peach & mango in them (My favorite fruits) and I like soft scents like vanilla. I like these types of scents because they are not over bearing.

Do you think you’ll have a storefront soon?

Not sure about soon but that is definitely my goal in the future!

Where do you see your business in 5 or 10 years?

I see my business thriving based off the individuality and diversity my business has to offer! My brand is for all walks of life no mater what color, race, religion, or gender you are! My plan is to have my products in stores for all people to be able to purchase! I also plan on having a storefront that allows you to make your own hair products that cater to your individual needs!

(I can’t remember what happened to get her laughing, but I loved the images!)

Now, some fun questions:

What is your favorite thing to do around Jacksonville?

The beach Duhhh (:

When your family comes to town, what is something you guys always have to do while they are in town?

Spend quality family time together! Game night, cook out, shopping, and making a trip to a theme park!

What’s your favorite movie?

Menace II Society

What’s your favorite song?

Bob Marley – Is this love

What’s your favorite food?

Brown rice! Peaches and Mangos!

Favorite dessert?

Molten lava chocolate cake

Favorite restaurant?

Burger Fi (I love the veggie burgers)

Favorite place to hang out in Jacksonville?

(Downtown Jacksonville) I love the scenery, food places, and the different scenery!

What’s your current obsession?

I love to travel and see the world! I’m obsessed with seeing the world and meeting people I have never met before to learn different cultures and customs!