In 2010 I turned my hobby and passion for storytelling and photography into an incredible career as a destination wedding and family photographer and blogger. I took some time off from booking and shooting weddings and sessions during our move to Wisconsin and my cancer battle, and I'm excited to dive back into that world in 2021.
Quick facts: I can quote Friends and Gilmore Girls for every occasion and believe pineapple belongs on pizza. I love having people over for BBQs, and get oddly happy about organization and paperwork. Supernatural and dystopian YA novels are my fave genres even though I'm in my 30s and I've never met a dog I didn't fall in love with. Or a rabbit, chicken, goat, pig or cow.
I am also finally laying down some roots with my family in southeastern Wisconsin after years of traveling around the world and the country. I love (over) sharing and blogging about my life as a mom and wife, my hobby farm adventures, and my health journey ... and I'm so glad you're here!
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Why We’re Moving to Texas And Changing Our Business
Sometimes when the universe is screaming loudly enough, you’re able to tune out the excess noise so you can listen closely.
I hear you, universe; loud and clear.
Why We’re Moving to Texas And Changing Our Business
As you can see, a few things have changed around here over the weekend. The URL, our business name and a bit more.
About a month ago, as many of you already have heard, our entire life got flipped, turned upside down and inside out (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read about that here and here). Everything that was comfortable and steady suddenly got thrown out of whack and Randy + I were left scrambling to pick up the pieces, ask serious questions about our life and our family, and talk thoroughly about living our best life and what exactly that means.
The last four years have been incredible. Working together with Randy for wedding days was everything I dreamed it would be, and so much more – Randy just gets me, he sees the world differently and it was really nice to spend those extra days with him. But all of that joy has come with a big price: Randy has been working himself overtime. Not just overtime – but like, over-overtime. In the last year, he’s taken exactly … NO days off. Between his day job, working weddings and sessions with me and trying to be a father and husband … Randy has not had any downtime. Not just that, but being away from our kids so much has been really hard. It’s already hard enough when one parent is gone, but having both gone (and gone for nearly every weekend of the year) has been really hard for our family. “Hard” might not even be the right word to use – maybe draining or exhausting or heartbreaking might be a better way to put it.
We got through the busiest wedding season we’ve ever had this past fall and I am so, so grateful we decided to take the month of November off, for the most part. I had a couple shoots here and there, but I needed a break. Randy needed a break. The kids needed us home. We got so ‘over it’ that we actually talked about possibly not taking any more bookings for anything and retiring to do something else.
And then Randy’s brother got sick.
And then we had the terrible experience of watching a woman die in my husband’s arms in the middle of the Pacific at 38,000 feet.
And I’ll tell you what – we were in a daze. I have no other way of describing the first 10 days home from Hawaii. Taylor, our assistant, took over our email inbox because we couldn’t even begin to process where we were in life and we needed some time to breathe and talk and pray and meditate and be with each other and be with the kids.
A couple days after we got home, Randy’s best friend since 4th grade flew up from Texas to be with us. To hug and talk, and eat food and just be here. And it meant the world to us. I can’t even begin to tell you guys how amazing it was to have Kirk and his wife Bianca come to be with us. It was like taking a deep breath of fresh air after drowning for a minute.
After they left, we talked about the fact that neither of us have been happy for a long time. Like, we’ve been absolutely overjoyed with the work we were doing and we love each other and our family and we absolutely love Colorado. But something is definitely off. We talked and talked for hours and days. We’d talk in bed, we’d talk over coffee, Randy would call me on his drives to work and we’d text when he was at his day job … and we both came to the same conclusion: something needs to change.
And then the universe started humming. Not just humming, but … sounding off alarms left and right. I can’t even begin to tell you how many different signs there were, and it was so clearly right in front of us for the longest time and we never noticed it. You know that scene in Bruce Almighty (one of my FAVORITE movies, BTW) where Bruce has a complete break down and starts asking for signs, starts asking for the universe to show him the way? And then all the signs are literally in front of him and he’s completely oblivious?
Hi, just call me Ash Almighty. This is legit what the last few weeks and months have been like for me. Everything from our youngest son (Noah) getting diagnosed with eczema and asthma from the weather here in Colorado to literal signs popping up about opportunities we’ve been looking for without realizing we were looking for them.
And then it hit us like a freight train: we need to be closer to Kirk and his family. We need to be somewhere with humidity and warmth. We need to be somewhere that costs less to live so we aren’t forced to hustle and work the way we have the last couple of years. We need to be somewhere with more community. We need somewhere I can watch the sunrise and sunset. We need a long list of things we simply can’t get anywhere else.
Basically, we realized – we need Texas.
And once we decided we needed Texas, even more signs started popping up and this damn near perfect opportunity fell into our laps. More on that opportunity later but it was like, ok – we surrender to your will, universe.
So with that being said …
We are moving to New Braunfels, Texas at the beginning of Summer 2019.
Not only that, but Randy is going to be stepping back from our business. He’s still going to be an integral part behind the scenes, as he always has been even before he started shooting with me, but he won’t be such a prominent figure. We will no longer be calling ourselves a husband and wife team, even though he’ll be shooting with me when he’s available.
One of the big things we realized is that the things I wanted to dive into – things like mentoring and education – was not geared toward couples, but more towards other moms. Specifically, other moms who want to raise their family and bring in an income. As much as I love photography and weddings, I love helping others more. I love watching other women find passion and joy and making a career out of it and given all the signs – this is where I’m pushing myself in 2019. Ash Durham: Photographer and Mompreneur Mentor.
And so we decided to change the business back to just being me. We aren’t adding Studios or Photography at the end of it, it’s just … me. It’ll be me blogging about more than just sessions and weddings, it’ll be me on social media getting real, it’ll be me photographing sessions and weddings. Randy is, of course, going to keep photographing our winter and spring weddings but once we move to Texas, it’ll just be me for future bookings and our associate photographer Ali Copeland will be stepping in to shoot with me for remaining Colorado weddings since Randy will be busy pursuing his own career (again, more on that later).
I’m not taking on full day weddings anymore, I’m focusing on smaller weddings with less guests, smaller budgets and less hours of coverage. You’ll see on my investment page that I don’t even offer 8 hours anymore for weddings because I honest to goodness just have figured out my most joy is found in intimate weddings and elopements. I’ve even restructured portrait pricing to be more affordable, because I want to work with more families.
So what does this mean for you – our clients?
For winter and spring 2019, absolutely nothing.
For summer and fall 2019 and beyond? We’ve already been in touch with all of our couples to let them know what was going on, and we have been blown away by how supportive and amazing all of our remaining 2019 couples have been for both of us. We are truly blessed!
I’ll be booking portrait + boudoir sessions and weddings here in Colorado until May 31st, taking most of June off, and then accepting bookings for Central Texas (New Braunfels, San Antonio, Austin and surrounding areas) starting in July.
Thank you so much!
I’m so excited about what 2019 is going to bring to our family and this business. It means the world to me and to Randy to have your love and support!!!
Ashley Durham is a lifestyle blogger, southeastern Wisconsin wedding photographer, entrepreneur and patriot - always oversharing about life as a mom and wife, mental and physical health, and whatever else happens in life.