We’ve been featuring stunning images by Ashley Oostdyck of Stories by Ash since way back when. The Queensland wedding photographer captures her loved-up couples with a sensitivity and authenticity that we can’t help but adore.
Ash’s relaxed and honest style make for photos that capture the personality of her couples and all the sweet in-between moments of the day. After falling in love with wedding photography six years ago, her passion for documenting the connections between people has cemented her career path, which is lucky for us! If our past features of her work are anything to go by, we can’t wait to see what she does next.
We caught up with the delightful woman behind the lens to find out what inspires her, and got pretty inspired ourselves in the process.
Tell us a little about your background and the path that brought you to wedding photography.
I’ve had a passion for photography ever since high school days spent developing negatives in the class dark rooms. I went on to study art and design I came back to photography via a career in Graphic Design and Brand consultancy. Along the way I fell in love with photographing people and the connection we have to each other, and when I photographed my first wedding for a friend I knew I’d found my dream job
How would you describe your photography style?
Journalistic. Warm, honest and natural. Though I always struggle to describe my style, and I think that’s because I’ve never felt it’s about me. My photography is really a collaboration with my couples. Each wedding and each couple are so different, and what I’m really striving for is to reflect them, their personalities and the connection they have with their loved ones. People invite me into their lives and share these beautiful personal moments, it’s that honesty and joy that defines my style.
Was wedding photography always the passion? What other personal projects keep you busy?
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of photos to tell a story. How an image can transport you back to a place, a moment, a feeling or a thought. It’s like time travel. My passion has evolved over the years to a focus on people, relationships and the connection we have to each other and our environment. It wasn’t until about six years ago that I realised wedding photography was a perfect fit for this passion.
These days my personal projects are a little more focussed on using my hands and getting off the computer, I spend many hours editing photos so some screen free time is always great. I love working with clay, and we’ve recently converted part of our garage into a little ceramics studio with a pottery wheel for our downtime. The process of creating a vessel on the wheel is like meditation for me, and working with colour and texture in ceramic art is so inspiring. Does killing house plants count as a personal project?
When did you shoot your first wedding? How do you feel the industry has changed since then?
My first wedding was about six years ago and the industry has evolved quite a bit since then. Journalistic style photography has really been embraced and there is now so much room to be creative, to document a wedding with a focus on real moments and leave traditional or expected photos behind.
Who are some other photographers you admire?
Though they are not wedding photographers they are artists who have inspired me over the years and continue to…William Eggleston, the way he used colour, light and shadow to render seemingly mundane scenes in everyday life has always captured my imagination. And Robert Frank. I once spent hours at an exhibit of his, completely enchanted by his raw, honest yet creative documentation of life and the way he seems to be able to transport the viewer right into the moment he has captured.
Do you have some favourite wedding vendors you love working alongside?
I’ve been fortunate to work alongside so many incredible vendors. People who are passionate about what they do and who love helping to bring a couple’s dreams for their wedding day to life. To name just a few… The French Petal is a wonderful florist in Byron Bay. I’ve often thought of her as an artist who paints with flowers. The whole team at Byron Bay Weddings and their venues, they care so much about their couples and it’s evident in everything they do. I’ve worked with many incredible celebrants and their ceremonies always set an amazing tone for the day, Erin Woodhall, Paul Voge, Cara Gallagher (Modern Love Ceremonies) are just a few.
What are some of your go-to sources of inspiration and/or professional development?
Travel would have to be my greatest source of inspiration. Being immersed in new sounds, smells, faces and environments is endlessly inspiring. And of course my friends. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by wonderfully talented artists and professionals who are a constant source of inspiration and drive.
What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve captured?
There are a handful of weddings which have really stood out in my mind and which I hold very fond memories of. It’s never been the beauty or location that stays with me but the emotion on a day. I’ll always remember one couple in particular who were so focused on each other, freely expressing their love and joy together and with everyone around them… it was contagious. I went home from that day with a very full heart (and may have shed quite a few tears while editing their photos).
Finally, do you have any tips for couples planning their wedding?
There can be a lot of pressure on couples to plan their wedding a certain way, to follow particular traditions or fit in with trends or styles. My tip would be to stay true to what you want your celebration to be, and to plan on spending as much time as possible on the day with the people you love.
Images Stories by Ash |