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Emotional Storytelling with Twyla Jones

Aug 25, 2020

Have you ever wanted to try a 365 Project but don’t know where to start? Or did you start and give up part way through? Or is this your first time even hearing about a 365 project? 

A 365 project is where you take an image a day for an entire year. My friend Ashley Marston has been photographing her daily life with her family in this way for over 6 years! She’s made capturing memories a habit and will inspire you to do the same.

In our conversation, Ashley will peel back the curtain and tell you all about her inspiring project – from fun gear to how to display your images to staying motivated – she’s got all the best advice.

In addition to capturing personal work, Ashley is also a phenomenal family photographer serving clients in British Columbia. You’re going to learn so much about balancing personal and professional projects in this episode!

In this podcast we cover:

How burritos bonded our friendship and the basics of Ashley’s work. 

At Clickaway, we met when she offered me her burrito and we’ve been friends ever since! Ashley is a birth and family photographer and 6 years ago, she started “A Daily Occurance,” a 365 project documenting her own family. She’s also started creating family films like the ones below.

Switching gears and styles in photography. (7:00)

Her process of choosing to specialize in documentary style work. “I think that when you’re really passionate about something and you’re driven by something, people see that and they’re drawn to it.” Showing what you want to shoot really works. We talk about the fear in changes – including Ashley’s shift away from traditional newborn photography.

How Ashley got started doing her 365 project. (12:50)

She decided to start the project when she realized that life was going so fast and she wanted to capture the daily moments with her kids. It’s a time capsule of sorts to really remember the moments that matter. These images could communicate to her kids her love for them and journal her way through their story. It helps her own her motherhood journey, but also technically become a better photographer through shooting daily. 

How Ashley finds inspiration doing this project year after year. (18:00)

“Them in themselves is an inspiration.” She also mentions the kids’ connection with the animals help too. But there definitely are dull days and dreary months. Honing in on details helps give new inspiration.

Ashley’s go-to camera. (20:30)

Her camera is always on her – it even goes with her to the grocery store! She shoots a Canon 5D Mark IV and takes it everywhere. She doesn’t use iPhone photos in the project – only her Canon or the drone. 

Do her kids get tired of being photographed? (22:45)

Definitely, there are times when she kids don’t want to do it or they complain. She reminds them of their importance, but doesn’t bribe her kids into doing it. Ashley makes it a big part of their lives including printing canvases and books as well as making slideshows that her kids love to watch. She takes photos of her kids not looking or noticing. Let them be. When they’re feeling it, take advantage of that, if they’re not, let it rest. 

How to stay motivated and complete a project like this. (3:00)

Ashley’s top tips:

  1. Keep your camera out. Have a central location in your house – but don’t pack it away in your camera bag. Have it readily available. 
  2. Shoot and edit daily. Ashley edited during nap time or quiet times to edit. You get faster at culling. She chooses to post daily on social media and made that decision as a family. She’s usually one day behind – posting the next day.
  3. Shoot throughout the days and potentially call these shots different days. She’ll bank photos.
  4. Break the rules and be okay with it. 

Ashley’s gear list to help keep her images fresh and fun. (37:30)

She has done all the fun little tricks – she calls it her “tickle trunk” which is a Canadian thing from a children’s tv show. Because she lives in an area with a lot of water (ocean, lake, and river) she does underwater work both for her 365 project and client work. She’s now an ambassador for Aquatech. Her drone is also something she uses for personal and client work. She recommends the Mavic Mini for a cheaper solution that doesn’t require a drone license.

Self care as a creative and mother. (51:15)

Ashley sees her personal work as what feeds her soul. It lights the fire inside of her and helps get her through the other culling and editing work. Her 365 project is now habitual and she can’t see herself ever stopping.

How Ashley displays her photos. (55:00)

She recommends Chatbooks and Blurb for printing books. Also look below to see the canvases on display in her home. I also recommend Fracture for glass prints.


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