Once upon a time + many moons ago, in Denver, Colorado, a high school French teacher bought her first digital SLR camera from Best Buy. She didn’t have much money at the time, so she scraped together some cash + nearly maxed out two separate credit cards to get a Canon Rebel XSi. It wasn’t a fancy camera by any means, with just a standard 18-55mm kit lens attached. Regardless, the girl was super stoked to have her first DSLR, financed all by herself.
She dove in headfirst and took the camera with her everywhere she went. To and from school, out to dinner with friends, on weekend strolls downtown. It never left her side. She even embarked upon a 365 daily photo project with a few friends; sadly, she did not finish (cue sad violin music playing in the background).
For the first year of owning the little XSi, she photographed any willing participants. Seniors, newborns, couples, families. She even booked her first wedding a year after buying that camera. She was incredibly excited + honored to photograph someone’s wedding, even if she wasn’t making very much money from it.
That first wedding rolled around on the calendar and she took her newer camera (now a Canon T2i) down to Colorado Springs. She had never photographed anything like this before, nor had she assisted another photographer to gain experience and knowledge of what it’s like to shoot a wedding. The photos from the wedding turned out just fine, but quietly, she knew that she would have benefited from shooting with a much more experienced + seasoned professional. She had no idea how to truly run a business, pay taxes, or become an LLC. Sure, she could manage her little digital camera for the most part, but there was something missing.
That following spring, she attended a mentoring workshop with her idol wedding photographer, Keri Doolittle. It was the defining moment of her career. Before the mentoring session, she wasn’t sure if she was going to pursue professional photography as a whole or keep it on the side and focus on teaching. Afterwards, she knew. Photography was it, and the short six hours she spent at the workshop changed her life forever.
Six years later, she is a full-time Denver wedding photographer who also shoots boudoir on the side. A year ago, she left her full-time teaching position in order to pursue wedding + portrait photography as a full-time endeavor. She has photographed more than 80 weddings (some in India, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and soon to be in Mexico) and will surpass the 100 wedding-mark by the end of the 2015 wedding season.
Okay, the jig is up. That wasn’t a modern day photography fairytale; it was about me.
While I am more than happy with how my career has unfolded, I desperately wish that I could have changed one thing before going to shoot that first wedding of mine.
I wish that I could have worked more with another Colorado wedding photographer before showing up to that first wedding with only a scarce amount of experience.
That is why this page exists. Now that I have been around the block more than a few times when it comes to wedding + portrait photography, I want to become a resource for other Colorado wedding photographers who wish to expand their craft, whether it’s about learning the ins + outs of owning a small business or if it’s about sharpening your behind-the-lens skill set.
I am proud to introduce Denver photography mentoring! I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for the guidance of my fellow wedding photography peers, and I am so excited to work with more photographers in the Denver + Colorado wedding industry.
Whether you need a one-on-one chat about business development, posing instruction or digital photo enhancement skills, I am here to help.
My rates begin at $200 for one hour of in-person photography mentoring that is custom-tailored to fit your needs. These sessions will be just the two of us and all the questions you can ask. Want to learn more about posing? Let’s talk! Have questions about Lightroom? Bring your computer! Always wanted to master off-camera lighting? I’m all about it!
If you’d like to fully immerse yourself at your mentoring session, I am happy to add a model shoot onto your session. If you’d like to focus on weddings + portraits, I’ll find you a cute couple whose images you may use for your portfolio. If you’re gearing more towards fashion, seniors or editorial photography, I’ll snag a talented model to work in front of your camera. This additional item is $150, and includes an hour of shooting with the model(s) at the end of your mentoring session, accompanied by instruction, guidance + tips from yours truly.
Have a peek at what our previous mentorship clients have been saying:
From Caleb, a videographer: “I happily recommend Ashley Kidder as your photography mentor, whether you are just getting into photography but also if you already have a lot of experience. I currently work in videography, but I have a background in photography and still took home a lot of new ideas. Ashley’s tips on taking care of clients and her feedback on my past shoots were my favorite take-aways. She’s a fun person and knows her stuff.”
From Rachel, a fellow photographer + former colleague at Northglenn High School: “Ashley and I used to work together when she first started introducing me to photography. Eventually, as I showed more interest, she offered to take me under her wing and be my photography mentor. I can’t rave enough about how lucky I was to have such an amazing opportunity. When we first started working together Ashley taught me the basics of photography and helped me find a professional camera to purchase. After getting my first camera, she offered to model for me and taught me how to pose people, look for certain lighting, and later edit all the photos. She spent hours with me discussing which programs to download, which gear was necessary, and even walked me through the steps of opening my own business. Once I got my foot slightly in the door, Ashley invited me to countless weddings and photo sessions where I could practice my own photography as her assistant. I learned so much from watching her interact with clients and just seeing how to set up all of the necessary shots and lighting. Ashley is a true pro when it comes to lighting!
Her knowledge of how to start a business, take amazing photos, find locations, work with clients, advertise, edit, and uncountable other talents was invaluable. Ashley is an extremely motivated and driven person. She has built her own company to be one of the best in Denver, and I know that has only come from hours upon hours of hard work and determination. I have had my own business now for almost a year, and it is all thanks to Ashley’s guidance, support and expertise. She has been there every step of the way for me, and I highly recommend her as a mentor. She is so easy and friendly to work with, and even though I came in knowing absolutely nothing about photography, Ashley was always patient and never intimidating. I have learned so much from her and feel confident that anyone under her mentorship will find similar success. Working with Ashley has been an experience I am truly grateful for. Her knowledge of photography is top-notch, and she is just an overall awesome person.”
If you are ready to jump in and elevate your photography business to the next level, fill out the contact form and let’s get started!