Author: Ayres Photography


Filed in personal shot by on at

Personal work: the act of creating just for creativity’s sake.

I became an English teacher all those years ago because I loved to be creative and I loved to facilitate “light bulb moments” in people. Using my creative talents to help young teenagers fall in love with literature and writing set my soul ablaze. It was my dream job.

Then, things started to shift. No Child Left Behind. This initiative. That literacy program. And, before I knew it, I was given a script from which to teach my students, and told not to deviate from it. My creative fire was extinguished, and slowly, over time, it broke my heart. Going to work every day made me feel physically ill.

This is the plight of creative people. The creativity within you is like a plant that has no choice but to grow toward the light. You can move it to any location within a room, and it will still grow toward the light source. If you take away the light completely, it will eventually die; but even the tiniest ray of light will encourage it to hang on through the darkness. In much the same way, creative people MUST create.

So, I picked up a camera. Photography became that tiny ray of light that sustained me through the darkness. I was able to create for the sake of my innate creativity, and little by little, it healed me.

Over time, my creativity evolved into a business, and this business of creating evolved into something that is beyond my wildest dreams. I am in love with what I do, with the stories I get to tell. Things have now come full circle, and I am once again using my creativity to facilitate light bulb moments in people. I am deeply grateful for the many ways photography has enriched our lives. Sometimes, though, I get so caught up in the momentum of creating for others, that I forget to create for myself. 

When I actively set aside the time to create purely for the sake of creativity, I notice a huge difference in the quality of my work overall. I need that time. The couples I create for and with need me to make that time so I can do my very best work consistently. This year I am setting aside more time for personal work than I have in the past eight years, because I finally realize how important it is for creative people to nurture their souls in this way.

There is a stigma in our industry that makes photographers feel somehow “lesser” if they are not being paid for the work they do. I reject that idea completely. You simply cannot be a master of your craft if you don’t allow yourself the space to create freely, hold nothing back, and push the boundaries of your comfort level. And, you cannot possibly be in love with what you do for the long term if you aren’t making the time to create purely for your own enjoyment.  It is absolutely the key to long term success.

These images of my friend, Michele, are my recent personal work, created purely for my own enjoyment. I hope you enjoy them, too. <3

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the mentoring sessions // 2016 – brandon

Filed in for photogs, mentoring shot by on at

This year, I intentionally built time into my photography schedule to take on ten mentorships.  This post is the second installinment in my 2016 series of the ten incredible people who decided to take a chance on us as photography and business mentors. This session was with Brandon of Brandon Peszko Photography. Brandon is an incredibly talented photographer and videographer.  We’ve worked with him on a bunch of different weddings over the years, and it’s always an awesome experience.  He is one of those videographers that every photographer loves to work with, because he understands teamwork.  He also has a great creative eye, so he’s fun to collaborate with and discuss ideas for cool shots!  This year, he has a goal of growing the still photography side of his business, so that was the main focus of our time together.

We talked about:

  • key images to capture on a wedding day as both a lead shooter and a second shooter
  • how to narrow the focus of your online presence to attract your ideal client
  • posing for couples (which included a live instructional shoot with a real couple!)

This was such a great session. Brandon is a savvy business owner and a talented creative. He’s got what it takes, and we’re 100% confident that he’s going to do big, BIG things! Also, if you love the beautiful, gritty, abandoned spaces that Buffalo is famous for, you definitely want to follow Brandon on Instagram.  We love his feed!!

These are some of my favorites from his personal branding mini-shoot.  Scroll down to read his thoughts on the mentoring experience:

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Jenn + Ben are awesome! Having worked with them countless times in the field over the years, meeting with them as mentors was a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. My goal with the mentoring session was to A. become a better photographer and B. learn how I could further and grow my business.  We discussed my goals and they provided me with tips and techniques for my
photography as well as suggestions on how I can take my business to the next level.

The thing I got the most out of during the session was the engagement shoot I was able to shadow on. I’m a hands-on learner and for me, watching and observing an actual shoot and being able to shoot along side and ask questions during it was a great learning experience for me.  My mentoring session with Jenn + Ben has made an immediate improvement in my shooting. I’ve been able to use the techniques they shared with me in the field with tremendous results.

If you’re looking for an amazing learning experience custom made for you with even cooler teachers, then Jenn + Ben are the mentors for you!

Interested in growing YOUR business this year??  Click HERE to learn more!!

Read more testimonials HERE.