Category: personal


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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

Michele 01
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nicole argo joins team ayres!

Filed in personal shot by on at

“I think that I have always been in love with photography…the art of capturing a moment that will never be lost. I am very sentimental and have been told that I am an ‘old soul’, so taking pictures allowed me to be able to hold onto those precious times and revisit them whenever I wanted. I started taking pictures when I was in junior high school, but really became passionate about photography when I lived in Peru for a summer before my freshman year of college. The different culture, beautiful textures, brilliant colors, and gorgeous people lit a fire in me. I was hooked. I photographed what I could, whenever I could.

I am so very blessed to share my life with my wonderful husband and our two beautiful children; our gifts from God. After becoming a mommy, my photography became even more meaningful. When you become a parent, the fact that time is so fleeting becomes even more apparent. It feels as though you are in a constant race against time, and taking pictures helps ease the ache of the constant change that is always happening!

Traveling to quaint, artistic places is one of my favorite things to do. I love to find different, local places to eat and I LOVE a good cup of strong coffee…I swear, the coffee helps my creative juices get flowing! I love all things yellow, I love to create beautiful, cozy spaces in my home. I love to read, cook, and above all, I adore spending time with great friends and family over a fantastic meal.

Seeing the creativity of others is always inspiring to me and makes me feel so crazy blessed that I am able to do something I love to do and feel passionate about.

To be able to photograph someone’s wedding is one of the greatest honors! I am constantly amazed that I am able to not only witness, but document, one of THE most important days in someone’s life…and the fact that I am a complete romantic, doesn’t hurt. As a photographer, I love to be able to not only take pictures, but to be there for the bride and groom…to make their day easier, to allow them to relax and just soak it all in. I want them to enjoy EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT.”

To see some of her beautiful wedding photography, contact us at