My Photography Journey | Ashley Spaulding

My Photography Journey | Ashley Spaulding

My Photography Journey by Ashley Spaulding

October…my very favorite month.   October’s special to me for several reasons – for starters, I absolutely love fall, so any month that’s entirely fall is a good one in my book.  It’s also special because my son’s birthday is in October (and mine is, too, which probably explains why I love fall so much!).  On top of birthdays and the season that encompasses it, I also love October because my Clickin Moms ‘anniversary’ just happens to be this month.

I kind of laugh about this, but I actually came across Clickin Moms in October 2009 when I was trying to track down the name of a particular clothing line so that I could sell some of my daughter’s clothes online.  I saw a cute logo with two little birds and a mention of a photography forum on the sidebar of a website I was on and thought I’d check it out…and I couldn’t be happier that I did!  As many of us are, I was a little quiet when I first signed up for Clickin Moms.  I read a ton on the site without doing much posting at all, but that all changed in February 2010 when I signed up for the inaugural run of The Best Darn Beginner Course Ever.  I had absolutely no idea how much that workshop would change not only my photography but my life as well.  I signed up on a whim and really wasn’t even all that concerned about getting a spot in the workshop, but today I am so thankful that I was one of the fortunate people who got a seat in that first run, in the beginner’s workshop that sold out in just a matter of minutes!

I’ve always loved photos but had never really done much to learn about taking better ones or to learn much about photography in general until I enrolled in Shooting 101.  I had had my DSLR for about two-and-a-half years at that point and had primarily shot in Auto mode.  I had no idea what a meter was and had absolutely no clue that my camera even had one of these meter things.  And every time I attempted to shoot in Manual mode, my pictures ended up being either completely black or completely white, which had me completely convinced that Manual mode did not function correctly on my camera.

I learned otherwise with Lynne Rigby’s very first lesson in Shooting 101. Lynne is an absolutely amazing instructor who is patient, thorough, and just a ton of fun.  She has her students shooting exclusively in Manual mode from day one, so I learned rather quickly to be comfortable with my dial pointed to that M.  Lynne and the workshop gave me a rock-solid foundation for understanding the exposure triangle, metering, white balance, and so much more.  Beyond that, though, one of the biggest things the workshop gave was me the confidence to be more active on the Clickin Moms main board.  I started participating in discussions, asking for feedback on images, and answering questions as I could.  Along the way, the connections I made in the workshop deepened into closer friendships, and I got to know even more Clickin Moms’ members outside the workshop.  So in addition to everything I learned about photography from Shooting 101, the workshop helped me branch out on the board, become more active in the forums, and begin to develop truly special friendships.

I followed Shooting 101 with Lynne’s Beyond the Basics, and – again – I saw so much growth in my work after four weeks of intense, thought-provoking, and challenging shooting.  Shooting 201 helped take my shooting beyond the ‘Am I doing everything right in Manual mode?’ thinking to actually shooting with thought and purpose.  Shooting 101 gave me the foundation I needed to be able to think more creatively about my images in Shooting 201, which truly did take me beyond the basics and allowed me to shoot with a vision in mind.

With both workshops behind me, I continued to dive into Clickin Moms every chance I got.  I felt energized and excited every time I visited the forum, which made me realize that photography was not going to be another one of my ‘fleeting’ hobbies.  Clickin Moms had definitely become a part of me, and I could not have been more thrilled in the fall of 2010 when I was asked to be a Mentor.  Becoming a Clickin Moms Mentor was a dream come true for me, and so was an opportunity that came along with it – the opportunity to be one of Lynne’s assistants in Shooting 101.  I felt like everything had come full circle in that year.  In a year’s time, my understanding of photography had grown tremendously from the two workshops I took as well as from the amazing information I devoured from the board.  As a Teaching Assistant for Shooting 101 now, it makes me so happy to see photographers come through the workshop who were in the same place I was when I took it.  And it always makes me smile to see them learn a ton about photography and also become really active, contributing members on the main board after it ends.  I will always have a special place in my heart for Lynne and her Shooting 101 workshop because it was just the beginning of so many wonderful things for me on Clickin Moms, which is why it’s extremely meaningful to me to be able to help Lynne with that workshop now.

Another dream came true for me when I became one of the Administrators on Clickin Moms.  I have always had such enormous admiration for the way Clickin Moms is run, and to be a part of that team now – to be a part of something that I have such great love for – is really an indescribable feeling.  Every day I’m truly amazed by all the fantastic things happening at Clickin Moms.  I’m excited by what’s yet to come for Clickin Moms and its members.  I’m so inspired by the beautiful, diverse work our community produces.  I’m in awe of the positive, encouraging environment we all – Admin, Mentors, and members alike – work hard to maintain.  I’m eternally grateful for the true friendships I have developed.  And I’m so incredibly proud to call Clickin Moms my online photography ‘home.’

About the Author:

Ashley lives in Kansas City with her husband and their two children where they truly love being together and playing outside as a family. She enjoys cooking and baking, despite her claim to be unskilled at both. Twizzlers, ice cream, Doritos, coffee, pedicures and a good novel are her guilty pleasures. Currently, Ashley shoots with a Nikon D700, 50 f/1.4 and 24-70 f/2.8. Visit Ashley Spaulding online.


  1. Heidi Oct 18 2011 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Loved reading this Ashley! Thanks for sharing – very inspiring!

  2. Ange Windheim Oct 18 2011 at 10:06 am - Reply

    thanks for the reminder to capture those beautiful "lifestyle" moments. I've been too trapped in the business of photography and need some more shots of the everyday with my beautiful boys 🙂

  3. Stephanie_B Oct 18 2011 at 10:08 am - Reply


    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. So inspiring for someone who is just learning and diving into this new hobby.

  4. Meredith Oct 18 2011 at 10:22 am - Reply

    This was great to read, Ashley. Motivating and inspiring. I hope to follow in your foot steps one day. Keep smiling!

  5. Nance Heidemann Oct 18 2011 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Ashley! 🙂 I loved reading about your journey.

  6. Amy Oct 18 2011 at 10:28 am - Reply

    I loved reading this! I thought the exact same thing about Manual Mode not working on my camera. lol

  7. Amy Lucy Oct 18 2011 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us, Ashley! You have played a big role in making CM such a positive environment from the time I first joined shortly after you. Your encouraging words, thoughtful and honest critique, and willingness to answer questions have shown us all what a generous and kindhearted person you are. I'm so grateful to know you!

  8. Lacey Oct 18 2011 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey Ashley! You have been so helpful and inspiring to me as I continue my photography journey.

  9. Kelly R Oct 18 2011 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Oh Ashley! Loved reading your photography journey. I love your work and love that you are part of the CM family. And I always love your feedback in workshops. 🙂

  10. Kelly Oct 18 2011 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your journey with photography! It is very inspiring to see how much your skills and confidence grew in a relatively short time. The photos of your kids are lovely and tell such great stories. I just signed up for Clickin Moms this week, but have not had the time to sit down and really dig through what all is available. I am really excited to know about the classes that you assist with. Thank you again!

  11. Leah Cook Oct 18 2011 at 10:51 am - Reply

    you are awesome, Ashley!! it is so easy to feel the love in your pictures. I'm so thrilled to know you better now and loved reading about and 'seeing' your journey!!

  12. LaceyMeyers Oct 18 2011 at 11:16 am - Reply

    You're so wonderful, Ashley! You've been an inspiration to me from day one on CM. As a friend, a mom, and a photographer!

  13. heidi Oct 18 2011 at 11:45 am - Reply

    This was a great interview!!! CM is blessed to have Ashley!!! :heart

  14. Megan Cieloha Oct 18 2011 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your photography journey, Ashley <3 Less than 2 years shooting manual?! You're a rockstar!

  15. Joyce K. Oct 18 2011 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Wow! What an amazing journey! Thank you for sharing your beautiful progress <3

  16. Lynne Oct 18 2011 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    I'm so lucky to have her/you as a friend<3 That's why I love my job so much, how else could I meet such amazing people from around the world. xoxo

  17. Tronesia Oct 18 2011 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Loved reading your story! Very inspiring..and your photos of "real life" are nothing short of amazing!!

  18. megan moore Oct 18 2011 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Ash, what a great story! You're such a wonderful mom, photographer and friend, I'm so glad I know you. I really loved reading about your journey. 🙂

  19. Elle Oct 18 2011 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing with us, Ashley. We are very lucky to have you as a mentor and teaching assistant – you are a big part of the loveliness that is CM :hp

  20. lisa harrison Oct 18 2011 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this Ashley. Such an amazing journey. Your work is beautiful, as are you!

  21. Jodi Oct 18 2011 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    Yay Ashley!! Loved reading your CM story 🙂 Hugs to you hon!!

  22. celeste Oct 18 2011 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    So thankful for people like you on CM! I love your work and your kind spirit and it's true you always have something sweet to say!

  23. Rachel Potter Oct 18 2011 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Wow! That's a long way to come in such a short time!! You are such an inspiration to the rest of us!

  24. Stacey Haslem Oct 18 2011 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    This was wonderful Ashley!!! You are very inspiring. Not only are you an amazing photographer, but you are so sweet and kind. You are a bright spot here <3

  25. Emma Oct 18 2011 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    So fantastic to read all about your journey Ashley, you are such a huge inspiration to me and I love your work. Thank you for being such a sweet sunny person who lights up the board with your lovely self as much as your images. <3

  26. Dena Wipprecht Oct 18 2011 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed reading this, I have been around cm for a while and have been a little ( ok totally) silent, and this gives me encouragement to join in the conversation more to make the most of my photography learning journey! Thank you so much!

  27. staceyrw Oct 18 2011 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Great article Ashley! I have always appreciated your kindness and insight when critiquing / commenting on my work!

  28. Kendra Oct 18 2011 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Ashley! You are such an incredible inspiration in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, and more importantly, thank you for sharing YOU with us! xoxo

  29. Sarah Wilkerson Oct 18 2011 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    I loved reading your journey, Ashley. The joy and honesty with which you carry yourself translates so perfectly to your work — you bring your optimism and sweetness to your viewers … it's part of the experience of enjoying your images; it's really remarkable. I feel so lucky to be able to call you a friend and colleague. <3

  30. Annie Oct 18 2011 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Ashley you are such an inspiration to so many photographers! I totally <3 you!

  31. Carrie Callahan Oct 19 2011 at 6:07 am - Reply

    Love love love – just saw your website – amazing – I need to suck it up and do the 365, I am green with envy when I see others. I love your composition and story behind how you got here. Awesome!

  32. Ashley Spaulding Oct 19 2011 at 7:07 am - Reply

    Thank you all so very much for your incredibly kind words and sweet comments! I truly appreciate them and feel so fortunate to be able to share my love of photography with such a wonderful group of people!!

  33. Tammilynn Oct 19 2011 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing! I am new here and came across this interview and was encouraged!

  34. Monica Oct 19 2011 at 9:37 am - Reply

    I loved reading your journey Ashley! You are such an inspiration!

  35. Susan O'Neal Oct 19 2011 at 10:19 am - Reply

    To my precious Daughter, I am SO proud of you — & so very grateful to Clickin Moms for bringing so much love & happiness into your life !! love, Mom

  36. Kristen Oct 19 2011 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Love this, Ashley! Thanks for sharing. I love your work. 🙂

  37. Lisa (Tout Petit Pix Oct 19 2011 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Truly inspiring Ashley!!!

    And I will always remember this very first workshop together <3 It changed my life too!

  38. Anne Oct 19 2011 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    <3 <3 <3

    CM wouldn't be the same without you, Ashley. You know you have a special place in my heart since RYC101. You are an inspiration to me as a photographer and as a woman. Love you !!

  39. Holly Thompson Oct 19 2011 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Ashley, you have been one of the kindest and most supportive people for me personally on CM. You've sent me a few PMs when things were hard and you've always encouraged me. You are truly a special person. <3

  40. gigi Oct 19 2011 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Loved reading this Ashley and I always love seeing your gorgeous work! Your son on the swing is one of my favorites!

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