What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Ashleigh A.M. Bing, Owner and Principle Photographer at Shoot Happens Photography and I am a natural light wedding and lifestyle photographer located right outside of Washington, DC. Have camera, will travel 🙂
Where are you from and how has being there affected your creativity?
I am a Prince George’s County native and I like to describe myself as Maryland raised New Orleans made. I spent a lot of my critical years in NOLA as a student at Xavier University of Louisiana. Being a well traveled person, internationally and domestically, I have been exposed to a lot of different ways of life. Some that I wouldn’t mind living and others that make me especially grateful for the life that I have been afforded. This has broadened my outlook on life. A lot of us have been brainwashed to think that everyone lives these lavish lives because of what we see on social media. However, we need to remember that social media is all about perception and how that person wants us to know about them. We lose sight of how wonderful life is because we are caught up in always trying to post what it is that we are doing for likes from so many people. While we are documenting this fun activity, we forget to enjoy it.
At Shoot Happens Photography, each client is delivered a unique experience. No two clients are exactly alike—and in that vein, no two shoots are alike either. At Shoot Happens Photography, I pride myself on originality, creativity and most importantly, high quality shots. I am not a cookie-cutter photography studio and do not subscribe to the idea that the best way to remember family moments is in a drab setting with plastered smiles. When you look at the pictures that I shoot for you, you are immediately taken on an emotional ride. Those smiles, those laughs, those moments that I happily capture for you are all real.
Explain what initially got you into shooting?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve owned a camera. My dad always owned one, and being a daddy’s girl, I naturally followed suit. In high school I grew obsessed with capturing memories (yes, BEFORE Facebook). There was just something reassuring and comforting in knowing that I could look back at photos and experience the very same emotions I felt when that moment took place.
Explain what does an average day look like for you?
On an average (non shooting) day, I work from my home office answering emails, aligning schedules with my clients, my principle makeup artist and myself, looking for opportunities for continuing education, thinking of ways to make myself more marketable, engaging with potential clients via phone and internet, updating my website, cleaning my portfolio to reflect newer work, etc…
What things do you look at or watch for inspiration?
My biggest inspiration for my shoots has been my boyfriend. I am influenced by our love for each other. The way we interact has helped me with translating “posing” instructions to my clients for engagement and family sessions.
What camera setup do you currently use (camera, lens, other accessories, etc)?
I am a fan of Nikon. I currently shoot full frame D750 with a D700 backup body. I like to keep it light with my equipment because honestly, it doesn’t take much. In my camera bag, you will find that my favorite lenses are 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm prime lenses. While shooting weddings I like to have my Holdfast Gear Money Maker camera strap to hold both cameras. For family and engagement sessions, I only use one camera and have my extra lenses in my ShootSac.
What do you specialize in or what do you enjoy shooting the most and why?
I specialize in wedding and lifestyle photography. My passion is capturing real life moments as they happen because as we all know, they don’t last long. Engagement sessions have to be my favorite to shoot because they capture couples in love without the pressure of an audience. They have the freedom to be themselves and love one another, unapologetically.
Since we believe that music is the center around all things creative, what are your top 3 music albums, and what about those albums that gets you in a creative zone?
Growing up, my family always played music and I became a fan of live music. While in my office, you will never find the television on, but Spotify is on heavy rotation. My favorite artists and albums are Jill Scott The Real Thing – Words & Sounds Vol. 3, India.Arie Voyage to India and Luther Vandross Live at Radio City Music Hall. Jill speaks to my sensual side; India connects with my spiritual being and Luther expresses the lover in me.
Who are some shooters that you follow and what do you admire about their work?
One of my favorite photographers to follow is Kirth Bobb. We have similar yet different styles. It is always fun working with him on weddings; interesting to see how two creatives in the same space will see and capture the same event in a different way. It is what makes us who we are i suppose. That’s why I think it is important when looking for a photographer to fall in love with their style.
What is one tangible piece of advice that you would give somebody who has just started shooting?
You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Stop comparing your journey to the people you see on social media. The only person that knows their struggle is them. Don’t let the glorified posts that you see paint an unrealistic picture of accomplishment. Define success in your own terms.