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Meet Ashley O’Dell of Ashley O’Dell Photography in Allston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley O’Dell.

Ashley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I used to be really into sports, powerlifting specifically. (And no that’s not the tiny swimsuit, oil parade, some people imagine. I mean the ability to squat you, your fiancé, and maybe a cat or two, depending on your weights.) The details of that are for another time, but I tease you with that snippet of information because it led me to art school. By the end of high school, I was burnt out on athletics, making weight, and stomaching protein bars. (I don’t care what anyone says, they’re terrible.) So when it came to selecting a college, I chose a school without a single team or mascot, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

By 2006 I had graduated with a BFA in Photography, worked as a photo assistant for a couple of years, and decided my (now) husband and I should move to Boston. We didn’t know a single person, we didn’t have jobs, and I had only been here for 3 days the previous summer, but because I thrive on change, we pulled up to our overpriced studio apartment in Allston, MA on January 1st, 2007, and that day I became a wedding photographer.

Having begun my career in fine art and commercial photography, I never intended on becoming a wedding photographer, but after an assisting gig fell in my lap in Milwaukee, I quickly realized that weddings combine my wide-ranging interests in photography: portraiture, details, light, and architecture.

Going into my 12th year of business, I have photographed close to 200 weddings, had work featured in several magazines and online blogs, and awarded “Boston’s Best” by the Improper Bostonian in 2011, a complete surprise and honor.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve been fortunate to say, I met some amazing photographers early on, who shared their expertise in the field, as well as their clientele, which jump started my business. In the last couple of years, however, photography has evolved more rapidly and requires more of an interest, and time investment, in social media, marketing, website optimization, etc. All of which I don’t particularly care for. No longer is a strong portfolio alone, the key to success.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Ashley O’Dell Photography – what should we know?
Many couples who hire me do so for my color photography. Because I was trained in film, I approach digital with the same intention. Some images I know at the time of capture will be converted to b+w. For my color work, however, I seek out particular lighting, which enhances the vibrancy of an image. Frequently I’m asked, do I add saturation to my photos? I do not. Lighting (artificial and natural) has a great impact on how much an image pops though, so I work to get it right in camera, rather than in post.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
The Boston community of photographers is remarkable. I wouldn’t be where I am today without several of them. An answer to most business, or photo related questions, is just an email away. The network for sharing referrals is really strong as well. Many of us are sole proprietors, so the more we’re able to share, and lift each other up, the better off the industry is as a whole.


  • a la carte coverage begins at $4200 for 6 hours, with most couples spending $6,000-$8,500 on their collection, inclusive of albums and/or engagement sessions and rehearsal dinner coverage.

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