The Story

Connecticut Newborn Photographer

My story isn't typical, I always say I didn't really choose photography, it just happened, and I'm so glad it did! One fun fact about me is I am "Jane of all trades". My story takes me all over the world and my work resume reads as random as it gets, and I wouldn't change a thing! All along there were a couple of common threads; composition and the desire to create something beautiful.

After graduating from design school, I went on a trip to Italy to study art and architecture. I never could have imagined I would meet the love of my life while in Italy, the Spanish Steps no less! But yes, Andrew and I met in one of the most romantic places in the world. I wasn't ready for him though, so I told him we'd be friends for a while and he never gave up! When I returned home I felt this strong desire to do something wild. I suppose I was so focused on school and dance (another passion of mine) while in college that I never truly broke out of the norm and tried something crazy. Then in 2008, I got a phone call.

It was a production director at Sesame Street Live who offered me a position as a performer. I auditioned months before on a whim because I wanted to say that I danced on the Fox theatre stage in Detroit, but never really considered such a thing. So here I am with a new boyfriend/future husband and the offer of a lifetime, and I took it! So another fun fact about me, I used to be a turquoise monster named Rosita and toured the US as a professional performer, and all this time, Andrew waited, I knew I couldn't let this guy get away!

After my "bucket list" year on tour, I told Andrew we need to keep the adventure going, so we moved to New Zealand together! A logical next step right? We had the time of our lives! We lived there for a year and enjoyed almost every minute. Right before we moved home, we were in a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Not something I wanted to add to my story.

We then decided to move to Hawaii and worked in design and real estate. I know, this is getting crazy now, when are we going to calm down right? In 2009 Andrew decided to enlist in the Coast Guard and this was a pivotal moment for us. We realized that all the adventures were amazing, but another incredible adventure was just about to start, we were going to start a family.

Shortly after getting married, we found out we were pregnant! Then we kept things consistent and had a baby boy every 2 years.

After my third baby's very traumatic delivery and a lengthy stay in the NICU, I knew I wanted to stay home with my babies for a few years, but had a strong desire to create again. I always had such a love and admiration for photography. I studied photography while in high school, then again in college as an elective. I knew this was the next adventure, so here we are- Ashley Nielsen Studio was born.

Why Newborns?

Time is fleeting! I love photographing my own kids and still find, even as a professional, that I don't do it enough! But, the reason for choosing to focus my craft on newborns and families runs a little deeper.

After my third son was born we unexpectedly had a two-month stay in the NICU. I booked a newborn photographer for a session that ended up rescheduling several times. The emotional toll of that experience left me in a dark place. Even after bringing Hugo home, I still couldn't muster up enough energy to do my makeup and smile for the camera, so we never did it. A regret that brings me to tears to this day!

One day, a photographer friend of mine was over for a completely unrelated reason and took this picture of me and Hugo, he was 6 months old. I have never cherished an image as I do with this one. And that is my WHY. Why I feel the utmost importance to preserve memories and moments. Why I feel the need to serve my "mammas" whether they had a perfect delivery or a scary one. I want to take care of my mammas, the way I know how.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Hailey Christine Photography

Family Photography CT

Why family photography? I form a deep bond with my families and love watching their little ones grow. I want to create a storyboard of visuals for your family. Albums that have volumes, gallery walls that expand. I love spending an afternoon with a family at the beach and creating artwork together. Family Photography is a natural addition to my offerings.

Ashley's Approach to photography

The more and more I learn about our industry, the more I believe in the magic of the mundane. I see beauty in simplicity and emotion which usually happens when I act like a fly on the wall at my sessions, rather than posing. I will always take a few posed images for you, but the magic happens in between.

For newborns, I believe in a "Baby Led" approach. I photograph your baby exactly the way they are. No fussy poses and perfect swaddled. No cheesy props and gimmicks. Just you and your baby, with the baby leading us! This means that I will never force a baby into a pose or fixate on a perfect swaddle. Even though most newborns spend their time sleeping, sometimes they are awake fo our session and that is okay! Baby leads the session, and it always ends up magical because it's natural and relaxed!

Similarly, for families, I let children be children. They will play and laugh, and bet themselves. This actually makes the session itself a real memory of love and joy for your family.

Branding Photography CT

So why branding? It was another natural step. I love my newborns and I love the kiddos, but (unpopular opinion) I believe mom is the star of the show. I started getting asked if I did headshots early on in my photography journey, and I always said "yes!"

They were so fun and I love getting to know another side of the women I photograph. Moms wear many hats, and I love documenting all of them!

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