People of Austin Profile Series
Photographer Ashley Garmon didn’t end up behind a camera by accident. After shooting on her own for a few years as a student, she became a live-in nanny for a pair of Austin photographers keen on spreading the bug. Garmon received room and board as payment, and in exchange, they taught her everything they knew. Two decades later, she’s still behind the lens and loving it. As principal of Ashley Garmon Photographers, Garmon has established herself as one of Austin’s most notable wedding photographers, shooting nuptials all across Central Texas and beyond. And when she’s not capturing newly-minted marital bliss, you can find her taking aerial shots at Austin’s music festivals, or on a private plane, scouring the depths of Big Bend National Park to add to her Far West Texas series, currently on display at South Lamar’s Spartan boutique. Here she talks to TRIBEZA about the wedding business, what makes a great photo, and why she likes to slow things down.
When my friends and I were in college, wedding photographers were terrible. I mean, they were really bad, but there weren’t any better options. So when our friends started getting married, we started shooting their weddings, because we couldn’t bear it anymore. And it was so much fun.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT PHOTO?
A great moment. When everything comes together, stylistically, it’s great. But it really is the matter of the moment. Everything else could be terrible, but if the moment is good, that shows.
BRANCHING OUT BEYOND BRIDAL
I’m really proud of my Far West Texas series, all large-scale landscapes shot with film on a toy plastic camera that has a lot of light leaks. You have to be really careful. So it’s kind of a reaction to the idea that everything today is immediate and loud and bright and fast. With this, you have to be very deliberate with what you shoot and slow way down. It’s really about getting back to the basics of no filters at all. It’s a very pure way of shooting — straight from the camera.
FAVORITE AUSTIN WEDDING VENUES
As far as weddings go, I’d say that the most beautiful church in town is Central Christian Church [on Guadalupe Street]. But I’d say my favorite venue would have to be 1102 East [on East Cesar Chavez]. It’s just got a really cool vibe about it. And of course Hotel Saint Cecilia is always lovely. Otherwise, I love the Federal Courthouse off 5th Street. Repeating lines are always appealing.
THE BEST PART OF SHOOTING WEDDINGS
I love telling the stories. The stories are still so interesting to me. As wedding photographers, we show up knowing exactly what’s going to happen that day — often more than the bride and groom. So we can kind of anticipate reactions, but the story — although the layout is still the same, the players are always different — so it’s still very unique. You may have tears, you may have joy, elation, nerves. But, ultimately, people are really happy and it’s so much fun.