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Senior Portraits of a Dancer :: Asheville Senior Photographer

We had a great evening in the River Arts District in Asheville, NC.  It was fun to incorporate Chayla’s talent as a dancer and what a stunning smile!!  We thought we might be rained out but missed the storm and got awesome pictures!  

Friends and Family of Chayla please leave a comment and let us know: Which of these pictures captures the side of Chayla you love the most?

Asheville Senior Photographer

Molly Dockery Photography

Asheville Senior Photography


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Chiana - April 30, 2014 - 3:00 pm

Fantastic pictures!

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We Are Storytellers – Asheville Photographer

“It’s not a level playing field. It never is a level playing field. You come into life understanding that. It’s not about fairness, it’s not really about talent, you know, it’s circumstance, it’s luck, it’s destiny… I don’t know what it is … but the best people deal with that.”

Sting – 20 Feet from Stardom


I love this quote. It applies to just about everything in life but in my secular life, I see a strong application for us photographers. Now, I don’t personally believe in ‘luck’ or ‘destiny’. I do believe that each person has a unique set of circumstances that will provide or deprive us of opportunities. I may have the circumstance being a well connected person living in a very populated or affluent city where it is easier to get clients. Or I may come from a background of little means and not be able to afford the props or website or camera that other photographers have.

In either circumstance I could be the best photographer in the world. Does that mean I will be famous? Win awards? Have 50,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook? Nope. It doesn’t.

When I first entered the photography field I was determined to learn and abide by all the photography ‘rules’. Rule of thirds, rules about cropping and highlights… That will make me a good photographer. That will make people hire me.

Then, a few years ago, I had the great privilege of taking a workshop with the amazing documentary photographer Christopher Anderson. It was a week long workshop and we each chose a theme to do a documentary project on. My theme was ‘Workers’. I went around Charlottesville, VA for a week photographing people in their place of work. One stop was at a Wig Shop that gives free wigs to chemo patients. As I spoke to the owner, I was taking pictures of the shop and her. One of the pictures was her, mid-sentence, reaching out to readjust a wig on it’s mannequin. Going through those pictures in class, that was the one he stopped at and loved. I had almost deleted it because it broke all the ‘rules’ of photography. He taught me that imperfect pictures that make you feel are better than perfect pictures that are empty of emotion.

The quote at the beginning of this post is from the documentary “20 Feet from Stardom” which is about background singers. Some of the best singers IN THE WORLD are background singers for huge artists. We have no idea who they are, wouldn’t recognize them on the street and don’t know their names. The film mentioned that many of them like it where they are. They have no desire to be in the spotlight with all of the drama and expectations that come with it. They just love to sing. They love to make beautiful music. Let’s all be like that. Let’s just focus on making beautiful art and love what we are doing. If you become recognized, let it be a side effect of the work you’ve put in to perfect your art. Not because you have stepped on others to get there. And if you never get there, be okay with that.

Some of the most well known and talented photographers out there are not master technicians. They are master storytellers.

Of course I had to include this very ‘imperfect’ image that I took. I love it. It is among my favorite pictures that I have ever taken. I feel something every time I look at it. I have been criticized by other photographers for my propensity to blow highlights in my pictures. For awhile, it bugged me that I tend to blow my highlights and I thought “I’ll never make it as a photographer if I don’t stop doing this!”. Then I realized that I wasn’t doing it because I didn’t know how to shoot a ‘properly exposed’ picture… I was doing it because I LIKE IT. I love bright, washed out pictures like this. After a few years in the business, my skin is thicker and I know my identity as a photographer and negative comments (not comments that are truly meant to help, I so appreciate those, but mean spirited comments meant to tear down) that are made by other photographers about my pictures don’t get to me any more.

ALL of that being said, I have a little announcement! We are working on a project to film some tutorial videos. Both for new photographers who would like some pointers and for parents who want to take better pictures of their kiddos! I’m not a genius when it comes to the science behind photography but I know what works for me and I want to share that! Please, please, please comment and let me know your thoughts or requests for these videos! Thank you!


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Karla Reina - April 23, 2014 - 1:25 pm

The boys hate to pose for pictures. I’d like to learn how to take great natural shots of them.

Molly - April 23, 2014 - 1:49 pm

Hmmm, I could see how those squirrely little boys could cause you some posing challenges. I put it on the list! Thanks!

Darsha - April 24, 2014 - 2:37 am

Hi Molly,

Thank you!!!! This post was just what I needed to hear.

I am a candid shot kind of girl when it comes to my photographic style. I emphasise making people feel comfortable and allowing for natural poses over the highly fake, usually very uncomfortable poses that most photographers aim for.

What I love about your “imperfect shot” is the candidness and beauty that is shown so naturally. You can almost feel the love that that mother has for her child. You can’t help but smile at that feeling as you think about the feelings of joy and love your mother gave you as a child.

One of the best photographers (as in, always complimented and gets high scores on his photos) in the camera club I am part of takes a lot of stunning candid pics. His post production is always high contrast, and it works. But his style is totally different to mine, and to everyone else in the club, which is what makes his photos awesome. He often breaks all the rules, and it works well for him.

I am saying thank you again, and you are an incredible tog!!! :D

Regards from sunny South Africa ^^

Adria - April 26, 2014 - 8:36 am

How about ideas for lower light situations?

Molly - April 28, 2014 - 12:35 pm

Good idea…I put it on the list!

Molly - April 29, 2014 - 4:41 pm

Darsha!! So good to hear from you and to hear that this was helpful! :) I am so glad that you’re still doing your thing and doing it your way! I checked out your site and your work is looking amazing!! Keep it up! :)

Michelle - May 12, 2014 - 9:54 pm

Hi Molly! I am totally interested! Just purchased my first DSLR and definitely could use your expertise because i have ZERO clue about aperture and shutter speed, etc.

Molly - May 13, 2014 - 11:45 am

Awesome! We’re hoping to have some tutorials up by mid-June! :) Although, I’m not sure any camera could take a bad picture of Makayla!!

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The Little Doll Gracelyn :: Asheville Baby Photography

This little 15-month-old sweetheart looks like a china doll.  She was a little shy at first but as she warmed up her personality shone as sweet as her face.  Friends and Family of Gracelyn, leave a comment and let us know: what do you think she is thinking or saying in the bottom left picture?

Gracelyn :: Asheville Baby Photography


Molly Dockery Photography

Asheville Baby Photography

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Vickie Price - April 17, 2014 - 12:43 pm

Love the lacy little dress against the rustic background. Also,
love the little bow in her hair – thank you Kel for that!

Krista Gamble - April 17, 2014 - 12:56 pm

That face looks like an “I’m gonna get you mama” look! Love that navy dress! The full length shot is my favorite with her holding her dress and her little toes curled up. Love them all!

Helen Perry - April 17, 2014 - 1:45 pm

I think she is thinking — I love my Grandmother so much and want to grow up to be just like her —-

And, what could be more special. She is sooo beautiful and precious — Helen Perry

Gracelyn's Nonna - April 17, 2014 - 2:28 pm

I think my dear friend, Ms. Y, got it right: “Hey, I look pretty fantastic in this fancy dress. I think we need to have a party!”

Mom - April 17, 2014 - 4:47 pm

She’s saying, where are my puffs!

Molly - April 18, 2014 - 9:44 am

I think she was actually eating a puff in that picture! Mom knows her girl! :)

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Parker On the High Seas :: Asheville Newborn Photography

Little Parker has a very calm temperament and a sweet older brother.  These two make quite a pair!  With this color selection he looks like a little adorable sea creature being rocked to sleep on the ocean-how peaceful!!  Friends and Family of Parker leave us a comment and let us know: which of these faces you have seen him make!  Parker :: Asheville Newborn Photography

Molly Dockery Photography

Asheville Newborn Photography

Followers of our blog leave a comment and let us know what other colors you think we should use for newborn sessions?

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Baby Winston :: Asheville Infant Photographer

What a handsome little man or Baby Dumpling depending on who you ask.  He is definitely adored and has such a sweet big sister looking out for him!  Friends and Family of Winston, leave a comment and let us know: do you think he looks like Amelia or does he have a look all his own?


Molly Dockery

Asheville Infant Photographer

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