We had the good fortune of connecting with Ally S and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ally, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
For me, art in all forms has always been a way to escape anything going on around me. Art has also continually been a time for me to reflect and grow. But let’s be real: Art Careers are hard. They’re hard to start; to find a niche in; to find community in at times and to actually get paid in. But man, oh man is it worth it. Doing photography (and a few other artistic side gifs) has given me life in a way I didn’t think possible. It’s broken me out of a shell I spent most of my life in. It’s let me meet incredible people with incredible stories and continue to learn about cultural in all different styles. Through all the hardships I’d choose this; 10,000%.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been holding a camera as long as I can remember. Be it, polaroid, iPhone or DSLR, it’s always been an outlet for me. You should see how much of my iCloud storage is just clouds, dogs and sunsets. But it was not easy to get to where I am. When I decided to make a career of photography, I was baddddd. There was some things that I loved and found came relatively easy, like picking locations and figuring out pretty quickly that golden hour was the best time to start. Yet posing, prompting and editing took years to even begin to understand. I was dedicated though. At the start, I had never been the kind of person to talk to strangers and was a hard-core introvert. Nobody was willing to help or show me the ropes. I relied on Pinterest and YouTube a lot, but was struggling because I’m a hands-on kind of learner. Until I moved to Jacksonville, NC. A decently small military town filled with tons of photographers and couples. I was able to put out model calls where I’d bring a whole list of poses and prompts and shoot till it got dark out. I got to join an AMAZING community over competition group and finally was able to learn from real people. They would host “shoot-outs” where a group of us would get together and photograph models or each other. The people that would come were kind and always willing to help me learn my camera, more about lighting, etc. Heck, if it wasn’t for that group I would probably still be shooting with auto-settings and in JPG. Yet, I still didn’t know how I wanted to brand my work. I went through quite a few different names, color schemes, and have honestly never fully finished my website; before I settled on Ally Sturges Photography and my current (coming soon) brand remodel. When we moved back to Colorado in October 2020,I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it has been just as amazing. I’ve been able to host and attend styled shoots, learn from some of the best photographers and keep growing my business. I wouldn’t trade a single bad experience I’ve had to get where I am.
I think the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to never stop looking to growing, and it always pays to follow the community over completion mindset. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself it takes time but you’ll get there one day. I’d say to keep fighting for what you want and take every opportunity you get. Oh! And to start posting reels earlier.
I realized over the years that I want to bring more of me into my business. My dog obsessed, light searcher, hype-women, and professional windflower finding-self and I cannot wait to share what that looks like with my past and future friends (aka clients) soon!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would start with coffee at Keith’s Coffee Bar in Denver! They have some amazing coffee and often host live shows and had local artists’ art hung up on every wall. Their customer service is second to none, too! Afterwards we could wander down Broadway and see all the art interesting shops along the way. I would also want to take them to Tarryall Revivor in Alma for some scenic views, hiking and kayaking and maybe even do a stay at The Triangle Cabin! Or perhaps a few days in Frisco, with coffee from Abbey’s, and dinner at any of their local restaurants. We could kayak from the marina or drive a few minutes to one of the ski resorts for a day of hiking (or skiing, season depending!) A place I would recommend for drinks would be My Family Jones in LoHi! They have some amazing drinks (both with and without alcohol) as well as a delectable snacks and literally the kindest servers I’ve ever met. They really make you feel like family! As far as food I’d recommend Bread+Salt in Frisco for some yummy bistro style meals!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
All the photographers & models who have given me opportunities to learn and grow with their mentoring and willing to let me take my time. As well as my husband, family and friends who have consistently cheered me on even when I couldn’t do it myself. Two people who I wouldn’t be here without them are Kelly (kellydaleart.com) and Sammy (mama bird maternity.com). These two have always cheered me on & allowed me to use their beautiful faces & families to grown & learn!
Instagram: instagram.com/allysturgesphotography (@allysturgesphotography)
Facebook: facebook.com/allysturgesphoto (@allysturgesphoto)