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INTERVIEW WITH THE PARSONS

February 17 2010



Within a minute of starting our
interview, Ashley Parsons admits to having “freakish Hobbit feet.”
And Jeremy “loves ‘em.” That’s a good indicator of the Parsons’
funny couplehood and ability to make light of just about anything.
These two Kansas City photographers share the story of finding their
calling during our interview. (Image below courtesy of Image is Found)

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The Parsons met nine years ago after
being set up by a mutual friend. Jeremy was living in Hawaii
attending a “missions-training deal” “studying the Bible and
stuff like that” while Ashley was state-side. They e-mailed,
chatted, phoned it up, and fell in love. Says Jeremy: “I knew when
I stepped off the plane, before ever having met this girl in person,
that this girl was going to be the woman I married.” The two were
married nine months later, and Ashley totally drank champagne at her
wedding…underage. Oh, the rebellion!

Ashley worked as a natural childbirth
coach, and was helping women to experience bringing peeps into the
world without drugs. She transitioned into a bit of birth
photography, loving the ability to capture the emotion doulas
experience on a day-to-day basis. At a booth Ashley purchased to
tout her coaching abilities, a girl approached her to shoot her
wedding. Ashley said she was crazy, she wasn’t a photographer…

But when that bride kept contacting
her, then got her fiance on board, Ashley gave in and made her sign
“a thing saying that when the pictures are all awful you won’t
sue.” Armed with kit lenses, a new dSLR and an external flash,
Ashley translated a couple’s love into images. She says photography
has always been “just a way to experience life.” She was happy to
grow up in Africa running through the forest shooting film, and
treasures her photos from that time.

In October 2007, Mrs. Parsons roped
Jeremy into being a second shooter. He “fell in love with wedding
days,” saying “it’s so great being with people on their best
day.” The two of them are happy to have found the freedom that
leaving a 9 to 5, having time with their kids, and sharing the
experience of being artists while documenting couples in love.

The Parsons took the plunge into
full-time business at the urging of Nate Kaiser, who put things into
perspective: “What’s the worst that could happen?” Like,
really. Are people going to die? Are countries going to fall into
the ocean? Worst case scenario, you’re going to have to move back in
with your parents. And lose money. The Parsons were okay with that
prospect, and have been soaring ever since.

“The worst that could happen isn’t
actually that bad.”

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They were up front with their clients,
saying that they weren’t following rules and didn’t know what they
were doing. “You’re gonna take a risk with us,” they told brides
and grooms. And the couples keep taking risks. The Parsons have been
crazy-busy, running a business that’s fed by word of mouth. They’re
also thrilled to have made personal connections with other
photographers who are willing to refer the Parsons at regular
intervals.

The Parsons experienced a bit of “us
being stupid” at the end of 2007, priced at just $2,000 for a DVD
of images. They managed to book over 45 weddings, but very nearly
burned out. They were tired and grumpy and Jeremy said “If I have
to hear Brick House one more time, I’m gonna shoot somebody.”

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When they realized they could have shot
NINETY weddings in 2008 at that price, they changed their pricing
structure and wouldn’t let couples who don’t laugh at their jokes
book them anymore. Pricing fixed, they now hone in on their perfect
clients with a survey that hones in on what’s important to the
couple.

As for what’s important to the Parsons:
one another. Photography. Family. Love. Stupid jokes. Hear ‘em at
the interview, then comment on their blog with mad love.

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