In the past, Bel Air-based photographer Ashley Reherman was known for capturing the perfect shot by getting up close and personal with her subjects.
The approach worked as she was able to capture the affection and intimacy shared by family members.
“I don’t like posing as much as interaction,” she said. “I want to see more candid moments. Whether it is families or weddings. Those are the moments that people look back on and can remember the feelings. Those to me are very special.”
COVID-19 has changed the way she captures those moments. Now, she literally distances herself from her subjects while photographing them.
“It’s an interesting new element that was added to everything,” she said about having to wear masks.
Reherman also started using a more powerful 85 millimeter lens — her favorite — more frequently. It lets her to capture those up-close images while standing farther back.
“I use a longer, more telephoto lens so you can get that feel without being right next to people,” she said.
“I don’t want anybody to feel uncomfortable, including myself,” she said. “My biggest concern is that everyone is OK. They should not feel uncomfortable because of me at all. I will do anything I can to ease their minds and to keep them and myself safe.”
While she deals with the safety issues, she’s also coping with a business changed by the pandemic. Last year from March to May, she had 30 photography jobs. This year she had three during that three-month period.
“I didn’t really do anything until the middle of May,” she said. “The spring and the fall are generally pretty busy for me. Weekends would be pretty full. I just stopped hearing from people. People are not booking. I had some that had said previously that they would book and then everything kind of broke loose.”
She sympathizes with her clients — many of whom are repeat customers who have hired her for milestone events including first birthdays, high school senior portraits, engagements and weddings.
“I feel for them,” she said. “So much planning, time and money goes into these days. It’s very hard for them. And they are trying to book for next year. So many places are booked a year in advance. It’s tough for them.”
Nancy Kotlowski first found Reherman through a friend four years ago. She hired the photographer to chronicle her and her husband renewing their vows in honor of their 30-year wedding anniversary.
“They were amazing,” she said about the photos. “Having been married in the ’80s, everybody’s photo album looked the same. Ashley has a way of capturing things that other people do not find.”
Since then, Kotlowski has hired Reherman for a variety of milestones, including her son’s engagement photos in 2016, her daughter’s destination wedding in St. Lucia In 2018 and most recently her brother’s wedding at the yard of her home in Bel Air in June.
“I knew with this COVID pandemic she would be the only one who could capture those moments,” she said. “I’m excited to see those pictures. She’s the family photographer.”
Reherman has photographed Jeannette McCafferty’s family for everything from senior pictures to weddings.
McCafferty now considers Reherman to be family.
Reherman photographed McCafferty’s family portraits in July. It would be the last time the entire family would be together before her son Leo “Austin” McCaufrety IV would leave for a religious mission.
“It is personal. And she gets to know you. I just love how you can go to a real location that is so beautiful and there isn’t this fake backdrop,” she said.
Reherman loves that she has made these connections with clients.
“I get to see them through all these life events, which is very special,” she said.