A Career Change Inspires A Nashville Mom To Create A Unique Spin On The Family Portrait

by Mom Organizing Moms

Posted on November 24, 2015


When thinking about your upcoming family portrait, ZEITGEIST is probably not the first word that comes to mind. But hopefully after reading this story, its meaning – spirit of age or spirit of time – will leave an indelible impression, as well as the journey and work of incredible photographer, Ashley Hylbert.

Before we get into ZEITGEIST, we want to share Ashley’s inspiring story first. If you are someone who has felt the need to make a career change, but fear is holding you back, our hope is that you will be encouraged to take a step to make your dream a reality.

Ashley was working in advertising for several years when she decided to pay attention to curiosity stirring within. She wasn’t feeling on course with her true gifts, so she began exploring a new direction that spoke to her on a deeper level. The voice said: Photography.

Growing up the daughter of a self-taught, internationally acclaimed photographer, Ashley was immersed in the art form at a young age. Having the drive to become a photographer, but lacking the skills to start, Ashley sought the expertise of her mother and quickly began to build her book by photographing kids and families over the next six years.


It was chaotic to balance developing a new business on the side, while working full-time as a sales rep for The Performing Arts Center, in addition to being a wife and a mother of two young children. Simply put, faith in her talent and ambition to succeed were her driving forces!

On a wing and a prayer, Ashley quit her sales job to pursue photography full time. Friends jumped in to support her by hosting “photo days” in their home. These shoots allowed Ashley to continue honing her craft, while offering the sitting to the host family for free and other families at a reduced rate.

Flipping through a magazine, Ashley was inspired by a bizarre and interesting ad featuring Kim Crawford wine that appealed to her passion for bringing concepts to life. The photo gave her the idea to creatively rework the traditional family portrait by collaborating to come up with a theme that is funny, contrived and completely over the top with how it’s styled. ZEITGEIST was born!

It has long been tradition for families to be photographed in coordinated outfits at a park or beach, or around the family’s fireplace, for example. ZEITGEIST is a real and honest departure that depicts a truer sense of the family, their humor, their creativity, and their individual personalities. Grouping a family together in a uniquely staged setting captures a glimpse of their story, or a joke they want to convey. Ashley’s ZEITGEIST approach is a refreshing way for a family to share authentically who they are.

Mom Organizing Moms, LLC strives to encourage and refresh others, so please allow this piece to excite and motivate you to go for it, be it with a new idea or with your upcoming holiday portrait. We hope reading this story will excite you to take a leap of faith to do something you are really passionate about. Surround yourself with supportive people and trust your instincts. And when it comes to your family portrait, let ZEITGEIST and the work of Ashley Hylbert Photography inspire you to step out and capture your family’s personality!