Logo for Newslink Indiana at Ball State University Logo for Newslink Indiana at Ball State University

AN Photo co offering free end of life photo session for pets and people

<p>Megan and her dog PJ from AN Photo co. rainbow bridge photoshoot before he passed away.</p>

Megan and her dog PJ from AN Photo co. rainbow bridge photoshoot before he passed away.

YORKTOWN, INDIANA--- Ashley Richardson’s business started at the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020, working at a local camera shop, she got to know a lot about the products they sell. 

“I picked up a camera myself and started playing around with it, and never thought that now it would be a full-fledged company that I own,” said Richardson. 

The 27-year-old owns AN Photo Co. a local photography business serving the Delaware county area, she photographs what most people do— family shoots, kids and animals. Another side of her job, though, is tough, but unique. 

Most weekends Ashley spends at the rodeo in Ohio, photographing and selling the photos to people who attend the rodeo. Many times, on the weekends, she offers a special shoot for free, what she likes to call “end-of-life photography.” 

She photographs the hard, vulnerable moments in someone’s life right before they lose someone that they love. She photographs people and pets, in all different situations. 

Ashley said she first got into grief photography when her father-in-law passed away in 2020. 

“Everyone was at the funeral, and I brought my camera. I don’t know what led me to do that, but I did. I realized that although it was a sad time in our lives, everyone was there, all together, for the first time in a long time, so I snapped a few photos of family,” said Ashley. 

Many times after these shoots, RIchardson sits in her car and reflects on the situation-- a lot of times shedding tears. 

“It was a moving thing just to see how much love a person can have in their heart for an animal-- a dog even. It's a blessing to be able to see that. But I won't lie, almost every session I sit in my car and cry afterward,” said Richardson. 

She said most of her end of life photography sessions happen by word of mouth, since she cannot share many of the photos she takes online. One session though, that she has shared via her facebook page and instagram page, resonated with her. It was a rainbow bridge session for PJ, a dog losing his battle with cancer. 

During this session, she realized how important it is to people to have these photos. 

“A Lot of times in these situations, someone is already financially wrapped with medical bills, and vet bills. What my little bit of time can do to give them emotional security that they will have these photos, I could never put a price on it. I wouldn't even know what to charge,” Richardson said. 

If you'd like to contact Richardson about her free end of life photo sessions or photography in general, you can reach her by her facebook and instagram, ANphoto. 

Contact Terra Konieczny for comments at tbkonieczny@bsu.edu