April 20, 2018

Des Moines Wedding Photographer | The Heart & Mission Behind AWP

You’re on the hunt for the perfect photographer and honestly? We’re all blending together into one big blob of pretty photos. I totally get it. In an industry that’s all about beautiful imagery, how do you cut through the noise and get to the heart of the people who might capture your most treasured moments?

While I’ll always prefer meeting up for coffee (lets grab one soon?),  I poured out my heart in this post just in case you want to know more about me, Ana Woods Photography, and the reason I keep picking up a camera.

And friend? A big THANK YOU for stopping by my website and reading this post. The smallest things like reading the blog, referring me to your friends, or sharing my work has the biggest impact on a small business like mine.


It was the summer of 2012 when I picked up a camera for the first time. I was nineteen years old, home from college, and hungry for something creative to add to my life.

The truth is, I had absolutely no intention of building a photography business. I took pictures of the girls I was nannying and the chocolate chip cookies I baked and the flowers on my parent’s front porch. It felt good, life-giving even, to capture beauty and I felt myself becoming more grateful for all the tiny blessings in my life. If my journey had ended there, it would have been enough.

But God’s plans are much greater than mine and He has a way of crafting the best stories.

Soon enough, people were hiring me to document their lives. I was humbled and excited at the idea that I could possibly make a living off of my passion. In 2014 I photographed my first wedding and by 2016 I worked for myself full-time (and had been voted one of the Top Wedding Photographers in Des Moines).

It was a whirlwind. And sometimes I feel like photography chose me. I am endlessly grateful for this career path and all the ways it has touched my life. From seniors to newborns to weddings to family reunions, I’ve had the honor of playing a small part in so many people’s precious memories (maybe yours, too) and that honor will never get old.


If five photographers took pictures at the same wedding, the images would turn out entirely different.

Isn’t that beautiful? As artists, we bring our life experiences, style, personal inspirations, and unique eye to our work which is why its so important that you choose a photographer with intention.

My personal approach goes a little something like this:

– I believe in capturing true emotion and candid moments while also anticipating when I need to step in and make a beautiful photograph happen. My work is a balance between documentary (capturing moments as they happen) and fine art (intentionally making photos that tell your story).

– I prefer film photography. My portrait work is 97% film because I adore the richness, true-to-life colors, vibrancy, and overall quality that film offers. People often ask how I get my photos to look so dreamy and artistic. The answer? FILM.

– I want my photo sessions to be deeply meaningful (and keepsakes you treasure throughout your lifetime). To do your story justice, I’ll invest time into building a friendship and fully understanding your personality.

– I find inspiration in nature, my grandparent’s era of photography (SO CLASSIC), oil paintings, laughter, Southern hospitality, Martha Stewart magazines, and film.

– I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity. My goal is to provide you with a collection of images that you’ll love, print, frame, and make into heirloom albums…not to send a gallery of thousands of images that’ll never leave your computer.


When its all said and done, my mission is to capture images that inspire you to live a beautiful life (and to leave an inspiring legacy). If my photographs spark gratitude in your heart, then I have done my job.

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