Des Moines, Iowa Based Wedding And Portrait Photography

Mentoring & Educational Resources for Fine Art Photographers

I'm Ana Woods

Beauty took hold of my heart on a June day when I was ten years old. I was walking along the gardens outside my grandparent's house and in the distance, I noticed sunlight pouring through a tall grove of trees. As if in a trance, I wandered right into the midst of that beautiful scene and sunk to my knees with my face upturned to the sky.

A cool breeze rustled through the branches. Dappled light fell on the soft grass. And in that moment I wanted nothing more than to bottle up the magic. Instead, I tucked it in my heart and grew up like children must do.

It was through photography that I dusted off those corners of my soul and rediscovered the magic in this world.

Of course, growing up hasn't been all that bad. I married the kindhearted boy I fell in love with in high school, spent many nights belly laughing over wine with family, and moved to the cozy farmhouse of my dreams. Yet somewhere in all the growing, I lost that innocent part of myself that saw magic in the simplest things.

With every click of the shutter, I found the miracle in toddler giggles, tearful ceremonies, and sunlight streaming through open windows. It's like I learned how to bottle up the magic I had experienced on that June day so many years ago. 

For me, photography is seeing the world through the eyes of a child. It's about being wide-eyed and open hearted to the beauty that surrounds us.

Six years later and my camera is still an extension of my hand. I've witnessed countless love stories, welcomed new life into my studio, traveled across the world, and documented the seasons and moments that make up our lives. But beyond just the pretty pictures, my heart is what truly has changed. When you've taken hundreds of thousands of pictures, you quickly find that there is immense beauty in the mundane. That photography is really just a form of gratitude for our lives.

I believe that a good photograph, like all beautiful things, has the power to steal your breath, move you to tears, and help you find pieces of yourself that have been missing.  And that's really why I keep picking up my camera. Because if more people looked at this world with the love and whimsy of a child, it would be a better place.  I would be honored to capture your moments through my trusty lens, but if nothing else, I hope you choose to see this world through sparkling eyes.

Today, I live on an acreage outside of Des Moines, Iowa with my husband and our slew of animals (including a French bulldog and flock of backyard chickens). I'm typically dreaming up new projects, writing over at Ana Leigh Woods and Little House and the Woods, reading, or baking something sweet. My life is a big mess of creativity, mishaps, love, and grace...and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm so glad our paths have crossed.