Bridal Session at The Pavilions at Angus Barn | Morgan

Literally EVERY TIME  a bride meets with me and asks about doing a bridal session, I give her the exact same warning... "Sure, I do them, but if you're looking for a super traditional Southern bride type session, you won't get that with me. We're going to seriously rock your dress and be silly and fun with it. You down?"

Of course, they usually say yes... AND TOTALLY DELIVER. Look how AMAZING Morgan looks in her gown. That leg kick is EVERYTHING!

Venue: The Pavilions at Angus Barn


Butler Chapel Bridal Session | Brittany

Brittany was married a couple of weeks ago in Dunn, which means that as of her big day, I get to share her gorgeous bridals!! I don't do bridals all that often, so each one is a fun treat, and has me referencing back to all those years of watching America's Next Top Model. She absolutely rocked Butler Chapel and the Campbell University campus - it was well worth the drive! 

Can't wait to share her wedding on the blog in a couple weeks!

Three Steps to Your best Self(ie)

I had the pleasure of being photographed again fairly recently, and I love it because getting in front of the camera helps me understand the mind of both the photographer and the subject. Which I, of course, found extremely useful in my business AND personal selfie taking.

Of course, since Mabyn was the brilliant photographer behind the camera, and I was the crazy-haired photographer in front of the camera, we thought this might be the perfect opportunity to do something really fun!

So today, we decided to do two collaborative blog posts on getting your best portraits/selfies/etc - me, speaking from the viewpoint of the "model" and Mabyn speaking from the viewpoint of the photographer. I will be sharing a few of my absolutely favorite tips  that will help you show off your best and sexiest side, using actual images of me doing the thing. These tips will help you whether you're taking a selfie for instagram, posing for a quick snapshot with friends, or being photographed with your new cute fiance!

Then, if you're eager to know how to direct someone ELSE into the best poses and looks, visit Mabyn's blog for her brilliant portrait-taking tips from behind the lens!


1. Smize

If you've watched America's Next Top Model, like, ever, you will be very much aware of this word and it's meaning. If you haven't, well you clearly don't know what you're missing! 

Smize is the act of smiling with your eyes, a word completely coined by Tyra Banks but that I still use on a regular basis. Here's how you do it:

  1. Look into the camera/mirror and relax your face. Now pretend the cutest guy in the world is walking towards you - we'll call him Thor.
  2. Since you're not sure it's actually Thor, you're going to squint your eyes. Not a lot, you're not blind. Just enough to create a little tension, but you don't want to feel any other part of your face move. Channel your inner sexy into your eyes.
  3. Now, because you're actually shocked that Thor is coming towards you, part your lips just a bit, with a soft inhale. 
  4. Tilt your chin down just slightly to bring more focus to your eyes and BAM, you're doing it.
  5. Hurry up and take the photograph before it's gone.

I have found that the key to this is going for the tension then slowly releasing it. When I was being photographed, Mabyn told me that my eyes would get really big and intense, so in my head, I added the last step of softening my squint (by blinking once) and my lips (by breathing in, then out). I can still feel the tiniest bit of tension but my eyes come across far less fierce. Not that fierce is bad, but it isn't always what I'm going for.

How this helps your selfie: two words - sexy. eyes. they're the windows to the soul after all aren't they?

2. Do Something With Your Hands. 

Every time we photograph a session I get the "what do I do with my hands?" question. My absolute favorite suggestions for hands are these:

  1. Always have your hands touching something - your hip, your waist, your neck. Give them something to do.
  2. Keep your hands soft. If they're too tense, they look like claw hands, If you don't do anything with them, they're dead hands. Neither are ever attractive.
  3. Add asymmetry. Don't put your hands on the same level. If one hand is on your hip, let one lay softly on your thigh. If an elbow is resting on your leg, allow your other arm to fall further down (like my pose on the right).

How this helps your selfie: I repeat, claw hands and dead hands, they're just not pretty.

3. Lean Forward, and put your weight back

A little camera trick for you - whenever you lean your hips away from the camera, you actually elongate yourself from and make the widest part of you smaller. So lean at least one shoulder into the camera to create a nice long curve to your body. Also, push your weight onto your back leg, and pop that front knee - you create an S-Curve from your shoulder, hip and leg, instead of a A-Curve when you do the opposite.

How this helps your selfie: you look thinner, so #winning.

A photo posted by Ariana Watts (@thewatts_sfs) on

A Few more selfie tips:


1. Find good natural light. Iphones NEED amazing light, so head towards a window my dear.

2. Hold the camera up. Along with the Lean Forward tip, this helps to create a generally longer (and subsequently thinner) feel to your body. Make sure that camera is eye level or higher, and with the Smize trick, you could take a killer selfie.

3. Use a good background. Solid walls, dark curtains, etc. make great backdrop and bring the focus to your lovely face. 

4. Don't use the front facing camera. Convenient? Yes. But the quality is SO bad compared to the regular camera that you're better taking multiples and getting a higher quality shot. The better your selfie in the camera, the better it will look on Instagram!

This is one of my favorites - I took it by bringing my black curtain around the back of my head and standing in the window light. BOOM.



okay Ariana, now what if I'm BEHIND the camera? how do I direct people into these poses when i'm in charge?

Ah, that is a FABulous question. And I have JUST THE POST for you!!

Find out Mabyn's 4 Steps for the Prettiest Portraits on her blog!

She gives her best tips from the viewpoint of the photographer, and will help you direct your clients or friends into their best self(ie).

Hope you enjoyed this little collaboration of ideas and awesome! Tune in tomorrow for a post where I get really real about feeling like a failure and making sure you take time to remember the things that make you brilliant!



The Leslie-Alford Mims House Grand Opening

Last year we filmed this stunning wedding at the Merrimon-Wynne House in Raleigh and met this adorable creature named Priscilla who I immediately wanted to shrink and carry around in my pocket because she was so stinkin' cute. She's a talented and brilliant wedding planner and I immediately took a liking and subscribed to her blog because obvious reasons - look at her site!

When she announced back in November she was opening a new venue, I was so excited for her and I was fully confident that it would be fabulous. So Brian and I were thrilled when she asked us to make a little film of their grand opening this past March! We knew it would be something special, and special it was. We had the chance to meet Brooke, Priscilla's partner in this venture, and another slice of adorableness.  The venue is beautifully restored, with stunning details everywhere. With an Alice in Wonderland theme, they put together a spectacular team of vendors who seriously killed it - from the Lewis Carroll quotes on the wall to the fireplace displays all the way down to the clock adorned bar. It was ten shades of perfection. 

And the party. THE PARTY. I didn't dance (because I don't dance alone and i didn't have a wingman and therefore revert into a scaredy-cat) but goodness gracious did I want to!

Here is the inside look and behind the scenes view of the new Leslie-Alford Mims House!! 

Beautiful isn't it? They have an informal Open House every Wednesday from 4-7 so go see it's perfection for yourself! And my dear lovely brides, if you weren't sure about doing a bridal session, I have found the perfect place for you! :*

Have a happy Wednesday your loveliness! xo!

Love Notes


We love all our clients, because, well, they are awesome. And they are funny. And they say really really nice things that make us want to cry and skip for joy and do back flips and ride unicorns and lots of other overly joyed happy things.

For example, there is this site called Wedding Wire (maybe you've heard of it since it's like Grand Central Wedding Station and all) . And some of our really fantastic clients are on that lovely site, and over the past couple of months have left us some incredible reviews. We thought we'd share some of their backflip-inducing words... :) 

 Wedding Review for North Carolina Wedding Photographer and Videographer, Silver Feather Studios on Wedding Wire.

   Wedding Review for North Carolina Wedding Photographer and Videographer, Silver Feather Studios on Wedding Wire.


We genuinely get to work with some of the most fantastic couples. In fact, we already LOVE every single bride and groom we've booked for next year and are excited to know that 2014 will be just as wonderful, if not more. As always, I thank ALL of my lovely couples for being so. darn. awesome. Hugs and kisses to all my fave people - you know who you are! ;-)


To see more reviews from our previous clients, visit our website


Face to Face: Engagement Sessions - Infusing Personality

Well, it's been a little while but we finally have the final episode of the Face to Face Engagement Series! To watch the first two videos, click on the links below.

Getting the Look for Your Engagement Session

Choosing a Location for Your Engagement Session

Now we have the final episode - the icing on the engagement session! Get tips on how to bring the YOU into the session and infuse your relationship and personality to make something fun and unique!

Enjoy! :)

Check out these great examples of couples who included personal items and actions for their session:

 John Deere tractor and donkeys add personality to this Chapel Hill Countryside engagement session.
 Blankets and dogs make great props for this Chapel Hill countryside engagement session.
 Cupcakes from Sugarland at this UNC Chapel Hill Engagement Session.
 Erin & Adam bring footballs to their engagement session
 Photography session in the game section of the Raleigh NC State Fair.
 Engagement photo on the carousel at the Raleigh, NC State Fair.

Face to Face: Engagement Sessions - The Look

We are back with another episode of Face to Face! If you haven't seen Episode One of the engagement series on choosing a location, click on the link below:

Choosing a Location for Your Engagement Session

Caught up? Awesome, because that brings you to part two - getting the right look for your session. In this episode I give tips on:

  1. Choosing an outfit that matches your venue.
  2. Picking out clothes that bring out your best.
  3. How to feel super confident for your session.

Happy watching! :)

If you're looking for ideas, inspiration, colors, and outfit choices, follow our Pinterest board at, or click on the photo below!

We'll be recording and releasing the next video in the series in the next few weeks, so stop on by and check in.

Have a fabulous Friday! :)

Face to Face: Engagement Session Locations

Happy Monday everyone! Thanks for stopping by today - we have something super special for you guys today. Brian and I are happy to introduce a new series we're calling Face to Face

Disclaimer: We tried this once before, like two years ago! It was a great first start, but I had a hard time convincing myself to get in the front of the camera again and talk so we only ever did one. Mostly because I find I have THE most annoying voice everrrr... Over the years I've come to terms with my voice, I guess, and am ready to try this all over again!

We've decided to start off with a little series on the topic of engagement sessions. This first episode is all about the location. Click on the video below to watch and then hop on over to YouTube to subscribe and be notified when we release the next one!

As promised in the video, here are a few examples of our couples who have used some of the ideas mentioned.

1. Janine & Devon: 

Devon proposed to Janine at a restaurant in Manayunk, so we used that area and street as a backdrop to their Philadelphia engagement session.

2. Kelly & Hugh

Kelly grew up in Chapel Hill, just a few streets away from the UNC Chapel Hill. It's also where she attended school. Again, perfect backdrop to tell their story.

3. Kim & Wally

Both of these two love everything about the Raleigh State Fair, and it's something that they do together every year. It certainly added a special touch to their session.

We hope you enjoyed this post today! If you have any ideas or questions for future episodes, feel free to leave them in the comments below. :)

Have a fabulous rest of the day!