Philadelphia Engagement Session | Janine & Devon

He had one goal - to surprise her. She had packed up her things and moved from North Carolina to Philadelphia, for him. And he couldn't be happier. So under the disguise of "celebrating his new promotion" he took her for a walk down the streets of Manayunk, Philadelphia, casually allowing her to select the delicious Italian restaurant they selected for dinner. And as she laughed, smiled, and dazzled him with her entire being, he turned that normal evening into one she'd never forget. And without him even asking - she said yes. 

Janine & Devon, we are sooo happy to have the opportunity to document the love you share. And to have been able to come to Philadelphia to photograph in a place that means so much to you, we are truly thankful. I'm so glad that a flat tire, rain, and darkness couldn't keep us from showing just how truly in love you are! We cannot wait until your spring wedding next year!

Much Love,

Ariana & Brian

The engagement trailer...

Fearrington Village Engagement | Nathan + Tiffany

Whenever I meet a couple, I ask them two main questions - how they met, and how he proposed. And I love to start these blog posts with wonderfully romantic stories of wonderfully romantic proposals of two wonderfully romantic people. 

This time, we let Nathan and Tiffany tell us their story. A story of two coworkers who became so much more - they became best friends, fell madly in love, and are all set to become a "legit couple" in April 2013!

Nathan and Tiffany - we adore you two!! You're just completely awesome together and we are so glad to have the opportunity to get to know youboth. I knew we are going to have way too much fun at your wedding and I suspect we'll be pulled into dancing right along with the rest of your friends. And trust me, we cannot wait! :D

 

Much Love, 

The Watts

Fun and romantic autumn Chapel Hill engagement session. © Silver Feather Studios, Chapel Hill Wedding Photography and Videography
Fun and romantic autumn Chapel Hill engagement session. © Silver Feather Studios, Pittsboro Wedding Photography and Videography

After we put the dogs away, we did a hop and a skip over to Fearrington Village. I love to let our couples pick out venues that fit them and this was THE perfect spot for Nathan & Tiffany!

Romantic couples photography at Fearrington Village, in Pittsboro, NC. © Silver Feather Studios, Pittsboro Wedding Photography and Videography
Beautiful sunset light at this Fearrington Village, engagement session Pittsboro, NC. © Silver Feather Studios, Pittsboro Wedding Photography and Videography
Sweet cuddling at this romantic autumn engagement session at Fearrington Village. © Silver Feather Studios, Pittsboro Wedding Photography and Videography

I adore this sweet shot. These two have cuddling down to a science.

Sweet cuddling at this romantic autumn engagement session at Fearrington Village. © Silver Feather Studios, Pittsboro Wedding Photography and Videography

And no, this is not a J. Crew ad - but they do look like models! 

Modern posing on the cow pastures at Fearrington Village for this autumn engagement session. © Silver Feather Studios, Chapel Hill Wedding Videography and Photography
Sweet cuddling at this romantic autumn engagement session at Fearrington Village. © Silver Feather Studios, Chapel Hill Wedding Videography and Photography
Oreo cows make a fabulous backdrop for this Fearrington Village engagement session. © Silver Feather Studios, Chapel Hill Wedding Videography and Photography
Fun cuddling at this romantic autumn Fearrington Village engagement session.© Silver Feather Studios, Chapel Hill Wedding Videography and Photography
Gorgeous bride Tiffany at her Fearrington Village engagement session in Pittsboro, NC. © Silver Feather Studios, Chapel Hill Wedding Videography and Photography
Romantic barn images at this Fearrington Village engagement session in Pittsboro, NC. © Silver Feather Studios, Chapel Hill Wedding Videography and Photography

Ending with one of my favorite shots of these two, and a lovely photo-bombing cameo of the classic Fearrington Village "Oreo" cows!

Romantic and modern Fearrington Village engagement session. © Silver Feather Studios, Chapel Hill Wedding Videography and Photography

Thanks for stopping by! :)

In the end... | Wedding Photographer in Burlington, NC

So honesty time... This past weekend Faces In Focus had it's first wedding (photos will be up on Wednesday). Officially unofficially. And i'm not sure if I'm supposed to tell you all that, world, but I feel I should. Because otherwise I couldn't tell you about how much I learned in such a short span of time.

The past few weddings I've photographed were very relaxed, no pressure weddings. Friends of mine who didn't mind me taking a few extra pictures. And while I loved how they turned out, I had yet to experience a complete, on my own, this-is-your-JOB-so-don't-screw-up kind of wedding.

And experience I did. Saturday was a blaze of revised schedules, guys who are wondering why I'm ruining their relaxing morning of video games with my darn camera, and several "What do I do now?" moments. It was quite a rush when I had an idea, and I was able to make it come to life. And then a disappointment when I got home and realized it wasn't as awesome as I hoped, or that'd I'd overexposed someone's shirt or face.

In the end, I was happy with my photos. Happy with the fact that I was actually able to make all the craziness in my head actually appear on camera. Happy that I had pictures I'd never taken before, that were new and different. And, in the end, I was disappointed. Because I didn't speak up when I wanted. Or direct the way I should. Or explain in a way that made them understand.

But, really, in the end, I learned. I grew. I felt it in my bones that I hadn't just accomplished something that I imagined, but I'd taken a step up in the growing process. I was learning. And next time, I'll be better. Better than before. Better than ever.

I just hope that in the times after that, I can say the same thing. Because, in the end, all the matters is that you grow.

 

~Ariana

Thank You Husband.

Yesterday was an emotional roller coaster, and somehow you managed to ride the entire ride without throwing up so I just wanted to say thank you.


Thank you for jumping up and down with me when I got excited.

Thank you for calming me down when I started freaking out.

Thank you for telling me that I would be great and to stop being nervous.

Thank you for listening to my incessant babbling about photography that occurred the rest of the night!

Thank you for not saying that I should have never got my hopes up when it all came crashing down.

Thank you for letting me cry and keep you awake to the wee hours of the morning.

Thank you for wiping my tears away because I was sad.

Thank you for reminding me that I'm worth it.

Thank you for hugging me this morning and not telling me to get over it.

Thank you for being my husband.


So yeah, thank you for all that. You're amazing. And I love you. You make me very happy.

~Ariana

Losing things in plain sight | Burlington, NC Wedding Photographer

I was a little remiss about what to write about today. I had a few ideas but hadn't decided on one yet. So I wrote them down. On a bright HOT pink sticky note.

Five minutes later, i reached for my sticky notes to write another idea... and it's gone. I mean literally, it's missing. I searched for another five minutes trying to figure out if I dropped it on the floor, if I was sitting on it, or if I threw it in the trashcan. Iliterally checked the trashcan. Because how often do you misplace sticky notes when you haven't MOVED from your SEAT?

I believe this happens to me at least once a day. Sometimes twice. And I never understand it. Three hours later, I'll sit down and BAM, it's right there. In front of me. Where I know I looked at least twenty times. So maybe tiny little creatures live under my desk and run around moving stuff just to mess with me! Because how else can I explain it. Unless I'm LOSING MY MIND! Which is quite possible. However I'd rather blame it on the little creatures. Because that certainly goes a long way to convincing people I'm not crazy, doesn't it?

I wish I had some moral of the story. Something like, "Don't write your life on sticky notes, it might get stolen." But frankly I'm just annoyed that I lost my post-its. Again.

 

P.S. By the way, I found the sticky notes. Those annoying little pests had thrown it on the floor under my desk BEHIND the trash can. Those rascals. I should call an exterminator.

Don't Rain on My Parade

If you're a Glee fan, you'll likely remember this song from sectionals. Here are a few lyrics.

Don’t tell me not to live, just sit and putter
Life’s candy and the sun’s a ball of butter
Don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade
— Funny Girl


What, you ask, is the point? (or more accurately, why in the world is she talking about GLEE?!)

The point is... RAIN. And weddings. And rain on wedding days. And how to deal. :)

I think one question that comes up for a lot of brides is what happens if it rains. How will we take pictures? Will it mess up my hair or dress? How will it affect my schedule?

It rained on my wedding day. And surprisingly, I had never actually considered that it might do that! In my mind, I just figured that it wouldn't happen, because that would be inconvenient and unfair. However, it did. And I realized, I'm really not that important! Not to the clouds anyway! But here are a couple things I learned.


Image by Marcus McDowell of Perfect Pixel Photography.

Image by Marcus McDowell of Perfect Pixel Photography.

1.Take pictures outside anyway - it's a great opportunity to rock a black umbrella!

Just picture it - stunning white dress, bold black umbrella, brilliant greenery behind you... it's the ideal picture! And in case your mental camera is out of batteries, here's how it looks:


Marcus MacDowell - Perfect Pixel Photography

This turned out to be one of my favorite photos, along with the rest of the umbrella pictures. So be bold girls! 


 2. Your dress is incredibly resilient!

My incredible friend, Shanna, drove us around that crazy day and had the brilliant forethought to carry out a HUGE pink blanket. We used this to protect my dress from even touching the ground and getting mud or dirt on it. Great right? But hello?! It's RAINING. My dress is getting WET. Oh em Gee. Yes, I was that dramatic. But girls, I'm happy to say that my dress did not fall apart, melt, or come apart at the seams. However my dress was satin, so if your dress is taffeta or chiffon, you may want to consult your bridal consultant, just in case. :)



3. The rain enhances a gorgeous background!

Image by Marcus McDowell of Perfect Pixel Photography.

Image by Marcus McDowell of Perfect Pixel Photography.

 

And by that I mean, when everything is wet, it shines. And when it shines, those colors are so much more brilliant in your photos, as shown below.

The pavement was a more brilliant black, the green was much more vibrant and really enhanced the subjects of the photos, making the groomsmen truly stand out. 

 

 

 

 

So while rain is a formidable opponent and may delay things just a bit, it can be worked out, I promise. Hair can be retouched, makeup can be reapplied. Girls, the ONLY one who can rain on your parade... is you. So be fierce, rock it, and have the time of your life. It's your WEDDING day!

Enjoy it!

~Ariana

To tweet or not to tweet? | Burlington, NC Wedding Photographer

THAT is the question. No, seriously, it is. I've been going back and forth with my husband Brian. 

What's the point? No one knows you!

But Brian, how will they know me if I don't give them something to know! Hello?! Duh!

Since I so obviously won that argument with my convincing rebuttal (you know, the DUH! part) I've officially started using Twitter. I mean I've been on it for quite some time, and follow some people. And currently three out of my six followers are related and haven't been on in over six months. That being said, I'm jumping in anyway!

So I'm being all fabulous like Kelly Moore Clark & Jasmine Star. Who want's to be fab with me? 

If you'd like to follow me and my sarcastic, boring self, then hop on over. And if you want to be cool and win arguments with a simple Duh! then follow me and learn the ways of the Ariana.

Yes I'm lame. So?

Happy Tweeting!

~Ariana

Inspired by a Star | Burlington, NC Wedding Photographer

So while I was on vacation, I wanted to accomplish one thing - read through Jasmine Star's entire blog. She's an in-CRED-ible photographer that I immediately began to admire from the very first post I read. While I'm only about halfway through (since she's been blogging since 2006!) I've already learned so much!

From a photographer's standpoint, she's smart and innovative. Her pictures continually tell the story in every shot, and have this incredible way of taking pictures that makes me feel like I can reach out and touch the people. She's quite amazing.

But what I really, really love about her? She's HILARIOUS! I mean rolling on the floor, tears streaming, can't catch my breath funny. (Which, more than likely, would probably get me bonus points in her book, simply because I think she's funny!) And we eerily have way too many thing in common. For example, she thought Wicked was the best musical by far - which it is. She has an odd obsession with Post-it Notes, and clearly agrees that they're the best thing 3M ever created. Ever. She gets together with her friends to watch America's Next Top Model, which I think is fierce.

But the biggest kicker? She's half Puerto Rican. JUST LIKE ME!! 

So while I try to get rid of the notion that we're meant to meet one day (since that's highly unlikely), I read her blog. From beginning to end. I try to absorb everything I possibly can because Jasmine Star is a photographer I want to learn from.

That's what I'm doing now, sitting in pajamas, drinking Mountain Dew, reading her blog and taking notes - on Post-Its.

And since the first thing I learned from Jasmine Star is that all posts are better with a picture - here's a snapshot of my very well written notes... 

Learning how to brand and run a business via Jasmine Star's blog. 
Notes taken from reading the entirety of Jasmine Star's blog. 

Headaches, Tears, and Wedding Dresses

So the other night, I had a massive headache. Like, can't open your left eye because it hurts so bad - that kind of massive. Meanwhile, I was supposed to be packing for my upcoming trip. Not the most thrilling of evenings.

I popped on the TV, hoping for a distraction and, lo and behold, I came across a show called Say Yes to the Dress. I don't think I've ever actually watched this show but I figure hey, dramatic girls in white dresses can't really make you feel any worse, can it?

I watched about three episodes - cried each time. I mean it's been months since my wedding, I should be over this right? WRONG! I mean who knew it could make me so happy seeing the look on a woman's face when she just knew she had the found THE dress. Whether it was tears, or that shocked silence (because she just couldn't believe THIS was IT), tears literally welled up in my eyes each time. Literally! I almost got up and put on my wedding dress, just for an excuse to wear it again. Unfortunately (or fortunately) due to my recent move, it was hanging up in a closet... behind about ten boxes. I guess I'll save that for another day.

If you've read this post, you would know how crazy last year was for me. So many weddings, so little time - you would think i'd be wedding-ed out! And yet, I still LOVE weddings. LOVE them. The details... the dresses... the love. Above all, the love. It's in everything - the guests, the bride and groom, even the cake topper! Everything means something, and I guess that why I love photographing weddings. Because how often do you really get to capture true love?

And my post just got really, really CORNY! But who cares? I'm a sucker for weddings.

And proud of it! 

{Ariana}

 

P.S. and just for the sake of having a photo here's a pic of the wedding dress that sooo completes me...

Image courtesy of our wedding photographer, Marcus McDowell of Pixel Perfect Photography.

Image courtesy of our wedding photographer, Marcus McDowell of Pixel Perfect Photography.

Nikon D5000 | Burlington, NC Lifestyle Photographer

I've been a film junkie for years now. Since I learned photography with my handy-dandy Canon EOS Rebel, I only used black and white film. To me, you couldn't get much better quality than that. Digital always lost something, like the photo had somehow lost the soul, the personality I try so hard to find. Of course I know A LOT of people who would disagree, and I have to admit, I've slowly come around to the idea that digital isn't so bad and goodness gracious I better keep up with the 21st Century.

But if I was going to switch from film to digital, I knew I had to do it big. It had to be a GREAT camera with a quality that critics raved about. And I think I found it! The Nikon D5000 seems like a great transitional camera. It has some great features, but since I'm relatively new to digital, I'm going to have to study up on those. Good thing I'm a fast learner! :-) Can't wait to try out my new camera - I'll have to let you know how it goes!

 

Forever etched,

Ariana

The year 2009... | Burlington, NC Lifestyle Photographer

A word from Ariana:

In 2009 I attended five weddings, ten bridal showers, three graduation parties, one baby shower, one graduation, and one engagement. I planned my own wedding, was a maid of honor in my best friend's (and co-photographers) wedding, was a bridesmaid in a third wedding, planned four of the ten bridal showers i attended, helped with the baby shower and two of the graduation parties, and was the sole paparazzi of the oh-so-romantic engagement.

So guess how many of these events I caught on camera? Out of all twenty incredibly special events? TEN! And they're some of the most unexpected pictures I've ever taken! The wonderful part was that since I was so closely involved most of the time, I had the glorious opportunity to always be behind the scenes. The photographs I took were things nobody else had the opportunity to see - like my best friend putting on her fake eyelashes for her wedding, or my dear friend getting her hair done. I got to be there all day, snapping away at every chance i got. 

I look back on the past year and think, what will make Faces In Focus different from everybody else? And i know what it is. It's getting to know my client, establishing a friendship, and becoming their eyes from the moment they begin that day to the moment it ends - whether it's a graduation or bridal shower, an engagement shoot or a wedding. It doesn't matter, because no one can see everything that goes on, but maybe two people can. And three people? Well that's the icing on the cake!

So what will YOU get from Faces In Focus? All the time you need, two extra pairs of eyes, and everything you didn't know you missed forever etched onto photographic paper. At a price that you won't drop your jaw at either. But that's just a minor plus.

 

Forever etched,

Ariana