Stacy & Mistie – Married 7.3.15

My cousin-in-law (if that’s not a thing, it is now!) got engaged over the holidays to the man of her dreams and they set their sights on having their wedding for the 4th of July weekend at their farm. Two things I love: celebrating our nation’s independence and farms! Count me in! She wanted this day to be special (well, what bride doesn’t?) so she asked any family members or friends that she could to participate. Me being the family photographer happily said yes to this request and together we planned out her day! I even helped get a playlist going for the ceremony!

She was keeping it small; just family and a few close friends so it was a very casual wedding. Also something right down my ally! (I so wanted a backyard wedding myself but the logistics just didn’t work out!) They planned to have the whole thing outside at their farm house. After their first dance she planned on them taking off their wedding attire and putting on more casual clothes and just party the night away! Unfortunately, the day before the wedding the forecast called for thunderstorms the next evening. They held off as much as they could but that morning when it said 100% chance of thunderstorms during the time of their ceremony they decided to pull everything indoors. Bummer. I don’t think there’s anything that can crush a bride’s spirit more than envisioning your day to be one way and then suddenly it doesn’t turn out that way. But some how Mistie’s spirit was never crushed and the only thing she cared about was being Stacy’s bride and ending the night as his wife. They are seriously the perfect couple!

Luckily, Stacy’s father’s farm house was just down the road and he had a living room/wedding ceremony room built into his house all ready to go! It may have been the first wedding to happen in that room but it was perfect! Big, open and rustic. His house also offered the perfect backdrop for all of their wedding photos. Big stone patio, large open land and a huge corn field, plus lots of old ford trucks around the property!

It didn’t end up storming but there was a little rain just before the ceremony. The sun peeked out for a moment while we did some portraits outside which came out amazing!

We headed back to their home for the reception. The DJ was set up in the living room where they had their first dance. Personally, I love that they got to have their reception at their house. Every time they sit or walk through their living room they can be reminded of their first dance as husband and wife and how they were able to spend the entire evening surrounded by the most important people in their lives, celebrating their love for one another. We sure danced a lot that night! And I say “we” because I definitely got in on that action! When we said our goodbyes and I walked outside I saw what they had set up originally. They had huge wooden crates where they had planned to have the food and DJ set up and lots of string lights in the trees lighting up the whole back yard. It was so pretty!

I want to wish Mistie and Stacy Quincy a very happily every after! You both deserve it!

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Katalina turns ONE!

I may have been looking forward to this session almost as much as Katalina’s mom was! We talked about photo session locations, outfits and props for months beforehand. She would send me outfits from Etsy and I would send her pins for party decoration ideas on Pinterest. I basically have become a self-proclaimed aunt to this sweet little girl and I have enjoyed every aunt-duty during her first year! In fact, she is the first little one I have been able to photograph for all those fun 3-month increments that moms love to do! Here’s that little collage I put together:


We split this birthday session into two days. My ideas for both outfits required two different locations, both ideally at sunset. We started at the beach for her cake smash. Aside from the humidity and a million-gazillion gnats attacking us, it was a beautiful evening! My “natural” essential oils bug spray did not work. You’d like I would have learned my lesson from a year ago when I was in that situation. Or really, how every evening is when I step outside. Poor Katalina left the beach with more bug bites than cake frosting on herself! She did not want to get messy! Which is weird because she loves getting messy in a nice pile of dirt! Maybe she just wasn’t hungry…

The second day ended up having storm clouds roll in just as we were setting up so my vision of a field lit up with golden sunlight didn’t happen. But with a little lady as cute as miss Kat, you don’t need the added beauty of sunlight! I still absolutely love these images of her in this field, and that dress! Momma found it on Etsy and I want her to find me one in my size!

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And here’s a peek into her mermaid-themed birthday party, complete with delicious seafood! It was my first time eating crabs!

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The Morris Family

A few years ago before I moved to the area, the Morris family had just become a family of three. They visited Myrtle Beach and had some of the first family portraits taken of them and their baby girl, Caroline. Fast forward a few years and they came back as a family of five! Cammie wanted to re-create some of the pictures taken of Caroline with their second daughter Caswell. From being on the same stretch of beach to some of the same outfits that Caroline wore, Caswell had her first outdoor photo shoot to match her older sister! (The funny thing is, she looks like her brother Charlie when he was a baby!)

We met on the beach in the morning and like all beach sessions with young children, they were more interested in playing in the sand that looking at Miss Kirsten with the camera! Finally, at the end, I got Caswell’s attention with some Doobie Brothers. Who wouldn’t want to smile and groove along to “Listen to the Music”?


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Mommy and Me mini sessions

Back when I was living in Massachusetts I offered my clients my first mini session series for a “mommy and me” shoot. I didn’t anticipate the huge demand and my sessions sold out within a couple hours! In fact, I added additional hours to one day and an entire second day to accommodate everyone, plus I had a couple ladies on a wait list in case someone dropped out! I figured since that was such a huge hit I would offer the same thing down here!

This time though, instead of just taking pictures, I wanted to have a really cute set-up that was fun and inspired by spring! I decided to have a “tea time picnic” theme under a big willow tree at a local park. I planned on the weekend before Mother’s Day and after having such a rainy spring, I really lucked out with having a gorgeous, sunny day!

For the set up I went through my house and found blankets, pillows, the coffee table, wooden box and blue mason jars to be vases for the flowers. Then I searched everywhere for some really cute tea cups at local antique shops and borrowed some children’s books from my town’s library. I knew I had at least one little boy coming for a session and I didn’t think tea cups really fit so I also made a tee-pee! I love getting my creative juices going! Taking photographs makes me happy but so does planning and creating! I loved the way everything came out! Take a look!

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First up was Heather and her daughter Lexi. First, I need to give them a huge thank you, because in the rush to pack everything up and drive to the park, I left both batteries that I normally have with me at my house! AHHH! Serious anxiety moment. Luckily I live less than 5 minutes from the park so I flew home (quite literally) and had a great rest of the day after that!

Lexi was so cute! She loved reading all the books the most. She thought the very old book of children’s fables was a Bible!

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My next morning session was new mom Priscilla with her beautiful daughter Henley. Such a pretty duo of girls and cute session for her first Mother’s Day! My favorite part was towards the end, trying to get Henley to smile, Priscilla sang to her. She claimed she had a terrible voice but she really doesn’t and Henley really loved her rendition of “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider”.

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I took a break after my morning sessions until later in the afternoon. This weekend last year was very hot and I did not want me or my clients outside in the heat. It ended up being a bit cooler but it still worked out great! My afternoon sessions meant the sun was in a different spot in the sky so now it was behind us instead of in front. Back-lit pictures rock!

Briana and Peyton were my first afternoon ladies. I probably took way more pictures here than I needed to only because, well, not only are these girls gorgeous, but I am a huuuge sucker for anything country. When they walked up wearing country lace dresses and cowboy boots, my heart went pitter-patter! I had to take them away from the set up for a moment and take pictures in the field of tall grass for a few shots. I love Briana and Peyton’s relationship. You can tell they are inseparable besties and I really hope to one day have a relationship like that with my daughter if I ever have one!

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Remember when I did the post about Colin at seven-months old then his first birthday? Well this is him five months later! How does a child go from being one year old to looking like he’s about to go into kindergarten in five months!? I literally could not believe my eyes when I saw him walk up. He wasn’t a baby anymore, he was a man! Little man, but… still not looking like 17 months old.

Sheila brought along her mother to this session to Colin’s grandma was able to be part of of “mommy and me” as well! He had so much fun playing in and around my tee-pee! *Fist pump* for great craftsmanship!

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Last but not least was the beautiful Sheila and Harper! Sheila, of course, looked gorgeous as always and Harper’s dress was absolutely adorable! Can my future baby girl have her hand-me-downs? She is definitely a girly-girl right down to loving the tea cups! She did not want to put them down! Literally. When we tried taking them away to try other poses she got pretty teary-eyed! But that just meant we’d have a really cute tea party session!

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The Lefauve Family

How many of you follow me on Instagram? I don’t mean my personal one; the one I have for my work! How many are aware I have one? If you don’t follow me, shame on you! Just kidding. Go on, find me @k.arielphoto and give me a follow! That’s what this family did! Sam was the first person to contact me to set up a session based on my Instagram photos!

Her family had just moved to wonderful little Southport and she was wanting new family photos to plaster the walls of their new home with. Our session was towards the end of spring just before all the blooming flowers faded into green shrubbery. The pink rhododendrons were so beautiful! Full of buzzing bees, but still beautiful! :)

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Nico turns ONE!

Nico, short for, the cutest heart-breaker ever, turned one-year old at the end of April! We did his cake-smash session the day after his birthday party with family and friends. You know you had a successful first birthday when you’re a rock star for your photo shoot and then pass right out for nap time right after smashing a cake! :)

The morning was a little rainy so we had to set up indoors but stepped outside for a couple shots. Even though this child is only one year old, I still can’t get over how handsome he is! Is that weird? I mean, his face, those eyes, his outfits… he is A.dorable! The best part is he totally knows it and loves to flirt. But who could say no to that face?! He will have so many girlfriends by the time he graduates kindergarten! Watch out Mary and Frank! Can I be first?? :)

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Katie Mae

This beautiful lady and her husband were expecting their first baby at the end of April. At the beginning of April, the more I saw her, the more I felt like she was not going to last until then. We did her maternity session when she was about 36 weeks on a Friday and they welcomed their beautiful baby girl one week later! Great timing!

Before having a human baby, Katie Mae was first a mother to two English Setters, Gunner and Molly, so she wanted to incorporate them into her session. Gunner was a lot more attentive and attached to his mommy than Molly was so he’s actually the only one we were able to get pictures with.

We took a lot of pictures inside her almost finished nursery, and oh my goodness, I fell in love! With items from Ikea and The Land of Nod, this room was, as I like to say, Pinterest-worthy! Has anyone else seen a mermaid-themed room before? Of course, Katie Mae coordinated so perfectly in that room with her gorgeous red hair! Check it out!

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Adam and Jackee – Married 3.28.15

This wedding was so fantastic! From the beginning I knew it wasn’t going to be your typical wedding. Jackee asked me to shoot her wedding because she wanted as many friends and family involved in her big day as possible. I had photographed her family before and we have been in touch ever since so this made sense for her! She told me that they are planning a Gatsby-themed wedding on the top floor ballroom at an old historic building in downtown Raleigh that the couple actually met at. That in itself is the cutest thing ever. How many people can get married at the same location where they met? She also told me that it will be a later wedding, therefore there will only be a desert bar, no sit-down meal. Oh, well, dessert will be just fine! Especially the smorgasborg that Rocky Top Catering provided!

This was also the very first wedding I have shot without a second shooter. I figured it would be fine since it was a smaller event and a smaller space but having wedding coordinator Nicole from Vision Events really made my work a lot easier. She and her assistant worked so well together and kept everything so smooth and even helped me out when I needed it!

So I drive up to Raleigh and check in to my hotel room that she had blocked off for me and I was handed the sweetest welcome bag ever! And I mean sweet! It had all sweet things that are southern or from North Carolina such as a bottle of Cheerwine (no it’s not wine, it’s like a cherry cola!), a can of local beer, Moonpies and Krispy Kreme donut holes!

Over to the venue I went and headed to the 11th floor where everyone was getting ready. The Capital Club building used to be a gentleman’s club way back in the day, I’m guessing the 1920s but is now a restaurant on the first floor (where Adam and Jackee met) offices in the middle floors and the 11th and 12th floors are for events. It didn’t take long for the girls to be ready, surprisingly. We took her “getting ready” pictures and since she had so much time left over, she just took her dress off again and waited in her robe until time got closer! How is that possible? I’m almost jealous over that! Adam, on the other hand was a little more rushed. He was in charge of blowing up ALL of the balloons that were needed for the night.

Once the ceremony was beginning, their three daughters rode the elevator from the 11th floor to the 12th floor each holding a bunch of balloons. They walked down the aisle, placed them at the altar then then took their place at the mics. Jackee’s daughter JoJo played the guitar and then her, Regan and Riley all sang an amazing acoustic version of “Swept Away” by The Avett Brothers while Jackee walked down the aisle. The ceremony was very sweet and intimate, the pictures afterwards were so much fun to do and the reception was a blast! I had to remind myself not to get carried away with dancing along while trying to take pictures!

Well, I think I’ve said enough. I’ll let these beautiful images speak for themselves!

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Kenley turns ONE

I came back to the Johnson’s neighborhood in Wilmington on a beautiful warm day in February for Kenley’s first birthday session. Can’t complain about having an outdoor session in 75 degrees when the north was getting around their 99th inch of snow on the ground!

I picked up balloons on my way and also brought a couple other props to make her session a little more special! Like before, we roamed around their gorgeous, wooded neighborhood and ended the session down by their private dock. Kenley’s grandparents were also present and they were so smitten with their little granddaughter!




Jordan Family

This post includes two sessions. Over the summer of 2014 I did family portraits for the Jordan family but never put blogged about it. (Per their request!) Little Colin was only 7 months old then! Then he turned one year old right around Christmas time so we did another family session and I couldn’t believe how much he had grown in just 3 months! He is already a tall baby (just check out his parents!) but, wow! I love seeing my littlest clients grow from session to session.

The first session we did at the beach and the second one we did in the woods! Both were so much fun! I almost became a pro at juggling pine cones, had they not been so sharp with thorns! I’ll do just about anything to grab a baby’s attention for pictures!




fast forward three months…