central illinois wedding photography

Spotlight Feature: The Inn at 835- Wedding Venue in Springfield, Illinois

This beautiful wedding venue needs to be at the top of your list when selecting one for your big day! The Inn at 835 is unparalleled in beauty and in service.

Spotlight Feature: Simply Elegant by Cheri in Lincoln, Illinois

Business feature for the Photos by Ariel Brides out there! Today I went to visit Cheri who owns Simply Elegant by Cheri, a beautiful bridal boutique located at the heart of central Illinois. Cheri’s shop is beautiful and Cheri herself is sweet as pie. Though she was previously a mortgage broker at State Farm for years, her heart was with weddings.

She decided in July of 2018 to open Simply Elegant by Cheri. A bridal boutique that offers one-of-a-kind bridal gowns, mother of the bride dresses, bridesmaids dresses, tuxedos, and even ceremony and reception décor and silk florals. Through this shop, Cheri loves ensuring that the Bride has the full wedding dress shopping experience that she deserves. That starts with your appointment booking. The appointments can be booked on their website or via phone or email! When you show up for your appointment you can come alone or you can bring as many people as you want. The shop is large enough to accommodate yet small enough to still feel intimate. You walk in and are instantly greeted by Cheri, the owner herself, with fresh treats, coffee, mimosas, wine, water, and many other delicious options.

At your appointment, you are the sole focus. This shop has been designed to allow one bride at a time. No more waiting on another Bride to finish trying on the dress you wanted to try on or feeling as though any unnecessary attention is on you from other shoppers. It is only you and the people you love dearly that you bring with you in the entire store. Also, take note that the shop is kid friendly, so if you have a little one or someone accompanying you does. Don’t feel stressed about entertaining them or worry about them touching everything. Cheri is an expert with littles and has a few little toys/coloring books/ and even a tv with Netflix to help entertain any kids that might come along.

There is a beautiful bridal suite to get dressed in complete with a monogrammed robe for in between bridal gowns. There are over 85 dresses in this shop and styles that include everything from trendy to classic. Each gown is hand selected by Cheri. She has many different designer representatives who help her in the selecting the best gowns for her store.

If you want your gown shopping to be a fun and memorable experience you must check this place out! You will not be disappointment with the service or the selection!

BONUS TIP: Let the owner know you are also a Photos by Ariel bride and once she confirms, you’ll get 15% off your veil and accessories!

XO- Ariel

Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,
Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,
Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,
Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,
Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,
Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,
Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,
Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,
Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,
Photos by Ariel, Simply Elegant by Cheri, Branding Session, Wedding partnerships, Central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, Bloomington Illinois wedding photographer, Normal Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, Chicago Illinois Wedding Photographer, Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, bridal boutique in central Illinois, wedding dress shopping in central Illinois, central Illinois bridal shops, wedding rentals in Lincoln Illinois, photo branding session, wedding dress, veils,


Cell Phone Series: How to take the BEST ring selfie!!!!

how to take better cell phone ring pictures, she said yes, ring selfie, engaged, getting married, ring pictures, how to take ring pictures on a cell phone, cell phone ring pics, photos by ariel, wedding photographer in Lincoln Illinois, wedding photographer in Bloomington Illinois, wedding photographer in springfield Illinois, wedding photographer in Peoria Illinois, wedding photographer in Decatur Illinois, central Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, united states wedding photographer

Ekkk!!!!! You’re engaged! You have the PERFECT ring and now with a few tips from me you will get that PERFECT Instagram-worthy photo!

1.) LIGHT, LIGHT, LIGHT! Lighting is everything! If you aren’t outside, stand next to a window for some natural light. If you taken an iPhone in a darker room it will almost always be blurry. And take it from me, fluorescent lights and yellow lights are not any better. Natural sunlight for the win! But no matter where you are, watch for shadows.

how to take better cell phone ring pictures, she said yes, ring selfie, engaged, getting married, ring pictures, how to take ring pictures on a cell phone, cell phone ring pics, photos by ariel, wedding photographer in Lincoln Illinois, wedding photographer in Bloomington Illinois, wedding photographer in springfield Illinois, wedding photographer in Peoria Illinois, wedding photographer in Decatur Illinois, central Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, united states wedding photographer

2.) Know your ring. Every single ring is different. Test out different angles so you can capture the most amazing qualities about your ring. For example, if the way your ring is set is super unique try shooting on a angle so you can highlight that. Have a really unique (or gigantic) stone? Try an overhead shot.

how to take better cell phone ring pictures, she said yes, ring selfie, engaged, getting married, ring pictures, how to take ring pictures on a cell phone, cell phone ring pics, photos by ariel, wedding photographer in Lincoln Illinois, wedding photographer in Bloomington Illinois, wedding photographer in springfield Illinois, wedding photographer in Peoria Illinois, wedding photographer in Decatur Illinois, central Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, united states wedding photographer

3.) Skip the flash. Trust me.

4.) Nails. Pay attention to those nails. Everyone wants to see the ring but no one wants to see dirty, hangnails. Haha! If your proposal was a surprise and you’re nails are due for a manicure, just put on some location and get creative with your posing. For example, hold hands with your fiancé or frame your nails out of the shot!

how to take better cell phone ring pictures, she said yes, ring selfie, engaged, getting married, ring pictures, how to take ring pictures on a cell phone, cell phone ring pics, photos by ariel, wedding photographer in Lincoln Illinois, wedding photographer in Bloomington Illinois, wedding photographer in springfield Illinois, wedding photographer in Peoria Illinois, wedding photographer in Decatur Illinois, central Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, united states wedding photographer

5.) Backgrounds. Unleash your inner photographer. Find an Instagram-worthy skyline, latte, fuzzy rug, or patterned pillow and allow it to serve as the background for this beautiful ring selfie.

6.) Back it up. While self-phone photos are not going to be as quality as professional photos, there are a few tricks you can use to make the pictures look more sharp. Avoid zoom on your camera, instead, physically move the camera yourself and it will make a much less pixelated photo. If you are using an iPhone, set up your shot and then tap the screen where your ring is to focus the lens. If you have an iPhone that has “Portrait Mode”, click that mode, and follow the steps above.

how to take better cell phone ring pictures, she said yes, ring selfie, engaged, getting married, ring pictures, how to take ring pictures on a cell phone, cell phone ring pics, photos by ariel, wedding photographer in Lincoln Illinois, wedding photographer in Bloomington Illinois, wedding photographer in springfield Illinois, wedding photographer in Peoria Illinois, wedding photographer in Decatur Illinois, central Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, united states wedding photographer

7.) Avoid Creepy Hands. Ummm…. say goodbye to those creepy hands where you can see every pore, line or teeny tiny hair by relaxing your fingers, adding a prop, or resting you hands on your fiancé's arm. You can also avoid scary hands by doing a slight tilt of your camera- or your hand- instead of shooting straight on.

8.) Pick One. You want your ring to stand out and look awesome. Skip the collages and instead pick one great shot to feature.

how to take better cell phone ring pictures, she said yes, ring selfie, engaged, getting married, ring pictures, how to take ring pictures on a cell phone, cell phone ring pics, photos by ariel, wedding photographer in Lincoln Illinois, wedding photographer in Bloomington Illinois, wedding photographer in springfield Illinois, wedding photographer in Peoria Illinois, wedding photographer in Decatur Illinois, central Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois wedding photographer, united states wedding photographer

9.) There’s an app for that. Use an awesome editing app like Photoshop Express, VSCO Cam, Afterlight, or my personal favorite PicTapGo.

10.) SHARE! If there was ever a time to be sentimental now is it!!!! You are GETTING MARRIED to your best friend! So write the caption, get creative with those emojis and share away my friend!

Staci & Kevin's Intimate Wedding at Lake Bloomington in Bloomington, Illinois

August & September have been a busy month for me. I’ve been in the process of rebranding my business, streamlining processes, client management systems, questionnaire designs and so many other things. Not to mention that August was probably the BUSIEST month for me with number of sessions so far in 2018. Staci & Kevin’s wedding was something I desperately needed. Because when I photograph a wedding, I get to step out of the crazy of everyday life and completely immerse myself in other people which is something we all need sometimes. After being so focused on our own lives, it is such a gift to be able to spend an entire weekend putting two other people FIRST. To wonderful opportunity to forget anything and everything that’s happening in my own world and be invited in to one of the most important days in someone else’s world.

Staci & Kevin’s wedding was so beautifully coordinated. It was held at Lake Bloomington in Bloomington Illinois. They had a rich color palette filled with blush pinks, whites, tans, and succulent greens. Blush pink roses intermixed with white roses and baby’s breath. Hints of lace. Succulent greens vines, over white washed wood. Every single detail of their day was stunning.

The day started at Magnolia Salon in Bloomington, Illinois. Let me just say, that I have been in a LOT of getting ready places and this one was BY FAR my favorite getting ready location I’ve ever been in. The paint colors, the decor, the mirrors, the chairs, the beautiful hard wood floors and gorgeous one-of-a-kind woodwork were just a few of my favorite things. Not to mention the white rustic fireplace and floor to ceiling windows giving the whole entire salon a bright and airy feel. I’m not kidding. This place looks like it was decorated by the actual Chip & Joanna Gaines. Not only that, the owner & bride’s sisters-in-law to be, Jessica Yamada, was sweeter than pie. She was friendly and made everyone feel relaxed and stress-free. Just what you want on a wedding day!

The next place we went to was Ewing Cultural Center. While I have done regular photo sessions here before, I have always DREAMED of doing wedding photos here. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single square inch of this place is jaw-hitting-the-ground gorgeous! It is impossible to get a bad backdrop! This was the PERFECT location for the bride and groom’s intimate first look moment! The groom started the first look by reading a sweet letter that his bride had written him all while his bride came down a set of historic stone steps, making her way toward her groom. Once she tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around and all the hugs, smiles, and joy ensued. After the first look we spent some time getting some bride & groom shots as well as some shots of the bridal party before heading to our next location!

ewing cultural center, ewing manor, Bloomington Illinois weddings, Illinois wedding photographer, central Illinois wedding photographer, Lincoln Illinois wedding photographer, springfield Illinois wedding photographer, Peoria Illinois wedding photographer, Decatur Illinois wedding photographer, normal Illinois wedding photographer, Illinois weddings, photos by ariel, bride and groom first look, bride and groom portraits, bridal portraits, groom portraits, blush pink wedding, wedding color palette, featured weddings, wedding photographer

The next stop was Lake Bloomington where the ceremony took place outdoors. The view of the lake from their ceremony was breathtaking. The couple was married under a white arbor traced with beautiful green vines and pinecones. The ceremony was quite intimate with a guest list only around 50 people long, filled only with the closest friends and family. The guests sat in white chairs with the end of each row adorned with bouquets of babies breath. After the ceremony, the reception took place in a cabin just a couple yards away from the ceremony location. There were white tablecloths, blush pink and white centerpieces, and mason jar mugs that also served as gifts for all of their guests. The mugs were craved with the couples names and wedding date. The desert table was decorated with a beautiful tiered wooden cupcake stand filled with delicious chocolate and vanilla cupcakes made by Sam Danosky, a baker located out of Lincoln Illinois. After the traditional reception festivities, I grabbed the couple and we snuck outside by the lake to get some last pictures taken in the last 10 minutes before the sun disappeared on their beautiful wedding day.

Staci and Kevin! Congratulations! I wish you two a lifetime of happiness and love! Thank you so much for choosing me to document your wedding day. Enjoy these sneak peeks!

The beginnings of love....

I recently went through some business counseling. They asked me all the right questions, forced me to dig deep into who I am as a photographer, what I love to do and why, what do I want my business to be and how am I going to get there... basically all the hard questions that I didn't want to focus on because it takes time, a thing which I do not have. But it ended up being one of the best things I've ever done. I will be writing more on that later. But what I discovered about myself was significant. 

I love to photograph the beginnings of love. This can be found in newborns and weddings. There are more in common about these two life transitions than one might think. Both of these times are moments of sweetness and grace, where the other person feels intensely present to us. Devotion, hope, and a future are vivid. Putting the other person first (whether that's spouse or child) is not just considered a privilege but an honor. We are so filled to the brim with love and thankfulness that we cannot EVER imagine taking this relationship for granted. 

But that is exactly what happens. We have this idealistic view of what our marriage is going to be like. We have this idealistic view of parenting and how our children are going to behave. We think we know what our life will be like. But then life smacks you in the face. Whether it’s sickness, a colicky child, a sudden death, a disobedient child, financial difficulties, or just the mundane of day to day life, we begin to realize that marriages are hard and children are difficult. We are left feeling tired, lost, hopeless or indifferent. But more significantly, we have forgotten who we are. 

This is where I come in. By photographing you at the beginning of love, I can return you to this relationship with a sense of gratitude and wonder. I believe that through your entire experience with me (booking, conversations, dreaming, planning, photo-taking, and viewing) I can assist you in recovering your identity and mission. Through your experience with me, not just the photos themselves, I believe we can recover hope, dignify suffering, develop empathy, laugh, wonder, and nurture a sense of communion with each other. I believe that your experience with me and the finished product can heal your feelings of hopelessness and indifference. Not just for the person you are right now, but for the person that you are becoming. These photos become a visual symbol of hope. When you view these photos, presently and in the future, you will remember the truth of their message and be reminded of who you are! And when we are reminded of this, our burdens will begin to be lifted. We will no longer live life aimlessly or indifferently because by remembering who you are, you will KNOW what to do!  

When you invest in a session with me you are not just investing in photos, you are investing in an experience. An experience that will benefit your present, AND your future. An experience that produces a product with an eternal message. A message that needs to be heard not just by who you are at this moment, but the person you are becoming. Who could put a price on that? 

Enjoy some of the sneak peeks from Carissa and Zack's newborn session with baby Murphy, part 1 in their Baby's First Year Experience. This session took place at the Photos by Ariel Studio located in Lincoln, Illinois. Interested in booking your own session? Contact me here.

Illinois photographer, central Illinois photographer, Lincoln Illinois photographer, Bloomington Illinois photographer, normal Illinois photographer, springfield Illinois photographer, Peoria Illinois photographer, Decatur Illinois photographer, newborn photographer, newborn photos, why pictures are important, family photos matter, life, love, marriage, parenting, newborn photographer in Illinois, newborn photographer in central Illinois, newborn photographer in Peoria Illinois, newborn photographer in Lincoln Illinois, newborn photographer in Bloomington Illinois, newborn photographer in Decatur Illinois, newborn photographer in normal Illinois, beginning of love, photo therapy, wholistic photography, photography experience, boutique photography experience, photography therapy, babys first year, newborn session, newborn pictures, experience of a lifetime, eternal significance, photos by ariel, identity, identity crisis, photography investment
Illinois photographer, central Illinois photographer, Lincoln Illinois photographer, Bloomington Illinois photographer, normal Illinois photographer, springfield Illinois photographer, Peoria Illinois photographer, Decatur Illinois photographer, newborn photographer, newborn photos, why pictures are important, family photos matter, life, love, marriage, parenting, newborn photographer in Illinois, newborn photographer in central Illinois, newborn photographer in Peoria Illinois, newborn photographer in Lincoln Illinois, newborn photographer in Bloomington Illinois, newborn photographer in Decatur Illinois, newborn photographer in normal Illinois, beginning of love, photo therapy, wholistic photography, photography experience, boutique photography experience, photography therapy, babys first year, newborn session, newborn pictures, experience of a lifetime, eternal significance, photos by ariel, identity, identity crisis, photography investment
Illinois photographer, central Illinois photographer, Lincoln Illinois photographer, Bloomington Illinois photographer, normal Illinois photographer, springfield Illinois photographer, Peoria Illinois photographer, Decatur Illinois photographer, newborn photographer, newborn photos, why pictures are important, family photos matter, life, love, marriage, parenting, newborn photographer in Illinois, newborn photographer in central Illinois, newborn photographer in Peoria Illinois, newborn photographer in Lincoln Illinois, newborn photographer in Bloomington Illinois, newborn photographer in Decatur Illinois, newborn photographer in normal Illinois, beginning of love, photo therapy, wholistic photography, photography experience, boutique photography experience, photography therapy, babys first year, newborn session, newborn pictures, experience of a lifetime, eternal significance, photos by ariel, identity, identity crisis, photography investment
Illinois photographer, central Illinois photographer, Lincoln Illinois photographer, Bloomington Illinois photographer, normal Illinois photographer, springfield Illinois photographer, Peoria Illinois photographer, Decatur Illinois photographer, newborn photographer, newborn photos, why pictures are important, family photos matter, life, love, marriage, parenting, newborn photographer in Illinois, newborn photographer in central Illinois, newborn photographer in Peoria Illinois, newborn photographer in Lincoln Illinois, newborn photographer in Bloomington Illinois, newborn photographer in Decatur Illinois, newborn photographer in normal Illinois, beginning of love, photo therapy, wholistic photography, photography experience, boutique photography experience, photography therapy, babys first year, newborn session, newborn pictures, experience of a lifetime, eternal significance, photos by ariel, identity, identity crisis, photography investment