peoria illinois photography

Avery's First Birthday Photo Session-- Photos by Ariel Studio, Lincoln, Illinois

First Birthday’s are a busy time for momma’s! Trying to plan that first birthday party and then all the emotions that come with your baby turning ONE! I make it my mission as your photographer to make your life easier, not add to your stress! That is why for your first birthday session I provide the cake, the stand, the décor, the outfits, the props…. EVERY. SINGLE. THING. All you have to do is tell me what colors scheme you want and bring your ADORABLE baby! I take care of finding the outfits, ordering the cake, picking up the cake, finding the perfect props, etc. :)

Sweet Avery just turned one and every single image is so beautiful I think I can literally hear my jaw hitting the floor. I am a people-centered photographer. What I mean by that is that I like my subjects to be the focus of all of my images, not the background, not the props, not even the sky (when we are outside). When people look at this image, I want theme to see YOU first. <3 Clean, Crisp, and Timeless is always my motto!

Cake below was made by Emily Jackson out of Mount Pulaski, IL. Enjoy these sneak peeks from Avery’s First Birthday Session!


Newborn Photography: Lifestyle vs. Posed

A sweet, nude little babe all sleepy and curled up on a soft blanket wearing an adorable bow or knit cap or swaddled in an adorable wrap. These kinds of posed newborn photographs have become synonymous with the term “newborn photography” over the past five years or so. I love them. We all love them. There is something so serene and pleasing about a brand new life. A baby only days old sleeping peacefully, all curled up and comfy just as they were recently in utero.

Of course, as a newborn photographer, I offer this style of newborn photography to my clients in the Central Illinois area and beyond. I do however also offer an alternative type of newborn photo session, which is slightly less common but equally as beautiful and amazing as an in studio newborn session. Lifestyle newborn photography is becoming one of my favorite sessions that I offer to my clients.

I just wanted to take the time to explain the differences between the two.

1.) Time: Timing is everything when it comes to newborn photography. For an in studio newborn baby photo session I try to get the baby’s in my studio before they are two weeks old. When you are looking for those sleepy, posed shots… the younger the baby, the better! Sleepy, posed shots are not always a guarantee at lifestyle sessions for a variety of reasons. However, if baby does sleep, I can still get those ADORABLE posed shots anywhere!

Time is also important for a posed newborn session because it takes time for me to get them settled into that nice, deep sleep before I start to work with them. Typically the posed newborn sessions take around 3 hours while the lifestyle newborn sessions take around 1-2 hours. The lifestyle newborn session doesn’t take as long simply because it focuses primarily on the interaction between the new baby and his/her family and surroundings and is less centered on obtaining the perfect pose. Therefore, having the baby be under two weeks old is less important. This is particularly helpful for mothers who contact me once the newborn baby is over that magic age for the traditional posed session.

2.) Location: the location for your upcoming newborn session might have you thinking about whether a studio photo session or a lifestyle session is the choice for you. My posed sessions typically take place in my studio, however, I can travel to your home for an additional fee. I will say my studio has everything you needed to provide you with the best experience. I have toys for older siblings, live within walking distance of many local attractions and parks, I have all the equipment and lighting I need to provide you with the images you know and love, all my backdrops, and posing tools are within arms reach. Plus, parents have a nice cozy spot to relax, grab some coffee and a refreshment and watch tv, take a nap, scroll facebook, or whatever you want to do on your little break.

However, I know the thought of traveling with a newborn can be daunting for some parents. Lifestyle newborn sessions can be conducted in the studio, your home, or even outdoor. Whether its images of you snuggling your baby in their nursery or big brother peeking over the crib at his new little sister, these images provide a level of intimacy that you just don’t get during studio sessions.

3.) Connection: Of course all of my clients want to capture some darling images of the newest baby with different family members during the session. Whether its photos with mom & dad or siblings, these treasured images can be obtained at both the lifestyle session AND posed session. However the resulting look is completely different. Whichever you prefer is entirely up to you!

4.) Light: It is true that during a studio session the light is controlled. I know what to expect in my studio and I know when the light comes in big and beautiful at a certain time of day. An in-home lifestyle session obviously cannot offer the same type of assurance. Clients often come to me concerned that their home will not be bright and airy or even pretty enough.

When I walk into a clients home, I’m not looking for the most beautiful room. That is the least of my concerns. Haha! I’m looking for LIGHT! Whether its a screened in front porch (if the weather is nice enough) or the master bedroom…. I’m looking for large windows that provide me with beautiful soft light. The other thing I look for is NEUTRAL rooms. White bedding or walls gives us a gorgeous, non-distracting backdrop to work with while making the baby and their family the focus of the session. The fact of the matter is, if you have one or two bright rooms that I can use to my advantage to provide you with gorgeous images, you will be overjoyed with the personalized newborn photos and treasure them for years to come.


So there you have it! A little 4-1-1 with me to help you decide on which newborn session is right for you!

Military Family Photo Session

I've known Heather and her family for two years now but it feels like forever. But even more than that, Heather, has been a part-time Nanny for my family for a little over a year and we love her to pieces. When they announced last year that they were going to be moving because her husband was going into the military, I knew we would miss her dearly. The weekend before she finally moved we met at the train depot here in Lincoln, Illinois to do one last photo session! The results = perfection! 

Enjoy these sneak peeks from this military family photo session! 

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Killian Kemp's Newborn Session!

A couple years ago I got to be there while Jeremy and Emily Kemp welcomed their sweet little girl Kyleigh into the world. Now, I got to be there to welcome there sweet baby BOY, Killian, in to the world. Weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs. 6 oz., a tad bigger than his 4 lb. sister, he was just as cuddly and cute! It is so fun to be able to be a part of growing families! Something that I never take for granted. Two particular poses I did with Kyleigh, I had to recreate with Killian. One, was baby wrapped in daddy's military gear! And the second was the image with the teddy bear. For generations past in the Kemp family, each time a new baby was born the dad picked out a special teddy bear especially for that child. We made sure to include these teddy bears in each of their newborn photos! Enjoy these sneak peeks from Killian Kemp's Newborn Session! 

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What your photo session and paw patrol have in common...

Paw Patrol... Paw Patrol... we'll be there on the double.... 

If you are a parent, you know what Paw Patrol is. Talking about Paw Patrol (or whatever their favorite child's show is) is one awesome way I get your kids to warm up to me. Singing the theme song does get me some pretty good laughs and smiles from everyone while behind the camera. But Paw Patrol and our Photo Sessions have more in common than that!

1.) Fun! Just like each episode of Paw Patrol, I want each of my photo sessions to be fun for everyone involved! Relax! Come into the session with a good attitude. If you have a "happy heart," as I tell my 5 year old, everyone else will too. Don't worry about your kids. I've seriously seen it all and I promise your kids are not stressing me out or acting as bad as you might think they are. The photos always end up wonderful! 

2.) Short & Sweet! Each paw patrol episode is 20 minutes long and is typically comprised of two different 10 minute story lines that center around the same theme (WHY DO I KNOW THIS??? *insert crying face here*). Much like the quick and painless episodes of paw patrol... my photo sessions are also quick and painless. Something your kids, your husband, and you will appreciate. 

3.)  Musical. Bet you didn't think this one would be in here, huh? Silly songs and noises and acting goofy is one way I get some amazing smiles and laughter out of your kids (and even you parents). So once you arrive at your session, prepare to be serenaded. Ha! 

4.) Problem Solving! Each episode of paw patrol has a problem to solve. Similarly, each photo session has problems to solve as well. Not only with getting kids to smile, posing each individual family member, etc. But also solving the problem that each and every one of my clients have. That is... forgetfulness. We as humans are naturally forgetful. We try to remember but it really is hard. That's why we all agree to have more than one child (child birth hurts, ya'll, can I get an amen!?!). It is my job to help you remember. Not only to remind you right now of how incredibly blessed your life is, but remember how you and your kids looked at this time in their life, what made them giggle, the big belly laughs, how much they loved that bunny stuffed animal, or whatever it may be. It is my job to help you remember today, tomorrow, always. 

5.) Teamwork. The paw patrol team is comprised of multiple pups each serving a different purpose with their different strengths and talents. This is just like me in the sense that each client is unique. I strive to catch that individuality on camera. I do this by putting in a lot of time BEFORE each session. I have all of my clients fill out a short client information form about you, your kids, your family, your likes, dislikes, etc. Why? Because once I know who you are and who your kids are, that is where the magic happens. I can only photograph your beauty once I have discovered it. Therefore, TEAMWORK, (you filling out the forms, picking out awesome clothes, etc.) (me studying your forms, finding perfect locations, perfect light, capturing smiles, editing, etc.) is one of the most VITAL things that makes our time together successful. 

Enjoy some sneak peeks from the Curry Family Session where LOTS of paw patrol songs were sang! 

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