photos by ariel

Grumpy Guys- How to prep your man for a photoshoot

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Let’s be honest… I don’t know if I’ve ever met a man in the world who is EXCITED about pictures. Whether its his wedding day, an engagement session, newborn session or family pictures… feeling apathetic about the session is pretty typical. Most of the time they don’t see why its necessary, they would rather spend their money elsewhere (or not spend it at all), they don’t like how stressed their wives get about every single detail beforehand, and really…. they kinda think its a waste of time… and definitely not something they would call “fun.”

Even when it came time for me to do my OWN branding session with my husband and kids… don’t think I didn’t hear groans about money, and time, and importance and blah, blah, blah! You can only imagine my reaction when my hubby questioned the necessity of photos! Lol, It wasn’t pretty!

Because ultimately, I know that BOTH you AND your man’s attitude determines SO MUCH about how a session goes. The kids notice, I notice, its noticeable in the poses and the lack of connection, its noticed in their eyes. Turns out “i’d rather be anywhere but here” is pretty evident in photos! :) So I knew I had to get my man not just on board about the photos (frankly, he had no choice, lol) but at peace with them!

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Thankfully, as a photographer who has had MANY, MANY sessions over the last six years, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve for getting guys to cooperate… and now i’m here to share them with YOU!

1.) Empathy

Typically, guys walk into a photo session grumpy because they’ve had a bad experience in the past! Whether its a drill sergeant photographer on their wedding day, an unorganized session, a session where the kids screamed and cried and the photographer didn’t know how to handle it, a surprise $500 fee at the end to actually receive the pics, or a 5 hour photo session straight from Hades… all of these are enough to tarnish a man’s view of photo sessions forever!

Try to understand where your man is coming from and then let him know that you get it…. that sometimes sessions have stressed you out to. But that the reason you chose me is because a “stress-free” experience is what I deliver my clients in every single step from booking to session to delivery! One of my favorite compliments ever that I typically hear from a husband of an expecting woman (because they got married most recently and it’s fresh on their mind) is, “I wish you were our photographer on our wedding day!” Seriously, i’ve heard this MULTIPLE TIMES! I always tell him, “I know, its such a shame that photo sessions have such a bad rep! Now go everyone you know about this experience so we can change that.”

So sit down with your hubby, listen to his concerns, take them into consideration and have him watch this video that is LIVE right after I finished a family photo session where the dad himself unrehearsed has something to say to allllll the other dads (around 1:55 on video)!

2.) Expectations

Now that you’ve let them know you understand their pain… they will be more likely to listen! So here’s what I want you to do! Men are a lot like toddlers! But don’t tell them I said so! ;) I’ve noticed that if you take the time to tell them what to expect and set realistic expectations it really empowers them to handle the whole entire process better. . Here are some typical things to expect:

  • You will ask his opinion on outfits, tell him to pretend to care (and because he really doesn’t, feel free to email me, text me, or facebook message me for my opinion if you want ;) )

  • The day of the session, you will probably be feeling insecure, nervous, and a little stressed because you haven’t been in front of a camera in a year and you don’t like ______________ about yourself, so now is not the time to get mad and grumpy at you for planning this in the first place.

  • Let him know that the kids might cry a time or two and that’s okay! It will be okay! Plus, if you don’t normally bribe your children, now is great time to let him know that it may happen….

  • Explain to him that getting kids ready for a photo shoot is NOT easy and you are going to need his help by doing __________________. Whether it’s helping get them bathed and dressed or keeping them clean after you get them dressed.

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3.) Involvement

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You know how when already have a toddler and you are having a new baby in the family how you ask for that toddler’s help after the baby arrive’s (ex: can you be my big helper and go get a diaper for mommy!, etc.). Well, men react better if they are involved or at least FELL involved in the process. Nobody likes being told what to do, especially if it seemed like a waste of time. Let’s be real, if my hubby told me I had to sit and watch golf with him for the next 2 hrs, while the kids are screaming and crying and I couldn’t leave or be on my phone, then I would be really ticked.

So let’s start including our guy in the process, even if they don’t THINK that’s what they want!

  • Tell him why photos are important to you… and “its for the Christmas card” or “to post on social media” doesn’t count! I’m talking about digging deep and telling him why having photos of you during this stage are important. Maybe you tried to get pregnant for years and never thought it was going to happen… maternity photos are always going to remind you of that blessing. Maybe its because your kids are driving you nuts, your tired and weary, and you find that when you look at photos of them it re-energizes you and keeps you invested in that relationship. Maybe its because you were adopted and don’t have any photos of your past to call your own. Maybe you want your kids to see photos of them hanging all around your house so that they have confidence and know that they are loved. Whatever the reason, explain it to him! Because he loves you he will see that your reasons for wanting photos aren’t superficial and he will care about it more!

  • Show him why you chose me! Take him to my website, have him watch my branding video, or show him that one blog post that you loved so much! Take him to my facebook and show him how each week I post about authentic motherhood and how every time you read it you feel like I get you, like you aren’t alone, and it encourages you! Show him the sneak peeks and the live videos and all the things that when thrown together made you say, “I choose her!”

  • Have him fill out the questionnaire with you! If you’ve been a client of mine in the past you KNOW that after selecting a date and time! I send you a bunch of resources that will help you plan your shoot (because knowledge is power, right!?!) but I also send you a questionnaire and I ask you to fill it out together! Why? Because it really gives your significant other insight into your life and you into his. It forces you to pause, take a deep breath, and remember your story. Remember why you chose each other and why you continue to choose each other every single day. It develops feelings of connection and empathy in you both as you open up. It allows you step out of autopilot and have a special moment where you fall back in love with each other all over again! On this questionnaire I ask a variety of questions about your past, present and future. Not because i’m giving you busy work…. but because as a creative i’m inspired by your story! I allow your story to change details about the session! The poses I choose, the social prompts I use to get certain expressions, the location, etc. All of it is used to create a session that feels like you as a couple… you as a family!

Involve your guy in the process and he won’t just pretend to care, this whole thing will become not just YOUR thing but his too!


Best of Luck!

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Best Cameras for every age and stage

Best Cameras for every age and stage

Not sure which camera to buy for you child, tween, teen or yourself! In this blog post Ariel gives you her very favorite cameras for every age and stage! Plus, a free “Which camera is best for you?” Quiz!

Hands-down my FAVORITE store for Moms- Motto and Fleur Branding Session in Central Illinois!

A couple of weeks ago I had one of those sessions that makes you say… “I just LOVE my job.” Obviously I love all my clients but on this day I got to do a VERY special project. I’ve been a branding photographer and social media content provider for Motto and Fleur the last couple of months and I’ve loved every second of it.

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There are a LOT of good things I could say about Motto and Fleur! Like how each and every single one of their t-shirts contains the equivalent of 6 plastic water bottles + US grown, non-GMO organic cotton + fabric made from sustainably harvested beech trees. Or I could say by choosing their supplier carefully, they give back by partnering with the Global Orphan Project to support Orphan Prevention, Care & Transition Programs!

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But my very favorite thing about them is that it is a company with a unique and AWESOME mission! Which of course, i’m ALLLLLL about! As a Mom of two littles, Alyse Bressner, the owner, knows the struggles that mom’s experience on a deep and personal level.

  • She knows what its like for a mom to look in the mirror post kids and not like what she sees.

  • She knows that motherhood often leaves us feeling like we are FAILING.

  • She knows that motherhood can be one of the loneliest jobs IN THE WORLD.

  • She knows how important motherhood is.

  • She knows the temptation mom’s have to compare themselves with other moms on social media.

  • She knows that mom’s struggle with this idea of what it means to be a “good mom” and that often that ideal is unattainable.

  • She also knows that when we feel isolated our failures FEEL like they are magnified by 100. That mom’s then struggle with this false sense of failure but because we are alone in our heads and we think that nobody else gets it… we get discouraged and we start to become lazy, grumpy, irritable, depressed, or anxious moms.

That’s why Alyse has made it her personal mission to unite moms together so that motherhood can feel a little less lonely! To provide moms with accurate view of motherhood so they can feel confident and encouraged! And that’s exactly what she does…. THROUGH CLOTHING. Yes, that’s right… through CLOTHES… made just for you, mama!

Her designs, her social media posts, her emails, and her images, EVERY.SINGLE.PART. of her business is tailored to provide moms with a refreshing view of REAL #momlife. To let mama’s know that they are NOT alone in their thoughts and feelings and that it’s okay to have bad days. To challenge moms in our own personal struggles and encourage us in our doubts.

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I am so, So, SO ecstatic to be a part of the Motto and Fleur team!

For this particular shoot, we were shooting for her Fall Designs. Alyse’s goal is to make sure that each of her designs accomplishes her mission of authentic motherhood but also can be utilized in a multitude of ways. She knows that mom life often means comfy during the day and dressed up in the night (if not for a date night, at LEAST for a Target run!) She aims to make her styles versatile where they can be dressed up and down by simply switching out a few accessories. EXACTLY what mom’s need because 1.) Who has time to come up with a whole new outfit and 2.) who wants more laundry!?!

So we gathered up 8 REAL LIFE LOCAL MOMS who are NOT models and spend their days wiping snotty noses and feeding kids, just like you, and we asked them to step out of their comfort zones and into the limelight! This may not seem like a big deal to you, but if you’re a momma and you’ve EVER taken pictures without your kids, you know that IT FEELS WEIRD. We are not used to being the center of attention and honestly, we typically hide from it because we don’t always like the way we look. We are worried about stretch marks, our mummy tummies, leaky breastfeeding boobs, non-thigh-gap legs, cellulite, and our not-perfectly-toned arms. But the fact of the matter is mama,

YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE BEAUTIFUL!

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This day was full of brave mama’s who dared to step in front of a camera without a security blanket (a.k.a. THEIR KIDS)! It was FULL of mama’s who faced fears, mama’s who NEEDED a break, and mama’s who deserved some self-care time. This group of ladies was SO MUCH FUN! We laughed, we cried, we danced, we sang, we talked about a whole host of things that i’m certain made our “not-married-yet-and-childless” male videographer extremely uncomfortable.

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But this day was TOTALLY necessary and NOT JUST for the content for Alyse’s business.

In fact, the MULTIPLE emails and texts I got afterwards affirmed the fact that this day was needed for each and every one of the beautiful mama’s that you will see below. Thank you to all who participated! You are beautiful, you are funny, you are so incredibly amazing and hanging out with you for the afternoon totally filled THIS MAMA’s cup, too! Enjoy some of the sneak peeks below!

P.S. If you are a mom who is interested in being a part of Alyse’s Winter Shoot that will take place this fall. Please click HERE to fill out this application. :)

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Sunflower Wedding Invitations & Other Unique Stationary from Basic Invite

I’m going to sound totally cliche saying this… but as a photographer I find details beautiful! Whether it’s a brides hand squeezing her dad’s tux during the father/daughter dance or a vase full of fresh flowers on a reception table…. I LOVE DETAILS! But i’m not the only one….

Images of wedding decor are easily the most Pinned and searched images by engaged couples JUST LIKE YOU! So when I photograph a wedding… I want to make sure I capture each and every one of those details that you’ve been working on for months!

So I make sure my timeline allows just the right amount of time for me to style my couples’ rings, flowers, ribbons, fabric swatches, and anything else that inspired their day! This makes my photographer heart so incredibly happy! What can I say… I like pretty things! #sorrynotsorry

But one of my VERY favorite details to photograph that is often left out is the invitation!

I love looking at the wording, the fonts, the colors, the texture, and the style that the couple has chosen to be the first representation of their day to everyone they know! So when Basic Invite invited me to partner with them, I knew it would be the perfect fit! Because not only are their products amazing… but they are giving my brides a discount! (Keep scrolling for some sample images and a discount code at the end!)

As a former bride and a current photographer, I’ll be the first to say that every detail of your day matters! It should say something! It should encompass who you are as a couple! And Basic Invite is the PERFECT place to find that!

Why?

I’m glad you asked! :)

Basic Invite Wedding Invitations, Custom Wedding Invitations, Wedding Programs, Save the Dates, Basic Invite Coupon Code, Basic Invite Sunflower Invitations, Basic Invite Watercolor Invitations, Basic Invite Wooden Invitations, Basic Invite Clear Invitations, Wedding Websites, Basic Invite wedding websites, photos by ariel, lincoln illinois wedding photographer, wedding photographer, illinois wedding photographer, bloomington illinois wedding photographer, normal illinois wedding photographer, decatur illinois wedding photographer, peoria illinois wedding photographer, springfield illinois wedding photographer, wedding invites, wedding invitations, Photos by Ariel, Ariel Dilworth Photography, Ariel Dilworth

My Day, My Way

One reason I love Basic Invite is because not only do they have over 900 Invitation sets… but their invitations are completely customizable. But not just the wording and fonts! Basic Invite is one of the few websites that gives their customers almost UNLIMITED COLOR OPTIONS with Instant Previews Online. And again, not just the font is custom colored, EVERY SINGLE ELEMENT of the design is customizable! Even the envelopes! Still not sure!?! Take advantage of their custom sample service! Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their ACTUAL INVITATION! That way everything looks exactly how you want it— down to even the tiniest detail.

Basic Invite Wedding Invitations, Custom Wedding Invitations, Wedding Programs, Save the Dates, Basic Invite Coupon Code, Basic Invite Sunflower Invitations, Basic Invite Watercolor Invitations, Basic Invite Wooden Invitations, Basic Invite Clear Invitations, Wedding Websites, Basic Invite wedding websites, photos by ariel, lincoln illinois wedding photographer, wedding photographer, illinois wedding photographer, bloomington illinois wedding photographer, normal illinois wedding photographer, decatur illinois wedding photographer, peoria illinois wedding photographer, springfield illinois wedding photographer, wedding invites, wedding invitations, Photos by Ariel, Ariel Dilworth Photography, Ariel Dilworth

All the Things

All of their wedding products have an entire matching set to go with it, so if you find a save the date you like, they’ll have you covered with the matching wedding invitations, bridal shower invitations, programs, envelopes, menu cards, place cards, coasters, magnets, direction cards, RSVP cards, accommodation cards, reception cards, registry cards, and thank you cards! ALL IN ONE PLACE!

But don’t worry, if #allthethings aren’t in your budget… Basic Invite provides you with a FREE WEDDING WEBSITE! That are just as customizable as their invitations, mobile friendly, and super ease to use for even the oldest guest! Heck, you can even choose a design that matches your wedding invitation! You can instantly upload ALL of your wedding details along with images, a map, and anything else you want to make it easy as pie for your guests!

WOW! FACTOR

When’s the last time you opened up a wedding invitation and said “Wow!” Because if you order anything from Basic Invite that will certainly be the response but the following invitations REALLY caught my eye! BUT REALLY… You don’t want to miss this…

These are wooden invitations, ya’ll. Like REAL CHERRY WOOD! One Rustic, Elegant, Whimsical day coming RIGHT UP!

Or these save-the dates… THEY ARE CLEAR! You guys… nothing shouts elegance quite like this invitation!

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Style

Flowers are one of the main elements of most weddings. Flowers have the ability to brighten any room or venue and have the power to take a room from ordinary to extraordinary. Particular flowers convey particular emotions! One type of flower that has been showing up for many of my weddings is the sunflower! Sunflowers are the perfect summer flower and have always been a favorite among many brides.

The bright yellow petals are sunny and cheerful, while the dark centers add a touch of drama. And while sunflowers are the perfect complement to a rustic, country-themed wedding when they're skillfully paired with other flowers and greenery, they can also take on a much more formal look when paired with some cream colored stock blossoms!

But there are more ways to incorporate flowers into your wedding celebration than the traditional way! And one of those is through your invitations! These Bridal Shower Invitations Sunflower are the perfect way to tie together your wedding day with all the celebrations beforehand! Not to mention the matching Wedding Invitations! Their matching sets are the perfect way to string your bridal experience together from bridal shower to thank you card.

Basic Invite Wedding Invitations, Custom Wedding Invitations, Wedding Programs, Save the Dates, Basic Invite Coupon Code, Basic Invite Sunflower Invitations, Basic Invite Watercolor Invitations, Basic Invite Wooden Invitations, Basic Invite Clear Invitations, Wedding Websites, Basic Invite wedding websites, photos by ariel, lincoln illinois wedding photographer, wedding photographer, illinois wedding photographer, bloomington illinois wedding photographer, normal illinois wedding photographer, decatur illinois wedding photographer, peoria illinois wedding photographer, springfield illinois wedding photographer, wedding invites, wedding invitations, Photos by Ariel, Ariel Dilworth Photography, Ariel Dilworth

Easy Button

So, while they’re website doesn’t have an actual big, red easy button that we can push… it does make things as simple as possible! Basic Invite knows that Brides have a lot on their plate…. that’s why they offer products like these all-in-one send and seal wedding invitations. The RSVP can be easily detached and sent PLUS guest addresses are printed right on the front so envelopes aren’t needed! (WOOT, WOOT!)

However if the invitation you choose does require an envelope… don’t worry! You can use Basic Invite’s free address collection service to request your addresses with just three simple steps. Share a link, collect addresses, and get FREE ENVELOPE PRINTING! (Can I get an Amen!?!?!)

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Basic Invite Wedding Invitations, Custom Wedding Invitations, Wedding Programs, Save the Dates, Basic Invite Coupon Code, Basic Invite Sunflower Invitations, Basic Invite Watercolor Invitations, Basic Invite Wooden Invitations, Basic Invite Clear Invitations, Wedding Websites, Basic Invite wedding websites, photos by ariel, lincoln illinois wedding photographer, wedding photographer, illinois wedding photographer, bloomington illinois wedding photographer, normal illinois wedding photographer, decatur illinois wedding photographer, peoria illinois wedding photographer, springfield illinois wedding photographer, wedding invites, wedding invitations, Photos by Ariel, Ariel Dilworth Photography, Ariel Dilworth

One last thing…

When ordering your products, plan for a little extra shipping time (7-11 days). When my samples arrived they were packaged extremely well and looked PERFECT! Plus it came with a brochure that showed different color and foil options so you can see them side by side!

Overall this process was easy and the quality was amazing! If you are interested in ordering some samples or products for yourself, you can use this coupon code: PhotosbyAriel for 20% off your order from Basic Invite!

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Thanks for reading and happy wedding planning!

Shelby + Jake Central Illinois Engagement Session on the Family Farm

Shelby and Jake approached me a couple of months ago about their November wedding! I just HAPPENED to have that date open and after meeting her at the consultation I knew we would be a perfect match! When planning her engagement session she wanted to have the location be a place that was meaningful for the both of them so their first location was one of the firehouses that her fiance volunteers for and the second location was their family farm! Firetrucks, cows, chickens, ducks, sheep, kittens and the like were all involved making this engagement session one of the most memorable ones for sure! Enjoy some of my favorites from their session!

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