New Photos In My Etsy Shop!

I promise I’ll continue the honeymoon story soon (probably Friday), but I wanted to share a few of the newest photos in my shop today.

Before leaving for Thanksgiving, I walked down to the lake near our apartment and had a field day with my camera. This dock photo was the best of the bunch.

We had a great time at Thanksgiving with John’s family! Lots of good food and, most importantly, great family 😀

The next day, John and I went to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. I love zoos in general, but the biggest reason I wanted to go to Riverbanks was…the penguins!

Of course, we saw lots of other animals there too, which were almost as cool as the penguins 😉 You can actually walk through the kangaroo enclosure and a giant vulture with a 10 foot wingspan almost smashed my camera. However, the only other photos I have up so far are the meerkat (they’re so adorable!), the elephant, and the sea turtle.

Gotta love the meerkats

Sea Turtles are cool

I took another animal photo a few weeks ago that isn’t in my shop. I went out to the woods behind our apartment to shoot some leaves, but while I was out there I heard something in the leaves nearby. It was a black snake that had caught a lizard and was eating it. It was a bit macabre, but very cool at the same time.  Here’s one of the final shots of it.

I hope you enjoy the new photos, which are available in my Etsy shop, Haus of Ariella. Do you have any favorite animals? What kind of photographs do you like?

The Newest Veil and Photography Woes

My newest creation

I finally finished my Union Jack-inspired three tier veil! I really love this veil – it’s fun and playful, but still not going to freak out any relatives at the wedding. The only thing I don’t like is trying to take decent photos of it!

I had an exam today, but almost as soon as I got home I set out to try to photograph this one and my previous veil. I’m a member of the Etsy Success team and the most common criticism I got about the photos for my last veil was that the natural background was distracting and I should go with a solid background. White on white doesn’t work very well, which was why I took the photos outdoors in the first place. This time I used a gray piece of fabric that I taped to the wall on my balcony. Clearly the results leave much to be desired.

I came very close to buying a set of photography studio backdrops and lighting off of Craigslist today – I’m just sick of trying to jury-rig everything when I try to take photos. Also, the lighting in my new apartment kind of sucks. My old apartment had all of this great direct sunlight that made photographing items much easier. It’s already hard enough trying to photograph myself (not to mention getting into my dress by myself). I can’t afford to hire a professional, so I’m at a bit of a loss. Does anyone have any advice? Or better yet, is anyone willing to come help me take some photos?

Let’s Talk Wedding Photography

One of the things I really wanted going into the wedding planning process was good photographs. They don’t have to be magazine editorial quality or anything, but I want some really nice photos that we can frame or put on canvas and hang in our living room. Then I started looking at the prices of wedding photographers. The ones that I admired so in their sponsored posts on wedding blogs generally cost more than all the cars I’ve owned put together (granted I’ve owned some crappy cars). Most of the “budget” photography packages with those photographers were a few hundred dollars over my entire budget. Clearly a budget wedding to those people means only spending $10,000-15,000. Then I turned to my trusted friend, Google. I emailed several photographers I liked in the WNC area. All of them started at $700+ for JUST THE CEREMONY. I got similar results with Wedding Wire, though I didn’t go through all of them because they came up with 24 pages of results and virtually none of them listed their prices. I emailed my cousin, Briana, who takes beautiful photographs (she took all of the pictures of the farm on our wedding website). She declined, because she has never shot a wedding before, but she did recommend her friend, Paula Roberts. I am so thankful that she did, because her rates are very reasonable and I really like her work. Her blog is and her website is Here are a few things I’ve learned about finding a wedding photographer. Continue reading