fall in love over and over

Following My Heart Somewhere New & Exciting!

Taking photos is so much more to me than pretty images… it’s a chance to connect. As I’ve grown, so has my style, and now my brand must grow with me. I want my work to be an expression of my heart, and a way for people to connect to each other and, well… me.

As your story changes and new chapters are written, so should your family albums and portraits. Each photo should take you to that moment, that time in your life. Your photos should be a true presentation of you: raw, unfiltered, candid you.

Nothing makes me happier than bringing people together. My family and my friends (and my dog) mean more to me than anything I could ever buy. Although I didn’t plan to be a photographer, I love that life has lead me here. I’m at a point in my life now that I seek deeper connection and meaningful friendships rather than acquaintances. Because of that, I have outgrown my current branding and wanted something that reflects my heart more.

I want to connect deeper with my clients. I want to get to know them and really seek out raw emotion and unfiltered expressions in sessions. I want to leave clients with more than just a few pictures…

I’m so thankful for the support of my friends and family through this process and to celebrate I’ll be giving away my new Intimate Couples Session!

I’ve poured my heart into my new look, and I hope you love it! I wanted a better interface that communicated my style and services in a more artistic and thoughtful way, so I can really connect with the right clients that result in sessions that are both fun and full of sentiment and tangible connection.

I feel like I’m truly telling my story even better now, so I can tell yours better too!

My Story

I’m so excited about this re-branding on so many levels! I’m so thankful for all the people in my life that have believed in me and motivated me to get to where I’m at today. Because of this, I want to make sure I’m consistently growing and not becoming complacent or comfortable. I’m becoming a better me and a better photographer, as well as a better business owner not only for my family, but especially for my current and future clients.

I want to really focus on WHY I’m doing this. I’m in a place where I need more, and I need to GIVE more to my clients: a more complete experience, personalized and unique. A recent event in my personal life has pushed me to this point, and it has become my new source of inspiration and motivation to move forward and leave a tangible, lasting impression with my clients.

Five months ago, I personally experienced the first loss of a family member. I knew the day would come eventually, and like many of us do I tried to prepare myself as best as I could. But, there’s realistically no way to prepare yourself for the thoughts that flood your mind, and the feelings your body and soul endure after this type of loss. My dad fought skin cancer fiercely for quite a few years, but unfortunately he fell extremely ill this year and wasn’t able to recover. As tragic as it was to lose a parent, my mom was especially strong through it all and it resulted in bringing our family closer together. We have hope in that God promises life after death, and we will see him again soon.

So… what does that have to do with photography?

Before his celebration of life, we looked through albums full of photographs and lasting memories. Moments that were captured so long ago and made time stand still, but lasted a lifetime. I’d seen most of my parents when they were in their forties, but never any from before they had me and my sisters. When I came across these photos in particular , I can’t say exactly why they struck me so significantly except that they made feel like I had a glimpse into the life my parents had. They were in their twenties, blissfully married, and starry-eyed with adventure. Seeing photos of them on their honeymoon, and seeing the very beginning of their love story, made me feel like I knew them better instantly. It was in this moment that realized the amazing power of photographs, not just pictures on the internet, but printed and tangible heirlooms that can be passed down to children and grandchildren.

This defining event in my life is one of the significant driving forces behind my re-brand. It made me realize I wanted to give my clients a similar experience. I want a photo session to mean more than just a dusty hard drive somewhere holding priceless memories never to be seen or enjoyed by future generation. I want my clients to be able to experience memories tangibly, just as I did.

Capturing couples and the authenticity of their love for each others has value to me. Something real, and not posed: capturing their connection. I want to capture a woman reconnecting with herself and realizing the beauty that she really possesses. I want to make families see and feel these types of emotion over by giving them keepsakes and heirlooms that are irreplaceable. I believe in this now more than ever, and I can’t wait to share this type of experience with my clients moving forward.

Drum Roll Please…

I have a new passion for what I do, and to celebrate that I’m starting off this new part of my journey by giving. I’ve received so many beautiful stories from couples of love, connection, and joy and It was incredibly hard to choose just one contest winner!
I ended up picking my top three, then drawing from a hat because it was the most fair way to choose. I was inspired by this person because of her love for life, insatiable need to express herself artistically, and her way of not holding anything back from the ones she love. Every time I take her photo, I catch a smile. Every time. It’s contagious! So when she sent me her love story, I was excited and inspired.

My parents’ love for each other in the photos I found (see below) take me back to their new marriage and who they were before I was even thought of. They mean the world to my sisters and I because it’s a piece of their relationship we would’ve never seen had they not documented it! You’ve probably guessed by now if you know her, but if you haven’t… here’s a piece of the story she sent in that reminded so much of my parents:

“Zach and I are a new couple, and many people think we are totally crazy. And heck maybe we are? But within the first 24 hours of us being together we knew that our lives were about to change. And they are changing, in September him and I will be starting a 1 year round the world trip together, which again, everyone thinks we are nuts. I call it love. But whatever, people have their own titles I suppose. He isn’t just my partner, he is my team mate, my co-pilot, my person. What him and I have is something that I feel like not a lot of people get to experience in their lifetime, and I want to document that. I want to document every moment possible so we can write the greatest love story of all time. What’s cool about this? I know it’s not one sided. I can confidently say that he equally loves me as much as I love him. And I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of our life is going to be.”

Most people don’t take a trip around the world after dating just a few months. Some people date for years, some for a few months before they know something is different this time. I’m inspired by her open heart and appetite for adventure. What a love story!

Congratulations Lauren Dow! You’re the lucky Intimate Couples Session Giveaway Winner!
[I’ll contact you and your people will get with my people]

*does happy dance* 

There were so many beautiful stories and entries, and I can’t thank you enough for sharing your hearts! It was so heart-warming to be reminded that true love is out there for so many people and it should be celebrated!

Thank you all for such amazing support moving into this new chapter of my life and my photography, and I cannot wait to share these new sessions and my upcoming adventures with you right here on my blog.

Ariel Penu
Ari Photography

Photos of my parents:

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