Portraits of Arielle (with a few horses)

I first came to know Arielle when she contacted me about my equine photography. We stayed in touch via Twitter and I started to get to know this beautiful young woman as I read her blog, A Beautiful Journey and kept up with her photography work.

Around the time I was planning my trip to Kentucky, I found myself on Arielle’s blog, captivated by her beautiful photos, prose, and the honesty with which she shared about her life as a young mother who loves horses, the country, beauty, and God. I sent her a crazy e-mail late one night, asking if I could see her when I was in Lexington, and if she would let Shirley and I photograph her. There are just some people I feel compelled to photograph, and Arielle was one of them. Her quiet demeanor, inner and outer beauty, and personal style intrigued me greatly. Thankfully, she didn’t think I was a crazy stalker, and said “yes.”

We met at Starbucks and chatted about our lives, our work, our loves and I gave her some feedback about her photography. Shirley picked us up, took us out for some delicious Chinese food, and headed to Shirley’s farm, just as the light was getting good. On our way, we stopped at an old churchyard along the way…

Arielle is so sweet, and just a little shy. 🙂
For the end of our session, we headed out to a pasture in the midst of a grove of walnut trees near the back of Shirley’s property. Arielle got to interact with a few of Shirley’s sweet horses.
Photographers Note: This last series of photos was taken then the sun had sunk down behind the horizon. This is becoming my favorite light of the day – for about 20 minutes, there is beautiful, soft, directional light, and the whole landscape is bathed in it. In order to effectively photograph in this light, you need to have fast lenses (1.8 aperture or lower – I shot mostly at 1.2) and a camera that can operate at higher ISO settings (I worked between 1600 and 2500 ISO).
Such a beautiful smile!


  1. Tara Mauldin

    June 17, 2011

    wow…just wow…you are such an inspiration to me! xoxo

  2. Nicole Schmitz

    June 17, 2011

    Wow!!! Breathtakingly beautiful shoot!!!

  3. Dennis Benson

    June 17, 2011


    I’m doing a website for a photographer in Willmar who would like some tutorial in using Lightroom. Are you interested?

  4. Shelley

    June 17, 2011

    Thanks Tara and Nicole!

    Dennis – possibly. It would probably not be possible until July.

  5. stacy k

    June 17, 2011

    Shelley! This is one of my favorite sessions you’ve ever done … absolutely gorgeous!

  6. Buffy Slaff

    June 17, 2011

    this is my amazing granddaughter – she is so beautiful both inside and out and you captured her wonderfully!

  7. Monika

    June 17, 2011

    I love the way your portraits look like paintings. Those last handful of images are so, so wonderful.

  8. Marian Adoranti

    June 17, 2011

    Shelley I always check your bolg and am never disappointment with what I see. You just continue to get better and better. Your use of light in this session is wonderful!

  9. Deb Hilger

    June 18, 2011

    Shelley,I just love these photos. Being an almost freakish “visual” person, I just am so happy looking at your work. So many images perfectly captured. It’s the “ahhh” of a beautiful scene captured in a moment of time. Your work is a gift. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Dennis Bullock

    June 19, 2011

    So gorgeous Shelley!

  11. Kristin

    June 19, 2011

    Absolutely gorgeous! You captured Arielle so honestly. 🙂 Great shots! I really love the close up silhouette shot- so beautiful!

  12. Katie

    June 20, 2011

    I follow Arielle’s blog in part because I love her pictures. So imagine my surprise when I got to see photos that inspire her! Your pictures are just lovely. You mentioned using a lens with a lower aperture than 1.8, what lens do you use? I’m happy to add a new blog to my photo inspiration file. 🙂

  13. Branson

    June 20, 2011

    Absolutely stunning! I love Arielle’s blog, and look forward to seeing more of your work now as well!

  14. Kristin Nicole

    June 22, 2011

    Gorgeous session…love this

  15. Lindsey Williams

    June 23, 2011

    Shelley– I am SUPER inspired by your work– you make me want to become a better photographer!! Arielle– you are gorgeous! I love how Shelley was able to capture your shyness in the photos– so sweet!

  16. simplyvonne

    June 24, 2011

    simply beautiful. arielle is such a beautiful person although i have never met her, her spirit just shine through. You did such a great job ! Im new at photography and would love some more tips on your blog! 🙂

  17. rileyphotographic

    July 15, 2011

    Being a regular visitor, i always see better and better posts in this site.

    So keep like this beautiful posts up always….

    Boston photographers

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