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4848 Highway 11
Pelham, AL 35124
United States


Arden Ward Upton, known for her keen eye and southern style. Has curated gifts  for wedding, lifestyle and original art. Arden has worked as a photographer for over a decade photographing some of the South's most exclusive weddings as well as weddings all over the world. During her time as a photographer she has developed a distinctive look and style that is shared on this site and with her customers throughout the years. Arden is also known for her fine art photography available in limited signed editions.


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Photographer Arden Ward Upton's Equus Collection

Arden Ward Upton

We are fast approaching the one-year anniversary of the debut of Arden Ward Upton’s photography collection known as Equus. Her passion and love for horses has not faded in any way during that time.

Living at Windwood Equestrian Estate, her days begin and end surrounded by the majestic creatures – a lifelong dream for the photographer. During an interview, Upton stated that all of her childhood birthdays had a pony-theme. She had dreamt of one day owning a horse, and now she has a barn full.

The Equus images have hung displaying on the walls of her Arden Photography Studio & Gallery in Crestline Village since Nov. 21 of last year, when she first launched the collection. Upton says she feels some of the photographs, “capture the natural beauty of wild horses,” while others were taken of the show horses on the Windwood Equestrian grounds.

Upton is unceasingly inspired by the beauty of the equines, and regularly features them in her photographs. The brides that book Windwood Equestrian Estate as their wedding venue very often are photographed with the horses, making for beautiful fairytale-esque portraits.

Several of the original images are still available for sale and in a wide variety of sizes; all of which were printed in her office on imported Canson/Arches paper.

Upton remains very busy as a cast member for Bravo TV’s Jersey Belle, and continues to shoot weddings, events, magazine spreads, and special collections. She also looks forward to more than one special date in the upcoming weeks: her one-year anniversary to husband William Upton.

For more on Arden Ward Upton, click here.

For more on Windwood Equestrian Estates, click here.

Feel free to stop by Arden Photography Studio and Gallery to view the Equus collection in person.

Top 5 Must Have Wedding Photos

Arden Ward Upton

You have fantasized about this day since the first episode of Full House when Uncle Jesse came walking down the stairs with that signature grin of his… say it with me ladies, “John Stamos.” You pictured the dress, him lifting your veil, the first kiss, the first dance – all of it! And while John Stamos might not be the man at the altar in reality, you still want that picture-perfect wedding! The big day can go by so fast that it’ll be like a blur in your memory. This is why the photos are such a big deal – you’ll have these forever! This is the list of our top five must have wedding photos featuring some of the best memories you will make.

1.    Mom Arranging Bride’s Gown

Getting a snap of mom tying up your dress, clasping your necklace, or pulling your veil down is something both of you will cherish for years to come.

2.    The “First Look”

This is a controversial one. Some couples want to wait until they’re together at the altar to see each other for the first time. But we love it when couples do a “first look.” It’s special, the one moment you and your very soon-to-be husband can just admire each other with no one else around (but us photogs of course!). Even if you choose not to do this, that moment when he first sees you coming down the aisle, is a gorgeous memory to capture.

3.    Bride and Groom Holding Hands at the Altar

Right after you hand off your bouquet, and before the rings are exchanged, there’s an instant where you and your groom clasp hands while you declare your vows. This stands out as that moment of unity.

4.    Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dances

There is so much emotion to capture while you twirl about on the dance floor. Dad whispers something to his daughter and you see her tear up. Mom laughs and smiles at her son as he says something about “crazy Aunt Millie over there.” They are so proud of you, and this is worthy of every photo album ever.

5.    The Big Send Off

We’ve seen couples do some truly unique exit strategies – this is, hands down, why it is one of our favorite captures! Everything from old Volkswagen buses, café racer motorcycles, golf carts, and Gatsby-esque Rolls Royces have been used to whisk off the new couple to their happily ever after!

The truth is that there are tons of must have photos on your wedding day. Everything should be captured from beginning to end, so that you’ll always have those memories. That’s our job, but it’s also what we love…. And John Stamos ;)

Hot Tips for a Winter Wedding

Arden Ward Upton

Generally when someone mentions the word “wedding,” you immediately picture a spring or summer outdoor affair with lots of sunshine, flowers in bloom, and strapless gowns. But what if I told you that there is a wholly forgotten wedding season where just about everything is cheaper, with readymade décor, and a warm glow in everyone’s hearts. Hearing “Jingle Bells” yet? That’s right – winter weddings. Here are a few reasons why you should consider one.

Cost-Efficient for the Budget-Savvy Bride

 The most popular months for weddings are May through October, so during the winter off-season you have the chance to negotiate better prices with venues, vendors, even your honeymoon. Ask if there is some wiggle room in their rates or if they can waive certain fees if they require them. We’ve heard that the venue of your dreams might offer a Friday discount for a Saturday wedding during the off-season – this can shave off thousands of dollars for some!

You also have the better luck of choosing the date you want at the venue you want. More availability equals less competition for you. I mean who wants to wait five years out for a June 6th wedding at The Plaza (you’ve seen Bride Wars, right?). 

Winter, for me, is all about the holidays and you certainly do not have to incorporate them into your big day, but your piggy bank might thank you if you did. Think about it – that is a whole bunch of free decorations for you: twinkling Christmas lights, glittering ornaments, fresh pine, and bright red poinsettias – what a gold mine! And most of those things come standard at venues, churches, and hotels during the holiday season. I say – embrace it! Winter weddings, themed or otherwise, are rare in the glossy pages of all the bridal magazines.

*And if you choose a date right after December 25th shout out for clearance prices on all that Christmas swag!*

Menu, Flowers, and Favors

Planning the menu should be fun for this time of year. Keep the chilly weather in mind, and think about serving warm soup, winter squash, and a variety of yummy drinks like spiked hot chocolate, eggnog, and spiced wine (set out candy canes as drink stirrers!). You could use gingerbread houses as edible centerpieces.

Flowers this time of year could get costly. Instead prepare arrangements with flowers and plants that are in-season: garland, glittered branches, pinecones, and fresh berries. Just grab everything off your fireplace mantle at home and carry it down the aisle!

Send your guests home with their own do-it-yourself hot cocoa mix in mason jars, or an ornament that commemorates the day. We’ve seen jingle bells used too!


Remember that it gets dark earlier in the winter. If you want your wedding portraits taken outside, be sure to plan accordingly. Opt for a pre-ceremony photo shoot. And if you’re imagining snow-covered trees in the background, stock up on fake snow spray or choose a destination wedding to Colorado – because Alabama.

Scout out public decorations and light installments. Colored Christmas lights will make for gorgeous bokeh-filled backgrounds and these can be found at public parks or even your local zoo (Zoolight Safari at the Birmingham Zoo). Train stations, hotels, ice-skating rinks, window displays at malls and toy stores, and roaring fires all make for fantastic winter-themed photos!

There are tons of ideas out there to make your winter wedding a truly spectacular event. No matter how cold it is outside, all that love in your heart will fill you with warmth (but maybe supply your guests with hand warmers, just in case)! 

Arden Ward Upton's Expert Advice: Face It

Arden Ward Upton

Love is more than just a pretty face, but let’s be honest - on your wedding day, we all want that picture-perfect smile! Seems easy enough, right? Then suddenly, you are flipping through your photos, and *gasp* there it is – that dreaded double chin! Now, you could spend an entire week binge watching Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model give girls coaching on how to thrust that chin forward, or you could read on below and save that time for addressing your wedding invitations!

Secret #1: Pull your shoulders back, push your chest out slightly, and gently extend your head forward. This is a great way to avoid that double chin. It may feel a bit awkward and weird, but Tyra says that makes for the prettiest pictures anyway. It also helps to accentuate your collarbone, allowing your shoulders and neck to look thinner.

Secret #2: Angle your face. Try to avoid direct head-on shots as these can sometimes result in an absence of shadows, and this can make your face appear wider. Instead, turn your head just slightly to the right or left, tilt your chin outwards and downwards and look at something just above your natural line of sight. This has the added bonus of emanating a soft and demure pose.

Secret #3: This one may also seem a little strange at first, but you’ll swear by its results! Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth while smiling. This draws very subtle tension into your jawline – an effective way to avoid the double chin, and also aids to elongate your neck.

Bonus Tip: “Look Away Trick” – this one takes practice, but is easy enough to do in the privacy of your own house (something I suggest since it could look a bit strange to anyone who might be watching – trust me). Instead of freezing your smile in place for a hundred photos, try looking away from the camera and look back with a big smile just before the snap of the shutter. Your smile will be more genuine and fresh, lighting up your eyes, and making for a gorgeous shot!

Tyra’s Bonus Tip: “The Smize” – Tyra loves this word, a mash-up of her most-used phrase on ANTM, “Smile with your eyes.” If you don’t like to show off those pearly whites, this is a great tip for you. Take a second to relax your face, open your mouth just slightly, and allow your lower lip to match the curve of your upper teeth. Tilt your chin just barely down, look up at the camera with your eyes, and faintly lower your lids – be sure to channel all the happiness of your big day to shine through!

Image Credit: FanPop

Image Credit: FanPop

So let’s face it, maybe you didn’t lose that last five pounds before lacing up your gown, but who’s going to notice when you’ve got a face like Tyra Banks? 



Arden Ward Upton's Expert Advice: How to Pose for Photos

Arden Ward Upton

Okay, so we all do it. We see photos of celebrities on the red carpet with their super high heels, lean legs, and flat stomachs and then we look at photos of ourselves. One bad photo of yourself is enough to make you delete Instagram and swear off social events all together. But you can’t miss your best friend’s wedding next week, and there will be pictures – lots of them. So here’s some advice on how to pose for photos and turn that wedding aisle into a glamorous catwalk.

Secret #1: Turn partially sideways to the camera and plant one foot in front of the other. Point your toe and place your weight on your back leg. This works best to minimize the size of your waist and accentuate your legs – a great way to show off all those hamstring reps you’ve been doing.

Secret #2:  Try to avoid facing the camera head on, but rather, stand at an angle. Drop one shoulder so it is comfortably lower than the other. Celebrities use this trick to make their body appear smaller and draw attention to their face.

Secret #3: If you have to be photographed straightforward, try a tip from the fashion bloggers around the world: cross your ankles. This works well in long and short dresses, makes your hips look slimmer, legs look longer, and gives off a more casual vibe.

Bonus Tip: Celebs love using props. I mean, come on Scarlett Johansson, we all know you’re pregnant – those strategic baggy overalls aren’t fooling anyone. Instead, hold a small clutch or purse, or try wearing a stylish jacket to hide unflattering parts a la Gwyneth Paltrow – now there’s a woman who knows how to stylishly and strategically hide a baby bump.

Image Credit: Richard Young                                                    Image Credit: ETOnline

Image Credit: Richard Young                                                    Image Credit: ETOnline

Then there’s the good old fashion fallbacks – a good pair of Spanx Hosiery, and you’ve got that tight, flat stomach without ever entering the gym. Spray tans also help to accentuate muscle toning and give a thinner appearance, plus you have the added bonus of looking like you just got back from a beach vacay.

Practice these advice tips in front of your mirror at home, wear your dress to get a good idea of which poses work, and if all else fails, just claim you were trying to look your worst, so that the bride could be the true celebrity star of the day!