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4848 Highway 11
Pelham, AL 35124
United States

205-427-1144

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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Filtering by Tag: #jerseybelle

Thank You Kimberly and Olivia!

Arden Ward Upton

Olivia’s mother, Kimberly, emailed me not too long ago to inquire about my Equus collection prints. She told me that her 11-year-old daughter is part of the hippotherapy program, Horse Ability, in New York where they live. Olivia is special needs with a rare genetic deletion that requires special attention and daily forms of therapy. She loves horses. Kimberly told me that Olivia is so happy when she is riding.  As a board member of Special Equestrians, it is these stories that truly touch my heart.

I hope you love the print of L’ami Noir – it is one of my favorites! Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story with me. Keep riding, Olivia!

If you have any questions about hippotherapy, please click the link to learn more. Programs like Special Equestrians are unique in their aim to provide therapy for persons with special needs. 

11-year-old Olivia. Thank you for the photos Kimberly!

11-year-old Olivia. Thank you for the photos Kimberly!

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.

You asked, I am telling. I believe in the American dream. Do you?

Arden Ward Upton

So you think I’m a Bit@#, you think I’m a snob or a gold digger. Well that’s fine by me because you don’t know me.

 

I moved out when I was 17 with an aluminum folding chair, a mattress on the floor and a 13 inch kitchen TV. I’ve had just about every kind of job you can think of: selling siding, selling water purification systems, working retail, waiting tables and the worst was printing photos for the Department of Public Safety in New Mexico. I will never get the images of animal brutality or homicides out of my mind. I am glad my photography career has progressed from that, but the list of odd jobs could go on and on. I have a strong opinion, but I feel like I’ve earned it.  What I can say is no matter what’s been going on in my life I’ve never acted the victim. I’ve taken it all in stride. I have made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I hold myself accountable for them.

My whole life I’ve been a dreamer and it’s dreaming that saved me from my childhood reality. A broken family and a broken spirit are two very different things. I always dreamed of growing up to live in a house like I watched in the movies. One where within the walls are security and happiness. A place where the power doesn’t get turned off and there is a fridge full of food.

I believe the American dream is still fully available to those who work hard and dream big. I’ve worked hard since I was 14. I've supported myself, and at times others, since I was 17. I am the American dream in my mind. I feel like if you can have the courage to believe in the fairy tale and never give up anyone can make it happen.  

The House I lived in until I was 8 in Eastlake.

The House I lived in until I was 8 in Eastlake.

The house I lived in during high school in Pinson.

The house I lived in during high school in Pinson.

My dad's house the best place in Forest Park.

My dad's house the best place in Forest Park.

Sex and the Southern City

Arden Ward Upton

Sex and the City – we have all watched it, we have all identified with one of the characters, we have probably even taken an online quiz to tell us which character we “are” (but really – who is ever completely honest about their answers on those anyway?).  We have definitely had conversations with our friends naming everyone of the group a Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda or Samantha – probably while drinking cosmos and dishing on the latest gossip.

Recently, Jersey Belle was proclaimed to be the next Sex and the City – but of the south. Jaime Sullivan designated each of the girls to be one of the original four of SATC. So then, is Arden Ward really the Miranda Hobbs of Jersey Belle? Or is she more like Carrie Bradshaw?

Click photo to read original article on @E!online

Click photo to read original article on @E!online

Miranda is determined, hardworking, brutally honest, and fiercely loyal. But she is also seen as cynical, self-loathing, and incredibly guarded. Arden is without a doubt professionally driven and hardworking and like Jaime said, she is a voice of reason much like Miranda is for Carrie.

Carrie has an affinity for stylish clothes and expensive shoes, she dates all the wrong guys, and is on the holy grail of quests – that of true love. She has her drawbacks as well: she is anxious and a bit unsure of herself, repeatedly changing her mind whether it be about which shoes to wear or whether or not to dump Mr. Big this week. If you know Arden at all then you know that she too has been searching for her “happily ever after” as well. Like Carrie, she juggles the weight of a career, life, and love.

Interestingly enough, in the show, Miranda and Carrie are the closest out of the group. They are a good balance to each other: one, the warrior and the other, the dreamer. Arden is not one of these characters, but a blended mix of both. She has had her share dating the wrong guys, finally finding true love just like Carrie and Miranda. And while she is a hard working go-getter, she is ultimately a romantic – an idealist: a warrior with big dreams.

Arden's  SATC  quiz results

Arden's SATC quiz results

Inspired!

Arden Ward Upton

All of the positive words of encouragement have been so inspiring. 

Opening up about having a difficult childhood was both scary and liberating. The scary part was openly admitting that my life wasn't as rosie as I would have hoped for and also being afraid of judgement for that. I feel like the way everyone sees me now is only a small slice of the pie. 

What I learned is that so many people have experienced something similar to my story. I had no idea that insecurities about smiling would be a common thread or that earning love as a child would be as well.

I am so inspired by the amount of people who reached out to me about their own personal stories. It is nice to know that others share in healing and I hope to keep this conversation going.

Big Smiles with William!

Big Smiles with William!


You asked, I am telling!

Arden Ward Upton

Everyone keeps asking where is my smile... So here is my answer:

It is two fold.

First, I smile but I don’t give my smiles away for free it has to be my true emotion. I have always been like this. It stems from my childhood. I would say that my childhood was unpleasant at best. As a matter of fact, I don’t even feel like I really had one at all. I can remember times when I was happy with my father and he was a great father but unless I was with him I felt unloved. I grew up in a house that would give you a feeling of manipulated emotions or that love had to be earned. A merit based love as a child has never created someone who smiles all the time I am sure. And a tough childhood doesn’t make a carefree attitude in adulthood.

Arden_Upton_100

 

In addition to this style childhood, I have spent from my early teens until I was 30 being embarrassed of my smile. At the age of 30 I was finally in a position to do something about my teeth but until then I practiced covering them when I talked and a smile in a picture was either forced or because someone actually took a photo of me laughing.  Thankfully now a newfound confident smile is slowly emerging. I credit my orthodontist with emergence of a happy unashamed smile!

 

Want to know something else? You ask, I’ll tell.
Before Braces

Before Braces

William brings out the big smiles in me!

William brings out the big smiles in me!

More big smiles with William

More big smiles with William


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?