Today’s interview is with Ariana Falerni!

Ariana Falerni

If you could take only three pieces of gear on a shoot, what would they be?

My 5D Mark I, 70-200 2.8 II and digital grey card.. and I don’t know if this counts as an extra item, but my marigold yellow Jo Tote camera bag to carry it all in!

What was your first experience in photography?

My parents bought me my first SLR (way before the “D” existed!) when I was 13 and I was very “prolific” – much to their dismay because developing film is so expensive! When we used to go on family vacations I would come back with like twelve rolls of film maybe eleven of which were a gazillion shots of the same things like swans from the Swannery or something else I obsessed over!

If you could shoot alongside any other photographer, who would it be (and why)?

I’m so bad at questions like these.. I can never answer just one because there are so many styles I love. Keri Meyers for newborn shoots, Angie Monson, Meg Borders or Lisa Lucky… I guess if I had to pick ONE I’d say Drew B because I met her at a girls getaway that Adobe invited us both to and we hit it off right away but I’ve never seen her shoot. She’s a master of the natural family interactions and I would love to see her in action!

Other than photography, do you have any other creative outlets?

Well, yes – many! I am what I like to call a serial obsessionist when it comes to creativity. Right now my main creative outlet is photography but in the past it’s been music (I was a performing songwriter for many years) and design which I also have managed to merge with photography and create my wall guides and other design templates that I sell.

Tell us one thing you wish you’d known when you started your business.

Not to rush into it. I really miss the days of being a hobbyist when I had no deadlines to meet but my own, when every shoot was designed by me FOR me. I understand the appeal of earning money because photography is a very expensive “hobby” but there are so many other things to consider – like your time and sanity!

What’s on the horizon for your photography business?

Up until now I’ve been on location only, but I’m opening a studio in a few days!!! It’s a tiny weird shaped space but the light is gorgeous and my husband will be thrilled that we can have our office closet back once I move all my newborn props in there!

Describe the perfect session.

Above all, gorgeous light – golden hour light in a scenic location with a family that is relaxed and having fun!

What is your current favorite photo that you’ve taken (and why)?

Again, I’m horrible at picking one of anything.. but definitely an image of my husband and son playing together. When Jasper looks back at his childhood, those are the happy spontaneous moments that will make him realized how loved he is/was, not the “photoshoots” in a field Mommy made him do! Plus, you can just tell what an amazing bond they have – when we are long gone Jasper will treasure those.

If you were not a photographer, what would you be?

I’d like to think songwriter, but the truth is I’d probably a web designer because that’s what I was before photography!

What is the best and worst part of your job?

The worst part right now is lugging all the props and setting up a newborn shoot.. it’s seriously sucking the joy out of it for me which is why I am so excited about my new studio. The best part is that magical moment when you click the shutter and know that you got a GORGEOUS shot. Closely followed by sharing that shot with the family for the first time!

How would you describe your artistic style?

My style is mostly cleanly processed with shallow depth of field (thanks to my favorite 70-200 II lens.) I like capture the surroundings, so I don’t do a ton of tight headshots even though they always sell. I probably should rethink that strategy!

Funniest or most awkward moment on a shoot?

The most embarrassing awkward moment was my first stranger shoot.. it was for a blog reader who was super nice (thank god) and I actually forgot my memory card!! My husband had to go track one down and bring it to me but by the time he got back we’d lost a lot of the good light. I’m glad I learned that lesson when I was still portfolio building!

If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?

Mary-Louise Parker. I don’t really look like her, but she has a certain quirkiness that I think people see in me, even though that’s now how I think of myself at all!

How did Photographer’s Wall Display Guides come to be?

A good friend needed a series of images for the children’s retail store she was opening in San Francisco. We did a really cute themed shoot and at the end she asked me what she should order for the store walls. I looked at her blankly and realized that I had NO idea how to put together a series of images to hang on a wall! It took me days of tinkering around in Photoshop to come up with something half-way decent and during the process I realized how HARD it was to pick the exact right images at the exact right crops! Without seeing it mocked up I would have never been able to confidently recommend a wall arrangement to her. And then the lightbulb went off and I realized that it would be crazy to expect a client to figure out something like that on their own.. the rest is history!

What’s on the horizon for your Wall Guides/Design business?

Right now I’m hard at work on an Organic Bloom version of my wall guides which I’m insanely excited about. I also have a ton of card and mini album designs that will be coming out soon as well as a Proselect version of my wall guides!

Quickie Questions – One Word Answers!

Canon or Nikon?


Prime or zoom?


Studio or on location?


Natural light or flash?

Natural Light

Neck strap or wrist strap?

Neck Strap

Color or black and white?


Mac or PC?


Photoshop or Lightroom?

Both. Seriously can’t live without either!

Sunrise or sunset?


Heels or flip flops?