12 Jan

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | PPA’s Family Portrait Month

Each year, PPA Charities organizes Family Portrait Month in support of Operation Smile. During the months of September and October, a portion of all of my session fees were donated to this charitable event to help at least one child obtain a new smile with the help of Operation Smile’s amazing doctors.  Over the last six years, Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography has helped at least six children obtain new smiles, and I am so proud that we can continue to help and support these organizations and children thanks to my clients.

This family is one of the many families I had the opportunity to photograph during this past Fall season, and I just loved everything about the session.  The fall foliage was absolutely perfect in the middle of November, and the temperatures were amazing!  When the sun shines, so do my clients and so do I!  The sparkling yellow leaves look like gold that day. For this session, I love that the grandparents were able to join us for the session, and we were able to capture special photographs with each of them and the grandchildren along with the entire family together, which makes them a perfect highlight for Family Portrait Month.

PPA Family Portrait Month in Charlotte NC

Carolyn Ann Ryan participates in PPA Family Portrait Month by photographing families in Charlotte NCAward winning family photographer, Carolyn Ann Ryan, participates in PPA's Family Portrait Month

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer, Carolyn Ann Ryan, participates in PPA's Family Portrait Month

04 Oct

Enchanting South Charlotte Family Portraits | Secret Garden

Enchanting South Charlotte Family Portraits | Secret Garden

Every once in a while, you find a location that feels like a secret garden that enables you to create enchanting family portraits, and we found one right here in South Charlotte.  I just adore this first photograph with the old tree and bird house on the side, and adds to the feeling that this family is just alone in a special place having a beautiful and heartwarming chat with their little girl.  The sunlight sparkles through the trees behind, illuminating their story.

And just a few feet away we found a brick path with a beautiful bench and grassy field to create a perfect setting for their daughter’s family portraits.  She truly looked like a princess strolling through the enchanted garden.

 

Enchanting South Charlotte Family Photography by Carolyn Ann Ryan Enchanting South Charlotte Family Portraits photographed by Carolyn Ann Ryan Carolyn Ann Ryan creates enchanting South Charlotte Communion Portraits Carolyn Ann Ryan creates enchanting Family Portraits in South Charlotte, NC

11 Jul

South Charlotte Family Photographer | Voted Best Photographer by South Charlotte Weekly Readers!

Voted Best Photographer by South Charlotte Weekly Readers!

This afternoon, I met my husband for lunch at Einstein Bagels in Ballantyne.  We placed our order and proceeded to find seats.  Jim mentioned that he was going to grab a copy of The South Charlotte Weekly for us to read.  On the cover of the newspaper I saw that this issue contained the announcement of the Best of The South Charlotte Weekly Awards for 2016.  I sighed to myself, and immediately flipped to the Professional Services section to see which photographer was voted Best Photographer.

And suddenly there it was – my name was right there in the middle of the page: Best Photographer  –  Carolyn Ann Ryan.  I squealed and showed my husband, and I was so thrilled he was there to share that moment with me!  Next, I glanced below my name to see my daughter and son’s Irish Dance school, Rince Na h’Eireann School of Irish Dance,  had been voted Best Dance School!  It was a double win!

On the drive home, I couldn’t help my excitement.  We have only been in the Charlotte area for one year since our relocation form New Jersey.  Not only was it difficult to leave our family and friends behind, but it was equally difficult to walk away from the business I spent six years building in New Jersey.  I had to relocate my business over 630 miles and I did not have any contacts, friendships or relationships in my new area.  While my skill level and business knowledge haven’t changed, I am essentially starting this business all over again.

And yes, there are days where I wonder if I can really do it.  Do I have really have what it takes to build this business twice?  But then there are days like today where my clients, friends and family remind me how much I love what I do for a living, and I really can’t imagine doing anything else.  Thanks so much to everyone that took a couple of minutes of their time to vote for me!  I can’t thank you enough for your votes to help me earn this honor!  I am so very grateful, and I look forward to working with more families in the South Charlotte area this year and for many years to come!

Thank you all so much!

Carolyn

Carolyn Ann Ryan was voted Best Photographer in South Charlotte Weekly Best of Awards

03 May

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Still looking for a few amazing gift ideas for Mother’s Day?  I am so excited to share this Mother’s Day Gift Guide that we prepared with the help of fellow North Carolina members of The National Association of Professional Child Photographers.  We teamed together this year to bring you a handful of suggestions from our favorite stores, and we also featured our favorite gift idea inside.   You’ll have to visit page 7 to read all about it!

This guide was prepared with the  assistance of Jeannie DeSena from Words & Pictures by Jeannie DeSena, Jody Dixon from Jody G Photography, Sara Brennan from White Box Photo, and Erika Rigger from Erika Rigger Photography, and I can’t thank them enough for their contributions.

I hope you enjoy and if you use any of the ideas within this document, please let us know in the comments!

Enjoy!

 

North Carolina Mother's Day Gift Ideas from NAPCP Photographers

North Carolina Mothers Day Gift Guide 2016

10 Apr

Classic Charlotte NC Family Portraits – National Siblings Day

Classic Charlotte NC Family Portraits – National Siblings Day

As you may have heard, today is National Siblings Day and I love taking a few moments on this day to share some of my favorite portraits of siblings from the last year.  Siblings are your instant best friends, biggest supporters, shoulders to cry on, and they will be a special part of almost all of your childhood memories.  And yes, they are also the people you will likely fight with the most, but regardless of the fights, teasing, or competing, they are the people that will always be there for you when you need them. They will be in your biggest cheerleaders in life, and even your defenders should you ever need them.

There is just something amazing that comes with being and having a sibling, and it is definitely something to celebrate. It is unconditional and everlasting.

Having a sister myself, I have always loved the song “Sisters” featured in the movie White Christmas.  ‘Sisters, Sisters, there were never such devoted sisters . . .”

Charlotte NC Family Photograph shares classic sibling portraits for National Siblings Day

 

While many of these are classic portraits of siblings, I think the last image at the bottom may be one of my favorites showing the silliness of siblings working together in opposite of their parents. That image was not posed or requested and was just a natural moment from an adorable family session.
Classic Charlotte NC Family Portraits shared by Carolyn Ann Ryan for National Siblings Day shared by family photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan

 

And below, here are some favorite images of my family members.  On the top left is my four beautiful nieces, which my daughter jumping in.  On the top right is a photograph from a family party showing my father with his eldest brother along with my aunt and my mom. The brother two images highlight the sibling goofiness and friendship of my own two children.  The bottom left photograph was taken by my talented friend, Annette Goodman, from Annette Goodman Photography during our family portrait session last year.

Classic Charlotte NC Family Portraits shared by Carolyn Ann Ryan for National Siblings Day

09 Mar

Experienced Charlotte NC Family Photographer | On the Go

Experienced Charlotte NC Family Photographer | When Your Child Is Always On the Move

So you want to update your family portraits, but your tiny little one is active and mobile, and you are worried that they will not be able to sit still for a portrait session. Maybe they recently started crawling or walking, but now it seems they never want to sit still.

Does this sound familiar?  No worries at all, and you are not alone.  Little ones between the ages of 8 months and 3 years old almost never want to stop moving (but, hopefully all that moving gets them so tired that they sleep well each night).

So, how do I photograph little ones on the go and still deliver beautiful family portraits for my clients?

If you want a happy, smiling, giggly child, you definitely do not want to force them to sit for photographs. You honestly don’t want to force them to do anything.  Instead, we want to make sure they are happy and having fun!

Here are some tips to help prepare you for a family photo session with toddlers and little kids, so you know what you can expect from your portrait session with me:

  • Chairs, Benches, Fences, or even fake tree stumps (yes, I own a fake tree stump)
    Some little ones will find these props amusing and entertaining and will voluntarily choose to sit on them. Yay!   But we always follow the safety first rule when photographing children.  When using any seating that is elevated off the ground, I always keep parents within arm’s reach of their child, but just outside of the frame of my camera, to prevent falls and keep their tiny little ones safe from harm.

Professional Charlotte NC Family Portraits by Carolyn Ann Ryan

  • Pick them up!  
    This is one of the many reasons I love family portrait sessions and including parents in photographs! When children are young, they generally enjoy being held by mom or dad, plus it can give them a sense of security at the start of the session.  So we use that to our advantage and I have parents hold or pick up their children for a a snuggle, a quick spin, a toss in the air, or a shared giggle!  Plus, I can photograph you with them AND I can also zoom in close and photograph just your child!  Would you guess that these first two little ones were being held in Mom’s or Dad’s arms?

Skilled Charlotte NC Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan

  • Hold their Hands and Walk or RUN!
    Little ones that are just getting started with walking or cruising LOVE to hold their parents hands and take a few steps and the smiles and giggles just naturally appear! It’s a perfect time to grab a few portraits!  And the bigger ones love to run and almost always starting laughing when Moms and Dads join in their fun!

Skilled Waxhaw NC Family Photographer

  • Tickles and Tackles
    Plain and simple – “who wants to tackle Mom? ”  You can count on Moms and Dads know their little ones’ ticklish spots to bring on the big giggles.  But I just adore when munchkins run and tackle Mom or Dad.

Experienced Waxhaw NC Family Photographer keeps children happy by encouraging tackling of parents

  • On the move
    Sometimes, children just want to spin, walk, march or run!  And we just want smiles, so during the session we let them do what will make them happiest!

Professional Marvin North Carolina Family Child Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan

  • Toys, Bubbles, Leaves or Hats
    When my clients bring toys or props for the kids, I typically leave these for the end of the session, simply because I never want to be the person that needs to take something away from a child during their portraits (because that can bring tears).   But bubbles, stuffed animals, or even something as simple as a leaf or a big sister’s hat, can provide enough distraction and entertainment to keep them from moving away!  And sometimes, they are just SO excited to hold something in their little hands! I can almost hear the squeals in these photographs!Professional Charlotte NC Family Portraits
  • Most importantly, just have fun. (And maybe throw some leaves!)
    If my clients simply focus on having fun with their children, you never know the moments that will just happen and that is the BEST part of photographing family portrait sessions!  I absolutely adore the moments we create together and look forward to creating beautiful images with your family!

Experienced Charlotte NC Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan

 

 

04 Mar

Dreamy Charlotte NC Family Photography – Spring is Coming

Dreamy Charlotte NC Family Photography – Spring is Coming

The weather forecast next week is hinting at temperatures near 80 degrees and on this 50 degree afternoon, I’m yearing for more and more sunshine.  So to kick off the weekend, I will simply share beautiful, dreamy Spring Family Portraits to get you as excited for Spring as I am.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Dreamy Charlotte NC Child Photography Dreamy Charlotte NC Family Photography Dreamy Marvin NC Family Photography in Spring

26 Feb

Charlotte Child Photographer | National Tell A Fairy Tale Day

Charlotte Child Photographer | National Tell A Fairy Tale Day

Today, February 26th, is National Tell A Fairy Tale Day!  So, to help inspire you to tell your children a fairy tale this evening, I dug through my photographs to find a few that just might have a story behind them – but I challenge you to decide what that story might be and share it with your loved ones this evening!  Have fun and enjoy!  And feel free to come back and comment here with your fairy tale ideas and let us know which image inspired you!  We would love to hear them!

Charlotte Child Photographer Fairy Tales Charlotte NC Child Photographer fairy tale 2

 

25 Feb

Communion Portraits | Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | Tips for Scheduling Your Session

 Communion Portraits | Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | Tips for Scheduling Your Session

It’s almost Spring which means it’s almost time for First Holy Communions at many churches.  This is such a special event in a child’s and family’s life, and family photographers are often called to help capture those precious memories with Communion Portraits.

Most of the time, families inquire about hiring a photographer for the day of the Communion to meet at the Church and capture portraits of the child and the family.  But, I typically suggest to my clients that if they are truly interested in portraits, that they should schedule their portrait session before or after the Communion Day.

Communion and Family Portraits Charlotte North Carolina

Here’s why:

  • Communion Day can be stressful, but your portraits shouldn’t be.   If scheduling immediately before the ceremony, we are often limited on time.  And if you are running late, your portrait session will be shorter, because you need to arrive at the Church.
  • If scheduling immediately after the ceremony, there will be a ton of other families also taking photos of their children inside and outside.   This can make it difficult to get the ideal location and lighting needed along with having clean backdrops without people walking through your photographs.
  • Additionally, many families schedule a party on the same day as the Communion, and your brain will likely be filled with thoughts of party preparations, arriving on time to your party, and more.
  • Another consideration is the weather forecast and rain.  If you truly want photographs on the day of the Communion, if it rains, our only alternative is to photograph inside.

First Communion Portraits by Carolyn Ann Ryan in Charlotte NCNorth Carolina Communion Portraits

 

But if you schedule your session on a different day, you won’t have any time constraints and will be more relaxed arriving for your session.  If the forecast calls for rain, we would simply reschedule for another day.  You won’t have to worry about keeping your child’s outfit clean (although I promise to do my best to avoid getting Communion outfits dirty).  And you will have more flexibility in outfits, so I remind my clients, you have my time, so let’s also photograph your casual family portraits too!  You could even complete your Holiday Card portrait session – in April or May!

With less to worry about, you will be able to focus on simply having fun with your children, and your photographs will be beautiful.

Charlotte NC Family Photographer photographs First Communion Portraits

Child and Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan shares First Communion Portraits

I’m always willing to work with my clients to discuss their needs for their portrait sessions in order to capture the photographs they want.  If you are interested in booking a Communion and Family Portrait Session, call our office at 704-256-7270

Links:
The beautiful Communion Bowl displayed in these photographs can be custom ordered from Clarey Clay Works

23 Feb

Charlotte, North Carolina Photographer | All in the Details

Charlotte, North Carolina Photographer | All in the Details

There are days that we have so much going on that we get wrapped up into the tiny details of life, work, or school.  But sometimes, it’s nice to get wrapped up in other tiny little details. It’s nice to take a moment and focus on the details of the tiny little people occupying our homes.  Just look at their hands, eyelashes, cheeks, eyes, lips, nose.  These details won’t be tiny for very long.  Take a moment today to enjoy the tiny, little details.

Charlotte North Carolina photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan focuses on tiny little details

 

 

11 Feb

Charlotte, NC Child Photographer | Chocolate Dreams

Charlotte, NC Child Photographer | Chocolate Dreams

Growing up, Chocolate Milk was one of my favorite foods.  It was my breakfast before school (nutritious, right?), and I’d have a glass when I arrived home from school and another before bed.  I do wonder how my parents allowed to occur.  I’m pretty sure I drank about 5 glasses of chocolate milk per day between the ages of 12 and 18.  I had even decided that when I grew up, I would have two dogs – both Chocolate Labrador Retrievers and I would name them Nestle and Hershey.

Well, I don’t have the dogs yet.  But this is what happens when a family photographer that doesn’t cook much takes a food photography class at the NAPCP Retreat with Lauren Carnes. I needed to practice what I learned, so this was the easiest scene I could create and one of the first that popped into my head.  My glasses of chocolate milk never looked this pretty when I was a kid.  And I am pretty certain my children will be requesting to recreate these images this weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Charlotte, NC Child Photographer practices food photography

 

Milk Bottles: Target

Valentine’s Day Decor and Candy: Target

Food: Hershey’s Syrup and Reddi-Whip Whipped Cream

09 Feb

Charlotte NC Tween Portraits | Valentine Style

Charlotte, NC Tween Portraits | Valentine Style

Hard to believe this beautiful, young girl is in her tweens, right? There is just something classic and simple about her beauty. We had such a great time styling a session for my daughter and her friends recently, and this is just one of the many photographs we created.  The styling was simple and classic – a jean jacket, furry boots, and a scarf and voila!

Enjoy!

Charlotte NC Tween Portraits styled for Winter and Valentine's Day

 

29 Jan

Marvin, North Carolina Family Photographer | Little Boy Blue

Marvin, North Carolina Family Photographer | Little Boy Blue

It’s family portrait sessions like this one that make my heart simply melt right from the start.  I met this family before we even arrived in Marvin, North Carolina and with our common New Jersey backgrounds, we were instant friends.  But those little boys with their blonde curls and adorable cheeks, just melted my heart every time I saw them.  When I arrived at the home to begin photographing the family, Mom apologized that the boys weren’t dressed yet, but I begged her to wait just a few more minutes before putting on their button-down shirts.  Standing in the doorway with their jeans, gel in their hair and the white t-shirts, I had to get started right away.  Just a few quick photographs and I let Mom finish getting them ready.

First we stayed right at the home finding perfect light on the lawn, and I loved the laughter as the boys sat together in the grass!  Next, we headed to their country club and then to the park to get photos in front of the barn!  I just love being a family photographer in North Carolina because the locations and settings are awesome!  The nearby park has a barn!

The ending of this session was just as good as the start with gorgeous light, an adorable family, and those curls and cute cheeks!  The photograph of the boys in front of the barn was just the perfect image for above Mom’s fireplace in her home.  Can it get any sweeter than this?

Enjoy!

 

Family Portrait Photographer, Carolyn Ann Ryan, creates adorable portraits

Carolyn Ann Ryan photographs families Marvin, NC Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan creates family portraits at their favorite locations Family Photographer in Marvin North Carolina

 

21 Jan

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer receives International Awards at WPPI Competition

Charlotte, NC | Award Winning Family and Pet Portraits

I am beyond thrilled to announce that Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography recently earned four Silver Awards in the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) Second Half 2015 Image Competition . Each year, I submit a handful of my favorite images to the top Image Competitions in order to have my work reviewed and critiqued by some of the most talented photographers in the industry. And I’m not alone in this effort as thousands of entries are submitted by photographers around the globe and every entry is critiqued and scored by the panel of judges.

I’m ecstatic to have multiple images recognized by the judges, and with these awards I have earned the title ‘Associate of WPPI‘.  All of the images below were created during portrait sessions with my clients, and I am truly honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to create each of these images.  Whether photographing an adorable family of six or a family’s new puppy, I have truly loved being a part of each of these moments.

 

Charlotte NC Award Winning Family Photographer wins silver award from WPPI

Together is All We Need

 

Charlotte NC Family Portrait Photographer Award Winning Cat Photograph earns silver award from WPPI

Lost in a Sea of Green

 

Charlotte NC Family Photographer Award Winning Mother and Son portrait wins silver award from WPPI

Sharing Secrets

 

Charlotte NC Family Portrait Photographer Award Winning Pet Portraits wins silver award for puppy photograph titled Wanna Take Me Home

Wanna Take Me Home?

 

28 Oct

Charlotte NC Family Portraits | Focus on the Moments

Charlotte NC Family Portraits | Focus on the Moments

One of my favorite wedding photographers is constantly reminding photographers that photographing a wedding isn’t about capturing and documenting the shoes, rings and table cards, but it’s about capturing the moments of the day.  I think the same can be true in family portraits.  It isn’t about photographing a styled session and showing photographs of children holding berries or pinecones (while I will admit these can be beautiful images and wonderful accents to a gallery), but it’s about documenting a family together for an afternoon.  It’s about the squeezes and hugs, the way they look at each other, the giggles and laughs, and the stolen moments of pure adorableness.  And it’s about remembering the couple of hours they spent together just enjoying each other’s company and being happy.  But sometimes, my favorite part of these sessions is remembering the moments that triggered that perfect giggle or smile and what might have been happening behind the scenes to create those seemingly perfect moments.  If the viewer of the photographs only knew how we did it.  Because yes, maybe the giggles were generated by the tiniest family member singing a song about poops while the family walked together holding hands.  As you can imagine, that might just cause the rest of the family to crack up with real, genuine laughter and for me – it becomes the perfect moment.   I just love those moments.  They are my favorite.

 

Charlotte, NC Photographer, Carolyn Ann Ryan, photographs family portrait session in Spring Charlotte NC Family Photographer takes photographs of Moms and Dads with their children Charlotte NC Child and Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan creates beautiful family portraits