11 Sep

Charlotte, NC | Fall Family Portrait Session Style Guide

What to Wear for Your Fall Family Portrait Session

So your fall family portrait session is coming up and you don’t know what to wear. This is always a big challenge for my clients, because they know they are investing in the portraits and they want to love them. These are the photos that they will use for their Christmas and Holiday cards, and also to display in their home for many years to come and send as gifts to close family members.  Visit my previous Gift Guide Blog Post here.

Charlotte NC Family Photographer shares What to Wear guide for Fall Family Portraits

So, where to begin?

The first thing I suggest to my clients is to look around their home, look at their walls and think about where they want to display their photos. They should consider both the style and decor in these rooms along with the colors.  Is it a casual family room or a formal dining room or entry way?  This will help determine how casual or dressy they would like to get for their session.

For the colors, I always suggest that my clients use complimentary colors instead of having everyone completely matching. You want your family portraits to represent your personalities both individual and as a family. Incorporating the accent colors used to decorate your home will help your photos look best on the walls in your home.

Stylish Charlotte Photography

Accessories and Layers

Weather can be unpredictable, especially during the Fall when the temperature swings can be pretty dramatic. The temperature on your session day could be 85 degrees or 55 degrees, and that can make a big difference in keeping your family members comfortable and happy.

So, I ask my clients to think about layers for their outfits. Are there jackets or sweaters than can be added where you would still be happy displaying the photos on your wall (which often means not their typical winter jacket or fall rain jacket). In the same respect, if you are planning for sweaters and corduroy pants, do you have a backup option if the weather is 88 degrees? It is difficult to keep children and adults happy if they are overheated on session day, so being flexible with outfits can be important.

I LOVE accessories! Whether it is hats, suspenders, vests or ties for little boys or hair bands, bows, hats and pretty shoes for little girls, the outfits can really make the photos stand out! Use accessories to show your child’s personality and to help tie your outfit selections together!

Stylish Fashion Tips for Charlotte Portrait Sessions

But what about my Christmas/Holiday Cards? Should we wear holiday colors?

You really have two options here:

  • You can simply wear your regular outfits and I can adjust the color and design of your card to match your clothing OR
    Holiday Card Designs highlighting Stylish Charlotte NC Family Photography Stylish Charlotte Photography Family Portrait Fashion
  • You can do a clothing change halfway through your session.  Because yes, children are stinking cute in their holiday pajamas and your friends will just melt when they see your card!
    Most Adorable Christmas Pajama Portrait Session
21 Jul

Genuine Charlotte Child Photography | Top 12 Moments of Joy

Top 12 Moments of Joy

“Make a joyful noise”

Earlier this week on the blog, I shared my Top 10 Sibling Hugs from previous client family portrait sessions.  Today, I want to help kick start your weekend with great big smiles and joy, therefore in today’s post I’m sharing my Top 12 Moments of Joy! These open mouth smiles from the youngsters are genuine moments from my portrait sessions and have always brought sunshine to my days.

Can you almost hear the happy squeals of joy and giggles from these little ones? My goal for a family portrait session is always to make it as fun as possible while capturing some of the best images my clients will have for years to come.  I can only hope that these adorable little faces represent the true experience of what it means to work with Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography for a family portrait session!

I wish that your upcoming weekend will be filled with moments containing this much joy and happiness.  If only we could find a way to bottle up the joy of childhood and share it with everyone.

12. Joy of Childhood Photography

11.Charlotte Child Photography Joyous Moments

10.

Genuine Laughter Photographs9.Joyful Charlotte Child Photography8.Genuine Charlotte Child Photography Moments

7.Joyful Portrait of Siblings in Charlotte NC

6.Giggles and Joy by Charlotte Child Photographer

5.Joyful Family Photography in Charlotte

4.Moments of Pure Joy Charlotte Child Photographer

3. Top 13 Joyous Moments in Child Photography

2.Genuine Charlotte Childhood Photography

  1. Genuine Charlotte Child Photography
19 Jul

Heartwarming Charlotte Family Photography | Top 10 Sibling Hugs

Top 10 Sibling Hugs

“You can’t give a hug without getting a hug”.

There is something about a photograph of a hug shared between children that just warms my soul.  And I love how asking kids for a simple pose during a family portrait session can often turn into truly endearing and heartwarming moment.

Over the last few days, I have been going back through images from the last few years of family portrait sessions, and I have truly enjoyed remembering these treasured moments.  With each session, there are a handful of images that have become personal favorites.  It could be a funny moment, an adorable giggle, or an incredible hug that just takes me back to the moment I clicked the shutter of my camera.

I’ve started organizing these precious moments into categories and I would love to begin sharing my favorite Top 10 images for each category on the blog.

So, today I’m starting with my favorites in Top 10 Sibling Hugs.  All of these images were captured during a family portrait session with my clients from the last few years.  I hope you won’t be able to resist smiling while viewing this list of photographs, and may it warm your heart as much as it does mine.

It is said that hugs are like vitamins for the soul, and looking at this list, I completely agree.

Here are my Top 10 Favorite Sibling Hugs from Family Portrait Sessions

10. The Sibling Squeeze

There is no greater friend than a sister.  Even when sisters don’t see eye to eye, they will still always have your back and always be there when you need them most.
Heartwarming Charlotte Family Photography by Carolyn Ann Ryan

9. The Sibling Squeeze Part II

When you squeeze so tight, you have to close your eyes too.
Sweetest Hug Photo in Heartwarming Charlotte Family Photography

8. The I adore my big brother hug

I love that you can just see the adoration on this little man’s face and you can just tell how much he adores his big brother.   Charlotte NC Family Photographer shares adorable hugs

7. The Sneak Attack Hug and Kiss

Older siblings adore their little siblings too.  Big sister can’t resist giving her little sister a kiss on the cheek with her hug.
Heartwarming Charlotte NC Family Photography

6. The Giggle Hug

These two sweethearts were super giggly during their entire photo session.  I remember that my cheeks hurt from smiling so much on the other side of the camera. Heartwarming Charlotte NC Child Photography

5. The Simplicity Hug

These boys just have the perfect, simple and sweet smiles to draw you into this moment.
Charlotte NC Family captures Heart Warming Sibling Hug Photos

4. The Face Press

I love getting my clients’ faces close together for family portraits and these girls definitely have the right idea.  Adorable Hug Photo by Charlotte NC Child Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan

3. The Peekaboo

I love hugs like this one between siblings.  I certainly remember the stage of my own children’s life where my daughter always hugged my son around his neck and you couldn’t see his face.  It’s just how they hugged at that age.

Heartwarming Hug Photos from Charlotte NC Family Photographer

2. The “I never want to let go” hug

Big sis loved this little guy so much.  You can just see on her face that she never wants to let go of his adorable hugs.  It’s photos like this that make you want to stay wrapped in a moment forever.Charlotte NC Family Photograph Heart Warming Sibling Hugs

1. The too adorable for words hug

This session was photographed in front of the client’s home in North Carolina.  And if these boys weren’t already cute enough, when I asked them to hug, they just leaned into each other as if they could take a nap all curled up on each other. Adorable Brotherly Hug by Charlotte NC Family Photographer

 

My own Munchkin and Pumpkin

It’s not fair to list in the Top 10, but I will forever love this moment and this hug and have it framed on my wall. This photograph is already almost three years old and as my children grow older, I want to always remember this perfect sweetness. And I just want to scoop them both into a great, big forever Mom hug and never let go.

Endearing Sibling Photograph by Carolyn Ann Ryan

 

27 Jan

Favorite South Charlotte Family Photographer | Vote For Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography

Favorite South Charlotte Family Photographer | Vote For Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography

It’s that time of year again – when I feel like I’m campaigning to win a middle school student council election. But truthfully, I’m extremely honored to be nominated in TWO local newsletters in their categories for Favorite Family Photographer and would be truly ecstatic if my business got your vote!

So if you have loved working with Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography OR if you just love following along with our Facebook and Instagram feeds to see adorable photographs, then would you please take a moment to vote for Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography as Favorite Family Photographer in:
* Hulafrog’s Most Loved Awards 2017 (Deadline: February 3rd) AND
* Macaroni Kid’s Gold Daisy Awards 2017 (Deadline: February 8th)

Thanks in advance for your time and for all of your support! And thanks so much for your business and continuing to follow along with Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography! I greatly appreciate it.

 

Vote for Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography as Favorite South Charlotte Family Photographer

Vote for Favorite South Charlotte Family Photographer

19 Jan

Experienced Charlotte Family Photographer | Siblings and Personalities

Experienced Charlotte Family Photographer | Siblings

I absolutely love hearing the following words from my clients: “You’ve captured each child and their personality perfectly!”  When a mother can look at a photograph of her child, and not just see how cute he or she looks, but their entire personality shines through and she feels that you have captured exactly who they are as a person at that point in time – that’s gold!   It’s truly music to my ears, and lets my heart know that I did a good job for that Mom – I did MY job.

Our children grow so fast, but inside each one is so unique and distinctive.  They may have similar physical features on the outside, and it may be easy to tell when three boys are brothers, but their likes and dislikes are all their own.  This is one of the reasons why I love doing pre-session consultations in advance of my portrait sessions.  It’s a chance for me to find out which child loves cars or trains, and which child loves playing basketball or baseball.  Believe it or not, it’s important to know if your little man loves Team Cap or Team Iron Man, because it helps them warm up to me, and their eyes start to light up when you start talking about their favorite things.  And it’s equally important to know what might make them giggle or laugh, which I will fully admit, when it comes to boys that can often mean potty sounds and noises.  So, yes, I might need to ask your child which member of the family has the loudest or smelliest farts.  (But I only ask these questions with mom’s permission and that’s another important part of her pre-session consultation).

It’s all part of the job, and getting to know the adorable, unique personalities of  little boys and girls makes my job so much more enjoyable and fun!
Carolyn Ann Ryan, experienced Charlotte Family Photographer loves photographing boys and their moms

Experienced Charlotte NC Family Portrait Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan takes photographs of siblings

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

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