13 Mar

Tips for Being the Most Prepared Family Photographer

Tips for Being the Most Prepared Family Photographer

I strive to be the MOST prepared Family Photographer for my clients, and with over 8 years of experience photographing families, I thought I knew everything I should bring in my car and camera bag to a family portrait session.   While there is very little I am unprepared for, after each tiny mishap or snafu over the years, I have added to my personal photographer toolkit, so I am prepared for the next time.

But when I decided to write blog post with tips for other photographers, I decided to reach out to a handful of my fellow members of the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) to see if they had additional suggestions for items to pack in your camera bag and/or car before you head out to meet your clients.  They had a few interesting stories to share, and a few additional tips for keeping your car and your camera bag stocked and ready for the your next family portrait session:

For your car/trunk:

      • Gas Tank
        Fill up your gas tank in your car the night before your session.  My dear friend, Willy Wilson, from Life Unstill Photography in Colorado, shared this little tidbit recently.  We won’t confirm or deny if Willy was ever so worried about almost being late for a client session, that she pulled away from the gas station with the gas pump nozzle still attached to her car!  Either way, save yourself a bit of worry and make sure that gas tank is full before you venture out to your location.
      • Portable Toilet Seat
        When you are on location with young children in a park or field, a toilet situation might arise, and there isn’t always a bathroom near.  Don’t let poor parents get stuck in this situation.  I keep a small “travel potty” in my SUV for these emergencies!  I love this one on Amazon, and includes simple zip closure bags for easy clean-up.  Keeping a fresh stock of baby or cottonelle wipes in the car is also critical for these situations, as well.
      • Small Scissors (to remove gum from hair?)
        I once arrived at a session, and as I was unpacking my camera equipment, I hear a Mom shout, “WHAT is in your hair?”  I lean over behind my car, and the mom simply says to me “Gum.  In the hair.  By any chance do you have a pair of scissors?”  Thankfully, it was not in the child’s bangs, and I was also grateful that I happened to have a small pair of scissors in the car.  (It’s a mom car, so there are days I think you could find anything in it).
      • Ice Packs and Band-Aids
        Well, boys will be boys sometimes.  As Sheena Magnesen from SMM Photography shared that her clients once bumped heads during a leaf throwing incident and one poor little boy got a bloody nose.  Sheena acted quickly and grabbed the nearest item possible to help prevent the blood from staining her  little client’s new clothes, and I’m sure this little man still remembers the day he had to hold a (clean) diaper under his nose at the end of his family’s portrait session.
      • Changing Room in your Car
        Beth Seliga from 3 Cats Photo in Virginia always keeps a spare sheet and clips in her car, so she can create a personal on location changing room with privacy for clients in the back of their car.  This comes in very handy for Senior portraits sessions.

South Charlotte's Prepared Family Photographer shares what is in her camera bag

For your camera bag:

      • Bug Spray and After Bite Spray
        Sometimes, the bugs just start too early!  I think this upcoming Spring and Summer will be especially problematic due to the mild winter in many states, so definitely keep those handy.  I personally LOVE the OFF Deep Woods Towelettes as they are small enough to toss a couple in my ShootSac and you don’t have to worry about them spilling.  And this year, I’m going to try a chemical free product from PureStella Skin Care – The Bug Off Lotion Stick!  And if a bite does occur, I LOVE the Benadryl Cool Relief Gel.  This particular product, unlike most benadryl products, is free of diphenhydramine hydrochloride, so it is safer for younger children ages 2+.  But please, ALWAYS confirm with parents before applying and ensure children do not have particular contact allergies.
      • Dryer Sheets
        Sheena Magnesen from SMM Photography also keeps dryer sheets in her camera bag because you never know when you need to remove static cling!
      • Small and Medium Binder Clips
        Binder clips are not just for presentations, apparently.  Angela McLaughlin from Tiny Touch Photography always makes sure to have a few in her bag for clothing adjustments for her clients, and finds they are so much easier to use than safety pins, so you are not risking poking your client with a pin! (Have to admit, I used these on my last 2 headshot sessions! Thanks for the tip, Angela.)
      • Alcohol Swabs
        When little ones arrive on location for their family session with temporary tattoos on their arm from the street fair the day before,  you will be so happy that you had a handful of alcohol swabs in your bag for easy removal.  They also come in handy in case of minor cuts and scrapes.
      • Small Snacks
        Most of the photographers noted they kept small nut-free snacks in their bags.  With parent permission, these can really help with a needed boost halfway through the session.  Included suggestions: Smarties, Welch’s fruit juice treats or graham crackers.
      • Whoopie Cushions and Bubble Machines
        Every once in a while, it may take a little more effort to get a shy or stubborn little one to open up and give us their best smile and giggle. Kimberly Tank from Kimberly Tank Art & Photography is so excited to use her whoopie cushion this year to encourage a few bursts of laughter!  I can’t wait to see the photographs that result from this addition.
      • Lint rollers, hair spray, bobby pins and more
        Angela, Willy, Sheena, Kimberly and Beth all suggested keeping a small pouch in your camera bag that included lint rollers, hair spray, bobby pins, stain remover wipes and more.  You never know when you will need this emergency kit, and your clients will love that you are prepared for anything.

I know I have a few purchases to make to stock up my car and camera bag kits.  What will you be adding to your kit this year?  Did we miss anything?  Please let us know in the comments!

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

26 Apr

Priceless Charlotte NC Family Photography | New Home

Priceless Charlotte NC Family Photography | New Home

I couldn’t think of a better way to decorate a new home than with photographs from a family portrait session!  I was so excited to work with this family in my new location, because I went to high school in New York with Mom and we were even on cheerleading together!  Yes, that’s right, cheerleading.  Mom wanted photographs that not only could be used in the home, but also for holiday and we’ve moved cards to send to friends and family back home. Their new neighborhood in Waxhaw, NC provided a gorgeous backdrop for the portrait session.

I love the elegant style this family chose for their Christmas Family portraits too! There was a beautiful mill in their development, so after a few photographs near their home, we walked over to the mill to finish the session.  It was a beautiful location, and had a perfect style with the warmth of home. I love that something as simple as the scarves and hair accessories for the girls and Mom could transform a black dress into a complete holiday style.

Priceless Charlotte NC Family Photography Priceless Charlotte NC Photography Priceless Charlotte NC Family Portraits for the holidays

11 Apr

Professional Charlotte NC Family Photographer – Pretty Packaging

Professional Charlotte NC Family Photographer – Pretty Packaging

As a professional Charlotte NC Family Photographer, I want to make the experience of working with me for a portrait session to be as full service as possible, and the delivery of beautiful printed products is the final culmination of that experience.  So, when my clients receive their products, I want to add to the excitement of the moment when they finally get to see everything that we worked together to create.   We’ve had our initial call when they decided to book their session with me, our pre-session consultation when we prepared for their session, we worked together on their portrait session day, and met for their in-person ordering appointment where we selected their wall prints and products.  Now the moment is finally here – the moment they see the end result!

I want my clients to feel like a child on Christmas morning that can’t wait to open their presents (and many have told me that they do feel this way as they open up their pretty boxes).  Therefore, not only do I choose beautiful, high quality printed products from the best print labs in the industry, but I also want my packaging to reflect everything about my business and the experience of working with me.

So, I absolutely love working with Rice Studio Supply for my print and product packaging.  They have been my primary vendor for over 4 years, and have always delivered high quality products with phenomenal customer service.  My favorite products include the Cocoa Artisan Portrait Cases for larger prints along with the Espresso Presentation Boxes for smaller prints, in addition to the white Kraft Shopper Bags paired with orange tissue paper.  All of these items have my logo imprinted in Bright Copper to coordinate with my branding.

The final piece that ties off my branding is a beautiful die cut ribbon that I purchase from Noble Gift Packaging.  The flower in the ribbon is the perfect complement to my logo and helps tie everything together (forgive the pun).

If you are a photographer that is looking for a vendor to help deliver beautiful packaging products to help finish and pull your branding together, then I highly recommend reaching out to Rice Studio Supply.

Thanks for reading!

Professional Charlotte NC Family Photographer shares Packaging Vendors

02 Mar

Classic Marvin NC Family Photography | Sunny Days

Classic Marvin NC Family Photography | Sunny Days

I have just loved the gorgeous sunny days in the South Charlotte and Marvin area of North Carolina.  The warmth and sunshine provide a beautiful glow for classic family portrait sessions.  I was so thrilled to meet and work with this family that found my business on The National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) web site.

Classic Marvin NC Family Photography by Carolyn Ann Ryan Marvin Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan photographs classic family portrait session Marvin North Carolina Family Portraits photographed by Carolyn Ann Ryan

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

12 Oct

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | Even when they are not so little . . .

As a family photographer, I truly believe there is never a bad time for family portraits. It doesn’t matter the age of your children, younger or older, it’s always a great time to update your photographs.  Children deserve to have tons of beautiful images and photographs with their parents that they will keep and treasure years into the future.  When children are teenagers, it’s awesome to remind them of the importance of family and the closeness they share with their family members.  As children get older, they often start to realize that their parents are their best friends and their biggest fans and champions.  These relationships are so fun to capture in images for both parents and children. During this particular session,  I especially loved showing these  beautiful girls just how stunning they really are, and my favorite photographs from the day were the ones we created  of the sisters together.  Their incredibly close friendship just shines right through in these photographs.  Through thick or thin, these sisters will forever be each other’s best friend.

 

Charlotte NC Family Photographer photographs teenagers and parents

North Carolina Family Photographer, Carolyn Ann Ryan, photographs clients on location in a historic village. Charlotte North Carolina Family Photographer creates beautiful images of sisters

 

19 Jan

Future Charlotte, NC Family Photographer – The Road Ahead

Getting ready to move to Charlotte, NC

Carolyn Ann Ryan, Family Photographer from NJ, gets ready for relocating to Charlotte, NC

 

 

As we have been packing away the holiday decorations (and yes, we are definitely delayed on that task), the reality of the next six months is sinking in more and more – and our upcoming move to Charlotte, NC is almost here.   If you are a subscriber to my monthly newsletter, then you probably already saw the news a few months back that my family and I will be moving to Charlotte, NC in June 2015.  My husband is being relocated for his job, and so while we are excited about this opportunity, we are also going to miss our family and friends in NJ, and I will certainly miss my wonderful clients.

I’m definitely a sentimental person, and therefore with each holiday and milestone, I can’t help but realize that this is our last Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s in our NJ home.  When we purchased this house, we thought it was just a starter house and we would probably only live here for a couple of years.  And here we are, 10 years later, and this house has truly been our home.  We have loved this town, our friends, neighbors and this whole community.

But I also have been keeping my thoughts focused on the road ahead.  These will be exciting times for our family with new home construction, new schools for the kids, new friends to make, warmer weather to enjoy (really happy about this one), and many new adventures for all of us.

What does this mean for Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography?  I’m still in business in NJ until the end of June, but the last sessions in NJ will be held around mid-May to ensure that all images are processed and all ordering appointments are complete before we move.

I will unfortunately be unable to donate gift certificates to Tricky Trays and Silent Auctions in NJ this year, but if you know schools in the Marvin, Weddington, Ballantyne, Matthews, Wesley Chapel, and Pineville areas in North Carolina that will be hosting fundraisers in the late Spring, please let me know and I may be able to provide a gift certificate.

Additionally, if you have friends in the South Charlotte area, near Marvin, Weddington, Ballantyne, and surrounding neighborhoods, then please let them know that Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography will be re-launching in the Fall and I’m looking forward to working with families in the area!

We still have six more months to go, but just wanted to give a special thanks to all of our wonderful NJ and NY clients!  It has been a privilege to work with you and your families, and thank you for making me part of your moments and memories!  If you are ever in the Charlotte, NC area, then please get in touch!

 

 

 

17 Mar

Sunny Marvin, NC Family Photographs | I need spring!

Sunny Marvin, NC Family Photographs | I need spring!

I don’t know about you but I’m just about done with winter.  We’ve had snow, the temps have been in the single digits and the holidays are over so I’d be very happy if we could just fast forward to spring. We are so close to it and I can’t wait!

That’s why I had to post these colorful, bright, cheerful photos of this beautiful family of 4!  I can just feel this warm sunshine on my back, smell the green blades of grass and hear the sweet giggles of these two sisters.  Oh spring time, you can’t come fast enough!

 

Sunny Family Portraits by Marvin, North Carolina Family Photographer Sunny Marvin, NC Family Photographs by Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan Sunny Marvin, NC Family Portraits

16 Dec

Enchanting Waxhaw, NC Family Photography | A Picnic

Enchanting Waxhaw, NC Family Photography | A Picnic

These sweet angelic sisters make my job very easy; their blond curls and innocent blue eyes look beautiful at any angle. When I look at these images, it’s as if I’m peaking through a window in their house.  Their graceful, playful and lovable personalities come through so clearly.  I feel like I can hear their giggles and laughter as they twirl through the grass and share an afternoon picnic.

 

Enchanting Waxhaw, NC Family Photography by North Carolina Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan Enchanting Waxhaw, NC Family Portraits by Carolyn Ann Ryan North Carolina Child Portrait Session by Carolyn Ann Ryan

10 Dec

Playful Marvin, North Carolina Family Photographer | A Wish

Playful Marvin, North Carolina Family Photographer | A Wish

Throughout our lives we wish for different things.  As children it’s typically a toy, as we get older it’s a car, then as we become adults, it’s a family.  Family is where we feel the safest and can truly be ourselves.  I was honored to capture these special moments where mother and son could let loose, be themselves.  There is such a special bond between these two, and I enjoyed watching them have fun together – isn’t that what family is all about?

 

Playful Marvin, North Carolina Family Photographer | A Wish Staten Island Child and Running Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan Playful Marvin, North Carolina Family Photographer Smiles Giggles and Fun with Mom and Son Staten Island Family Photographer

05 Nov

Vibrant Waxhaw, NC Family Portrait Session | Childhood Enclosed

Vibrant Waxhaw, NC Family Portrait Session | Childhood Enclosed

Lately, I find myself constantly saying how much I love my job.  When you get to see smiles like these on a regular basis, how could you not love what you do?

A few weeks back, I met this adorable family and we had a wonderful afternoon.  The sun was warm and shining in early October, and the light was just perfect everywhere we went. We started at their home in the backyard, which gave the family dog an opportunity to jump in a few images, and then we headed to a park in Edison, NJ after a quick clothing change.  I love watching a family just have fun together.  You can see the happiness and smiles just shine through in these photos!

Vibrant Waxhaw, NC Family Portrait Session by family photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan

21 Sep

Lovable Marvin, NC Family Photography | Nieces

Lovable Marvin, NC Family Photography | Nieces

I am blessed to have four beautiful, little nieces living not too far away.  They are my daughter’s best friends, and we just love spending time with them.

I think my sister loves having a photographer in the family, but I don’t mind. It is a pleasure to spend a few hours with these girls and capture their beautiful smiles and watch them grow.
This year, some of my favorites are of my youngest niece, because she made me work for some of those smiles as you can see below, but capturing all of her personality (including the “fake” pouts) was just so much fun. Sometimes, those are the images that make me giggle most when I’m post-processing the session on my computer.

Here are some highlights from our End of Summer session last week.  {Thanks girls for being so wonderful and fun!}

Lovable Marvin, NC Family Photography highlights adorable portraits of her nieces

31 Aug

Marvin, NC Children’s Photographer | Summer Days

Marvin, NC Children’s Photographer | Summer Days

It’s nearly the end of summer, and a perfect time to highlight this fun Summer Session.  We began our session at their home, and immediately started to see the personalities of the little ones. I love watching brothers and sisters playing together, especially when the little ones are entertaining the older ones.
After a clothing change and snack, we took a short drive to a nearby park. It was a beautiful August morning, and these little guys loved spending time with their Mom and Dad.
Marvin, NC Family Photographer captures family fun in Summer Days
26 Jul

Joyous Charlotte NC Family Portraits | One Reason I Love My Job

Joyous Charlotte NC Family Portraits | One Reason I Love My Job

Last week, I had the opportunity to hang a family portrait on the wall of someone very special to me.  As you might expect, I’ve photographed my older sister’s family almost as much as my own.  She has four beautiful daughters that are full of spirit and energy. And while I have many beautiful images of them, this one has become one of my all-time favorite photographs.  They are a family that is always on the go, and always having fun together, and this image just captures who they are as a family.

Joyous Charlotte NC Family Portraits by photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan