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

 

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

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
05 Jul

Precious Marvin, NC Child and Family Photographs | Enjoying Childhood

Precious Marvin, NC Child and Family Photographs | Enjoying Childhood

What could be better than spending a morning with a happy family?  For me, the only thing better is sending that same family beautiful images of our time together that they will cherish for years to come. Childhood is filled with so many sweet moments, and it was a pleasure to capture those moments with these adorable little girls.

Even now as I post these images, I just want to go outside, find a little dandelion and make a whole bunch of wishes and remember the fun of being a little girl.Enjoy!Precious Marvin, NC Child and Family Photographs

Precious Marvin, NC Child and Family Photography by Carolyn Ann Ryan

29 Jun

Marvin, NC Family Photographer | Time to Get in Front of the Camera!

Marvin, NC Family Photographer | Time to Get in Front of the Camera!

A few weeks ago, the younger sister of a family friend called to purchase a gift certificate for a portrait session. It was wonderful to chat with her, but little did I know that by the end of the conversation I would be in tears and she would teach me a valuable lesson about photography. She would change the way I feel about being in front of the camera.

It was just a few days after Mother’s Day when we spoke. Her mom had passed away a few years ago, and I had forgotten how tough Mother’s Day must be for her. As I’m sure many of you saw on Facebook, for the whole week leading up to Mother’s Day, everyone was updating their profile pictures to show photographs with their Moms. She said that while it was painful for her to see all her friend’s photos, she really wanted to find a photo with her own mother to share with everyone.
But, she explained that like many of us, her Mother often shied away from being in front of the camera and getting into pictures. Maybe her hair wasn’t done, or she was not wearing make-up, or she just didn’t like how she looked at that moment, but she would wave the camera away and request not to be photographed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, her mother truly was a wonderful woman that raised an absolutely beautiful family. She was a fantastic mother, and I know her children loved her tremendously. She just didn’t like to be in pictures.

But unfortunately, now my friend is wishing she had just few fun photographs with her mother in them. She wants pictures of her with her mother, hugging, smiling, laughing, and just having fun. It wouldn’t matter the occasion or the day, just any photograph from any random day would be wonderful. She wants to remember her mother as she was every day, because her mother was beautiful. And it certainly wouldn’t matter whether her mother was wearing make-up or if her hair looked good, because she will always remember her mother as the most beautiful woman she ever knew.

As she spoke, I thought about how many pictures I’ve taken of my own children. I have a bunch of my daughter, son and husband together, but I’m always behind the camera. I always take the pictures, and I am guilty of not wanting to be in pictures because I didn’t do my hair, or I’m not wearing make-up, or because I want to lose weight.

We usually think that we are taking the photographs of our children for ourselves, for sharing with our friends on Facebook, or for the grandparents to show off to their friends. But we must not forget that we also need be in the pictures with our children. These images are for them to share someday.

When our children are 30 or 40 years old, they will want to look back and see family photos. They won’t just want to see how cute they were, but they will want to see how adorable their parents were with them. They will want to update their profile pictures on Facebook near Mother’s or Father’s Day to show pictures with their Mom and Dad.

As you can imagine, by the end of our phone conversation, I was crying. I wished I could give my friend a picture of her with her mom. But I also realized that I need to get into the pictures with my children. I want to ensure that they will have the photographs to remember how much I love them.

So, for me personally, I have a completely different way of looking at photographs. I’m not just referring to professional portraits, but this applies to casual photos on vacations, at birthday parties, or just a fun day at home. I make sure to hand over the camera and I happily jump in and hug my kids.

So, please, hand the camera over and get in the picture. At your child’s next birthday, don’t take the picture of your child blowing out their birthday candles, but pass the camera to a friend, and get behind your child and show them that you were there with them.

And don’t worry, in our children’s eyes – we always look good!

 

Marvin, NC Family Photographer | Time to Get in Front of the Camera!

22 May

Adorable Waxhaw, NC Family Photography | Spring Fun

Adorable Waxhaw, NC Family Photography | Spring Fun

A new benefit of my job is reconnecting with friends from many years ago, and getting the opportunity to spend time with their families and children.  Kerry and I went to high school together, and we were part of a small group of girls that would commute across the island via the train every weekday. We haven’t seen each other seen Kerry graduated one year ahead of me, but with the help of Facebook and other high school friends we reconnected in recent years, and I now had the pleasure of meeting her husband and two beautiful little girls for a fun Spring Family Portrait Session.

We had a great time at their home and then traveled to a nearby park to complete the session before lunch. The girls were wonderful, and I just loved capturing their personalities for their Mom.

Adorable Waxhaw, NC Family Photography | Spring Fun