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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

08 Feb

Classic Charlotte NC Family Portraits | Cranberry Hues

Classic Charlotte NC Family Portraits | Cranberry Hues

The styling and outfits for this session made this just the perfect, classic family portrait session for Charlotte, NC area in the Fall.  It was simple, but coordinated and the colors just fit perfectly with the Autumn hues.  It’s subtle coordination from Mom’s cranberry red sweater and jeans, to the daughter’s matching cranberry hairband and denim skirt to Dad’s blue plaid shirt with jeans.  In my eyes, it was something as simple as a hairband that pulled all the colors and style together.

But nothing is better for me, than the happiness of a little girl spending quality time with Mom and Dad.  From the sparkle in her eye right down to the crinkle in her nose with her giggles in the last image, this session was one of my favorites from 2015.

Enjoy!

Classic Charlotte NC Family Portrait Session in Ballantyne area

Classic Charlotte NC Family Portraits by Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography Classic Charlotte NC Family Portraits near Ballantyne Corporate Park

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

13 Oct

Marvin, NC Family Photographer | Mother and Son

Marvin, NC Family Photographer | Mother and Son

There is something incredible about the bond between a Momma and her little man.  All it takes is for him to look into her eyes, flash that sweet smile, and her heart just melts.  And then, just to ensure that he has her completely wrapped around his finger, he dives in for a hug and gives the best tight squeeze he can give.

I have had the pleasure to photograph this Mom and her boy 3 times in the past few years, and each session has shown their incredible bond and it just seems to grow more and more each year.  He just adores her, and his smile and happiness shows it all.  She is his best friend, his support, his biggest fan and champion.

For each session, we chose a new location, first a park, then the beach and for the final session we met in a historical village.  I love the benches, barns, brick walls and more to accent the gorgeous afternoon light.  I have worked with so many wonderful and amazing clients over the years, and I was honored to have one more session with this pair before my relocation to Charlotte, NC.  These guys have a special place in my heart.

Family Photographer in Charlotte North Carolina Family Photographer in Marvin North Carolina Family Photographer in Charlotte North Carolina

 

 

 

24 Feb

North Carolina Family Photographer – Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

North Carolina Family Photographer – Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

It might be cold outside, but inside the studio, the smiles and giggles can just warm your heart!

This smiling munchkin made us giggle so much during this session.  Little guys are always very curious, and that was true for this baby in blue, intently taking in the new surroundings, new people and new things to get his hands on.  Mom was prepared and brought some of his favorite ‘loves’.  These photographs can be such a special keepsake for the little ones when we incorporate their favorite toys and books and truly capture their personality at this stage in their life.

the size of his smiles that we had a wonderful time!!Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography captures  children smiles in her studio