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
02 Aug

Creating Authentic Family Moments | Top 11 Family Walking Together

Creating Authentic Family Moments in Charlotte

One of the lessons that I learned in my early years of family portrait photography came during a session with my own sister and her family.  The lesson:  As easy way to set the stage for creating authentic family moments with just a little instruction and a whole bunch of fun.

It was my very first year photographing families outdoors, and my sister and I scheduled a late Summer session.  We had already spent two hours in a park and the kids were getting tired.  But I wanted a truly amazing photograph for my sister of her whole family.  My sister looked at the hill nearby and said “If you want a photo of all the girls smiling, let them run down that big hill over there”.   I looked to the hill and I saw the light, and I mean literally – the light was stunning.

So, I sent the whole family up the hill while I laid down in the grass at a distance.  The whole family went running hand in hand down the hill and the smiles and giggles followed and an authentic family moment was created.  This photograph was created in September 2010 and a beautiful canvas print of this image still hangs on my sister’s wall in her family room.

Real Moments Charlotte NC Family Photography

As I have been compiling favorite moments over the last few weeks, I realized that some of my favorite photographs from my clients’ sessions are created in a very similar way.  But as you scroll through this list, you can see how a simple idea can highlight a family’s unique personality and create a beautiful and even magical moment in a classic photograph. So here are my . . .

Top 11 Favorite Photographs of Families Walking Together

Authentic Family Moments Charlotte NC Photography

11.  I love how happy this family looks together. And their outfits paired perfectly with the beautiful rust colors of the foliage.

 

 

Authentic Family Photographs by Charlotte NC Photographer

10. Running through a field in the fall can certainly bring smiles to the little ones. This photograph has occasionally been featured on my business cards.

 

 

Authentic Family Photography Charlotte NC

9. Beautiful spring session with hair blowing in the breeze and Dad making everyone laugh.

 

 

Authentic Family Portraits in Charlotte N

8. The wonder of childhood. I love how Mom and Dad adore these little guys.

 

 

Authentic Moments Charlotte NC Family Portrait

7. I have always loved how the expression on this little man’s face, as well as how the whole family focused right on him. I wonder if he still loves to steal the show.

 

 

Delight Family Portraits Charlotte NC

6. If you have been to my studio office, you are familiar with this family and the cluster of photographs on the walls. I adored their energy and spirit. So much fun and giggles, despite the November chill in the air.

 

 

Dreamy Charlotte NC Family Photographs

5. There is a sweet dreaminess to this photo, and I’m just waiting to see the enchanting young lady begin her twirl.

 

 

Enchanting Family Photography Charlotte NC

4. I love the outfits, the balloons, that beautiful pop of color against the sunlight and the incredible connections captured within this sweet photograph.

 

 

Funny Authentic Moments Charlotte NC Family Photography

3. Sometimes, you gotta go your own way.

 

 

Creating Authentic Moments Charlotte NC Family Photography

2. And yes, this little man agrees and he will choose to lead, not follow.

 

 

Uptown Charlotte Family Photography

  1. As I relocated to Charlotte two years ago, this one holds a special place in my heart. The family was one of our first Irish Dance friends after relocating and I love how much their adore their sweet girl. And while I don’t normally love having other people in the backdrop, seeing a person in a Panthers T-Shirt truly fits this city. Charlotte loves the Panthers, and Charlotte is home.

 

If you enjoyed this list, please check out my Top 12 Moments of Joy and Top 10 Sibling Hugs.

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

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

27 Apr

Engaging Charlotte NC Family Photographer| National Tell-A-Story Day

Engaging Charlotte NC Family Photographer| National Tell-A-Story Day

Today is National Tell-A-Story Day and I thought this photograph of a Mom and her little man sharing a story was the perfect image to share today.  Isn’t amazing what happens when we open a book to read to our children? All Mom had to do was open this book to read to her son, and this sweet moment just happened.  I love how he just cuddled into her arms ready to read with his Momma.  It’s the simple, classic moments in life that are filled with memories.  They bring us back to childhood and to our favorite places.  Being a mom now, I love reading time with my kids and this photograph speaks to my heart as I remember all those nights with my own little munchkins snuggled into my arms and lap ready to read a good story together.

From National Day Calendar, it says “On National Tell A Story Day, it does not matter if the story is a short story or a long story, fiction or nonfiction, a tall tale or folklore. This is a day for them all.  We encourage you to tell your stories and even share them on social media using #NationalTellAStoryDay.”

Engaging Charlotte NC Family Photographer for National Tell A Story Day

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

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

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

13 Feb

Charlotte, NC Tween Portraits | Valentine’s Day

Charlotte, NC Tween Portraits | Valentine’s Day

Last month, I attended the National Association of Professional Child Photographers Retreat in Georgia, and I returned home with so many wonderful ideas.  After watching a Senior Portrait Styling and Lighting Workshop, I immediately wanted to come home and photograph my daughter in a similar style with a Winter/Valentine’s outfit.  But then I thought about how fun it would be to include her friends in the session, and so I reached out to a few Moms. We visited our local Target store’s clearance for a few key finds and here is the result of our Tweens Portrait session.

I love photographing girls at this age, especially with their friends.  These girls will be finishing elementary school this year and starting middle school!  It makes me so nervous for my daughter from a social perspective, especially because I remember how tough middle school was for me.  I always wanted to be popular, and wanted to be liked and have a ton of friends.  But now I’m old enough to look back and realize, my true friends were the girls that didn’t care about my popularity status or that my mother was the secretary in our school – they were the friends that liked me for me.  All girls need to have those friends.  Right now, I’m so happy for my daughter to see her with these sweet girls and I love the quality of the friends she has already made since our relocation to this area, and I hope these friendships continue into middle school.  I do feel we are very lucky, because some of the closest friendships I have developed since moving here are the parents of the my daughter’s new friends.

It’s the friends that love you for the person you are that will be the most important friends to keep in life.
Charlotte, NC Tween Portraits by Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan

Charlotte, NC Tween Portraits by Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography Charlotte, NC Tween Portraits photographed on location by Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography

Clothing: Target.com

 

 

 

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

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?

 

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

 

 

 

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 Mar

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | Waves and Curls

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | Waves and Curls

From the moment I stepped out of the car, I melted for her red hair and those tiny little waves and curls.  Then came the smile with just a couple of little teeth and it made me giggle.  And it’s no wonder that her parents are just mesmerized by this tiny little person in their life. She was curious and silly and happy and filled with sugar and spice and everything nice.  I just couldn’t get enough of those grins and giggles.

She’ll melt your heart too.

 

Charlotte NC Family photographs taken by Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography for family's first portraitsCharlotte NC Family Portraits for first birthday