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

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

04 Oct

Enchanting South Charlotte Family Portraits | Secret Garden

Enchanting South Charlotte Family Portraits | Secret Garden

Every once in a while, you find a location that feels like a secret garden that enables you to create enchanting family portraits, and we found one right here in South Charlotte.  I just adore this first photograph with the old tree and bird house on the side, and adds to the feeling that this family is just alone in a special place having a beautiful and heartwarming chat with their little girl.  The sunlight sparkles through the trees behind, illuminating their story.

And just a few feet away we found a brick path with a beautiful bench and grassy field to create a perfect setting for their daughter’s family portraits.  She truly looked like a princess strolling through the enchanted garden.

 

Enchanting South Charlotte Family Photography by Carolyn Ann Ryan Enchanting South Charlotte Family Portraits photographed by Carolyn Ann Ryan Carolyn Ann Ryan creates enchanting South Charlotte Communion Portraits Carolyn Ann Ryan creates enchanting Family Portraits in South Charlotte, NC

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

20 Apr

Sweet South Charlotte Family Photography | Springtime

Sweet South Charlotte Family Photography | Springtime

Springtime has arrived, and already the temperatures are climbing!  But I’m loving the warmth and sunshine especially when it reminds me of sweet family portrait sessions like this one!  I just adore the sweet smiles from these beautiful girls in their Easter dresses!

Sweet South Charlotte Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan South Charlotte Family Photographer Carolyn Ann Ryan Sweet South Charlotte Family Photography

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

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

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

 

 

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