26 Feb

Charlotte Child Photographer | National Tell A Fairy Tale Day

Charlotte Child Photographer | National Tell A Fairy Tale Day

Today, February 26th, is National Tell A Fairy Tale Day!  So, to help inspire you to tell your children a fairy tale this evening, I dug through my photographs to find a few that just might have a story behind them – but I challenge you to decide what that story might be and share it with your loved ones this evening!  Have fun and enjoy!  And feel free to come back and comment here with your fairy tale ideas and let us know which image inspired you!  We would love to hear them!

Charlotte Child Photographer Fairy Tales Charlotte NC Child Photographer fairy tale 2

 

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

 

 

18 Dec

Hmmm . . . Still Thinking About Holiday Gifts?

Child Photographer located in Scotch Plains - Fanwood, NJ

 

Hmmmm . . . . still trying to think about what to give to those amazing people in your life?

You know who they are – and you want to give them something they will remember forever and something that will make them smile almost everyday.

Well, there is still a couple of days left to purchase a gift certificate for a family portrait session for the 2013 calendar year.

You still have a chance to give them the opportunity to create timeless portraits and images of their family that they will treasure for years to come – images that will display on their walls and take them back in time to those amazing moments that occur every day. These images will capture the adorable smiles that have stolen their heart (and this probably includes your own).

Need another reason?  If you purchase a gift certificate for the 2013 calendar year, I will include a $50 print credit towards their print order.  And better yet, if you book and select a date for a family portrait session to occur before June 30, 2013, then I will include a $100 print credit towards your print order.  This offer ends this Thursday, December 20th, so hurry and call to get a beautiful gift certificate that will bring a smile to their face this holiday season and for a long time to come.

To purchase a gift certificate or book your family session for 2013, please call me at 908-889-5416 or email carolyn@carolynannryan.com for more details.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and wishing all of you a Happy New Year!!!

 

 

10 Sep

North Carolina Family Photographer | Ocean Daydreams

North Carolina Family Photographer | Ocean Daydreams

Earlier this Summer, I traveled down the Garden State Parkway to meet old friends for an extended family portrait.  I was contacted in December by a friend from elementary school that was looking to purchase a gift certificate as a Christmas present for her mother.  She knew right away that the ideal time for family portraits would be during the family’s annual vacation in Long Beach Island in the Summer.

It was a special treat to be reunited with a childhood friend, her mother and sister, and also to meet their entire family – husbands and children.  The weather was perfect and we began shooting right outside their vacation home before we journeyed down to the beach for extended family portraits as well as sweet moments with all the cousins having fun in the sand.  Some of my absolute favorite images are the ones that capture the giggles behind silly moments with a family.

Here is a little opportunity for you to remember those lazy days of Summer . . .

Enjoy!

North Carolina Family Photographer Beach Portraits Extended Family

North Carolina Family Photographer Extended Family Portrait Session on the Beach

13 Aug

North Carolina High School Senior Photography | Published! {Senior Style Guide}

I’m so happy to share another wonderful feature – this time from The Senior Style Guide.   Back in the Spring, I had an opportunity to do a Senior Session with Cassie right here in my own town.

I just loved her style, and also her bravery for wearing that adorable dress on a cold and misty day!  And we had such a great time shooting this session!

Check out Cassie . . . New Jersey Senior Session on the Senior Style Guide and please don’t forget to show them some love and comment on the post!!

About Senior Style Guide:  The Senior Style Guide is a community of photographers showcasing the latest trends in Senior Portraits. A place that seniors can go to in order to find the best senior photographers in their area.

 

17 Apr

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | Published! {The Indie Tot}

Charlotte, NC Family Photographer | Published! {The Indie Tot}

Isn’t it just fitting that my first published family portrait session is with one of my absolutely wonderful clients that I have been working with for the last two years!

Today I have been published on The Indie Tot blog featuring an adorable Fall family portrait session in Historic Richmondtown. Everything about the session was just wonderful – the weather, the location, the family, and the giggly smile of their adorable little man.

Check out The B Family on the The Indie Tot here and please don’t forget to show them some love and comment on the post!!

About The Indie Tot: The Indie Tot features the best of the best for kids! We love the people who excel at creating great products for children – whether they’re handmade, eco-friendly or simply of awesome quality.

07 Feb

Advice (for First Timers) for Enjoying and Having a Productive Time at WPPI

Last year was the first time I attended WPPI, and it was an amazing experience.  There were so many valuable things that I gained from just that one trip.

WPPI is valuable for so many things: Education, Finding Vendors at the Tradeshow, and Networking were the biggest three for me.

Some of the advice you’ll hear about WPPI includes wearing comfortable shoes, because there is so much more walking than you might actually anticipate and don’t forget to bring a ton of business cards – both for networking but also for contests during the platform presentations.  But here are a couple of things that I did last year that really helped me get the most out of the experience, and hopefully these tips will help you as well.

Platform Classes – Planning and Pre-Boarding

Class Selection – There are so many amazing classes to choose from and it might be difficult to choose what is best for you, especially when just scanning the list and trying to choose between two speakers that you would love to see that are speaking at the same time.  Last year, my husband helped me select classes by helping me choose what my two biggest goals were and focusing on what I really needed to learn.  For me, last year, it was Marketing and Selling.  Keeping that objective in mind, I was more focused with my class selection, and ensured that at least 3 of my 5 pre-boards covered those areas.

Pre-Boarding – Many classes do completely sell out in advance and others will get filled quickly on the day of the session.  I was surprised that some people did not pre-board for their classes.  Trust me; it’s definitely the best way to go.  But even with pre-boarding, you should still plan to arrive early. If you sit near the front, you might have a better chance to be seen when asking a question, and it might even help your odds at winning the giveaways. And some speakers will giveaway items to the first X attendees. You don’t want to miss out on something valuable that is free just for being early.

 Tradeshow – Planning Ahead

Map Your Route – There are a ton of vendors and last year the tradeshow filled two huge conference areas.  You likely won’t be able to stop at every booth, so it can be helpful to have a plan, so you don’t miss out on seeing a vendor that was important to you.  Try to grab a copy of the floor plan in the magazine when you arrive, and spend some time mapping out your plan for the tradeshow.  It may even be helpful for you to scan the exhibitor list on the WPPI web site, and make a list of the important vendors for you to see.  Ultimately, you want to map your route through the tradeshow floor to help you maximize your time with each vendor and ensure that you don’t miss something that was important to you.

Budget – there are many things to buy while you are at the show, so it might also be valuable for you to determine your budget in advance. Some of the show specials can be tempting so know what is most important to you before you leave for your trip, and stay focused on any purchases you make.

Show Specials – I also suggest using twitter to follow your important vendors. Many will announce show specials or contests in advance through Twitter, and these  specials might be better on the first day of the tradeshow. You can get the most benefit from those show specials but ensuring you visit those vendors on the first day. And who doesn’t love winning a Twitter contest or two by answering a question or being the next person to arrive at a booth and snagging a great prize?

Meet Your Vendors – when you stop at the vendor booths, especially for suppliers that you already use, make a point to introduce yourself and get to know them.  It can often be more fun working with a vendor when you know them personally, and you know that your business is important to them. Sometimes you won’t just meet staff at the tradeshow, but you get to meet the owners. Ask for their advice on products or if they have seen others use their products in unique ways. They have experience in our industry and many want to help their clients build and grow their business.

 Networking – Don’t Just Trade Business Cards

When I went to Las Vegas, I knew only a very small handful of photographers personally, and had interacted with others via forums online.  I remember one night feeling a little out of place, missing home, and just wishing I had more photographer friends. I had met a few people that day, but nobody that I could call and meet for the evening out.

But a friend I knew in advance called and invited me to join her and a larger group for dinner.  I almost didn’t go and that would have been a huge mistake. I had a wonderful time. Most of us were newbies at WPPI, and many of us were in the first year or so of launching our businesses or just getting ready to launch.

There were 3 or 4 tables of people, but I happened to be sitting with a few women that seemed just like me – in similar life situations – and we all really clicked. We broke the ice with a really good conversation about Slotocash. I exchanged business cards with many of the group members and spent time over the next few days bumping into them, attending other events with them, and going to dinner with them.

But the best part? I didn’t let the relationships end in Vegas.  When I arrived back home, I looked at the stack of business cards I gathered, and decided to create my own group on Facebook for photographers. We created a group that fosters positive feedback and helpful advice.  But it also helped us maintain the friendships we made. Some of us have seen each other in the last year, and we also started a monthly skype call for whoever is available. I can’t wait to see my friends again this year at WPPI. We are organizing our own group breakfast, and getting to know other members that have been added to our crew over this last year.

I don’t know if I could have made it through this last year in business without these friendships I have made. After I left my full-time job last April, this group became my “co-workers” in a sense, and they have given me strength, advice, and guidance to help me grow my business, and I can only hope that I have done the same for them.

So my best advice for heading to WPPI for this year is “don’t just gather a stack of business cards, but aim to gather and create real relationships and friendships”.

I hope you find this information useful and I look forward to meeting you in Vegas at WPPI.

 

31 Jan

Charlotte, North Carolina Children’s Photographer | Tiny Tuesday – Expect the Unexpected

Charlotte, North Carolina Children’s Photographer | Tiny Tuesday – Expect the Unexpected

What happens when you ask two adorable little girls to gather a pile of leaves and throw them in the air?   Sometimes, even the subjects in your photograph don’t know what to expect next.

I loved everything about this session with these two beautiful little girls.  The older sister has such a gorgeous smile, beautiful eyes, and she just seems to light up in front of the camera. The younger sister is full of spirit, energy, and a complete bundle of fun!

I also loved the colors here – their mom did a fantastic job with these adorable outfits. While the outfits are completely different, the colors pair nicely together and just pop against our late Fall backdrop.

So, these adorable girls gathered their leaves as requested, and stood really close together ready to toss them into the air.  The older one threw her pile up in the air immediately after the first image was shot and honestly before I was completely ready.

But the little one waited just a few seconds more and tossed her pile a little lower (therefore partially in her big sister’s face) – catching her sister completely off guard.  And then, this little munchkin was so excited with the leaves raining on their heads that she just starting giggling and running circles around her big sister.

The bottom picture captures a moment of sheer happiness and also one of surprise.  What I love most about the images though is how much they made their Mom giggle when we sat down to review them together.  Even to this day, everytime she sees that second image, she chuckles remembering the moment.  We didn’t expect what happened, but it makes us both smile (and laugh) to remember that feeling of happiness.

 

Charlotte, North Carolina Children's Photographer  shares Fall Foliage portraits with children

19 Sep

Jenna’s Story, Medical Zebras, and Raising Money for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

I had never heard of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome before I met Jenna.  After learning more about the everyday impacts it can have, I wanted to help.  Jenna has allowed me to share her personal story here to help raise awareness for EDS and also raise money that can be used towards research.  I invite you to learn more about Jenna, EDS, how I’m using my business to help raise money, and at the end of this post, if you can, consider donating to EDS Network C.A.R.E.S. – a 100% volunteer organization. Anything can help, even small amounts, and we greatly appreciate your time just reading and sharing this post with others.

There is a saying in the medical field often used by doctors, “If you hear hoofbeats behind you, expect horses, not zebras.” But sometimes, it might actually be zebras.

This is Jenna. She is a bright, bubbly and inspiring girl and a former co-worker from my days at Capital IQ.

This is a story about Jenna and her zebras.

Four years ago, she was walking up a hill in Ithaca, NY at her college and started to notice some chest pain. When the pain didn’t go away after a few days, she went to the hospital afraid she was having heart or lung trouble. They did a battery of tests. Doctors found nothing wrong, sent her home with some extra strength ibuprofen and suggested rest and physical therapy. In a few weeks, she should be fine.

But she wasn’t. Her symptoms grew worse. Within a few months, she had neuropathies in both arms, her hands were numb, and eventually the muscles in her back atrophied.

Jenna went from doctor to doctor looking for clues to her mystery illness. She was doing research every night on sites like www.NeuropathyHelp.co and eventually, she received a tentative and ultimately incorrect diagnosis of bilateral thoracic outlet syndrome, a blockage of nerves and arteries at the neck and shoulders.

Jenna graduated college and moved to New York City to start her job at Capital IQ. This is when I met Jenna, but was completely unaware of any issues with her medical condition. Although she was in constant severe pain, she was determined to do well and hopefully start another round of physical therapy in New York.  She found a great rehabilitation expert on the Upper East Side, who diagnosed her as “hyper-mobile” (or loose jointed) and explained that she had more orthopedic problems than just thoracic outlet syndrome.

Jenna started with basic exercises and found she couldn’t even support her own weight rolling over or crawling on the floor. Although she diligently went to physical therapy, she grew weaker instead of stronger.  Her shoulders and neck started to pop out of joint, and her hips and knees started to get weak.  Next, she tried an injection therapy on her shoulder, only to find it became exponentially worse. A year later, even though she had made progress on exercises, she was dislocating joints multiple times a day. Jenna often had to literally tape and brace herself together just to be able to function.

At this point, her overall illness was still a mystery and at just 22 years old, she feared if she didn’t find an answer, she would soon be disabled.

One day, as she googled her symptoms again, she found a website explaining a connective tissue disorder called “Ehlers Danlos Syndrome”.  The features of Ehlers Danlos syndrome were loose, fragile hyper-mobile joints, thin stretchy skin, chronic pain, premature birth, dysautonomia, and sometimes vascular and organ rupture. Diagnosis is based on physical features and the ability to pass the Beighton test, which tests an individual’s joint hypermobility.  Sitting in front of her computer that day, she discovered that she scored all 9 points on the Beighton Scale, and had all the clinical features of this condition.

She scheduled an appointment with a geneticist at Cornell Weill Hospital, and was diagnosed by clinical examination. Jenna had Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. The hoofbeats were zebras.

Since diagnosis, she has suffered many other complications of EDS.  She eventually developed dysautonomia (a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system), multiple food allergies, crippling fatigue, and severe metabolic disorders.

So, what is Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS)?

It is an inherited connective tissue disorder, caused by a defect in the way the body makes collagen. The faulty collagen makes the connective tissue in the body weak and fragile. This causes the progressive deterioration of the joints, skin, blood vessels, and organs. Depending on the individual mutation, the severity of the syndrome can vary from mild to life-threatening. There is no cure, and treatment is supportive, including close monitoring of the digestive, excretory and particularly the cardiovascular systems. Corrective surgery may help with some of the problems that may develop in certain types of EDS, although the condition means that extra caution is advised and special practices observed.

Patients with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome say it is difficult to even find a general practice doctor that is willing to treat or follow their case because of the lack of knowledge of the disease.  Every time she goes to a doctor, Jenna is often showcased to a parade of medical students who are told “this will likely be the only case of EDS you will ever see.”

When Jenna first started working with us at Capital IQ, most of us were completely unaware of the issues and challenges she was facing. Behind her smile and warm personality, she tried so hard not to show the pain she was feeling nearly every day.

At age 24, Jenna strives to maintain a positive attitude, hope for the future, and lead a balanced work and social life.  She feels very blessed to have a supportive family, caring friends, and a wonderful work environment. She hopes that one day her story will help others become aware of the disease and eventually lead to treatment or a cure.  As of now, there are no medications to treat this illness and no cure, and depending on the specific categorization of this illness, some patients lives may end early and suddenly due to possible vascular or organ ruptures.

I had the opportunity to photograph Jenna last Fall while building images for our company’s corporate web site.  As you can see from the images below, her smile is contagious, and there is usually quite a bit of laughter involved with any interaction you have with her.  She just knows how to make people feel comfortable and have fun in any situation. She actually credits her syndrome with making her appreciate life more.

I left Capital IQ in April to pursue my passion for photography full-time. But I kept thinking about Jenna, and have learned more about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome since that time. I am finally pursuing my own dream, and I want to also use my photography to do some good.  Last year, I started working with PPA Charities and Operation Smile and during the month of October, I will donate a portion of my session fees to Operation Smile’s Family Portrait Month.

BUT, now I’m also going to make September and November my own Portrait Months in honor of Jenna and EDS.  I am pledging to donate a portion of my sales from September and November portrait sessions to EDS Network C.A.R.E.S.  I have spoken to this organization which is strictly run by volunteers and 100% of the money raised will go directly to research for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

I am so happy to say that my portrait calendar for the Fall is nearly full, and sessions have begun. I am on my way to raising money for EDS Network C.A.R.E.S.

But now I’m reaching out to others.  There are two possible ways that you can help EDS Network C.A.R.E.S and Jenna’s hope for finding a cure for this disease.

First, if you are a photographer, would you consider joining me in this cause of both fundraising for EDS Network C.A.R.E.S and raising awareness about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?  You can help by donating either a small portion of your portrait session fees or your sales to EDS Network C.A.R.E.S.  You can add your contributions to our Crowdrise page, and we will create a special blog post in December to recognize all of the photographers and also any vendors that helped us in our fundraising efforts. Even small amounts will be helpful and greatly appreciated.

We will also welcome one-time donations from friends and family, photographers, and vendors through this Crowdrise page as well.  Please share this blog post with your friends, spread awareness of EDS and if you can, please help our fundraising efforts.  There is no cure, but with your assistance, more research can be done to ease the pain from diseases such as EDS.

 

Click here to Donate

 

Official Organizations…

Ehlers Danlos Network C.A.R.E.S. – Research & Awareness

Informational & Cool Videos…

Discovery Channel Medical Incredible Show on a family of four with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and how they have overcome their disabilities by becoming Martial Artists (5:58 mins)

Mystery Diagnosis on Ehlers Danlos Syndrome  – About a woman that struggles to find out her diagnosis her whole life after chronic pain and vascular problems and goes on to found the EDS Network C.A.R.E.S (25 mins)

Information Websites

Wikipedia Article explaining the basics of EDS and the different types of the disease

National Institute of Health Website of EDS.

Reference: www.neuropathyreliefguide.com/.

02 Sep

Time to Upgrade Your Social Media Profile?

I love an opportunity to see an old friend and former co-worker. So, of course, I was very happy to journey into the city to help a good friend upgrade their social media profile. Although it was a hot afternoon in August, we still had a great time wandering around the Times Square area and finding little spots for backgrounds for these portraits.
My favorite: I just love that my friend and client had a great sense of humor and was willing to pose with Elmo and Cookie Monster, just to give my kids a smile and giggle while I post-processed the session on the computer.
While many of us use Facebook to connect with friends and family, we often turn to LinkedIN and similar social media sites for professional networking. But does your profile picture show the professional you? Whether you are connecting with colleagues, recruiters or your clients, you want your profile photo to convey the right image to the corporate world.
If it’s time to upgrade your social media profile, consider professional portraits to upgrade and enhance your image to your networks.  Autumn is a great time of year to capture these images, so let me know if you are interested.
Enjoy the long weekend!
14 Apr

Looking ahead

For nearly 11 years, I have worked as a software designer for a Tech company in downtown NYC. But beginning this Saturday, I will finally be pursuing my dream of being a full-time portrait photographer focusing on infants, children and family portraits.

This week has been bittersweet for me. I’ve been finishing up a large chapter of my life and getting ready to begin a completely new one. I’m excited for the road ahead, and the opportunity to capture beautiful and fun moments with my camera, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotion about the company I’m leaving behind.

I had the opportunity to speak to our entire design team, and before I could even start, the tears started to fall. I didn’t think I would get through what I wanted to say to everyone. I chose to share some of the things I’ve learned in the years at our company, many of which will make me better anywhere I go:

  1. There is no such thing as negative feedback. If you are looking to improve – whether it is a product or yourself – you need to take every ounce of feedback you receive as a way to grow and make things better.
  2. Don’t worry about being realistic in a brainstorming. Let all the ideas come out first, and later you can figure out what can actually be done now.
  3. There is almost always an easier way. As a software designer focused on usability, I feel that I look at everything differently, not just with computers but in my life, too. I often try to determine what takes too long or is too frustrating and work with others to figure out an easier way. (It’s a good exercise to ask yourself “what is the most frustrating part of your day/week, etc., and then think about how to fix it).
  4. Be an optimist. Focus on the happy thoughts. In times of change, focus on the positive things that change can bring and keep going. (Go read the blogs on ‘The Energy Project’)
  5. You are not handed initiative, you need to take it. This was highly encouraged at my company, and I often felt I was at my best when I just saw something wrong and made a plan to fix it. Just go do something. (Another motivator on this topic – Read ‘Poke the Box’ by Seth Godin).
I can’t thank my co-workers enough for all I’ve learned in the last 11 years. It was a unique culture and a very fun team. When I started, we had about 30 employees in the whole company. Today, we have almost 5,000 employees around the world. It was amazing to see the company grow and achieve successes, even despite some rough patches including having an office across the street from the World Trade Center on September 11th. But we stuck together, we worked hard as a team, and we got things done.
Now, it’s time for me to look ahead. I’ve wanted to be a photographer since I was about 9 or 10 years old, and that moment is finally here. At the WPPI conference this past February, I sat with many other photographers listening to Tamara Lackey speak about the fusion of photography, business and life. Her words brought many of us in the room to tears. As we watched a slideshow of her images at the end of her session, I could only think about making my dream become a reality. I want to create beautiful images for parents of their children and families – images that you will treasure for years to come and photographs that will be passed to future generations. I love spending time with my client families, because each one becomes a part of my life, and it is always wonderful to not just see, but also capture the true personalities of the children I have had the privilege to photograph. It truly is the best job I’ve ever had. Although writing this post has yet again brought tears, I am so excited for my opportunities in photography and look forward to working with all of my future clients and families!