Cynthia Viola Photography

Downtown Raleigh Family Session | The Leathermans

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about
— Marilyn Monroe
Sibling photos

I seriously work with the greatest families on the planet. It was such a joy to spend time with these guys last night and catch up on the past year. If you haven't been following along, you need to check out last year's shoot when they brought little Josie home from the hospital. Her story, and subsequently theirs, is inspiring. 

We had made a rain back up inside the co-working space in Matt's office downtown because it'd been threatening rain all week, but then the sun decided to join us after all so we just utilized both the office and the park down the street. It was so cute when the family showed up to meet him and the girls ran right into Matt's arms. Little Maya also couldn't get enough of her new favorite game, ping pong. :) 

Downtown Raleigh Family Photos
Nash Square Family Photos
Nash Square Family Photos

The girls had the time of their lives, Josie has learned to walk and was loving the attention, she also loves giving high fives and gave them generously (sometimes to the face) ;) Maya loved jumping off the bench and anything that involved flying or her little piggy. It was such a great day. :)

Nash Square Family Photos

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this Downtown Raleigh session or this Extended Family Session

Boho Family Session in Wendell, NC | The Ritch Family

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
There are always flowers for those who want to see them
— Henri Matisse
Boho Photography in Sunflower Field

When I walked into the Ritch's home this year for their yearly photoshoot I was overwhelmed, nearly to tears, that their home is filled wall to wall with our photo sessions from the past six years. Some in small frames, some in giant canvases but all placed with love and adoration for their little family. I always love seeing the occasional final product of my shoots on walls and fridges and desks and in wallets, but to see just so many brought me joy I can't explain. I love what I do so much and could not be more grateful for families like the Ritch's who get excited about it every year. 

Each year they come up with a new theme and they all participate whole-heartedly. I was excited about their boho theme in a sunflower field this year but was greeted by an extra special surprise when I walked through the front door. Samson, their sweet new 10 week old Bullmastiff puppy was full of kisses and snuggles. I can't wait to take their photos again next year and see him as the giant 140 pound lap dog he's about to become!  

Additionally I got a private concert from Phoenix who's been playing drums for several years now and simply blew me away with his talent. I'm visualizing band photography in my future with this guy. Seriously, so talented. 

Boho Photography in Sunflower Field
Boho Photography in Sunflower Field
Boho Photography in Sunflower Field
Boho Photography in Sunflower Field

Thank you for bringing so much adventure and fun into your shoots guys! Can't wait to see what you come up with next year! 

Rita's 60th Bday Bash in Saint Augustine

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive
— Howard Thurman
60th birthday portraits

When Emily messaged us all saying she wanted to organize a giant family get-together for her mom's upcoming 60th day, everyone was on board immediately. We helped pick the best Saint Augustine restaurants and bars, a tee shirt design started happening, flights were scheduled and plans were made. Everyone loves Rita and the whole Havron family loves any excuse to get together. 

With six siblings all over the country and countless kids and grandkids it was a big endeavor but we are all here now and so excited to kick the weekend off with a bang. The first official event happened last night at their beach house with a photo shoot and slideshow of old photos. Everyone had so much fun remembering good times and creating new ones. Tonight and tomorrow night we'll be out on the town and Sunday in a boat, I'm so blessed to be a part of such a fun loving family! We're so happy for you Rita! You're so vibrant and full of life, hope you get to dance the night away!

60th birthday family portraits
60th birthday family portraits
60th birthday family portraits
60th birthday family portraits

If you enjoyed this post you might also like our nephew's first birthday party or Connie's 60th Birthday Session.

Joe's 50th Birthday Bash in North Myrtle Beach

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
If you have crazy friends, you’ll have everything you’ll ever need
— Anonymous
50th birthday celebration on the beach

There are no words to describe how fun this weekend with Joe and Angela turned out to be! Joe asked for a simple, low key thing to celebrate his 50th birthday, so, naturally, she invited a ton of their friends to the beach and had the biggest extravaganza ever! Complete with custom made Koozies, Tervis cups, an Instagram cutout, a professional chef, and well, me and A.J. :)

When we walked in the front door Friday night and the collective greeting was "catch up" we knew we were going to have a blast. The food, the pool, the beach, the banter and the constant teasing of Joe made the whole weekend so much fun! I think this just might be my new favorite style of shoot. We stayed the whole weekend, capturing things as they happened as well as had a time for portraits for every couple on the beach. I seriously can't say enough good things. 

50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach

Every time Joe got kissed or grabbed or dog-piled on (which was frequently) he raised his hand and yelled "I'm uncomfortable!" making everyone stop for a second then press in that much more. Such an awesome group of friends!  

50th birthday celebration on the beach

Sometimes with wedding parties, if I have the right crowd, I'll play around and prompt them to kiss the person closest to them...this is always just to make them laugh. THIS group, of course, took me completely seriously, however, and the shenanigans that followed had me rolling.

50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach
50th birthday celebration on the beach

You guys I love you all dearly! Thank you so much for inviting us to participate in such a fun weekend! You are the very best friends Joe (or anyone) could ask for. :)

St. George Street Engagement | Kendall and Alfred

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Love isn’t losing yourself. Love is finding who you are in the arms of another person
— Marisa Donnelly
St. Augustine Engagement photos

You guys, I had so much fun last night! Kendall and Alfred drove down from Raleigh to have an engagement session here in St. Augustine with their sweet pup Macy and we had a blast! We had planned to start on Saint George Street and move along to the beach, but we were having so much fun there they decided to buy a couple drinks and cigars and just hang in the city. We were so glad too because one of Florida's daily rain storms rolled in when we were finishing up and we got trapped under an abandoned house's garage over-hang to stay dry!

It's always fun to walk around a crowed street and take portraits while people bustle by because it captures a moment in life that shows no matter how many things or people are trying to distract your attention, you only have eyes for your love. It's also fun because sometimes people see you being adorable and say things like "what a picture perfect moment you guys!" and you get to say, "we know!" and point out your photographer hiding in the bushes. Haha! 

They will be eloping to the gorgeous cliffs of California in March then coming back here for a Trash the Dress Session and I cannot wait!! Kendall said she doesn't let her adventurous side out much but she wants to let loose for a day and I couldn't be more happy to help her do it!

St. Augustine Engagement photos
St. Augustine Engagement photos
St. Augustine Engagement photos
St. Augustine Engagement photos

Thank you guys for letting me participate in your St. Aug adventure! Can't wait til the spring!

If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy this St. Augustine Trash the Dress Session or this St. Augustine Engagement Session

Choose Your Life

PersonalCynthia Viola6 Comments
An ENFP is: Body of a woman, soul of a child, mind of the free and heart of the wild
— Ashley Lemaine
#12newadventures

I don't know about you, but while I like myself as I am, I definitely don't want to stay the same forever. I thought I liked myself at 16, but looking at that arrogant know-it-all, I have to roll my eyes. She thought the world revolved around her and could not be told any differently. I thought I liked myself at 22, but looking at what a naive child I became, I cringe. She took everything given to her without question, without pause. She nearly lost herself entirely in an effort to please others. A worthy goal, perhaps, but not worth the cost.

My thirties have been full of adventure, exactly as I hope the rest of my life to be, but also a bit reckless at times, so at Thirty Four years young I want to see if I can become the best version of myself to date. I want to keep the confidence of my youth, without being callous. I want the childlike joy of my 20s without losing my intelligence. I never want to give up adventure, but also don't want to achieve it at the risk of losing people I love. There must be balance to everything.

I decided to experience twelve new things at the beginning of this year and I don't intend to stop there, for changing horizons somehow have a way of changing us.

#12newadventures

I'm not sure at my half way point I've yet discovered any grand mystery of the universe, but I feel at peace with my life choices and grateful to be afforded the opportunity TO choose them. I am grateful that I've never lost a love of learning, and grateful the world is so big and grand and full of opportunity to always experience new things. 

For example, did you know that you can drink spring water right out of the ground without filtering it on the Appalachian Trail? (Not after it's flowed for a few feet, but as it's coming, unpolluted, out of the ground) Or if you use a long straw to blow on your campfire, instead of just your mouth, the concentrated air will help the flames really burst to life. Also, hang gliding is a much more relaxing and serene form of air adventure; I was surprised to find I liked it better than skydiving, which was actually a bit painful. Diving chest deep into water that's below freezing will force your body into defense mode to warm your core. (teeth chattering, shivering etc) It will also sacrifice your extremities for the sake of your core. This makes normal functions like climbing a rope or picking up an object infinitely more difficult. 

I wouldn't say any if these individual adventures have changed the course of my life, but I would say that choosing to have them regularly will indeed continue to change me forever. And that's all I ask out of life: adventure, growth and change. 

If you find yourself stuck in a rut, go do something new. Try some escargot or take a boxing class or volunteer at a refugee organization to meet people you could never possibly share the same story with and LEARN. You never know who you're going to meet or what you're going to gain, but the chances of meeting someone new or experiencing something new while stuck in the same routine day in and day out are slim. The people we have yet to meet are the ones who bring us new opportunities, and the things we've yet to do are the things that teach us something we don't know about ourselves. It's always worth the risk. 

And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later
— Randy Komisar

Anse and Allie's One Year Anniversary | Roan Mt. State Park

Anniversary PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
I’m not good as making specific plans. Just meet me under the sky somewhere and be alive with me
— Victoria Erickson
LGBTQ Camping Photos

You guys.

Never has a photoshoot been more suited to me. One of my favorite couples, celebrating a milestone while CAMPING and letting me tag along to capture the whole thing! When they asked if we could turn their anniversary session into a camping adventure I didn't even blink before jumping with joy. Our first attempt got rained out, but it worked out to add this to the end of my Appalachian Train Section Hike this weekend. I told them I'd probably be super smelly but of course, they didn't mind. They promised to bring the s'mores and bourbon and have a tent for me to sleep in so it worked out perfectly. 

After setting up the tent we went on a little hiking adventure then came back and built the most difficult fire ever. Our wood was wet so the three of us put in a serious labor of love to get that thing going, finally a super friendly neighbor gave us a little fire starter to help us out before we lost too much light. (People who love the outdoors are just the nicest people).

After making s'mores and hotdogs we just sat and talked about life til midnight then passed out in the tent and woke to a torrential downpour complete with massive thunder and lightening. I've never had so much fun! Thank you for such an awesome weekend you guys!

LGBTQ Camping Photos
LGBTQ Camping Photos
LGBTQ Camping Photos
LGBTQ Camping Photos

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy Anse and Allie's Wedding Day or this Anniversary Session

Alpine Groves Engagement | Beth and Sean

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do rather than the ones you did
— Mark Twain
Rainy engagement shoot

It has been nothing but adventure with these two from the moment we met. Beth and Sean actually won a session with me right when I moved down here last year. I was trying to get to know new families and couples and we hit it off right away! Hurricane Irma had just swept through leaving behind scattered storms and a billion mosquitos so we got to know each other real quick as we sat in the car waiting for a particularly heavy storm to pass. (In Florida, I learned very quickly, you just wait out the storm, you rarely need to cancel the shoot).

 Their first couple photoshoot  involved dancing in the rain and this one was no different. You could say they're pros by now, but it's important to know how to take on less than pleasant situations with your love. How you handle them together will either grow your relationship or hurt it. These two don't seem to even blink when life throws crazy at them. I know they're going to be amazing together for life. 

They've been dating for 5 years, and still blush when the other gives them a compliment. I love it. We attempted to stay dry with the umbrellas at first, but eventually just let it go, there was no use. Nothing makes me happier than a couple willing to let loose and just let life happen. The images are more real and the memories lasting. After all, there's nothing memorable about a shoot where you did everything you were told, smiled when you were supposed to, and nothing went wrong. You'll end up with pretty images, but they won't tell a story. The story comes in the pouring rain and the wet feet and failed "Dirty Dancing" jump attempts. It comes in the secrets given and laughter shared.

I'm grateful for you both Sean and Beth! Can't wait til April!

Rainy engagement shoot
Engagement shoot in the rain
Engagement shoot in the rain
Engagement shoot in the rain

If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy this rainy couple session, and this one at North Beach Pier

 

Richardson Family at Treaty Park, St. Augustine

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.
— George Sand
Family Portraits Treaty Park

When A.J. and I met these guys at our gym, we became friends right away. Little Milo and Maya love to play on all the equipment while Elizabeth and/or Jason are cooling down and it's so fun to observe how they teach them a love of fitness. From gymnastics flips to pull ups, they're naturals.

Max, too, works out with us and Micaela I actually just met this morning but she's a rockstar at Jiu Jitsu, so I believe she also has a love of fitness. :) She's moving to California with the Navy soon and was only home for a brief moment after graduating and Elizabeth wanted to make sure we were able to capture them all together finally. This is actually the very first photo of them all together, which makes me so happy that I could participate.

Happy Mother AND Father's Day you guys! 

Family Portraits Treaty Park
Family Portraits Treaty Park

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this family of six at Fletcher Park or this extended family session on Beech Mountain

St. Augustine Pier Engagement | Sam and Jess

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun
— Christopher McCandless
Sunrise LGBTQ Engagement Session

Sam and Jess were destined to be together. After coming in and out of each other's lives through various friends and church gatherings, they finally crossed paths at the right place and the right time and decided to spend the rest of their lives together. I loved seeing how easy it was for Sam to make Jess laugh and how she equally was able to make Sam blush with just a word. 

They took me out to breakfast after our sunrise engagement session on the pier and told me all about their various life transitions over the past couple years. If they can make it through those, they can make it through anything. They've just bought a new home and are getting it set up as they plan their big day, so Heidi at Endless Possibilities is coordinating their wedding (which is how we met btw), and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with! 

Something we hadn't actually anticipated on this beautiful morning was that the Pier and surrounding beaches were under major construction from the recent hurricanes and development in the area. We weren't able to go underneath the pier, which is my favorite place to hang out, and there were bright orange construction fences everywhere, but they just rolled with it and danced right around it all. It was such a fun morning!

Sunrise LGBTQ Engagement Session
Sunrise LGBTQ Engagement Session
Sunrise LGBTQ Engagement Session

If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy this St. Augustine Pier Trash the Dress Session, or Heidi's Guest Post.

North Carolina Family Sessions

Cynthia ViolaComment
Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of Love
— Mother Teresa

As most of you know, I was in North Carolina last week for Becca and Clay's wedding, and while there, I had the opportunity to photograph several families in different settings, celebrating different phases of life. Since I don't typically do blog posts for my smaller sessions and a few of the sessions were actually impromptu, I figured it'd be more fun to post them all together. So here we are :)

Mommy and me session

This first session in Banner Elk was actually impromptu. I had just had lunch with Ashley and her two cuties before the wedding rehearsal and we were out in the parking lot of the restaurant watching Kale and Eli expend extra energy when I grabbed my camera out of the trunk and chased them around for a bit. They came about six inches from a snake before mommy rescued them, but we had a great time :)

Mommy and me session

Next, little Eden was kind enough to let me borrow her bedroom while I toured Raleigh, Charlotte, Chapel Hill and Lilington. Every year Jess has her hold signs to send to her grandparents and such so we went ahead and accomplished that for her third year and got a little extra personality out of it ;) I love getting to watch her grow up, she's quite the adventurer, like her momma, and loves to throw in some sass upon occasion. 

3 year old photography
3 year old photo shoot

We got the added bonus of these beautiful clouds captured when she decided she wanted to learn how to shoot. She loved the clouds so I got to teach her how to aim and look through the view finder and choose what she wants to capture. So much fun!

Newborn lifestyle shoot

Next I got to meet little Isla as Ashley and John welcomed her to her new home in Raleigh. Ashley and I actually went to high school together, so it was super fun getting a chance to catch up after all these years. (Seriously cannot believe it's been 16 years!!! How does that even happen?!?) But she had the sweetest little room filled with adventure and mountains. I know she's going to have the best time playing as she grows. 

Newborn lifestyle shoot
One year old photos in rose garden

At the Raleigh Rose Garden I watched the sun rise with Matt, Brittney and little Adeline, celebrating her first birthday wearing a handmade dress from Chickadee Chickadee. She wasn't overly enthused about the roses (though she looked beautiful sitting among them), but she was all about watching videos of herself laughing. I love it, people with the best personalities are able to not take themselves too seriously and just have a good laugh at themselves, can't wait to watch her grow :)

One year old in rose garden
one year anniversary with dog

Amy and Jay decided to bring their new pup, Finn as we explored the backside of The NC Art Museum campus. I've been all over that campus to shoot, and we still managed to find a new area, so I was super excited about that. The weather turned out perfect even though it threatened to rain every day leading up to it. Their wedding day actually included a torrential downpour that flooded their reception venue, but they just went with the flow, like they do. My favorite kind of people. 

One year anniversary with dog
newborn session at snipes farm retreat

I have had the pleasure of capturing this sweet family from their very first engagement session until now. Little Laurel was so excited to welcome her new little brother Isaac into the world, and I can't think of a better spot than in a beautiful field not too far from the field where we captured their engagement photos. 

newborn session at snipes farm retreat

I am continuously grateful that life has afforded me the opportunity to spend such special moments with so many families. Traveling back and forth from Florida is hardly a burden when I'm always greeted with a smile and a bear hug. Thanks guys!!

Snipes Farm Retreat Family Portraits | Tiffany, Carlie and Remi

Family Portraits, Anniversary PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
To love is to soar in the wild unexpectedly
— Robert M. Drake
LGBTQ wedding

When Carlie and Tiff said they wanted to celebrate their five year wedding anniversary going back to their wedding venue, getting back in their wedding clothes and having a photo session I was more than excited... like, overjoyed! I love these two anyway and their little Remi, and thinking of them reliving such a special moment with her brought all the feels. 

They found the tree where they said their vows and just spent a few minutes there sharing the memory then we showed Remi around the farm and danced in the tall grass. It was so beautiful. Remi couldn't stop talking about how excited she was to put on her mommy's wedding gown but when it came time to actually do so, she was less than thrilled, lol. Gotta love kiddos. 

We had to reschedule the photos three times due to bad weather, and almost had to again, but the clouds let up just long enough for us to dance around the farm a bit finally capture the moment. We had so much fun. 

LGBTQ Family Portraits
LGBTQ Family Portraits
LGBTQ Wedding
LGBTQ Family Portraits
LGBTQ Family Portraits

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy their shoot at the Rose Garden last year or Jen and Erin's family session in Goldsboro. 

Banner Elk, North Carolina Wedding | Becca and Clay

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses
— Ann Landers
Mountain Wedding

Wow, I have so many things to say. I feel like I helped raise Becca (and her sister Hannah) in a way. Really, we grew up together. I spent a few hours every week with them at their home discussing life, faith, movies and future dreams. Their incredible mother Robin made a huge dinner every time, entirely from scratch and almost entirely from their massive garden. Little did she know that she inspired the gardener in me; when I moved to Raleigh it was because of her I started my own little back porch box garden and now have quite a collection of vegetables in our back yard now. They lived the type of life that stops to have a good conversation and works long hard hours because that's what makes you feel good at the end of the day. 

The girls expanded my appreciation for literature and classic movies and challenged my beliefs every time we met. I felt truly like a sister, and a part of the family. Now seeing Becca married this weekend brought me back to those wonderful, slower days and made me grateful for the journey of life and all the different places it can take you.

Clay came into Becca's life about 10 years ago and I remember him being a part of our conversations off and on and now here they are, a decade of friendship behind them and a lifetime of love and laughter in front of them. They were truly meant to be.

The entire county was flooded with torrential downpours the week leading up to the wedding; several landslides made the roads questionable and all our nerves were on a rollercoaster ride as we watched the radar. It held off just long enough to capture every single pre-ceremony portrait they wanted, however, poured during the ceremony again, and lifted one last time after the ceremony to allow for family portraits outdoors. The bright greens that came after the storm only made the photos that much more beautiful. Quite the silver lining. Always grateful for unexpected beauty .

Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding

Becca decided to wear her mother's incredibly gorgeous veil and I was super excited about it. There's just something so classic about a long veil, and it adds so many more portrait options. 

Bridal Portraits
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding

Becca and her girls got together the night before and created all their bouquets as well as the ceremony and reception arrangements. DIY bouquets have never looked more beautiful. 

Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding
Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Wedding

Clay knew the right things to say every single time to make his bride light up with smiles and laughter. I absolutely love it when couples know how to tease each other well and have a good time. 

Mountain Wedding
Mountain Wedding

You guys I couldn't be happier for you! Thank you for including me in your big day, I wish you all the happiness in the world!

 

 

The vendors who made the day possible:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Venue: Banner Elk Christian Fellowship

Bride's Gown: David's Bridal

Groom's Attire: Men's Warehouse

Perfume: Clinique Happy Heart

Bride's Rings: Skattles Jewelers & Zales

Groom's Ring: Stonebrook Jewelers

Hair Stylist: Hannah McCormick

Officiant: Carl Clawson

Cake Baker: Stick Boy Bread Co.

Invitations: Jaime Johnson Photography

 

 

 

Anniversary Sessions

Anniversary PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things that are missing.
— Ann Landers
Fred Fletcher Park Anniversary Photos

I cannot tell you how much fun it is to spend some time with our couples around their one year anniversary. I love hearing about what their first year has been like and all the adventures they've had and challenges they've faced. The images always show their love to be deeper and their friendships stronger. 

I spent the last three weeks in North Carolina shooting weddings and spending time with so many clients who I only get to see on my short visits up there. The last post highlighted the moms and families I got to spend time with, this one will highlight the anniversaries I got to celebrate. 

Fred Fletcher Park Anniversary Photos

Torrie and David met me super early at Fred Fletcher Park which can be challenging enough, but David had only gotten back from a trip 4 hours prior...like 3:00 in the morning, and still showed up with his bride to our 7am session. I'm pretty sure he gets bonus points for that one. They were of course, just as sweet as the day they wed

Fred Fletcher Park Anniversary Photos
Rose Garden Anniversary Photos

Jacqueline and Jon met up with me at The Raleigh Rose Garden downtown and I felt like a drug dealer as I passed them cookies from my car to their's after the shoot. :) We've been friends a long time and I used to bake cookies for BREW Coffee Bar as well as any house party or gathering we attended together so they requested some. So fun! I fell in love with their venue, Highgrove Estate, on their wedding day and can't wait to head back there again this fall for another special day. 

Rose Garden Anniversary Photos
Rose Garden Anniversary Photos

Its awesome to be able to be a part of each couple's life as they make their transitions and experience new adventures. It only makes me that much more excited to celebrate number 13 with A.J. at the end of summer. 

 

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this anniversary session or or this Fletcher Park Family Session. 

 

To all the Mommas

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Too much of a good thing can be wonderful
— Mae West
Mother with 3 month old

I cannot help but be excited every time my client's families grow. Watching two people commit their lives to each other at the altar, seeing their choice in new little puppies and kitties, homes and adventures and, if they choose, the sweet little ones they bring into the world, foster or adopt. All the new places life can take us is exciting and having the people we love around us while we do it makes it that much more so.

The past few weeks in North Carolina I had the pleasure of catching up with several of my favorite families and a few new ones. So I thought it'd be fun to blog them all at once to show how many different ways you can celebrate new life, growth and adventures. 

It started with Karla and sweet little Khloe. We met at Jetton Park in Cornelius, NC and had so much fun dolling her up in beautiful pink tulle and surrounding her in flowers and love. Karla's beautiful momma came along as well to help in all the ways mommas help...with all their love and support, no matter what we're doing. Little Khloe is going to be surrounded by love her whole life long. Can't wait to see her again in just a few more weeks!

Mother with 3 month old

Next up is technically a senior session for Joey. He had me stepping out of my comfort zone like crazy as he skated across the ice. I knew I'd be shooting him in the Factory Ice Rink in Wake Forest, NC, but it didn't occur to me until I walked into the building, in dress and heels, that I'd actually need to walk out onto the ice to get the shots. Oops! He was a rockstar though. (not to mention the soccer and golf shots we took later, he's and all round athlete and quite possibly the kindest and most sincere teenager I've ever met. 

By his side the entire shoot, was of course, his beautiful mother Lisa. She made sure he had all his equipment and got all the shots he was hoping for. (Certainly something she did tirelessly through the years as he grew up as well) The rest of the family joined at at Joyner Park afterward and we made sure to capture photos of everyone. It was also awesome to catch up with Amelia and her Furman adventures, it seems like her senior session was just yesterday, and now she's off to make her impact on the world.

Wake Field Senior Photos

Back in Charlotte, Brentlee and I were crossing our fingers hoping little Brayer would make his appearance  before I left and sure enough she and John welcomed little Brayer into the world just in time! The most anticipated part of the morning was introducing him to his new big sister Hamptyn. She was so excited to meet him...until he actually showed up. She became so shy we didn't know what else to do but just giggle. She eventually came around though and immediately started fulfilling her big sister responsibilities, helping to change his outfit and shower him with kisses. Little Brayer was actually hiding in momma's tummy just a few months ago as we took family portraits in the most magical forest I've ever laid eyes on, Hamptyn was excited even then, I know they are going to make a great team, I can't wait to see them again at the end of summer!

Charlotte Hospital photography Session

I technically already posted of blog of Connie's family here, but I couldn't resist mentioning the session again, as her entire family came together for the week at a lake house in Mooresville, NC to celebrate her birthday and all she'd done for them through the years. It was so special. 

60th birthday party

At Coker Arboretum in Chapel Hill, NC I got to catch up with the Jakub family. Anna had just turned 14 and it was time for new family portraits. Having just captured her incredible Bat Mitzvah celebration last year I couldn't wait to hear all the year had brought for her. And next up for them is a trip to Israel to explore and learn about their rich heritage. Beth's momma came along as well and we were able to capture a few generational portraits for them. I loved seeing the similarities in features in them all. 

generational photos

Last, but certainly not least, the Ross family met me at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh to capture Amber's sweet baby bump and play around with big sis Hazel Grace. I can't believe she's already running around so freely, it seems like just last week we were celebrating her first birthday with a cake smash! Cannot wait to meet little Hudson on my next visit!! 

Maternity photos with 2 year old

I'm so grateful to all these wonderful families for trusting me with their memories. This is such an incredible life, I love every single new story and every single bear hug. Can't wait to see you all again soon!

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this Maternity Session, or this story about Motherhood and it's many challenges.

Ocean Isle Beach Wedding | Alexa and Landon

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola6 Comments
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
— Howard Thurman
Trash the Dress photography

These two have been on quite the adventure from the moment they met. With a love of traveling and jobs that encourage it, they have lived and traveled all across the country and beyond. When they told me the wedding was going to be on Cinco de Mayo, I knew an epic party was about to happen. 

They rented a house in Ocean Isle and invited their closest family and friends to stay the weekend, celebrate life, love and new adventures. We've never had so much fun! From the second we arrived on Thursday we threw our stuff in our rooms and made our way to the beach to share stories and take in the moment. Everyone adores Landon and Alexa so much it was effortless to come together to celebrate them. 

OIB wedding photography
OIB wedding photography
Beach wedding details
Beach wedding details
Beach wedding details
OIB wedding photography
father daughter first look
beach groom details

While they were getting ready they couldn't resist telling everyone how excited they were and as everything built toward the first look they were practically dancing with anticipation. You'd never know there were hundreds of people on the beach watching them, they only had eyes for each other. 

pier first look
pier first look
pier first look
pier first look
pier first look

Have you ever seen a more joyful bride?!? You just can't resist loving Alexa from the very first moment you meet her and Landon is, of course full of his own charms. 

pier first look

All Alexa wanted for her ceremony was to be surrounded by as much color as possible. Their guests did not disappoint. 

beach wedding ceremony
beach wedding ceremony
beach wedding

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know Trash the Dress sessions are my favorite... I usually tend to shoot them on anniversaries or some time down the road from the wedding day, but Alexa had another dress ready to go for the reception and couldn't wait to jump in the ocean! A true mermaid.

beach trash the dress
beach wedding reception food truck
beach wedding reception
beach wedding reception
beach wedding cake cutting
beach wedding reception
beach wedding reception
beach trash the dress
beach trash the dress

You guys I could not be happier for you! I loved every single minute of this weekend and cannot wait to come visit in Cali soon!! Love you!!

 

The Vendors who made the Day Possible:

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

Videographer: Jerry Moore Luminous Event Films

Venue: Southern Comfort

Bridal Gown: Maggie Sottero from Dar Lynns Bridal

Groom's Attire: Men's Warehouse

Bride's Ring: Simon G Engagement

Perfume: Lancome la Vie est Belle

Cologne: Gucci Guilty

Hair Stylist: Brandi from Coral Tree Salon

Make Up Artist: Sabrina from Coral Tree Salon

Florist: Dave Bryant Designer

Officiant: Terrence Richards

Catering: Catch the Food Truck and Art Catering

Cake Baker: Cakes by the Sea

Linen/Chair/Tent Services: Art Catering

Light and Sound- Michael Pirozzolo Event Excellence

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Jenelle and Billy's Trash the Dress Session or Heather and Kyle's Beach Engagement

Oaks at Salem Wedding | Lindsay and Matt

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories
— George Eliot
Bride and Groom with Classic Car

Lindsay and Matt know how to go big on a party. From the classic cocktails, to the incredible DJs to knife fighting among the groom's party before the ceremony and Spice Girls jam sessions in the Bride's suite; they and their wedding party are there to have a good time. We had so much fun capturing the big day.

The Oaks at Salem was, of course, the perfect backdrop, and no one could have ordered a better weather forecast. It was like a fairy tale. 

When Lindsay's mom and dad shared advice for her during the first look, we all got a little teary eyed and everyone in the bride's party spoke from the heart as they recalled fun stories and shared what they admired about their friend. 

The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex

Lindsay and Matt wrote a special note to little Eva to carry with her in the flower basket, and to one day use for her "something blue" if she wishes. She promptly dropped it on the ground which made everyone laugh, but we all knew how very special it was, and she will too some day. :)

The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Ceremony
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex
The Oaks at Salem Apex

The Oaks really does have an incredible backdrop for portraits, any time of the day. Such a beautiful venue.

The Oaks at Salem Apex

I'm pretty sure I ate three entire bowls of m&ms by myself during the reception, it's now officially my favorite wedding favor. :)

The Oaks at Salem Reception
The Oaks at Salem Reception

The choreographed dances had everyone smiling, nothing beats a solid dip...except maybe dad throwing money at the bride :)

The Oaks at Salem Reception
The Oaks at Salem Reception
The Oaks at Salem Reception
The Oaks at Salem Reception

Thank you guys for letting us be a part of your day!! We had an incredible time!!

Hope you enjoy Saint Lucia!! 

 

The Vendors who made the day Possible

Photography: Cynthia & A.J. Viola

Venue: The Oaks at Salem

Coordinators: Becky and Ashley at the Oaks

Bridal Gown: Lillian West from Maggi Bridal in Raleigh

Bridesmaids Dresses: Revelry

Groom's Tux and Groomsmen's Suits: The Black Tux

Bride and Groom's Rings: Bailey's

Hair and Make Up: Cori Lee Style

Florist: MEWS Designs

Officiant: Tim Tharrington, "With This Ring"

DJ: All Events DJs

Videographer: The Bride's Brother, Ryan

Photobooth: All Events DJs

Catering: Cook Shack Catering

Cake and Donuts: Edible Art & Rise Biscuits and Donuts

Linen Services: Party Reflections

Invitations: Minted

If you enjoyed these images you might also enjoy this Oaks at Salem Wedding  

Lake Norman Extended Family Session | Elzey Family

Family PortraitsCynthia Viola2 Comments
I sustain myself with the love of family
— Maya Angelou
Lake House Photo Shoot

Oh my goodness I love this sweet family so much. It started with Anna and Anthony's adorable engagement session and Wedding, and continued with multiple Instagram and Facebook comments and conversations. I feel like I've known them forever, so when they asked if I could capture their lake weekend while I was in Charlotte, I assured them I would have driven from Florida for this. 

They were here to celebrate Connie's 60th birthday and I think they all decided they just wanted to stay forever, the house was amazing, and the view absolutely perfect. Everyone had such an amazing experience and we finished it off with a photo shoot to capture the memory! 

We had to adjust the timing of the shoot at the last second to avoid the rain and we were SO glad we did, it started drizzling on us about 5 minutes before we finished, but they stuck it out to get the last couple shots. Connie I'm so glad you have such an amazing family to celebrate you on this happy occasion. May your heart be full of love and your walls with tons of photos after this weekend :)

Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot
Lake House Photo Shoot

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this Extended Family Session or this Lake Norman Family Session

Mooresville, North Carolina Wedding | Susan and Ron

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola1 Comment
Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Lake Norman Wedding

When you get to watch a relationship bloom from the very first date until they say, "I Do," it gives you a whole new appreciation for love. Through the life transitions, disagreements, home repairs and wedding planning Susie and Ron have only grown more and more in love. I feel like we just did their engagement session yesterday and here we are a house brimming to the top with friends and family and every one of us ready to celebrate. 

I adore meeting and spending time with all the extended family members of my couples, but these guys hold and extra special place in my heart. My brothers, of course, at the center, but also half-step brothers, adopted cousins and feisty grandmas, neighbors who've become friends and the very best celebration anyone could ask for. Guests traveled from all over the country to celebrate with Susie and Ron (and of course for Betsy's 95th birthday). 

Everyone had so many wonderful things to say about them both, as they are one of the most welcoming, gracious hosts you could ask for. I heard story after story of how individually and as a couple they've been there to support their loved ones; they take care of so many people and live life to the fullest every day. It has been such an honor and a blessing to become a small part of this huge and incredible group of people. 

Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding

I asked Susie what Ron has to do to make up if he makes her mad, "He just has to make me laugh," she said. (and he promptly whispered something to her causing a huge belly laugh) ;) Susie loves to laugh and no one is better at it than Ron. 

Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more
— Christina Perri
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding
Lake Norman Wedding

I love all of you SO MUCH! Thank you for an incredible weekend, an incredible life. 

 

 

The Vendors who made this day Possible:

Photography: Cynthia Viola

Venue and Catering: Hilton Gardens Inn, Mooresville

Bridal Gown: David's Bridal

Groomsmen Attire: JC Penny

Rings: Brownlee Jewelers

Hair Stylist: Leanna VanWasssenhove

Florist: Lowe's Foods

Officiant: Gino Cassano

Cake: CynTucci's Bakery

DJ: Roland Tate

Dance Floor: Jump Start Events

Invitations: Ann's Bridal

 

If you enjoyed these photos, you might also enjoy this Mooresville Family session or this

Rose Garden Wedding.

 

Oak Bridge Club Stylized Wedding with Lauren and Nathan

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
You wear white and I’ll wear out the words ‘I love you,’ and ‘you’re beautiful’
— Train
Braid Bar Sta Lauren Burks

I must say, in ten years of weddings, I've never participated in a stylized wedding session, but we had SO much fun. Having the freedom of no timeline and a couple who's been together for years with no jitters or wedding stress holding them back was a dream. 

We actually had the added bonus of a precious little flower girl and ring barer to join us while we walked around the grounds, Lauren and Nathan's cute kiddos couldn't help but jump in once they saw how much fun we were having. 

Working with and around other vendors at every weeding is a fun part of the job, but it was so unique to be able to partner with them in the actual planning process for this one. Let me tell you, they didn't shy away, these vendors pulled out all the stops and made the whole process a blast!

Braid Bar Sta Lauren Burks

First of all, our gorgeous bride owns Braid Bar of St. Augustine and therefore styled her own incredible hair, not once but twice, to give two different looks for the shoot. She's braided my hair into a mohawk before which was to die for! If your looking for braids or twists of any kind, she's the bomb. 

Rachel Ashley styled her Make Up perfectly while we chatted in Oak Bridge's beautiful lounge area. She knew exactly what Lauren needed and made sure she had touch up supplies throughout the shoot. 

Lori with Lori Parker Floral Studios in Ponte Vedra had a vision for the boho style and included the most unique florals in the bouquet, boutonniere and ceremony arbor. I honestly didn't hire a florist for my own wedding because I'm not much of a flower person but working with someone who loves what they do makes you change your mind. Lori loves her work so much it she actually made me excited about these flowers throughout the entire process. 

Daria at Adagio Weddings built the incredible arbor and set it to stand against some significant winds that whipped through the fairway. There were multiple times I just knew it was going to collapse as we chased other materials across the green, but it was strong and resilient. She really knows what she's doing. Additionally, she provided the beautiful violin accompaniment for their ceremony and first dance. She has a whole team of skilled musicians to provide for your ceremony or event, she's been playing herself since she was five years old!

Adagio Weddings Violinist Daria
Adagio Weddings Violinist Daria

Oksana at Dress to Impress saved the day when our lovely model's original dress plans fell through and provided the most lovely gowns to choose from at the last second. We were SO hoping to use one but didn't have quite enough time to altar one to fit our bride just right. We went with a trusty back up from her closet but we were SO grateful to Oksana for her willingness to come to the rescue!

ABC Beverage Concierge Services for Ponte Vedra Beach district provided the champagne toast as they are promoting their new hospitality division and were excited to help in any way.

Kelli with KROMA Printing and Design made the beautiful invitations and has vast array to choose from. She was even able to get engraved champagne glasses for the toast!

Of course the Oak Bridge Club is pulling out all the stops to make it a premier wedding destination at an incredibly affordable price. Under new management they're upgrading all the main buildings and golf course areas to better accommodate weddings and events this year, go check them out! Mariel is amazing to work with and a gracious host, she'd love to show you around. 

Lori Parker Floral Studios
ABC Fine Wine and Spirits St Augustine
Adagio Weddings Arch
Kelli Taylor Kroma Printing
Braid Bar Sta Lauren Burks
Lori Parker Floral Studios
Adagio Weddings Arch
Lori Parker Floral Studios
Oak Bridge Golf Club

I couldn't be more grateful to everyone who made this day a success! This truely is the best job on the planet. I work with the most incredible people who also love what they do and love working together as a team to make couples' dreams come true. Thank you everyone! Can't wait to work with you again soon!! 

 

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy this Golf Club Wedding in Raleigh, or this Golf Club Family Session in Charlotte.