Cynthia Viola Photography

Family Portraits

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. :)

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. 

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

North Beach Family Photography | Joey, Daniella and Isabella

Family Portraits, Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared
— Buddha
Family Engagement Session

I love it when a photo session can double as both family portraits and an engagement! These two cuties met in high school and have been inseparable ever since. With little Isabella sitting up now and their June wedding fast approaching, a photo session was a must!

We had planned to shoot at Vilano because of the beautiful rocks and such but it was just too crowded so Joey said he had access to a secluded entrance to North Beach and off we went! I could not have been more excited as we pulled in. Huge Oak trees towered over the entrance with beautiful trails and a nearly empty beach with dock. Perfection.

Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session

From promise rings to engagement rings, and now little Isa has one too. SO precious.

Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session
Family Engagement Session

It was just so sweet watching little Isabella's toes touch the water and the sand for the first time. It's too bad it was freezing or she probably would have jumped right in! Thank you guys for letting me capture such a special moment for you! Congratulations!! 

You might also enjoy photos from these two family/engagement sessions: Jordan & Alex and Jessica and Jeffery

Vilano Beach Family Photography | The Pelose Family

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
A well developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.
— William Arthur Ward
Family Portraits on the Beach

When a giant wave suddenly and unexpectedly comes crashing in over top of you, soaking you from head to toe in the middle of your photo session and you just laugh it off as just all part of the fun of life, you know you're a happy, well contented couple. 

I met Danielle and Frank at Tony and Amber's wedding a couple years go as we were both bridesmaids and she was prego with little Frankie. It was freezing cold and we had to move the wedding indoors but she had the very best attitude the entire time. Yesterday was no different. When we found ourselves in the middle of a stinging nettle field (I've never experienced this plant before) she calmly described what it was and we slowly backed away. (Then she taught me a ton of new information about Florida plants, I was super impressed!)

After bypassing a wedding ceremony on the beach we made it to Vilano's beautiful rocks where we were all laughing and dodging the incoming waves and right as we moved into the next spot, completely without warning, a giant wave crashed over them and there was nothing to do but laugh and keep shooting! We had the very best time, and of course little Frankie was the star of the show! Hope you guys love these images as much as I do!

Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach

If you enjoyed these you might also enjoy: Chrissy and Chuck's family session or Heather and Kyle's Vilano Beach Engagement.

Becca, Katie and Vivi | Wilkesboro Family Photography

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
— Lao Tzu
one year old with two mommies

You have never met a more amazing couple until you've met Becca and Katie; from the moment we met I knew we would be fast friends. They invited me over to their home in Wilkesboro, NC for our photo session and before we started, insisted that we share breakfast together first. How sweet is that!?! They made sure I was completely comfortable and we shared stories like old friends all morning while we watched the dogs run around and Vivi explore the dining room. 

There home is set deep in the woods in the mountains and reminded me of my home growing up. The roads were great for exploring and Vivi loved finding new rocks to taste ;) We had so much fun letting her guide the way and decide what we would do next, she loves to laugh and that put a smile on all our faces. I hope you guys love these images from the morning!

one year old with two mommies
one year old with two mommies
one year old with two mommies
one year old with two mommies
one year old with two mommies

Family Portraits at NCMA | The Grattons

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
— William Arthur Ward
family photos nc art museum

I met these cuties what seems like a lifetime ago in another world, but we have remained great friends through both our family's various transitions. A favorite tradition they taught us years ago was to throw a groundhog day party in February because everyone will be able to come! The holidays are over and it's not quite time for spring picnics or Easter so it's a great excuse to host a party! And anyone who knows us, knows we love a good excuse to have friends over :) 

I had only had a chance to meet little Eli once or twice so it was incredible to see how big he'd gotten and how much like them he was. Already playing the harmonica, his musician parents have taught him well. Scott and Samantha create a few holiday music tracks every year to share with their friends and family and it's a huge hit!  Samantha was also an enormous help to me when I transitioned my company from a hobby to a full time career a few years ago; she is an excellent project manager if you need one :)

We weren't sure what the weather was going to do this weekend; the threat of rain had us dancing back and forth for days, and while we didn't get the gorgeous golden sunrise glow I'm used to, the fog rolled in and created an incredible backdrop no matter where we stood at the Art Museum. We were so excited to have something unique to work with. I hope you love these images as much as I do!

family photos at the art museum
family photos at the art museum
family photos at the art museum
family photos at the art museum
family photos at the art museum

If you enjoyed these, you might also enjoy this family session or this NCMA engagement

The Wilson Family at Home

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment
— Carlos Santana
Cary, NC family photography

I'm pretty sure you've never met someone with a bigger smile than George... aka Mike. I remember doing box jumps at Iron Tribe a couple months ago and he tripped, somehow gashing his arm open (to the point of stitches) and he just kept on smiling and tried to keep jumping (though the coaches promptly stopped him to prevent further injury). 

Then after he got the stitches, he still kept smiling, and kept coming back to the gym as if nothing had ever happened. I was so impressed. It was no surprise to me that photographing his family was a breeze. The whole family was just so happy and willing to do any of the crazy things I suggested, sure to include little Max along the way. 

Of course Blake and Austin were all too willing to pick on each other and their home and neighborhood served as a perfect backdrop for their portraits. Hope you enjoy a few of these favorites from the day!

Cary, NC family portraits
Cary, NC family portraits
Cary, NC family portraits
Cary, NC family portraits
Cary, NC family portraits

Anthony's First Birthday!

Family PortraitsCynthia Viola2 Comments
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
— Omar Khayyam
one year old

This week our nephew turns one! Oh my goodness! I cannot believe an entire year has gone by nor that we live down here now and get to participate in these (almost weekly) family parties and gatherings. It seems like just yesterday we were at the hospital welcoming him into this big world.

Amber and Tony decided to do a Lumberjack themed birthday party for the little guy so everyone wore flannel to participate. They had fun themed food, cornhole and of course a bonfire with s'mores! (My favorite). 

Family of 3
Lumberjack Themed Party
Lumberjack Themed Party
Lumberjack Themed Party
Lumberjack Themed Party
Lumberjack Themed Party
Lumberjack Themed Party
Lumberjack Themed Party

Anthony wasn't so sure about the cake at first. Not having tried anything so sweet prior, he probably thought it was a dream. He also wasn't sure about eating with his hands, preferring his utensils, but he was more than willing to share with anyone who wanted a bite. :)

Lumberjack Themed Cake Smash

We had so much fun celebrating with everyone. We're so excited to watch you grow up little guy! Can't wait to take you on some serious adventures in the coming years!

Lumberjack Themed Cake Smash

Stoner Family Session at Lake Norman

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future
— Earl Nightingale
Lake Norman Family Photographer

These cutie pies always know how to have a good time! From roaring like a lion, pretending to be superman, and showering mommy in kisses to seeing how many times they can roll down the hill before they get sick; I always love hanging out with Charlie and Finn! As soon as I got to their house Charlie immediately grabbed my hand and started walking me toward his art gallery so he could tell me about every single one, and Finn talked about all the things he loves in the color red. (especially my car...2 points) :)

Chrissy always manages to find a new location for us to shoot and this time we were both blown away with the gorgeous grasses surrounding the lake at their golf club. That mixed with the gorgeous golden sunset made last night a dream. 

Forever grateful for my ever expanding family so many opportunities to spend time with them. 

Lake Norman Family Photographer
Lake Norman Family Photographer
Lake Norman Family Photographer
Lake Norman Family Photographer
Lake Norman Family Photographer
Lake Norman Family Photographer

Yates Mill Family Session with Jenn, Nick and Roman

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.
— L. Drachman
Yates mill park family photos

The moment I met Roman, I knew today's session was going to be an adventure! I asked him what his favorite thing about being six was and he said "wearing bigger shoes." Watch out world, this little man is looking to fill some shoes, and I've no doubt he'll accomplish all his dreams. 

Yates mill park family photos

I had him climb the fence for this photo and figured he'd enjoy jumping off so I encouraged him too. Without hesitation he climbed even higher to the very top THEN jumped! When I had him jump for the family walk he did a backflip, surprising all of us! He hurt himself a little on that one but his sweet momma knew exactly what he needed at every turn. I was blown away when she had him raise his arms a few times to make sure he wasn't injured then when he had his hands up started singing "YMCA" causing immediate giggles, and of course, then he was fine. It's so much fun watching families interact and be themselves. 

I had so much fun with you guys today Jenn and Nick! Thanks for being adventurous and willing to climb rocks and steep banks and just let loose! Hope you enjoy these images!

Yates mill park family photos
Yates mill park family photos
Yates mill park family photos
Yates mill park family photos

The Farr Family in Banner Elk

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Where there is love there is life
— Ghandi
Extended family photos in the mountains

I must say I am loving this new family tradition. Last year Stephanie told me her side of the family was renting a cabin in the mountains for the holidays and wanted some extended family photos. We all had so much fun on top of Beech Mountain as we adventured through the woods around the cabin, they decided they wanted to do it again this year. Except this time, with Matt's side of the family!

Leslie managed to find the cabin at the very top of the tallest peak in Banner Elk; the road to get there was an adventure in itself! It's crazy to me that I grew up and lived in the mountains for 23 years and never discovered either of the hidden roads they found for these adventures. The mountains are just full of surprises!

Little Milo was *slightly attached to mom and dad all morning, but everyone jumped in and did their best to bring distractions and treats and snuggles. That's what family is all about after all, helping each other out when we're struggling. I had so much fun with you guys! I hope you enjoy these memories from the day!

Extended family photos in the mountains
Extended family photos in the mountains
Extended family photos in the mountains

I'm pretty sure Captain wins the "best dog of the year" award, so well behaved and not to mention extra soft and fluffy! 

Extended family photos in the mountains
Extended family photos in the mountains

Goldsboro Homestead Family Session

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.
— Mark twain
LGBTQ family session

Oh my goodness, I can not tell you how much fun I had with these two and their little Cruz this week! They are here from California visiting family and we just had to squeeze in a family session while they were. Jen wanted to use her childhood home in Goldsboro as the backdrop and capture a few memories with Cruz and her beautiful momma. 

I absolutely love it when families are willing to be adventurous with me. We were climbing through thorn bushes and laying down 2x6s to cross creeks and learning about soybean crops all along the shoot. Jen and Erin were all smiles and giggles the whole time and we absolutely had a blast!

We could not get over how gorgeous it was in Goldsboro this time of year. The November air was cool and crisp yet the sun provided that incredible glow through the changing trees. I hope you enjoy a few of these images from our session! 

LGBTQ family session
LGBTQ family session
LGBTQ family session
LGBTQ family session
LGBTQ family session
LGBTQ family session

Treyburn Country Club Family Session | The Goodwins

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
— Lao Tzu
Extended Family Photos

Seeing the transformation of this bunch from last years' Christmas Portraits to this year was amazing. Taylor and Jake had their new little baby Desmond and he is absolutely perfect! Harlan and Miles have joined the rowing team and are doing awesome, and Dennis walked across Spain on the Camino! I loved so much following his trip online and then hearing about it more in person. I love his thoughts on the trip:

"My suggestion after this experience, no matter what you do, do something in your life you don't think you can do. Push yourself. Get out of your comfort zone, live life to the fullest. Don't be afraid to live. You will not be sorry. It will not be easy, but it will be something that you will treasure, and something that you will be incredibly proud of yourself for doing."

Love that so much, and I couldn't agree more! When A.J. and I biked to the coast and back we were exhausted but exhilarated. Can't wait to have another adventure asap and hope with everything I am that we will always have epic adventures just like Dennis! Love you guys! Hope you enjoy a few of these images from the shoot! 

Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos

The Painter Family - Home Session

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.
— Audrey Hepburn
Charlotte Lifestyle Session

These beautiful ones have been dancing in front of my lens for several years now, it's been so amazing watching their little family grow. If Dylan is not just the cutest little thing with her bright smile and bouncy ponytail, I don't know who is. 

Courtney wanted to do a home session this round and I thought that was an awesome idea as they have just moved to Charlotte and bought such a beautiful and well lit home new home! Just like their home in Raleigh, it felt so comfortable when I walked in and it was the perfect setting for a morning filled with giggles.

Backyard Family Photos
Backyard Family Photos

Even though the whole neighborhood is under construction right now, we were able to sneak in some backyard and streetside photos as well. Little Dylan loves to ride her scooter up and down the street. 

Backyard Family Photos
Backyard Family Photos
Backyard Family Photos
Backyard Family Photos

Grandma was visiting, so of course we couldn't resist a few snuggles. 

Home session

Dylan absolutely looooooves her piano and insisted on showing me what she's learned so far! We had so much fun!

Rose Garden Family Portraits | Rafidi Family

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
We do not remember days, we remember moments
— Cesare Pavese
family of 4 at the raleigh rose garden

Engagement, wedding, maternity, and now two kiddos and 5 years later these two are still deeply in love and crazy about their incredible girls. We had plenty of time to catch up as little Grace led us around The Raleigh Rose Garden seeking the best rose and the coolest hiding places.

Johnny said his favorite thing about two girls is that they really love each other. Next, Hannah asked Grace who her best friend was and without hesitation she said Zoe. Apparently they love to fall asleep next to each other and wake up giggling. I love that SO much! Siblings are the very best!

The garden was of course, still beautiful, with or without the fall sunshine, still vibrant and filled with flowers! I hope you guys enjoy a few of these images from this afternoon!

1 year old
3 year old exploring
family of 4 at the raleigh rose garden

Ward Family at Home

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.
— Maya Angelou
Backyard Family Portraits

Oh my goodness these cutie pies are SO much fun to photograph! Always with huge smiles on their faces and words of encouragement and kindness on their lips. It's hard to believe we've been friends for so many years now. I absolutely LOVE these two little ones and Emi's expressions on this shoot are to die for! 

Backyard Family Portraits

When Kathryn told me little Emi was catching a cold we debated postponing the shoot but she suggested using their backyard instead of a park in case we needed to take her in real quick and of course it worked like a charm! They have a super cute little neighborhood so we were able to include the kiddos AND Gnarles their incredible pup...who is a pretty big fan of kisses ;) 

Backyard Family Portraits

Sloane, as always, was a gem, and more than willing to accept all of Gnarles' kisses! 

Backyard Family Portraits
Backyard Family Portraits
Backyard Family Portraits
Backyard Family Portraits

Pullen Park Family Photo Session | Veraolivero Family

Family Portraits, Senior PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Not everyone is meant to make a difference. But for me, the choice to lead an ordinary life is no longer an option.
— Peter Parker

Considering Alex sported a Spider Man graphic tee at the end of the session, I figured a Peter Parker quote would be acceptable. ;) 

Senior Session at Pullen Park

I had a blast with these guys last night! Alex is graduating this year so this was technically a senior session, but it's so much better when the whole family is involved! Having Joey tease him in the background and asking him questions about crushes and his future brought out his natural modeling skills. Then Joey stepped in showing they were BOTH naturals! Love it! 

Elizabeth and Roscari were no different, everyone came prepared to have a great time and there was plenty of joy to go around. The weather at Pullen Park was amazing allowing us to walk all over the park, and Elizabeth was the hero of the day walking the entire park and climbing hills and train tracks in her heels! She kept skewering a few leaves which always made the boys laugh, we had so much fun! Here's a few images from the day!

lgbtq family photos
Pullen Park Senior Session
Pullen Park Senior Session
Senior portraits pullen park
lgbtq family photos
Pullen park senior session
Pullen Park Senior Session
lgbtq family photos