Cynthia Viola Photography

Maternity Portraits

The Kovach Family at Pullen Park

Family Portraits, Maternity PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’
— Hunter S. Thompson
Pullen Park Family Session

Leslie and Caleb are a couple I will forever adore. They have always known how to get the most out of life and find laughter in all the small things. I think my favorite thing about them though, is how they're teaching their girls to look at life the same way. To not fret the small stuff, to climb on things just to see if you can, to apologize when you screw up, and to dance your way down every street. Since they were one of our very first weddings I feel like we've grown up together a bit. Nearly ten years later they've got two gorgeous girls who are just as playful and adventurous as their parents and a little man on the way who's sure to be the same. 

Pullen Park was so gorgeous last night and these two beauties reminded me to let go. To run through the field with arms outstretched ready to catch any beautiful thing that falls into them...or myself if I hit the ground instead. ;) They are fearless like their parents and everything I hope to be when I grow up. I am SO glad we were able to squeeze in a session before we head to Florida tomorrow. I feel like I have new wind in my sails and am ready to tackle this next adventure head on. Love you guys!!

Pullen Park Family Session
Pullen Park Family Session
Pullen Park Family Session
Pullen Park Family Session
Pullen Park Family Session
Pullen Park Family Session


Maternity Portraits, Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Happiness, not in another place, but this place. Not for another hour, but this hour
— Walt Whitman

She said, "I think it's important to communicate beauty as well as honesty here. I spent my entire first trimester in bed. Most people don't see that side of pregnancy." 

Maternity Portraits

When Caroline first contacted me about telling her story she wasn't sure exactly what she was looking for, she just just knew it needed to be told. She and Chris have five beautiful, healthy children and she's never had problems with pregnancy before, but this round included prenatal depression causing endless bouts of silence and tears, loneliness and doubt. She explained that between 14-23% of women struggle with symptoms of depression during their pregnancy and it goes highly overlooked and misunderstood. This is an opportunity to begin the conversation. 

What do you do when you come home from a normal healthy doctor appointment and just weep uncontrollably? How do you answer your sweet children's ernest questions of what's wrong when you don't know yourself? What do you do when you don't seem to know yourself anymore?

When you know you're "supposed" to be ecstatic about a new life, but you only sink deeper into the fear and insecurities it represents; your mind can become enemy number one. There is nothing. Nothing anyone can say or do to get you out of your own head and into the light where there is joy abundant.  Caroline has been battling this for months by herself, afraid of any number of things on different days, but she finally reached out for help from a few close friends, embracing her vulnerability and now has a tiny bit of hope peaking it's head. She has not loved her body through this season but didn't want her children to see her the way she saw herself, so she decided for the first time to document with photos what this journey has looked like.

She is one of the bravest women I've ever known. 

I'm hoping she can begin to see herself the way her children and husband already see her. Strong, resilient, determined; a source of life both physically and emotionally. Camden said he can talk to her when he can't talk to others and they all chimed in about how much and how well she loves them. Even the littlest ones who didn't know how to voice exactly what they felt talked about the various actions she lives out daily that embody a loving mother. 

Raleigh Maternity Photography

With five little lives to keep up with and another one on the way, a husband to love and a self to keep healthy it's no wonder her body shrank inward to protect itself, and no one is left unaffected. It's very difficult for anyone to watch someone they love suffer. Even when he hasn't known how to help, Chris has taken on many additional roles in the home (5 children, real estate and a small business do not take care of themselves). Through this, he has shown the kids what a lifetime of commitment really means. They are a beautiful intertwining of souls. Like the magnet on their refrigerator says, "life does not have to be perfect to be beautiful."

Raleigh Maternity Photography

Despite it all though, I actually think they're all doing a great job of embracing the crazy. As I was setting them up for this shot, they told little Cappy to throw his toy off to the side...he missed a little...and hit me right in forehead, but I didn't see it coming because I was looking through the lens! We all died laughing. 

Clark amused us with his jokes and balancing acts and Chloe Cate was the first to grab my hand and welcome me into the family, begging me to stay after. When Cohen ran off into the forest yelling follow me, we didn't hesitate. He took his shoes off right away and jumped into the creek and mom, dad, all the siblings and I followed.

Raleigh Family photography
Maternity photography home session

There is so much joy to be found in life's little moments. I love that Caroline and Chris are embracing this tough season together and finding time to welcome meaning, depth and growth. I loved your whole family instantly Caroline. You and Chris are a testament to the richness big love and commitment can provide to the wellbeing of kids. They know more than anything that they are loved unconditionally and that is simply the greatest gift you could ever give them. It was an honor to participate for a moment in your story, thank you for the invitation. 


Caroline wanted to offer her psychiatrist as a great resource in case anyone else is living a similar battle. Ria practices holistic psychiatry and integrative medicine allowing Caroline to honor her body and mind together simultaneously. You can find her information here.  

She also wants to stress the importance of being honest and open with your midwife or OB/GYN. She has received much support from her midwife at Reply Obgyn in Cary.

For spouses and partners of women suffering from perinatal mood disorders, you are needed. Here are a few online resources for you: 

Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Progress

For more resources on Prenatal Depression, it's warning signs, and steps to recovery you can also check out UNC's School of Medicine. 

The West Family Expecting! Pullen Park

Family Portraits, Maternity PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
We do not remember days, we remember moments
— Cesare Pavese

I have never had so much fun learning the gender of a new baby! Oh my goodness this joyful bunch could not be more surprised to find out that they're about to have a new little lady to brighten their lives even further. 

When Ivy said she wanted to reveal with a big box of balloons I was so happy! I love love love how children interact with balloons so I just knew Porter and Mary Elizabeth would be delighted. 

Mary Elizabeth was convinced they were going to be blue which made the rest of us think they would be too so we were all a little surprised at first then super excited! I can't wait to meet her you guys! You all have such great personalities, I know she'll fit right in and be so so loved and protected.   

Gender reveal pullen park

Mary and Nate Expecting! Dorothea Dix Park

Maternity 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
Maternity Photos at Dorothea Dix Park

Resilient doesn't even begin to describe this beautiful woman and her story. If you have the opportunity to meet her and listen, you should. She and Nate have been waiting for this little one for some time now and we are all so exciting we get to meet him in just a week or two!

A.J. and I were honored to capture Nate and Mary's wedding just 3 years ago now as well as other sessions for Mary in the years prior and we absolutely love her charisma and creativity. You should have seen the details at the wedding! I knew this maternity session was going to be perfect. Little Sterling is going to be the most adventurous and fun little guy imaginable. You should see the tee-pee they've already set up in his room! I would have done all the chores for a year to have a tee-pee in my room growing up! 

And Nate! What an amazing chef! They had us over for dinner two weeks ago and he blew our minds with his creativity (Paleo is not the easiest diet to cook for). He has also done an amazing job getting their new home ready for little Sterling. I simply cannot wait to meet him and see the look on his face when he can comprehend how cool his room is! 

Love you guys! Hope you enjoy a few of these favorites from Dorothea Dix! 

Maternity Photos at Dorothea Dix Park
Maternity Photos at Dorothea Dix Park
Maternity Photos at Dorothea Dix Park
Maternity Photos at Dorothea Dix Park

Tony and Amber EXPECTING! Raleigh, N.C.

Maternity PortraitsCynthia Viola2 Comments
Family is not an important thing, it’s everything
— Michael J. Fox
Pullen Park Maternity Session

With Hurricane Matthew headed toward the coastline last week, we were more than a little worried for our family. All of A.J.'s immediate family and several extended family live in or near St. Augustine, FL where the storm surge was expected to be several feet. They had to evacuate to new locations twice because it kept getting worse, and while we are MORE than grateful no one was hurt, the family restaurant took a huge hit and they've been scrambling to make repairs ever since. 

It was difficult for them the leave the chaos, but they had already planned a quick baby-moon up to the mountains of NC (and Raleigh to visit us of course). Everyone encouraged them to get away from it all for a minute to rest and make sure there wasn't any unnecessary stress on the baby. We are, of course, so glad they did. 

Amber is absolutely glowing right now in her 7month glory and I've never seen Tony so happy. They are going to make the very best of parents and we are going to spoil the little guy SO much! Cannot wait to meet him you guys! Here's a few of my favorites from Pullen Park see you in January!

Pullen Park Maternity Session
Pullen Park Maternity Session
Pullen Park Maternity Session
Pullen Park Maternity Session

Have you ever seen two people SO excited to be parents?!?! Gah! I love you both so much! Can't wait!!

Pullen Park Maternity Session

Why Sunrise is the Perfect time for Portraits

Engagement Portraits, Maternity Portraits, Bridal Portraits, Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them
— William Arthur Ward

All of these images have one thing in common: brisk morning air and gorgeous glow from the sun. Location, time of year, type of session and outfits are all secondary. The light is what matters. Every time. 

If given the choice, I will always choose 7am to meet for a session. (followed closely by sunset, but I find it harder to pinpoint the start time because you're racing the dark). 

I know. I know. It's not easy to get up extra extra early, and when you have kiddos to wrangle or otherwise uncooperative adults, it can be difficult. I promise though... get to bed a little earlier and just make it happen. You'll get dreamy images every time.