Cynthia Viola Photography


Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
We like to pretend it is hard to follow our heart’s dreams. The truth is, it is difficult to avoid walking through the many doors that will open.
— Julia Cameron
Blowing Rock Wedding

These gems are from one of our first weddings ever, nearly ten years & eight cameras ago. Jennifer and Jason. We were shooting with Canon Rebels and did so for our first 10 weddings. This was actually our ninth wedding and the first one I still have images for. (Hadn't quite nailed down my backup process yet) ;) I had taken one film photography class for fun with no intention of ever shooting anything "for real." It was honestly other people who kept telling me I should do this that kept pushing me forward.

Maybe the move to FL has me feeling all nostalgic since it'll be the second time we've physically moved the business and had to rebuild with new clients - but I am feeling so grateful for the people in my life who pushed me toward a dream when I wasn't sure it was my dream and definitely didn't think it was a possibility. 

The very first "real" photo shoot I ever did was a wedding. I mean go big or go home right? Literally up until the weekend of the wedding I'd been shooting film and bought the dslr the day before the wedding with every intention of figuring it out as I went. And that is exactly what I did. Shocked at the end of the day that the photos weren't terrible and amazed at how much fun I had, I still didn't intend to shoot another one ever... Until one of the bride's friends saw the photos and asked me to shoot her wedding. What?!? Really? 

Eseeola Wedding

This was our 20th wedding: Nicole and Derek. (A.J. joined me after that first wedding, because that sounded like more fun and it was!) We had also upgraded to a Canon 50D.

We were still shooting with the background in mind and didn't know a thing about light. What this meant was that sometimes we got lucky, (like when the clouds came out here), but our images were super inconsistent. We didn't know why some of them were awesome and some of them were not so awesome. 

Crestwood Wedding

Lisa and Matt were our 30th wedding and around where we learned a little more about posing. Though shots like this were still only lucky when we placed them in the correct light (as opposed to a great background), we just didn't know that yet. This was still a side hustle and only a sliver of a dream, we still assumed we'd be doing other things full time. 

Downtown Raleigh Wedding

Mugé and Farris were the 40th. We'd switched to Nikon at this point (d300s) for better glass and A.J. and I could read each other's minds at this point and know exactly when and where to be and how to patiently wait for the perfect moment (which is usually *just* after the prompt or "pose"). The realization that "golden light" is amazing hit us, but it would still be a long time before we would insist upon it...not wanting to step on toes or be complicated. What we didn't realize was we were actually doing our clients a disservice to have this knowledge and not explain to them how important it was. 

Aspen Wedding
Maroon Bells Wedding

Natalie and Tripp were our first realization that this could be a real thing. 50 weddings in and someone was willing to not only hire us, but pay for two plane tickets and lodging to Aspen for their destination wedding. We were amazed but also realizing that people just liked us. Our photography was fine, but others were way better (and still are). People just felt comfortable around us and wanted us to be a part of the family. This fact alone makes this a true dream come true. I adore people with my whole heart and just really want to make a positive impact. If I can make art while doing that then I'll never work another day in my life.

Apple barn wedding

60 weddings in we were really starting to feel like a part of the family with soooo many clients. Jamie here is Jennifer's younger sister, and being with their whole family again was like shooting my own sister's wedding. This keeps happening over and over, and then when you add puppies and kiddos to the mix, the realization that I'll be a part of all the happiest moments of their lives is so unbelievably humbling. 

Eseeola Wedding Ceremony

At 75 weddings Maggie and Richard overwhelmed us with the possibilities of an incredible venue and vendor team. (Even got to work alongside one of our first brides!) Since this was still somehow a side hustle and not a full time gig though, our turnover was still insane. In off season it would take about 10 weeks to deliver a wedding, 12-15 midseason. The fact that it's only 1-2 weeks now blows my mind. You know they say Rome wasn't built in a day. It's taken us 10 years to get where some photographers got in two, but you can't let a slow pace discourage you. As long as you're moving and not standing still, you'll see your dreams fulfilled eventually. 

Bridal session at Moses Cone

With over 100 weddings to date, we still have SOOO much to learn. Only since I went full time two years ago did we start dabbling with off camera flash (of which we still have a LOT to learn), an actual workflow, of course new camera upgrades (d750s), a reflector for portraits, Lightroom, Indesign and an interactive style of posing. I can only image what the new terrain of Florida beaches will teach us but I'm excited for something new and so so so incredibly grateful for everyone who made this dream a reality. Love you all. 

Raleigh Rose Garden Wedding