Cynthia Viola Photography

Durant Nature Preserve

Best of 2016 Weddings and Engagements

Engagement Portraits, Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola2 Comments
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
Engagement photos roan mountain

After racing through the busiest season of my career followed by an intense family roller coaster of love, pain, joy, sorrow, death and new life, I am actually pretty excited to coast into this first week of the new year with little more to do than reflect on what has been good, what needs improvement and dream of all that might be in 2017. 

A.J. and I have had the incredible joy of meeting new couples whose love overflows for each other and makes our own love stronger from witnessing it. It never gets old. This will be my tenth year capturing love and memories for couples, and the lover-of-new-things within me thought I'd be tired of it by now.  But I can say with all the honesty I possess, I cannot get enough. 

When Jon teared up watching his beloved Abbie walk toward him in all her radiance, my heart exploded and I loved them both even more. When Heather and her dad, Bryan, shared a father-daughter first look through tears, light teasing and perfect joy I could barely see through my own tears to even capture the moment. When Alaria and Drew found themselves at the very end of the night surrounded by all their beloved friends whom they rarely got to see due to distance and the trajectory of their future I burst with happiness for them.

Watching our couples revel in each moment and knowing that they trusted us to capture each one for a lifetime of joyful memories brings me more joy than I know how to put properly into words. I'm excited to see who is going to walk into our path this year and to hear all the love stories that will undoubtedly make our own love continue to grow. 

Thank you for an incredible year!

Engagement Photos Beech Mountain
Engagement photos fisher farm park
Engagement photos beech mountain
The Oaks at Salem Wedding

The Arthur Family at Durant Nature Park

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
I sustain myself with the love of family
— Maya Angelou
Family Portraits at Durant Nature Park

I feel like I've known the Arthur's and especially Leslie for a decade. They are one of the kindest families you could ever know. Leslie spends her time at Lifepointe Church serving the community in a myriad of ways. She is never without a kind word on her lips and genuinely cares about everyone she serves. 

David tends to deal more in numbers and things I could never understand but it is always for the purpose of serving people and helping in amazing ways. 

Hannah who has always had a shy love of music (even though she is an amazing singer) has also recently discovered a love of cross country. Leslie and David fully support her of course and we're all amazed at what she's accomplished in her first year on the team. 

Their dog Tucker is just the sweetest! We were able to take portraits with him a couple years ago and he is as sweet as ever! I hope you guys enjoy a few of my favorites from the day, I had so much fun!

Family Portraits at Durant Nature Park
Family Portraits at Durant Nature Park
Family Portraits at Durant Nature Park

Preparing for Your Engagement Session

Engagement Portraits, Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love doesn’t make the world go ‘round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile
— Franklin P. Jones

The first thing to remember as you arrive for your engagement session is that this is supposed to be fun! We'll have plenty of pressure from timelines and schedules on the wedding day, no need to be stressed now. These sessions usually take anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on how far we walk around and how many outfits you have etc. But if we knock it out in 45 minutes that's totally fine, if we need an extra 30 it's totally fine. Just be prepared to roll with it. 

This is our chance to get to know each other well before the big day so that we're both comfortable when we do have the time crunch. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like and know that I'll do the same. When you learn how I work and the types of poses I'm likely to move you into, it'll make you a pro on the wedding day. It also gives me a chance to see how you two interact together. If you don't enjoy kissing in public, or prefer not to sit on the ground, it's better for me to find out at this session rather than when I ask you to do so on the big day. :)

1. When to plan your session. Time of year is totally up to you, though, if you book your wedding out far enough, a lot of couples like to choose the opposite season of their big day. If you have a fall wedding then a spring engagement etc. Regardless of what month you choose, we will always, only shoot at either sunrise or about 2 hours before sunset. This ensures golden light that will make all your images dreamy and romantic. 

2. Outfits: Most couples choose 2 outfits, one casual to start and one dressier as you get more comfortable with the whole flow of the session. Once you've gotten used to the idea of a camera in your face, you'll warm up to the more romantic poses. That said, if you prefer one outfit or three, I'm perfectly ok with that. You can see my post HERE to see ways to coordinate them.

3. Location. I always recommend choosing a location that is important to you if possible. A family farm offers legacy, the place where you actually got engaged or had your first date can be a great way to capture that memory, or just a place that you find beautiful can ensure beautiful backdrops for when you print them for your home. If you can't think of any places like that, or you're not from the area where we'll be shooting, have no fear, I have a long list of places that are wonderful and I'm happy to check out a spot in advance if I'm unfamiliar with it.

4. Trust me. I certainly do not expect you to be a professional model. I will guide you when you need it and give you the freedom to be yourselves as often as you let me. I have hundreds of posing ideas floating around up there and am perfectly happy guiding you into them, I also really love letting you interact in your way. It always takes about 15-20 minutes to warm up to the idea of making out in a public space so we'll work up to it slowly and have some fun along the way. I'll never make you do something you're uncomfortable with. 

5. Drink ALL the water. Think a gallon a day every day for a week leading up to it. (and then every day after that for the rest of your life) ;) It's not only healthy, but for the purposes of the shoot, it will get rid of dark circles under your eyes. 

6. Prepare your fiance'. Sometimes one person is really excited about the photography portion of the wedding, and the other is well, not so much. They may be planning to show up, smile at the camera standing in 2 or 3 locations and then calling it a day. If they aren't prepared when I tell you to snuggle or nuzzle, they may not know how to respond. I recommend choosing your top 3-5 favorite images on my site or blog and showing your fiance' so you're both on the same page when you arrive. If you're going to err on one side or another, over communication is usually a good bet. (Feel free to use that one as a general marriage tip as well...you're welcome) ;) 

It can also be fun to practice some of the snuggling and flirting in advance... just sayin ;)

7. Ring, Hair and Make Up. Some ladies like to take this opportunity to get their hair and/or make up trial arranged with their stylists so they can see what they'll look like on the big day as well as taking the pressure off of preparations for the engagement session. Certainly not a necessity, but if you're having a trial anyway, this is a good time to do it. (This or the bridal session if you choose to add one). There will definitely be photos of the ring, so it's a good time to get it shined up as well. 

And just for fun, here's a few couples showing off their snuggling and flirting skills both at their engagement and their big day. Have fun!