Cynthia Viola Photography

Extended Family

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.

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

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

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

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

Extended Family Session | The Coles

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass...It’s about learning to dance in the rain
— Vivian Greene
Extended Family Session, Boone NC

I'll never forget arriving to shoot Amy and Kevin's wedding several years ago with storm clouds looming on the horizon and Cathy walking up to everyone she saw, giving them a bear hug and repeating this quote.

Cathy is one of those people who arrive with such a force of joy and compassion that before you know it she has become a lifelong friend. I've worked with hundreds of families over the years and of course I love them all, but there are some that I get to spend time with across multiple weddings and other celebrations, like the Coles, and for that reason they become a part of my own extended family. 

Extended Family Session, Boone NC

This epic gathering of all the kids and grandkids (except Holly!! Miss you!) was filled with every emotion in the book. The kids live all across the country so getting them in one location at the same time is no easy feat. In fact we had precisely a 30 minute window when everyone could be there at the exact same time so we hustled to make the large group portrait happen in exactly that time frame while playing with the rest of the portraits before and after.

Tears of joy were in full swing as everyone hugged and made jokes, drank bourbon hot chocolates, roasted marshmallows and chased around the kiddos. There were other tears as well; as we thought back through all the joyful celebrations and difficult hospital stays, tears of gratefulness for a life well lived and sorrow for a hopeful yet uncertain future. It's situations like this that have me just bawling behind this computer screen as I type. I love these guys so much and it's so hard to watch them in pain. Fortunately they all have a grand view of the world so the positivity abounded. 

Cathy and Dayton's relationship is one for the history books...they have provided such an incredible legacy for their children. One overflowing with love, acceptance, determination and unadulterated joy. I am so grateful for every moment I get to spend with them and overwhelmed with the incredible gift the artist's life affords: to be able to be so close to so many families and feel my heart explode with love as they welcome me with open arms into their homes over and over again. Thank you for all the hugs yesterday guys! Miss you already!

Extended Family Session, Boone NC
Extended Family Session, Boone NC

If you look close, you'll see the snow falling!

Extended Family Session, Boone NC
Extended Family Session, Boone NC
Extended Family Session, Boone NC
Extended Family Session, Boone NC
Extended Family Session, Boone NC

Adam created a low salt version of his famous almonds to accommodate Dayton's dietary needs. They were well received :)

Extended Family Session, Boone NC
Extended Family Session, Boone NC
Extended Family Session, Boone NC

Basically everyone knows by now that smore's, bourbon and cigars are like my three favorite things. That and the community that typically surrounds all three. Love that the kiddos got to participate in this joy first hand. (well, at least the marshmallow part) ;)

Extended Family Session, Boone NC
Extended Family Session, Boone NC
Extended Family Session, Boone NC

Even the littlest one made his appearance just in time for the celebration. It's so exciting watching your family continue to grow Cathy and Datyon!  

Dorothy Dix Park Family Portraits | Romero Family

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart
— Helen Keller
Extended Family Photos

It gives my heart great joy when families know how to have fun together. These guys not only had fun this morning but they brought all the love with them. The kiddos wanted to make sure they had an individual photo with every family member there and were more than willing to cuddle and bear hug and be super sweet together for the photos. 

If there's any advice I can give to families before coming to a session, it's to come with an open mind and heart. We'll certainly go our best to get "proper" portraits up front but when you have the freedom to be yourselves and let the kids decide what we're going to do next, the images are so much more fun and filled with genuine smiles and laughter. 

Thanks for being awesome this morning you guys!! 

Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos

Little Leo loved stealing my stool every time I stepped off of it, so of course we had to snag a photo of him sitting on it for his second birthday portrait! :)

Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos

Celina loves her daddy SO much. I'm pretty sure we took at least 100 images of just those two being sweet. There's just nothing better than a family that loves each other. 

Extended Family Photos
Extended Family Photos

Joyner Park Extended Family Photo Session

Family Portraits, Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life
— Lisa Weedn
Family of 6 Joyner Park

I've known this sweet family for years now. From various church encounters and youth group gatherings to the dance floor at several weddings to partnering with them to make BREW Coffee Bar happen in it's initial stages and now we're planning Jessica and Jeff's 2018 wedding! It's been such a fun few years!

Dan is hysterical. Whether he's offering to pay for the wedding in gold doubloons, trying to order pizza delivered to Raleigh from Viola's Restaurant in Florida, or discussing Disney Princess outfits that would be best to wear for the photoshoot, he always keeps me on my toes! 

I've I've combined Senior Sessions with Family Sessions before, but never an Engagement Session. It was so fun to see the family pick on Jessica and Jeff from behind me while I got a few romantic portraits and then again when Dan and Kathy had a turn! These guys know how to have fun, and they topped off the session with Dan's 1971 Ford LTD. So fun!

Engagement Session Joyner Park
Family of 6 Joyner Park
Family of 6 Joyner Park
Family of 6 Joyner Park
Family of 6 Joyner Park
Engagement Session Joyner Park
Engagement Session Joyner Park
Family of 6 Joyner Park
Family of 6 Joyner Park
Family of 6 Joyner Park
Family of 6 Joyner Park

Smitley Family Portraits at Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden

Family PortraitsCynthia Viola2 Comments
When love is a habit, joy is a reflex.
— Bob Goff
Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden Family Photos

Our roots go so deep with this sweet family. We met Marsha when we first moved to Raleigh and were looking for ways to serve the community. She was running the Language Arts program for Neighbor to Neighbor at the time and we were overwhelmed by what she and the rest of the team were doing for kids who were behind in school. We started mentoring right away and haven't looked back since. When Marsha's path led her toward the mothers of the children being mentored to PostScript Outreach, she's such an incredible gift to the community and Craig has been supporting her the entire time. He is a quiet force, filled with love for his family and ready to serve.

A.J. and I did pre-marital counseling with Justin and Kimberly and absolutely loved getting to know them and Adam and Alison through the wedding and other activities. Now that Silas and Quinn have come along they've got everyone wrapped around their little finger...especially their grandparents...just look at those smiles! Hope you enjoy a few images from our little adventure! 

Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden Family Photos
Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden Family Photos
Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden Family Photos
Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden Family Photos
Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden Family Photos
Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden Family Photos
Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden Family Photos

The Goodwin Family at Treyburn Country Club

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life
— Lisa Weedn
Family photos at Treyburn Country Club

Dennis and I met at Iron Tribe a couple months ago and became fast friends. (Something that seems to keep happening with all the people I meet there, it's such a great community) :) Dennis always has such a great attitude though and is fun to work out with; when he asked about extended family portraits I knew we'd be a great fit. 

Their new home at Treyburn Country Club was the perfect backdrop with it's gorgeous course and the beautiful forest in their backyard. I'm so glad they were finally able to move in this year after a few construction set backs. It's truly breathtaking. 

I hit it off with Taylor right away. 10 years ago she packed a couple bags and moved to Denver to see what adventure awaited her and hasn't looked back since. Definitely my kind of gal. :) She met her love there and they'll be having their first little in April. When they arrive, he or she will have the best bunch of older cousins to guide them. Chase and Patrick's crew really know how to have a good time. Of course little Carter stole the show with his super fun personality and amazing laugh. Dennis and Jeannie you have an amazing family! Hope you enjoy a few of these favorites from the day!

Family photos at Treyburn Country Club
Family photos at Treyburn Country Club
Family photos at Treyburn Country Club
Family photos at Treyburn Country Club

I must say I've never had this many adults participating in leaf tossing schnanigans, but I am a HUGE fan. I think the adults had more fun than the kids!

Family photos at Treyburn Country Club

The Jaworski Family on Beech Mountain

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
— Helen Keller
Beech Mountain Family Photos

So, I must say, hangin at the cabin with the Jaworski's was incredibly fun. From the moment I walked in it was hugs all around as if I'd known them forever. (Technically Stephanie and I went to undergrad together *gulp* TEN years ago, but I hadn't met the rest of the fam yet). I immediately felt at home though, Matt was offering me coffee from the get go and when I told him I didn't actually like coffee he went out of his way to find and make some hot chocolate and brought it out to me while I was adventuring around with Steve and Ashley's family.

THEN there was this location! I know I was 'born and raised' as they say in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but this view never gets old. There were so many great spots around the cabin and when we found a hidden teepee in the middle of the woods I knew a serious adventure was about to begin.

I loved every one of these kiddos right away. Each set of siblings and the cousins had great relationships, happy to snuggle and inviting each other to participate in the adventuring. Tyler was so sweet as he consistently followed instructions and helped each of his siblings over the rocks. I'm also pretty sure Jensen and Luke must be related to me somehow. Never without a stick or paper airplane at the ready, they were the first to jump into each next adventure, unafraid to scale the rocks and walk right into the teepee even though we said it might have bears in it. Then Jensen gave me a hug before I left and I melted. I'll telling ya, the more little people give me hugs on photo shoots, the more they grow on me.  

You guys thank you so much for letting me participate in your holiday adventure! I hope you enjoy some of these favorites from the day! 

Beech Mountain Family Photos
Beech Mountain Family Photos
Beech Mountain Family Photos