Cynthia Viola Photography

NCMA

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

Anniversaries Bring Meaning to the Ordinary

Anniversary PortraitsCynthia Viola2 Comments
The best thing to hold onto in life is each other
— Audrey Hepburn
first wedding anniversary photo shoot

I love anniversaries. (Birthdays and New Years as well) They remind us how far we have come. 

It's incredibly easy to get lost in the hubbub of life: to buy a house, get a promotion, make some babies, finish school. All of it is wonderful and fills our days with direction and our future with dreams. But I believe it's the moments we stop to take a look around that give our life meaning. 

It's great to fall in love and get married, but if you never stop to look each other in the eye, breathe each other in and savor the passing moments, you'll find yourself looking back over the past 25 or 50 years wondering how you got there. 100 nights of Netflix and Chill is fun, but it'll never replace 100 seconds of looking each other in the eye and saying "I love you, thank you for giving me the past year of your life. Let's do it again."

first wedding anniversary photo shoot

The same can be said of anything I suppose. If you don't stop to savor moments with your children at every age they'll be 30 before you know it and you'll wonder where the time went. Sunday afternoons at your parents house become a chore to check of your 'to do' list if you're running 100mph. But if you stop to listen to one of their stories, or capture of photo of them holding hands while they walk out onto the porch, the moment lasts forever and you don't have to wonder when they got so old, and why you weren't there to see it.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to capture a few of these "pauses" between engagement sessions, weddings, anniversaries, births and other celebrations. Witnessing others savor the moments of their lives is a constant reminder for me to do the same. 

first wedding anniversary photo shoot

Amy and Owen Engaged at NCMA

Engagement PortraitsCynthia Viola2 Comments
We loved with a love that was more than love
— Edgar Allan Poe
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session

Amy and Owen were a dream to work with. Not every couple is excited about the idea of making out in the bushes of a public park; it can take some time to get warmed up to the idea even if you are madly in love, but these two were naturals right away. They were so in sync, most of the time I felt like I was working with just one person. From their excellent verbal communication to body language and subtle looks, they knew just how to blend right into each other. 

The NC Art Museum was a perfect backdrop not just for it's beauty but for it's connection to their story. Long walks here in their early days was a seed for their love to grow and I love that they included it in their engagement session. 

NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session

For their save the dates they used a selfie taken in front of the famous rings on the museum grounds; It was a special moment for them because it was the first time they declared their love for each other. They wanted to recreate the image on this session which I thought was super powerful, because an engagement is nothing if not a declaration to the world that you love this one the most. 

NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session
NC Museum of Art Engagement Session

Toward the end of the session we were quite literally chasing daylight. The Art Museum's grounds are quite large and walking from one area to the next can take a surprising amount of time. We kept having so much fun in one spot we'd forget we needed to move on in order to fit it all in! Oops! No worries though, these two were beautiful in front of every backdrop, and I cannot wait to explore Downtown Raleigh with them on the big day! 

NC Museum of Art Engagement Session

I had so much fun you guys!! Thank you for everything!

NCMA Family Session with The Emel's

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
— Maya Angelou
NCMA Family Photos

I first met Pam and Lee dripping in sweat as we finished a workout that probably involved 100 burpees. I've had the pleasure of seeing each of them several times a week for the past few months and have only ever known them both to have a smile on their face and words filled with encouragement and cheer after every session.

When I met their kiddos at a party a few weeks ago it was no surprise to me that not one them "knew a stranger." I was able to talk to Riley instantly about camera gear and as Eloise crushed a ton of pull ups we became instant BFFs. Alice's relaxed and considerate nature makes her so easy to get along with. I feel like if we sat down for coffee (or hot chocolate rather) we could probably talk for hours.

Seeing them all together last night as one big happy family was such a joy. Lee and Pam are such incredible parents, all three kiddos had a blast, you can tell they're super close which always makes the session so much fun. When the threat of a dark storm rolled into NCMA, they took it in stride; we just played as long as we could til it started raining, hung out under cover for a bit, then played some more. Grateful for these guys. Hope you enjoy a few of these favorites!

NCMA Family Photos
NCMA Family Photos
NCMA Family Photos
Such troopers! Jumped in for the photo even though it had already started raining!

Such troopers! Jumped in for the photo even though it had already started raining!

Vendor Series - Hair and Makeup - WINK

Vendors, Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
WINK Hair and Makeup

I've been having so much fun highlighting the wedding vendors and members of the community that I love to work with and think will be helpful for our couples and families. When you work in an industry filled with artists, you tend to work with a lot of people who truly enjoy their careers who barely feel like they're working half the time. It's so fulfilling and I love seeing others love what they do.

The lovelies at WINK Hair and Makeup are no different. I worked with Kristi at Alaria and Drew's wedding this past October and loved Kristi right from the start. She was very easy to work with and more than willing to do the "dance" as I captured photos of Alaria getting ready. (Not all stylists and artists are willing to move around to make the shot better).

I was further blown away when I got to meet (almost) all the girls when we shot team portraits. They are all SO friendly and knowledgable. I was asking all the questions especially to Janna and Jeanette who happened to arrive first. They are both makeup artists for WINK and lash extension techs so I had a ton of mascara questions lol. Afterwards they all took me out for a drink and we had the BEST time. You will seriously love working with any of them whether for your big day or your engagements or family portraits. Below are a few of the questions we discussed. :)

Krystal with WINK Hair and Makeup
Jeanette at WINK Hair and Makeup

Why is it important for a bride to hire a professional for her hair and makeup the day of the wedding? What are common regrets when they don't? Hiring a professional to do you and your bridal party's hair and makeup for your wedding is definitely a luxury purchase, but when hiring a professional hair and makeup team, you ensure that you will have years of training and expertise. We know what products photograph well and stay on the best. We use high-quality products and know how to tame the most unruly of hair. We create timelines that keep everyone on track and on time and we are well equipped to solve any problem thrown our way. When hiring experienced and educated beauty professionals, you get the peace of mind that Aunt Gertrude won't be wearing that hideous fuchsia eyeshadow with her spider lash mascara and cousin Tina's contour will be more natural rather than drag queen.

The biggest regret we have come across from women that decide to either do their own hair and makeup or have a friend do it is that hair and makeup didn't look as they imagined it should be and that it added more stress to their day.

Are there any skin conditioning regimens you suggest in the weeks leading up to the big day? If you have any concerns when if comes to your skin, take the time to visit a dermatologist. Otherwise, skin regimens are going to be based on your skin type and it is extremely important to have a routine for day and night.  Making sure that you are consistent with your skincare regimen months before the wedding will only help to ensure that your makeup goes on smoother and looks its best.  Exfoliate 1-2 times a week and get an amazing moisturizer for your face, neck, and lips. We love Sonia Roselli skincare and keep it in our kits! Get plenty of rest and water. Drink lots and lots of water. 

Do not get waxed the week of your wedding (makeup won't adhere to the areas that you got waxed the same as the rest of your face), also, do not get spray tanned less than 2 days before the wedding day.

Do you suggest anything specific with makeup knowing that they will be having multiple photos taken? Make sure that there is no more than an SPF 15 in your makeup or moisturizers, use primers and setting sprays, don't use too much shimmer. Faux lashes always photograph beautifully. They just add a little more polish to your look and you can get them as natural or as dramatic as you are comfortable with. If you aren't planning on hiring your artist to stay for touch-ups after the ceremony and before pictures are taken, we would suggest putting together a little touch-up kit that includes a pressed blotting powder, lipstick (ALWAYS make sure your lipstick looks good before photos!), blotting papers, a moisturizing and setting spray and a little lash glue. Also, remember to cry pretty and try to catch your tears (pat dry don't rub/wipe away tears).

With an updo, what precautions do you take to make sure it hasn't fallen by the time of the ceremony? For updos, we ensure that it is secured by using a ton of bobby pins and crisscrossing them if hair is thick. Finish with firm hold hair spray and wiggling or lightly shaking the client's head to make sure everything feels secure. We also always do touch ups before we leave to make sure nothing has fallen. 

WINK Hair and Makeup

Is a trial session really needed or is the day of enough? Our contract actually requires a hair and makeup trial before the wedding day. The trial is our chance to get to know each other, play with different looks to discover your wedding day style. We always suggest scheduling your trial on a day that you will be taking pictures (i.e. engagement pictures or bridal portraits) so you can see how beautifully the hair and makeup look with your wedding dress, how well it photographs, and how well your hair and makeup last throughout humidity or smooches ;)

Why do you love doing hair and makeup, what brings you back to it week after week? As far as bridal hair and makeup go, we absolutely love bringing out a woman's beauty and seeing her face when everything is put together. You can see a woman's demeanor change immediately when she feels beautiful. She poses in the mirror, she smiles bigger and laughs louder. We adore being a part of that. 

Kristi and Krystal WINK Hair and Makeup

Krystal and Kristi are incredible business owners who love what they do, love their team and love making women of all shapes and sizes feel and look their best. Their passion is refreshing and will ensure that you are in the very best hands. I recommend them to all by brides and families! 

Brittany and Chonly at the NC Museum of Art

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Love isn’t losing yourself. Love is finding who you are in the arms of another person
— Marisa Donnelly
lesbian engagement photos

I have been blessed to work with so many of Brittany and Chonly's friends over the past couple years but I've not had the chance to work with them! They are quite the couple! They actually only met last year but have been head over heels for each other ever since and you can totally feel their excitement too. We had so much fun exploring the back side of the NC Museum of Art in the gorgeous, glowy sunset light. We *might* have been in a few places we weren't supposed to be, but it was totally worth it. :)

I found out early on that Chonly is studying psychology which, by the way, is my FAVORITE topic, I immediately went on a tangent about Myers Briggs and found out she and I are complete opposites, but that's actually really fun because two of my best friends are my opposite, which means we'll be bffs before you know it. Britt is working toward the healthcare field, focused on pediatrics and I know they'll both make such an impact on the world as they move toward their goals together. 

The NC Museum of Art is always one of my favorite places to shoot, and with last night's glow it was even more favorite :) I hope you enjoy these images from our adventure!

lesbian engagement photos
lesbian engagement photos

The Pace Family at the NC Museum of Art

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Family Photos at NC Museum of Art

This morning's brisk session at the NC Museum of Art was so fun with this sweet family of adventurers. I love it when knowing one amazing family leads you to meeting another amazing family which leads you to another... This world is just so big, it's amazing how small it can feel. 

This bunch loves to be outdoors and often explores the grounds of NCMA (three times this weekend actually!) Little Ellie even loves rock climbing already and was all too willing to climb any tree or wall or big rock we came across. I love that they encourage that in her, she's going to be so strong when she gets older. 

I hope you guys enjoy a few of my favorites from the day! 

Family Photos at NC Museum of Art
Family Photos at NC Museum of Art