Cynthia Viola Photography

St. Augustine FL

Backyard St. Augustine Wedding | Angelica and Billy

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own
— Robert A. Heinlein
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

It was so much fun being back in St. Augustine this weekend! Especially for the wedding of two of my former neighbors! I literally walked right past my house with Letty Girl smiling through the fence to get to Angelica and Billy’s house for the festivities Sunday Morning. I knew from their Engagement shoot at Washington Oaks Garden State Park that we were all going to have a great time. They’re both so easy going and all their friends are same. The whole day was nothing but smiles and laughter (and a little bit of bug spray…backyards in Florida are notorious for mosquitos).

The guys started the morning fishing on the beach, while the ladies prepped for the party. With the help of some friends Angelica and Billy planned everything themselves. They even catered the event themselves with a DIY taco bar. It was flawless. Throughout the night they had a slideshow going in the living room of all their photos and I just loved that they had photos from their high school prom. They’ve loved each other for most of their lives. :)

Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

They made sure to give a special gift to each of their parents throughout the day for being such a huge part of who they are and making the day happen. There were plenty of tears to go around :)

Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

Their grandparents may not have been able to be there in person but they still got to have a front row view of the ceremony and first dance. So special.

Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

They had a halfpipe in their backyard for Brayden to use and it doubled as a perfect dance floor!

Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida
Backyard Wedding in St. Augustine Florida

You guys I cannot thank you enough for letting me be a part of your day! Congratulations!!

The Vendors who Made the Day Possible

Photographer: Cynthia Viola

Venue: Their Backyard :)

Her Dress: David’s Bridal

His Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

Her ring: Tamara McFarland

His Ring: Resin and Wood World

Her Perfume: Heavenly by Victoria's Secret

Make Up and Hair Stylist: The Bardot

Officiant: Billy Knight

Catering: DIY Taco Bar

Rentals: Taylor's Rental

Invitations: Shutterfly

Rehearsal Dinner: Back 40

St Francis Barracks Wedding | Rochelle and A.J.

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage
— Lao Tzu
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding

Saint Augustine was picture perfect this weekend as we strolled down the cobblestone capturing Rochelle and A.J.’s big day. The morning started with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and a Celtic Festival, bringing thousands of people into the city! In the girls’ room we had a perfect view of everything and had fun seeing all the different costumes and characters walking by the window. While I was setting up a few photos of her details I managed to get my top knot deeply tangled into the room’s sprinkler system and all I could think of was that I was going to set it off completely soaking her beautiful dress! But Angela, her stylist, came to the rescue and got me loose!

Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding

Since these two were already technically married the stress was at a minimum as they were there to have a good time and celebrate their already flourishing family. They chose the Saint Francis Barracks as their venue because they really wanted the beauty and feel of Saint Augustine without the beach vibes.

The morning was going very smoothly considering all the people in town and then little Everly got hurt and poor Rochelle instantly had to switch into momma bear mode to make sure she was ok. I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to pull off the first look (or even the wedding) as we were discussing the emergency room. But once she determined she was ok, she pulled it together and began walking toward the love of her life and as soon as she laid eyes on him I watched the stress fall from her face. With a great big smile she grabbed him and they were able to breathe and savor the moment.

Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding

They allowed us to steal them away from their guests right as the sun was setting in order grab a few more glowy portraits, and I’m so glad they did! A horse carriage walked by right as we got back capping off the day with quintessential Saint Augustine flair.

Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding
Downtown Saint Augustine Wedding


You guys thank you so much for trusting us with your day! We had the BEST time!

The Vendors who Made the Day Possible:

Photographers: Cynthia Viola with Kalypso Burley

Coordinator: Heidi Ford with Endless Possibilities

Venue: Saint Francis Barracks

Rochelle’s Dress: David’s Bridal

A.J.s Suit: Men’s Warehouse

Rochelle’s Ring Designer: James Allen

Hair and Make Up: Angela Byrd

Florist: Jade at Endless Possibilities

Officiant: Rev. Deborah Montana with Goddess Wedding Ceremonies

DJ: DJ Atlys

Catering: Peter Kenney with The Purple Olive

Cake Baker: Arlene Fores with Sweet Weddings

Lighting & chair rental: St. Johns Illuminations

Invitations: Shutterfly

Transportation: Red Roadster, Cornelius Redington

St. George Street Engagement | Kendall and Alfred

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

You guys, I had so much fun last night! Kendall and Alfred drove down from Raleigh to have an engagement session here in St. Augustine with their sweet pup Macy and we had a blast! We had planned to start on Saint George Street and move along to the beach, but we were having so much fun there they decided to buy a couple drinks and cigars and just hang in the city. We were so glad too because one of Florida's daily rain storms rolled in when we were finishing up and we got trapped under an abandoned house's garage over-hang to stay dry!

It's always fun to walk around a crowed street and take portraits while people bustle by because it captures a moment in life that shows no matter how many things or people are trying to distract your attention, you only have eyes for your love. It's also fun because sometimes people see you being adorable and say things like "what a picture perfect moment you guys!" and you get to say, "we know!" and point out your photographer hiding in the bushes. Haha! 

They will be eloping to the gorgeous cliffs of California in March then coming back here for a Trash the Dress Session and I cannot wait!! Kendall said she doesn't let her adventurous side out much but she wants to let loose for a day and I couldn't be more happy to help her do it!

St. Augustine Engagement photos
St. Augustine Engagement photos
St. Augustine Engagement photos
St. Augustine Engagement photos

Thank you guys for letting me participate in your St. Aug adventure! Can't wait til the spring!

If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy this St. Augustine Trash the Dress Session or this St. Augustine Engagement Session

Richardson Family at Treaty Park, St. Augustine

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.
— George Sand
Family Portraits Treaty Park

When A.J. and I met these guys at our gym, we became friends right away. Little Milo and Maya love to play on all the equipment while Elizabeth and/or Jason are cooling down and it's so fun to observe how they teach them a love of fitness. From gymnastics flips to pull ups, they're naturals.

Max, too, works out with us and Micaela I actually just met this morning but she's a rockstar at Jiu Jitsu, so I believe she also has a love of fitness. :) She's moving to California with the Navy soon and was only home for a brief moment after graduating and Elizabeth wanted to make sure we were able to capture them all together finally. This is actually the very first photo of them all together, which makes me so happy that I could participate.

Happy Mother AND Father's Day you guys! 

Family Portraits Treaty Park
Family Portraits Treaty Park

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this family of six at Fletcher Park or this extended family session on Beech Mountain

St. Augustine Pier Engagement | Sam and Jess

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun
— Christopher McCandless
Sunrise LGBTQ Engagement Session

Sam and Jess were destined to be together. After coming in and out of each other's lives through various friends and church gatherings, they finally crossed paths at the right place and the right time and decided to spend the rest of their lives together. I loved seeing how easy it was for Sam to make Jess laugh and how she equally was able to make Sam blush with just a word. 

They took me out to breakfast after our sunrise engagement session on the pier and told me all about their various life transitions over the past couple years. If they can make it through those, they can make it through anything. They've just bought a new home and are getting it set up as they plan their big day, so Heidi at Endless Possibilities is coordinating their wedding (which is how we met btw), and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with! 

Something we hadn't actually anticipated on this beautiful morning was that the Pier and surrounding beaches were under major construction from the recent hurricanes and development in the area. We weren't able to go underneath the pier, which is my favorite place to hang out, and there were bright orange construction fences everywhere, but they just rolled with it and danced right around it all. It was such a fun morning!

Sunrise LGBTQ Engagement Session
Sunrise LGBTQ Engagement Session
Sunrise LGBTQ Engagement Session

If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy this St. Augustine Pier Trash the Dress Session, or Heidi's Guest Post.

Vilano Beach Family Photography | The Pelose Family

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
A well developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.
— William Arthur Ward
Family Portraits on the Beach

When a giant wave suddenly and unexpectedly comes crashing in over top of you, soaking you from head to toe in the middle of your photo session and you just laugh it off as just all part of the fun of life, you know you're a happy, well contented couple. 

I met Danielle and Frank at Tony and Amber's wedding a couple years go as we were both bridesmaids and she was prego with little Frankie. It was freezing cold and we had to move the wedding indoors but she had the very best attitude the entire time. Yesterday was no different. When we found ourselves in the middle of a stinging nettle field (I've never experienced this plant before) she calmly described what it was and we slowly backed away. (Then she taught me a ton of new information about Florida plants, I was super impressed!)

After bypassing a wedding ceremony on the beach we made it to Vilano's beautiful rocks where we were all laughing and dodging the incoming waves and right as we moved into the next spot, completely without warning, a giant wave crashed over them and there was nothing to do but laugh and keep shooting! We had the very best time, and of course little Frankie was the star of the show! Hope you guys love these images as much as I do!

Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach
Family Portraits on the Beach

If you enjoyed these you might also enjoy: Chrissy and Chuck's family session or Heather and Kyle's Vilano Beach Engagement.

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

Jenelle and Billy Trash the Dress at Vilano Beach

Wedding PhotographyCynthia ViolaComment
You don’t have time to be timid. You must be bold and daring!
— Lumière, Beauty and the Beast
Beach Trash the dress

Oh my goodness! Where in the world do I begin! There simply was not a better way for Jenelle and Billy to top off their fairy tale wedding than a trip to Disney and an EPIC trash the dress session on their way home!  

I seriously cannot express how much I adore these sessions. I wish I was clever enough to come up with a different title for it because it frequently scares people away, but they are THE MOST FUN SESSIONS EVER! Maybe that's what I'll call it from now on. :)

Beach Trash the dress

You cannot look at the smiles on their faces and think it was boring in any way. We all were laughing til our sides were hurting! One of my favorite moments was when I was taking a shot of Jenelle with my back to the ocean and apparently a giant wave was about to take out all our stuff and Billy dived to "save the photographer's stuff" and neglected his own shoes (which were holding his phone). We had to give him a hard time because I had all the important stuff in my backpack, he just saved my step stool and towel. Totally heroic effort though Billy! Love you!

Beach Trash the dress

The schnanigans were in full swing as we didn't have to worry about their clothes (or mine), we basically just had to keep the camera out of the water. These two ran, danced, jumped and played their way down the coast line as we chased the sunset.

This might be my favorite set of outtakes ever... I'll let you decide who started it and who won ;) 

Beach Trash the dress

(The answer is BOTH of them. Both started it, and both won. They are the perfect match through and through). 

Now for the romance...

Beach Trash the dress
Beach Trash the dress
Beach Trash the dress
Beach Trash the dress
Beach Trash the dress
Beach Trash the dress
Beach Trash the dress
Beach Trash the dress

Jenelle and Billy you two are ROCKSTARS! Thank you so much for coming to Viola's for lunch with us and just being SO freaking fun! If California keeps acquiring our favorite people, a move may be in store...just sayin... Congratulations on the rest of forever! 

Washington Oaks Park Couple Session | Beth + Sean

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.
— Ron White
Washington Oaks Engagement Session

I knew we were a perfect match when the pouring rain didn't cause Beth and Sean to pause for even a second. They asked, "If we could keep your camera dry could we just shoot in the rain?" Ummm, yes please! Luckily it faded to a drizzle, but I absolutely adore adventurous couples and these two did not disappoint. It rained the entire session and they did were not phased at all. The Hurricane Irma induced mosquitos that insisted on finding ways around the layers and layers of bug repellant were no match for their determination to just have fun. Makes me so happy :)

They have been dating for 4 years now and were experts on picking on each other and making each other laugh. When I told them to reenact their first dance (from the wedding they met at) they didn't pretend it was ballroom dancing, they immediately threw their arms up in the air as if Kanye had just dropped a beat. You just have to love people who don't take themselves too seriously. 

You guys I had SO much fun! Thank you for battling the bugs like proper ninjas and dancing in the rain with me!

Washington Oaks Engagement Session
Washington Oaks Engagement Session
Washington Oaks Engagement Session
Washington Oaks Engagement Session
Washington Oaks Engagement Session
Washington Oaks Engagement Session
Washington Oaks Engagement Session
Washington Oaks Engagement Session

Downtown St. Augustine Engagement Session | Gabby + Baron

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Ximendez-Fatio House Engagement Session

Oh my goodness, I love that these two met while they were serving as missionaries together. Due to Gabrielle's hint of shyness and the general nature of the trip it took them some time to really get acquainted, but once they did they were hooked. Now here they are planning their future together (with their lovable pets) and building dreams of more trips and owning a home together. 

They took me to their gorgeous wedding venue, Ximendez-Fatio House for photos and we had the added bonus of the sunrise over the water just down the adorable cobblestone street. St. Augustine has a plethora of hidden gems around every corner making it an incredible place to shoot. 

I'm having such a hard time choosing these images you guys! Can't wait for you to see the full gallery! 

Downtown St Augustine Engagement Session
Ximendez-Fatio House Engagement Session
Downtown St Augustine Engagement Session
Ximendez-Fatio House Engagement Session
Ximendez-Fatio House Engagement Session
Ximendez-Fatio House Engagement Session
Downtown St Augustine Engagement Photos
Ximendez-Fatio House Engagement Session

Vilano Beach Engagement Session | Heather + Kyle

Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Love has nothing to do with what you’re expecting to get – only what you’re expecting to give – which is everything
— Katharine Hepburn
Vilano Beach Engagement Session

I'm so excited I finally got to meet these two cuties who won the giveaway last month! Heather said she had never won anything so it's super fun they were able to squeeze in an engagement session just nineteen days before their big day! 

When Hurricane Irma took out a good chunk of Vilano Beach and the homes lining it's shores, we weren't sure we were going to be able to meet there for our session (or that they would be able to hold their wedding ceremony there) but Irma cut us some slack and left just enough of the beach around its famous rocks and we were able to have a beautiful session. 

I couldn't be more excited for you guys!! Congratulations again!

 

Vilano Beach Engagement Session
Vilano Beach Engagement Session
Vilano Beach Engagement Session
Vilano Beach Engagement Session
Vilano Beach Engagement Session
Vilano Beach Engagement Session
Vilano Beach Engagement Session
Vilano Beach Engagement Session
Vilano Beach Engagement Session

Amber and Tony Trash the Dress at Vilano Beach, FL

Wedding PhotographyCynthia Viola2 Comments
You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it.
— Mandy Hale
Trash the Dress Florida

Oh my goodness! I must say I was a *little* nervous about the move to Florida and what I presumed would be a ton of beach photography, but this first session was FAR from ordinary! St. Augustine is amazing!

When Amber said she wanted to do a Trash the Dress session I was, of course, ecstatic, it's always been one of my favorite sessions to offer. I figured we'd finish on Vilano Beach with the sunset, but I was curious what else St. Augustine had to offer. Amber decided to include the Fort and St. George Street and now I'm totally hooked. This place is a photographer's dream! I cannot wait to get more couples and families out here to play! 

Of course, I could not have asked the universe for a more perfect couple for the inaugural session, Tony and Amber have been dancing in front of my lens from the moment they got engaged. This 1.5 year anniversary session was perfectly suited to their fun-loving character and style. A Trash the Dress session tends to pull the adventure out of people and the sheer audacity of it makes you feel wild and free for a day. Capturing all that wild emotion and love of life is what makes this job a dream come true. Thank you Amber and Tony for trusting me on rocky cliffs and in a wildly high tide. Your carefree spirits are everything. Love you both! 

Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Groom Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida
Trash the Dress Florida

We're Moving to St. Augustine, FLORIDA!

PersonalCynthia Viola8 Comments
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing
— Helen Keller
Cynthia and A.J. Viola

If you've been hanging around us recently or following our stories on Instagram or Facebook, you might have noticed we've been a little cryptic about some big adventures and life changes in the not-too-distant future. I'm not sure how exactly to say this, but, we're moving! To Florida! 

Woah. I know. So many questions.

Why Florida?

If you followed our family through the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, you know that he dealt a devastating blow to the family restaurant, Viola's Pasta and Seafood in St. Augustine. In the months that followed the whole family and surrounding community came together to get her back on her feet, but that plus the 20 years of general restauranting took it's toll on A.J.'s parents. The restaurant is their baby and they're not ready to give it up, but they need to take a step back, and A.J. volunteered to help them run Viola's to make sure the family business stays afloat and his parents can get the rest they deserve after years of building. 

What does that mean for BREW Coffee Bar?

You probably already know that A.J. co-owns BREW with Mike. They built it from scratch 3 years ago and have seen it become a thriving space in our community. A.J. will be leaving BREW, Mike and his wife Cindy will take it over entirely and they will run BREW with the help of its capable and awesome managers and employees. We're super sad to let it go, but don't see how A.J. can continue to run it while in Florida. It's been a grand adventure, but we both thrive in newness and change so we're glad to leave her in good hands and excited for the next new thing. 

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
— Joseph Campbell
NC Wedding Photography

What does this mean for Art and Photography?

Well, lots of things! Because my entire family is in North Carolina, I will be flying back to NC once every six weeks to visit.

It means the schedule will be a little crazy and I'll have to keep my clients informed anytime I plan to be here, but I thrive in chaos and honestly don't think it'll be that much different from how often I travel now. If you'd like to keep up with when I'll be in the area, you can follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook and turn on your notifications. 

If you'd like an email or text notification as well, let me know and I'll add you to a list. When I fly in, it will be to Charlotte and from there I will either drive to Raleigh, Boone or Lumberton as needed to visit and accept photo shoots. 

Just like it works now, if you're able to book me while I'm already here, there will be no travel fee. If you need me to travel on a specific date when I'm not already planning to be here, I'm more than willing, the travel will just now include a plane ticket (or two, if it's a wedding).

What about already booked portrait sessions and weddings?

I will honor every session already booked for the rest of the year by staying in Raleigh through December. There are just too many already on the schedule for it to make sense for me to move before then. A.J. will move at the end of July but he will fly back for the weddings he is already booked to shoot with me. We will both also fly back for the weddings we already have scheduled for 2018. 

What about your paintings?

I will be trying to sell all of my current paintings before I leave. They will be half price as I'd like to not have to transport them. If you're interested just let me know and you can come see what's available.  And as always you can get prints of any of the pieces and some photography at Society 6. 

How long will we be in Florida?

That is yet to be determined. Life is ever changing and we're willing to go where the winds blow us. It may be five or twenty, either way we'll keep you updated along the way.

I suppose this will begin the next chapter of the Book. Can't wait to see what the next page's story has to say! 

Cynthia and A.J. Viola
To dare - is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare - is to lose oneself
— Soren Kierkegaard

Baby Viola!

Family PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment
Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder
— E.B. White
Newborn Photography St Augustine FL

It is with all the joy I have that I'm able to share this story and these precious moments with the world! The first Viola grandbaby (and our first nephew) was born this week and we are all simply over the moon in love with him!

After a mournful but beautiful trip to Florida last week for the funeral of A.J.'s beloved grandmother (and another devastated trip just 3 weeks prior due to the destruction of Hurricane Matthew on the Viola Family Restaurant) we were more than a little surprised to get the call late Sunday night that Amber's water broke two weeks early and even more surprised to find that little Anthony graced the world with his presence just a few short hours later. We rushed down and haven't been able to keep ourselves away from him since. 

We might be a little biased, but we all think he is perfect in every way, his tiny little button nose down to his adorable baby toes. He rarely cries and that's only if he's unswaddled, he even sleeps right through all the boisterous Viola jokes and gradual volume increases as everyone talks over each other in classic Italian style. 

Amber and Tony have been so great with him of course, allowing instinct to guide them in knowing how to hold him and change his clothes, what each little sound means and the perfect amount of sway needed to rock him back to sleep.

Mr. and Mrs. V (now affectionately Grandma and Grandpa V) are simply awestruck. They argue over who gets to hold him next and for how long and they just stare at his little face without blinking, unable to get over the grandness of it all. All of us plan to thoroughly spoil him and I can't wait til he's old enough to adventure with me through the woods to find buried treasures or perhaps skydive...you know...just when he's ready ;) 

We're all so proud of you Tony and Amber! We'll be here right beside you the whole way if you need anything and you'll never have need of babysitters, I'm sure of it! Love you!

Flagler Hospital Newborn Photos
Flagler Hospital Newborn Photos

The Viola Boys. Does it get any cuter than this??

Flagler Hospital Newborn Photos
Flagler Hospital Newborn Photos
Flagler Hospital Newborn Photos
Flagler Hospital Newborn Photos
Flagler Hospital Newborn Photos
Flagler Hospital Newborn Photos

8 Tips on What to Wear for a Portrait Session

Family Portraits, Portraits, Engagement PortraitsCynthia ViolaComment

What do you wear when you want your engagement or family session to represent your personalities but also be beautiful but also comfortable but also.... 

It can be a little daunting trying to choose the outfits that will represent you in your home, on Facebook, in your grandma's living room for feasibly the rest of your life. Seriously my mom keeps these ridiculous 14x16inch glamor shots of me at EIGHT years old, front and center in the living room. Think 90s poof hair with 90s poof shoulder pads and MAGENTA. Omg. 

Nobody wants to end up on the cover of Awkward Family Photos. I am no fashionista, but I'm here to help. I have shot hundreds of family and engagement sessions and I've seen all the things.

1. First and foremost. Don't feel like you have to do any of these things or anything you've seen on Pinterest. I would rather you be YOU 100% of the time because you'll be more comfortable, and that will produce genuine smiles. 

2. Your colors don't have to match (everyone wearing the same thing) in order to look nice together. Variety actually brings out individual personalities and helps everyone feel more comfortable "in their own skin." 

3. I am personally a huge fan of solids because it distracts less from your pretty faces, that said, throwing in a pattern or two is nice to break it up. 

4. If you're going to wear two outfits, one dressy and one casual for example, it's nice to have both sets of outfits coordinate (as if all the outfits were in the same photo at the same time) so that when you make prints and hang them on your wall later they will match. 

5. I wouldn't argue too long with your child if they really want to wear something different or hold their favorite toy in every photo, happy smiles win out over matching outfits every time. 

6. Nothing looks better in a photograph than bold color. While you may want to use mostly neutrals like grey/tan/brown/white, throwing in a colorful accessory or shoes will add life to the image. 

7. Don't over think it! If you want to buy a new outfit for the occasion you are certainly more than welcome to, that can make the session fun. However, I've found simplicity to quite beautiful, relaxed and natural.

8. If you're willing, I may guide you into a seated or laying position on the ground. Depending on how the session is going and if your attire allows for it, so keep this in mind when choosing your outfits if this is a direction you would like for your session.  

Above all else, just plan to have fun. We will play around with different ideas and explore different areas. 98.5% of the people I work with are not professionally trained models with fashion stylists living in their closets, they're just everyday people with a wide range of personalities and stories to tell. Just bring yourself, prepared to live in the moment and I'll worry about the rest.