A Day in the Life of Carolyn Ryan

A Day in the Life of Carolyn Ryan

When I was asked by NAPCP to document a day in my life for this blog series, I was a bit intimidated by the idea. I have read those beautiful image filled blog posts about perfect days and I thought, my days are not nearly that exciting or beautiful. I reminded myself that my day doesn’t have to be perfect, but a day with my family can still be beautiful. I recently returned from the amazing 2016 NAPCP Retreat and I’m so excited to share what I have incorporated into my daily life. I returned home energized, refreshed and feeling like I could take on the world.
A Day in the Life of Carolyn Ann Ryan

I love the snooze button; it’s one of my best friends. I set my alarm for 5:45 am, knowing I need a few rounds of snooze. It’s 6:10 am and time to make sure my daughter is out of bed and getting her breakfast ready. I head downstairs to see pitch black out the windows. She has “safety patrol” at school this week, which means arriving extra early to help the younger kids out of their cars. It’s the usual breakfast, brush teeth, pack snacks and lunch to get her out the door with her Dad as he heads to work. But, it’s a “NUTS” day today, aka “No Uniform To School”, so there is an extra swing in her ponytail as she heads out.
It’s time to repeat the process with my little guy. As I was photographing the beautiful early view from our morning room, I turned to see my sweet little man nearly asleep at the table. I love these moments, and I adore this one on one time I get with each of my kids.
At drop-off, I remind my little guy that he has a play date after school, so you can imagine his happiness as he heads into class.
When I get home, I can’t help but photograph the beautiful sky and clouds.
I make tea (peach tea in my new NAPCP mug) and head to my sitting room. I love this room. This is my personal retreat in my own home. I came home from the NAPCP Retreat with a list of books to read AND my goal is to read for 10 minutes each day. Today I’m starting with The Pumpkin Plan suggested by the awesome Mandy Johnson.
Next up is a Skype call with Kristin Milito of Kristin Milito Photography, in Chicago! We were friends through the NAPCP Member Community Facebook group; it was so amazing to meet her in person at Retreat! I love her NOPE t-shirt! We plan to chat weekly to help each other grow our businesses. Today we discussed pricing, image competitions, Valentine’s Day marketing, and we made plans for the upcoming week.
I need to pick up my daughter by 2:45, so I need to keep my day rolling. It’s time to “play” with my camera and with food, or in this case chocolate milk! At the NAPCP retreat, Lauren Carnes taught a class on food photography. I am planning to do a weekly project to practice what I learned in Lauren’s class. I would love to expand my business beyond family photography someday, and I LOVE food!
Anyone thirsty, now?
After that is cleaned up, I finalize my marketing email before picking up my daughter. This is my first email since my relocation, so I’m praying that the 800 people on my list from my prior location don’t all unsubscribe at once. Yikes! (They didn’t!)
Now, time for the car lines. Today I only need to pick up 1 child, since my younger one has a play date, but on a typical day, I spend over one hour in the car just picking up children from school.
Home for snack and homework time. 5th grade was a big adjustment for us with homework and study responsibilities. She’s doing great, but we need to stay on top of her work and upcoming test schedule.
It’s portrait session time! During the NAPCP Retreat, a few senior models were brought in for a styled Senior Portrait Workshop and a Lighting Workshop. I kept thinking, “Well, I don’t really photograph seniors, but I love these wintry outfits.” Two days after the retreat I found myself digging through the clearance rack in Target and emailing a couple of moms to see who wanted to join in a quick tweens session! And here we are – winter styled portraits on a 50+ degree January day in the south!
The girls did a great job! I have so much fun photographing this age, and now I have images to use for a Tweens Marketing Campaign for Spring!
Time to grab my little man from his play date. I was so happy when the other little boy’s mom told me that my son insisted they do homework first before going out to play! (Proud mama moment!) He really loves to follow his routines! These boys were so giddy, I couldn’t get them both to stay still at the same time for a quick portrait!
When we arrive home, my daughter helps prepare dinner – grilled cheese dippers. My husband is the real chef in the house, so my meals typically include pasta, pizza, grilled cheese, pancakes or nuggets. We found the dippers idea on Pinterest two years ago, and the kids love them! You cut off the crust, butter the outside of the bread, put cheese slices on the inside and roll, then put on griddle, flipping and rolling edges. It’s grilled cheese with a twist.
My husband arrives home from work just in time, and we eat dinner. Just after dinner, we start getting the kids ready for bed. My new Star Wars fan loves his Goodnight Darth Vader book before bedtime, so we climb on his bed for a little snuggle and reading, and then finally off to sleep for kids. (And yes, little man puts his Pillow Pet on top of his head – I can’t explain.)
I’m making a big effort now to avoid getting back on the computer after the kids go to bed. This is hard. I need more quality time to relax and spend time with my husband, so we head downstairs for pool and darts. I’m horrible at both, but it’s still fun.
Good night, NAPCPers. Sleep tight!
Carolyn’s Favorites
Stash Tea – Peach
Kids Backpacks and Lunchboxes – Pottery Barn Kids – the most durable and easiest lunchboxes to clean!
NAPCP Marketing Guide
Book – The Pumpkin Plan
Grilled Cheese Dippers Recipe
Good Night Darth Vader
Carolyn Ryan is a Charlotte, North Carolina family portrait photographer. For more of Carolyn’s beautiful imagery, and for booking inquiries, please Like Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography on Facebook.

Carolyn Ann Ryan
  • Willy
    Posted at 16:57h, 16 February Reply

    I love reading about how other photographers spend their days. Balancing work and life and working all the time in between. It’s pretty amazing.

  • Lauren Carnes
    Posted at 08:41h, 17 February Reply

    Love this so much!!

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