Family photography is very important to me. I want my children to not only remember their childhood but to see it too. I want unique pictures, gorgeous wall art and keepsake albums that they can pass on to future generations – tangible, touchable memories that we parents were there too. I always encourage parents to participate in photo sessions. Parents always ask me if they must. Of course not, after all, we all know most everything in life is about the kids anyway. But I want you to know that every single parent I’ve encouraged to be in a picture has always been grateful for the beauty, the love and the joy I see. Thank you to all the parents and children in and around Charlotte, North Carolina who light up this family photography gallery. Already thinking about what to wear? Check out my Family Photography: What to Wear Guide.
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Spring family portrait in uptown Charlotte, NC. I love how their colorful clothing pops against the neutral urban background of Romare Bearden Park and the Charlotte skyline.
We have a lot of interesting, graphic walls in and around Charlotte. This one in uptown is one of my favorites for families and senior portraits. I smile every time I see this family hug. I love how dad arm’s hold them all. I love how the teens are still willing to be held <3 See more of this uptown Charlotte family photography session on the blog.
My brother and his adorable family photographed on location in my hometown, Morristown, Tennessee. One of the best ways to capture kids (especially boys) is to let them move. I love the symbolism here of a young family heading down the path of life together, hand-in-hand.
Charlotte’s Independence Park was absolutely stunning this past fall. This backlit family portrait was taken just as the sun began to rise over the trees. The warmth of colors shining down and around this family just takes my breath away. What an amazing way to start the day!
Children are never too old to pose for a family picture. This family portrait was taken during the daughter’s senior portrait session. I always encourage parents to use that session as an opportunity to grab a few family and sibling pictures too. This blue-eyed girl is heading to college in the fall. Gathering everyone for a new picture is only going to get harder. I love this traditional family portrait and the gorgeous fall tones of Charlotte’s Freedom Park in the background.
Joyful moment of a mother and son laughing during a family portrait session on the beach in Wild Dunes – Isle of Palms, South Carolina. It’s so important to capture the candid, unscripted moments too.
Family portraits at home will always be extra personal and help tell your family’s story. This lifestyle image of a mom laughing with her two oldest sons was photographed in their backyard.
I adore this image of grandparents enjoying a moment to themselves during a busy multigenerational family photo shoot with their children and grandchildren. Photographed in the Blakeney area of Charlotte, North Carolina.
These two. So full of joy. Still laughing and loving, and off to celebrate their anniversary about 10 minutes after this image was taken. This cute couple was photographed on The Green in Uptown Charlotte during their family photo session. The kids were taking turns playing photographer’s assistant behind me. It’s a favorite role.
Every now and then a client brings me a magical location. In this case, it was their family farm in Salisbury, North Carolina. Timing this session to coincide with the perfectly seasoned golden soybean crops was not easy, but it was so worth it! Click here to see more of this fall family photography session on the farm.
I always make time for pictures of mom and dad alone during a family session. Why? Because many couples haven’t had a portrait since their wedding. This couples portrait was taken in Charlotte’s Freedom Park. Click here to see more pictures from their fall family session.
Walking and talking is a great way to capture family dynamics in a lifestyle setting. In the image above everyone clearly finds dad charming, engaging and entertaining. This image is so perfectly them. Click here to see more of their Independence Park family session.
This tender mother-daughter moment has so much emotion and real, honest, genuine joy. I love mom’s sweet kiss but the joy spreading across her daughter’s face is priceless as is the tight neck hug she’s giving mom.
Laughter is contagious and I always try to capture it. This family loved to laugh and play. We stopped for posed pictures a few times during their family session but mostly I simply directed them through the park as we played and captured the fun that active, happy kids bring. See more of this joyful family session on the blog.
This backlit image highlights the special bond between fathers and sons. The simplicity of the natural background helps keep the focus on their connection. I love how the warm sunset light peeking through the trees connects to the warm colors of the tall wheat grasses and contrasts with their cool-toned clothing.
Connection takes center stage in this photograph too. I’ve said it before, I love photographing connections between my subjects and this father and son definitely have it. This black and white image has a timeless quality that I love. It was taken in their backyard in a hammock that I envision being a well-used, well-loved spot – one of those backyard favorites you always remember. See more of this family’s at-home session on the blog.
The Green in Uptown Charlotte has the perfect combination of green and urban spaces. In the fall, the leaves add colorful texture to both the foreground and the background as seen in this candid image of a dad sitting in the grass with his three children.
How cute is this mother and son portrait? I love the nose-to-nose connection and shared smirks, but the joy goes even further. Look at those smiling eyes and how his hand is perfectly nestled in her gorgeous red hair.
This brick wall in Uptown Charlotte adds so much texture and depth to photographs, but it takes a backseat to the stylish couple leaning on it. Their expressions of pure adoration show a connection I wasn’t about to miss.
The image above was our very first shot during this family session. Mom was thrilled that within minutes of their arrival, we already had a gorgeous family portrait, complete with precious smiles and genuine personality too.
In contrast, this candid family portrait was photographed at the very end of a spring session. We’d taken posed family pictures, individuals of each child, mom and kids, dad and kids, and every combination of couples, including the twins. It was now playtime and the resulting image above overflows with joy and love. Click here to see more of this downtown Matthews, NC family session.
A lot of life happens on your own front steps, like a young son sharing secrets with his dad. Home always makes family pictures more personal. I love that they will look back on this moment and remember years of special moments on these steps.
There are so many things I love about this image. I adore how the lighting is falling only on them. It keeps the focus on the sweet mother-daughter connection and their beautiful faces. I also love the navy clothing palette and pops of summer color in the accessories. Mom had several clothing options and we worked through the best combinations for the whole family. They nailed it.
The image above is a modern take on the traditional family portrait. We only get a hint of mom and dad but their connection to each other and their children is crystal clear. See more of this Uptown Charlotte fall family session on the blog.
This traditional family portrait was photographed on the grounds of Charlotte’s Mint Museum. The yellow leaves on the trees make such a beautiful framework around this happy foursome.
We have a lot of gorgeous natural-light locations in Charlotte for family photography. This image was taken on a sunny spring morning in Charlotte’s Freedom Park. I love how it showcases the environment as much as the family. Little family in a big world. See more of this family session on the blog.
One way to keep your boys in line is to put them in a headlock. I love the raw honesty of this candid father and sons moment. The sparkly bokeh in the background is pretty gorgeous too. Photographed in downtown Matthews, NC – Stumptown Park.
This father and son photograph was taken when their family session was “over.” I really did mean we were done when I said it, but then this happened as we were walking out of Freedom Park and I knew it needed to be documented. See the rest of this awesome family on the blog.
This image is a great example of a casually posed family portrait, taken lakeside in Charlotte’s Freedom Park. The pops of red do a great job of balancing this pose.
Both expressions in this image are priceless. The husband adoring his wife and her laughing with me at him. This image was taken in the midst of multi-generational family session and both grandparents were reluctant to be photographed alone. Challenge accepted and the outcome, well, it’s so special to me. This is something their whole family will treasure forever.
When I look at this image, I see a precious moment in motherhood. My sweet nephew is the focal point but his mom tells more of the story in this picture. She adores him. Everything in this image points to him having 100% of her loving attention. Her arm is around him, her eyes and smile on him, even her hair is blowing towards him. Isn’t that what motherhood is many times? Our kids standing in focus for all to see while we watch adoringly from the sidelines.
For me, there is always something magical about beach photography, even on a cloudy day like this one. I love the water, the warm tones of the sand and the wide open sky. This family portrait was taken at Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms, South Carolina. It was our final shot. As they walked down the beach, I saw the reflection forming in what remained of the tide. I love how the reflection adds extra color and life to an otherwise grey beach day. It’s the perfect combination.
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Abbe McCracken is an award-winning, natural light photographer specializing in joyful baby, child and family photography. Abbe serves the Charlotte, NC metro area including Matthews, Ballantyne, Blakeney, Weddington and beyond. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Child Photographers and is the two-time recipient of Charlotte Smarty Pants’ Best Family Photographer (2016, 2015). Other recent awards include Hulafrog South Charlotte’s Most Loved Family Photographer and Charlotte Parent Readers’ Favorite Family Photographer.