July 2009 Newsletter/ Blog

Dear Friends,

July has come and gone and it has been a wonderful month. We celebrated July 4th at my sister Julie’s lake house in Virginia. We spent a carefree weekend playing in the water and riding on their boat. My 2 year old son Micah actually went wakeboarding with his uncle Kevin….. you bet I was a nervous mom, but Kevin is a great skiier and Micah enjoyed it until water splashed in his face.

I photographed Julie’s family on their boat and we got some beautiful portraits. It’s funny…. they have always had a boat and have never had a family portrait on it. So I was glad to capture a moment in the place where they have the most fun. So if there is a special place where your family goes to relax, I can come and capture a few moments for you. Your portrait will remind you of all the great memories you’ve made there.

I had a wonderful time at my 20 year high school reunion in Charleston, WV. Technically I didn’t graduate with this class because I moved when I was a Freshman & graduated in Winston-Salem, NC. But since I grew up there and went to elementary and junior high there, I thought it would be fun to see everyone again. So David and I took a roadtrip to WV for the weekend. There’s something special about the people you grew up with… all the memories of funny things that happened in class, the carefree summers at the pool and the ball field. We had a wonderful time seeing everyone. I visited my childhood best friend, Mandy (pictured below) and went to our elementary school.  I couldn’t believe how little it was. When I was in 6th grade the kick ball field looked so huge and intimidating, and it looked so tiny when I saw it again.

I saw many precious clients this month… executive portraits, babies, maternity, & families. I love meeting new people and getting to know them better while I photograph them.

I wanted to share some portraits from this month’s Executive Portrait sessions. Elizabeth Ficken is an author of several Bible studies and a Women’s Ministry teacher at Colonial Baptist, she would like to have her work published and needed a headshot. She is a gifted teacher and I’m sure we’ll be seeing her face on the back of a book one day. Ron Tutone is an old family friend and he needed a business headshot for networking sites like Facebook & Linked In. The last time he had a professional portrait was in high school…. so I think it was about time! Both portraits turned out great and we had a lot of fun during the sessions.

My son Micah has been climbing out of his crib and traumatizing us with his newfound ability. He commits crimes every time he escapes… everything from getting into Grace’s asthma medicine, to walking down our curved staircase by himself! We bought a “crib tent” for his crib and we can now ALL sleep in peace. It was only $50 and I would have paid $500 to keep him safe and out of trouble.

CLIENT OF THE MONTH: Austin & Edna Hill

I consider everyone I’ve photographed to be a part of my “studio family.” I have photographed many wonderful and interesting people over the years and I wanted to give you a glimpse of their stories along with portraits we’ve created. So come meet the rest of the family! July‘s featured client of the month is Austin and Edna Hill. Edna came to me when Meredith was a newborn. We had so much fun during our session. Edna is a very warm and friendly person and it was a delight to photograph her and her baby. The portraits below are some of my favorites…they capture the love between a mother and her newborn.

Here is Edna’s story…

Austin and I have been together for 15 years.  We are both from the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast city of Gulfport.  We had mutual friends in high school but we did not meet until college.  I met his two brothers before I met him.   After going to the community college for two years, I went back for the Fall semester of 1993 to finish at the University of Southern Mississippi.  We did not start dating until the following year.  Austin and I had the same circle of friends in college and we would all go out from time to time.  One Fall evening, Austin called me and my roommates to see if anyone wanted to go out.  I was tired of studying and I said yes.  We were inseparable from then on.

Austin moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1996.  I worked as a speech clinician in the Biloxi Public Schools after earning my Bachelor’s degree in 1996 and spent my summers in North Carolina with Austin.  I made the move to North Carolina in 1999.  I was the Starbuck’s Team Lead in the SuperTarget in Apex, NC for 4 1/2 years.  I recently changed jobs and am now in the Pharmacy Department.  Austin is self-employed as an Auto Finish Specialist.  God blessed us with three beautiful children, Jacob Austin, 10, Justin Cody, 8 and Meredith Anne who is 10 months. And they truly are a blessing.

During the Fall semester of 1993, I did not know I was sick. I lost my 15 year old sister, Melissa, in a car accident that summer (on my dad’s birthday) and just thought I was experiencing some kind of stress due to her death.  We had hoped she would make it through, but after two weeks and talking to the doctors, I had to convince my dad to let her go.  She just got her driver’s license, my other little sister was with her and she came out unharmed.  Melissa touched hearts from one end of MS gulf coast to the other, she knew so many people.  She was involved in school and was the only upcoming sophomore to make the varsity cheerleader squad.  She’s one of those people who could have made a big difference in this world, but I guess she already had in the short time she was here.  And she gave the greatest gift person could give…..the Gift of Life.  She was an organ donor.  At 23 yrs, I made this decision for my sister and parents.

I was also worried about going back to school. I did not pay attention to my almost non-existent menstrual cycle or the physical changes that my body was going through.  Near the end of the semester, I remember asking my mother, a nurse, to schedule a gastro-intestinal scan/appointment for me thinking my stomach was the problem.

I never considered there was anything wrong with my reproductive organs. The radiologist, a close friend of the family was very concerned about the ovarian mass he discovered. He told me to have my mom contact the appropriate physicians.  I was more worried about starting the spring semester.  I even asked if it could wait until the summer.  So a few weeks before my 24th birthday, I had a 3.75 lb ovarian mass removed.  My mother said the nurses in recovery told her how I kept repeating how I wanted to have children.  I was worried I would never have any, but the doctor said one ovary worked just as well as two.  Of course he was right.

All three of my pregnancies were normal and each were special in their own way. Jacob Austin was born on April 22, 1999.  He was a special baby because he was Austin’s first son and first experience ever with a child.  He did not grow up caring for little brothers, sisters and cousins the way I had.  I came from a big family with an ever bigger extended family.  The first night after having Jacob, I walked around the corner of my room and found Austin holding his baby boy, crying his heart out because it was the most special thing he’d ever experience.  That image is forever embedded in my mind and heart.

And my dear Jacob was born the day before my sweet Melissa’s birthday. Justin Cody’s delivery was amusingly special.  He came on his due date, December 9, 2000, seventeen minutes after I arrived at the hospital.  He just could not wait.  And to this day, that child is the first one up and ready to go in the mornings and is my little speed demon.  He is a very special little boy.  He is an extremely bright child who was recently diagnosed with a moderate hearing loss which requires him to wear aides in both ears.  But that hasn’t slowed him down in any way.

With my third child, I was so sure I was having another boy, but Meredith was a huge surprise. I would tell my mother-in-law she would have to wait for her other two boys to give her a grand-daughter.  The idea of having a little girl did not sink in until Meredith arrived.  She was a whopping three ounces smaller than Jacob when she was born.  The first thing I noticed was the head full of dark hair.  Both boys did not.  She cried the usual baby cry, but then I realized she continued, and she was loud.  She cried longer than my first two babies.  I knew I was in trouble.  Yes, I had my little drama queen.

I was so ecstatic, finally getting to meet this little person, my little girl I’d been waiting for all my life. She was a gorgeous baby!  She is now eleven months and a very spunky little chick.  And yes, Daddy’s little princess.  Her brothers adore her.  I remember the day Justin found out the baby was a girl.  He looked up at me and asked, “Can we start all over again?”  because he wanted a little brother.  But seeing her changed his mind.  They are both so proud of her.

I noticed Susie’s photography in Dr. Brannon and Roger’s office. How could you not noticed the beautiful work draping the walls?  I took her ad thinking maybe I’ll have her take pictures.  I had the ad with me as a reminder to make an appointment after having the baby and sure enough, I made one.  I felt flustered and so worried about the baby not doing this or that; or that we would not take any good pictures.

Susie was wonderful, she did everything to make me feel at home and at ease in the studio. Susie took so many wonderful pictures, I had a difficult time choosing.  The next session, Meredith wore her baptismal gown that her Grandma Barbara Ann crocheted for her.  Those pictures were so angelic and precious.  Words cannot describe how I feel when I saw those pictures, but I know anyone who has had pictures done by Susie understands.

Our last session was at 7 months and Meredith was more mobile.  That was the most fun because Meredith was the first to wear Susie’s cute pink pettiskirt & ruffle top.  There were some candid shots she captured and I loved every single one.  I was so proud of my little princess when I saw Susie’s ad for the “dress up session”.  She was so beautiful in pink and I said I would never put her in pink.

Each time I watch a slide show of Meredith’s images from our session, I see how much she’s grown.  It is a reminder for me to enjoy each day with this precious gift from God. Susie has such a wonderful gift for capturing special moments.  And it is such an experience working with her.  I have recommended her to friends so they can have the same experience.  I interact with many people at work and have come across a few who have had their pictures captured by Susie.  I remember tending to one pharmacy customer at the register and noticed her purse.  I knew that purse and asked her about it.  Sure enough it was Susie’s work and the customer’s family had another session scheduled the next day.

I chose to get a one year album of Meredith to capture  her changes and growth for the first year. I will share with her the making of this album; each session we had with Susie, the hard work and funny things that happened. Meredith will see how precious she is to us; how much we love her. The beautiful framed trio panel I chose from our first session hangs on the wall above Austin’s computer.  He ‘stold’ it from me and placed it where he can always look up to see his little princess.

The mini newborn album which sits on the nightstand next to our bed was Austin’s special Father’s Day gift from Meredith. Susie captured her little toes and facial features which makes up the album.  There is also a special picture with our wedding rings to capture how great our love is for one another and for our daughter.

I decided to have Susie create birth announcements with multiple portraits from our session. (see below) ALL our family and friends fell in love with Meredith.  I made so many incredible friends and acquaintances while I was the manager at Starbuck’s; especially mothers and their little ones.  People would come in to greet me and see how I was doing with the pregnancy because I was always on my feet.  There were many people who came in to the coffee shop to ask about me and the baby while I was on maternity leave.  I felt so bad for my Baristas; I knew they were probably tired of hearing the same questions.

They wanted me to send a picture because people were wanting a peek at the special little “barista” they had been waiting to meet for 9 months. I finally sent a birth announcement with one of my co-workers and little did I know they would place it on the counter for everyone to see.  I think everyone fell in love with her too.  I was on leave for 4 months and the picture was still there for a few weeks after I came back to work.  Thank you Susie for taking such beautiful images of our one and only daughter, Meredith Anne, the first ‘Hill’ girl.

-Edna Hill,  Holly Springs, NC


Thank you Edna for sharing your story and for giving us a glimpse of your sweet portraits and your life. I can’t wait to photograph Meredith this week! She’s a true beauty who takes after her mother.

Have a great month everyone and I look forward to photographing you soon.

Blessings to you!

To see more of my work, go to http://www.SusieGilmore.com

Become a facebook fan of Susie Gilmore Photography and receive $5 off your order in August…. click here to become a fan.

To offer you the finest in portraiture, Susie is an active member in Professional Photographers of America, Professional Photographers of North Carolina and Photographic Society of the Triangle.

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