November & December 2008 Newsletter/Blog

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving & Christmas with your loved ones. My children had a wonderful time romping around my parent’s “mini farm” in Winston-Salem, NC. My 7-year-old daughter loved milking the goats and playing with the cats and dogs. She even found some locust shells that she’ll bring to school for show and tell (and maybe scare some boys). We enjoyed hearing her play the piano. Grandma Julia taught her to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” & “The 12 days of Christmas”. We also spent some time with my husband’s family in Clayton and gathered pecans and played in the leaves. Micah & Grace loved playing with Nana, Papa & Aunt Karen. The highlight was playing Aunt Karen’s Wii.

It’s been a wonderful year at the studio. I’ve enjoyed photographing Maternity & Baby portraits as well as Beach, Children, High School Seniors, & Families. I am now carrying a line of Photo Jewelry, Wild Sorbet Frames for your nursery or child’s room and Gina Alexander photo handbags so you can enjoy your portraits even more!  Come by the studio to take a peek.


A memorable session happened a few weeks ago with a sweet client and her 18 day old newborn. We were getting some precious “naked baby” images (see left) When all of a sudden, her son had a BM explosion which went down her shirt, pants and the floor. It was quite a shock and hilarious at the same time and she good-naturedly agreed to get a portrait for the newsletter.  Needless to say, I washed a big load of laundry after she left. Baby photography is not for the faint at heart… but totally worth the effort…. because they are only babies for a short time.


Wild Sorbet Frames make wonderful Nursery Decor. Each piece is custom made and can be a wonderful accent to your baby’s portrait. Pictured below is a crib frame and changing table frames. (Multiple colors and styles are available)


Decorate your child’s bedroom with a Wild Sorbet Collage Frame which includes a personalized background with their name, scripture or song lyrics.


CLIENT OF THE MONTH – Neil and Amber Ellis

What I love most about being a portrait photographer is the natural friendship and bond that occurs with my clients during the process of creating a portrait for them. I enjoy getting to know them and count it an honor to be invited to capture the special moments in their lives. 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. This month’s featured clients are Neil and Amber Ellis. I just finished their second child’s 12 month session and I was amazed at the changes that have occurred. It seems like yesterday when I photographed their first child’s portrait. They are like family now and I have enjoyed capturing the milestone moments of their children’s early years.

Their daughter Caitlyn is quite the baby model. In August of 2007, six of my baby photographs were featured on the packaging for baby cleaning products in BABIES R US Canada. And Caitlyn was on two of them!  Her three month portrait was featured on LAUNDRY DETERGENT and her 6 month portrait was on BATHROOM CLEANER. Neil and Amber were tickled pink! “The feeling of pride was insurmountable. Of course we always thought both of our children would be an obvious choice for something like that (as does everyone), but Susie took it to the next level and really gave both us and our daughter something very unique to be proud of. We have both product samples and framed labels from the products that Caitlyn was chosen to promote.” And for the icing on the cake, I received the prestigious Court of Honor Award from the Professional Photographers of North Carolina for a painting I created of Caitlyn when she was 3 months old. Way to go Caitlyn… You’re a wonderful model!

Here is Amber & Neil’s story….

My husband and I have been married for 4 years. We met at UNCW where we received our undergraduate degrees. After UNCW, my husband and I both attended Campbell University. I received a J.D. in Law and he received an M.B.A. During our graduate studies we prepared for the arrival of our first child, Caitlyn, she was born in February 2006. Two years later our son, Caleb was born in November 2007.

I had challenging pregnancies with both of my children.  When I became pregnant with Caitlyn I was in law school, getting ready for the bar exam, and trying to find a job all on top of having morning sickness. My sickest day was the day of the bar exam and I was certain that I would not pass and would be unemployed. But, I did pass and did find a job at a law firm in Sanford. Later in my pregnancy I developed preeclampsia. I was very concerned for my baby and was actually put on bed rest at about 34 weeks. Dr. Brannon induced my labor at 36 weeks and my daughter was born via C-section perfectly healthy with no problems. I was able to take 3 months off to stay home with Caitlyn after she was born.

Then when Caitlyn was 1 year old we decided to start trying to have our second child. When I became pregnant with Caleb we were so excited and nervous. I had terrible morning sickness again and was opening my own law office and trying to run a business for the first time. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia again, this time at about 24 weeks. For the next 13 weeks I had to go the doctor once or twice a week for fetal monitors and ultrasounds to ensure that Caleb was doing okay. At 37 weeks Dr. Brannon performed a C-Section and thankfully Caleb was born perfectly healthy.

Through all of the chaos and fear that was involved with both of my pregnancies, I have the most wonderful children I could hope for and no matter what problems I had to deal with, it was worth every ounce of pain and frustration to have these children in my life. Thanks to Susie, we will forever have the most wonderful reminder of just how beautiful our children are and how much they mean to us.

We first saw Susie’s work in the waiting room of my Dr. Brannon & Rogers office. There were some coupons, so we decided to give it a try.

I have enjoyed every photography session I had with Susie. I took both of my children at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months old. Each session was relaxed and I did not feel pressure to rush through the session. We often had to take breaks for feedings, changing, or just a little play time for the children. Even when they were crying and I was certain that the session would be a flop, the portraits ended up being amazing. When I left from the session I could not wait to see the slideshow. I ended up ordering something of almost every pose taken, I just couldn’t help myself once I saw how beautiful my children looked.

My husband and I had always planned on having two children. When we went to Paris on our honeymoon, one of the top items on our shopping list was a gift for each of the children we intended to have. We settled on 2 little teddy bears that were manufactured in France. When it was time for photographs of the children we decided to take these bears to our first session with Susie. As it turned out, these pictures were the best of the sessions and became beautiful and irreplaceable wall portraits that currently hang over our fireplace.

We have purchased a DVD slideshow of all the portraits from each session our children have had with Susie. These DVD’s are such a complete vision of the growth and development of our children for their first year of life that could not be replaced our reproduced by anything else. The music that plays in the background makes you feel nostalgic for the times displayed on the screen. We watch the DVD’s every time someone is in our home that has never seen them. I am certain that we will watch them much more often as time goes by they will be reminders of how our children changed so much in that first year.

We purchased Wall Portraits of each child when they were 3 months old.

The first time I saw our wall portraits I was so impressed that I couldn’t say anything but how beautiful they were. I was so excited to show them to anyone and everyone. Both portraits are now hanging side by side over our fireplace in the living room. These portraits are so beautiful and bring such warmth to our home. Every time we see these portraits we are reminded of the beauty and sweetness of our children when they were so very new to the world. 

We purchased a Baby Bits collage with 9 close up images of each child at 3 months old and I could not have been more pleased with the finished product. Both collages hang side by side over the couch in our living room. These are something that we will always look at and remember how tiny they were.

I ordered a Father’s Day 3×3 Album with the words, “Daddy, I’ll always be your little girl” for my husband for his 1st Father’s Day and he keeps it on his desk in the office. Since this is from our first and only little girl I know he will always love it.

I ordered a collage of 7 images of each child on their 1 year old session to memorialize their “all important” first birthday. I brought their little bear from Paris and had their picture taken with their bears reflecting just how much they had grown and changed in such a small amount of time. These collages currently hang in the hallway upstairs in our home.

We have tried major retailer photo studios and the quality is not in the same league. At some of the nicer chains, we got a good quality product that we were pleased with but none of the portraits compare with the portraits we have received from Susie. Comparing Susie’s work to chain stores is like comparing apples to oranges. Susie has the perfect storm of talents that really shows in the work that she produces. Quality of work aside, Susie is great with children and provides a very comfortable environment at every step of the process.

Our portraits are irreplaceable. Every time I see the portraits of our babies in our living room it brings back memories of them being so tiny and so new. They are without a doubt, something that will be displayed and treasured for generations.

-Amber Ellis, J.D.   Sanford, NC


Amber is an attorney with a private practice in Sanford called Lucas & Ellis, PLLC which practice family law, traffic and criminal law, appeals, and personal injury. Neil is a QA Specialist for a pharmaceutical Manufacturer in RTP. He reviews all documentation on manufacture and drug testing before they can be released for public use.

Thank you Neil and Amber for sharing your hearts and your portraits with us. Your family is precious and I always look forward to our visits and sessions.

The Importance of Retouching

On the day before Caleb’s 1st year portrait, he got a few scratches on his face and I wanted to show you the BEFORE and AFTER portraits. It shows the importance of going to a professional photographer who retouches each image because “scratches happen” and I remove them at no extra charge.

Gina Alexander Photo Handbags

In my pursuit to offer you the best of everything, I have found a photo handbag designer in Hollywood, CA. Celebrities like Kelly Ripa, Faith Hill, Halle Berry, Sharon Stone & Oprah all carry a Gina Alexander photo handbag. Your favorite portrait from any Susie Gilmore photo session can be made into a photo purse.  I carry “The Fairfax” with my children on both sides. Come by the studio to see some samples. They are gorgeous! (you can see the full line at the top of the newsletter under photo handbags)

Go to to see more details.


When Should you have a Portrait Created?

  • Babies should be photographed at least 5 times in the first year, (newborn, 3,6,9, & 12 months)
  • Children should be photographed every year.
  • Family portraits should be created at least every three years, or every year if you have young children.

Although adults don’t change as much from year to year, your children do. It’s important to document the changes because you are building a family legacy to pass down to future generations. Portraits also gain more value with time and will become treasured heirlooms. Portraits should be made of the various family relationships… husband and wife, father and daughter, mother and son, grandmother and grandchild, etc. The portraits will be treasures to our children when we’re gone.

In Remembrance

My prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones so dear to their heart.

Carissa passed last year on Christmas Eve 12/24/07 from an accidental automobile injury. She was only 19 months old. I photographed her when she was 3 months old and she was so beautiful that I created a painting of her portrait.

Minnie passed peacefully on 12/12/08 just one day before her 84th birthday. I had the privilege of photographing their entire family last year. We had such a fun session and got some precious portraits. Her son said, “she is at peace with no more suffering and I have joy in knowing that she is with the Almighty Father.”

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

Blessings to you!

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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