October 2008 Newsletter/Blog

I hope you and your family are doing well. David and I have enjoyed going through the baby stage again with little Micah. There’s nothing sweeter than hearing the pitter patter of little feet running around. We’ve also enjoyed seeing Grace in her role as big sister. Our children absolutely love each other and play so well together. They are six years apart. Grace asks me on a regular basis if she can marry him! After all my explanations on why she can’t marry her brother… she still wants to!  I’m sure she’ll outgrow it and we can laugh about it during her rehearsal dinner when she marries her prince (and not her brother!)

David is still an IT Manager for the Secretary of State and I’m enjoying being a portrait photographer. What I love most about my work 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. I will be featuring a new client every month. October’s featured clients are Scott and Rachel Priestley. They brought their newborn son Jack in at 13 days old, and from that session, we instantly bonded and they have been like family ever since. As I was photographing Jack’s “almost 2 year old session”, I was amazed at how quickly he had grown in just two short years. My mind went back to those first portraits when he lay so quietly in his father’s arms.

Here is their story…

Client of the Month: Scott & Rachel Priestley

My husband and I married on Christmas Eve of 2004 and immediately started trying to have a family. After almost a year of prayer and the emotional roller coaster of dozens of negative pregnancy tests, we decided to seek help. Our friends referred us to Dr. Brannon. He was not at all what I expected, but exactly what we needed – fun, funky, brilliant and a strong Christian.  He took us in, and very quickly felt like family to us. We knew without a doubt that our getting pregnant was as important to him as if we were his family. And through testing, medication and prayer, he was able to make our dreams come true. On December 6, 2006, our prayers were answered when we had our beautiful baby boy, Jack.

Jack was born with a birth defect called club foot. He was treated with a series of casts and was in casts the first 6 months of his life.  In addition, he underwent two surgeries at 3 and 5 months old.  It was not an easy road, and he may still need more surgeries. But it hasn’t slowed him down!  If anything, we feel like it has made him (and definitely Mom and Dad) stronger! Throughout my many visits to Dr. Brannon’s office, I always admired the work of Susie Gilmore whose large wall portraits decorate the walls. But I have NEVER liked having my picture taken!! However, I really wanted some sweet pictures of our newborn, so I reluctantly gave her a call.

I remember giving Susie very specific instructions.  We wanted to focus on Jack. Neither Scott or I liked having our pictures taken, so we really wanted all the pictures to be focused on our son. Jack was 13 days old the first time we visited Susie.  Looking back I wonder how I was even standing so shortly after a c-section! But two feedings and two hours later, we had the most amazing pictures of our family I had ever seen. Somehow she even managed to get my husband and I in some pictures! And we are so thankful she did. Susie was lovely and we immediately felt like our family had expanded again.  We saw Susie four times during Jack’s first year at 13 days, 4 months, 8 months and 12 months old.


            4 months                                    8 months                                 12 months

We wanted to preserve Jack’s first year of life in an album, so we purchased a Coffee Table Book from Susie which has become a treasure in our home. I love pouring over the portraits and remembering those special times and sharing it with family and friends. We also got a 3×3 mini album full of closeups of Jack at 13 days old. The moments and memories it captured are priceless… it brings tears to my eyes when I look at it.

Susie captured the adoration between my son and I in a wall portrait which is displayed above our fireplace. It is the focal point of the room and something we admire everyday. I  am taken back to the moment when my son was four months old. I remember the tenderness we shared, it touches my heart every time I see it.

Susie created Jack’s “First Year Card” which I sent out to friends and family for the holidays. It was printed on pearl card stock and was very classy. For Mother’s Day, I got a photo purse with Jack’s 4 month and 16 month portrait on it. It was stunning and I will cherish it forever. People ask me about it everywhere I go! It was a big investment, but well worth it. I never thought a PURSE could bring me joy everyday, but it does!

When Jack was 8 months old we got some darling cowboy pictures of Jack wearing just a hat and holster. Susie created a collage called “Lil Gunslinger”. For Jack’s 1 year session we chose a collage of our favorite portraits. When Jack was 16 months old we went to Topsail Island with Susie and her family for a location photo shoot. My parents joined us.  Again, none of us adults love having our picture taken!  But somehow Susie brings out our “top model potential, and captures the most stunning moments!  We have the most precious pictures of my parents and Jack from that day. We will treasure those memories for a lifetime. 

                                           Jack and Scott on beach                    Family on dunes                          Grandpa and Jack

Recently we had our “almost 2” year photo shoot of little Jack. Joining us was Shawna, our 16 year old foster daughter, the most recent addition to our family.  I have no doubt that once again Susie captured the beauty of our love for one another in the portraits she took.

Family portrait

Susie is truly an artist, and over the past two years has become a beloved friend.  We often wish out loud that we lived closer (we now live over an hour away and travel to see Susie) But no matter the distance we will always be thankful for the work she has done, for the beautiful memories she has given us, and for moments captured in time that we will forever treasure.

Rachel Priestley, Pittsboro, NC

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

Rachel is an Arbonne Representative and Scott is a Senior Program Manager for Xerium Technologies who just completed an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Scott is also a wonderful cook. He delighted us with an amazing meal after our Topsail Island photo session. Go to http://chowbelly.wordpress.com/ for some great recipes. The logo looks just like Scott!


Are you sending Christmas Cards this year?

Why not get an updated family portrait and have custom Christmas card made? November 22th is the session deadline for cards and portraits to arrive before Christmas.

Christmas Portraits

Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year, and it is right around the corner. So, what will make the perfect present this year? Portraits of your children or the whole family! 

Grandparents adore their grandchildren, so isn’t a portrait of the grandchildren a better gift than socks or another sweater? Don’t most of us have enough “stuff” anyway? Well thought out and tastefully done portraits are gifts from the heart. They never wear out and only get better with time. They are the perfect gift.

When should the holiday portrait be done? For less stress, plan 6 weeks from photography day to delivery date desired. (Don’t forget to allow for transit time if the portraits are to be shipped.) The portrait planning/booking appointment should be scheduled ahead of the actual session date to give you time for coordinating clothing to the background you choose. Christmas is just 7 1/2 weeks away, so call 662-5541 to schedule your appointment before it’s too late.

Home for the Holidays

Kids grow up fast. If your kids have gone off to college or are now starting out on their own, you still have an opportunity for a beautiful family portrait. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before you know it. These are also the times when most of the kids (even the ones who have left the ‘nest’) return home to visit with their family and friends. Actually, mom’s cooking may have a little something to do with it. Whatever the reason, having the family together is the perfect time to plan for a family portrait.

For those who will have loved ones “home for the holidays” Susie has reserved the following dates near Thanksgiving and Christmas for these unique portrait sessions.

              November 29th,   December 27th-January 3rd.

Call the studio today for more information. You’ll enjoy the results for years to come. Holiday sessions book up fast, so don’t wait too long to call. You can also visit our website for some great examples.  http://www.susiegilmore.com

Holiday theme

Should you consider a holiday theme in your portrait background, clothing and accessories? Believe it or not, we’ve created fewer and fewer images with holiday themes each year. Because just like your holiday dishes, they will get tucked away until next year as you decorate for spring. Many of our clients have found that portraits showing the red Christmas outfits in front of a Christmas tree, seem out of place in the spring, while a portrait showing the three kids in dark or neutral colored clothes reading a book or petting the dog can decorate your home year round.

Gift Certificates

Deciding what to give the “person who has everything” can keep us awake at night. Well, choosing portrait Gift Certificates from our studio may let you sleep a little better. Most Holiday gift certificates return in the first quarter of the next year and we usually hear comments like, “what a great idea this was; we’ve been thinking about having a portrait done for some time… it was the perfect gift”. Call us for ideas on giving just the right gift certificate to fit your budget. 662-5541

Christmas Gift Ideas…

The Letter- A picture is worth a thousand words…. but you still need the words. Give your loved ones a beautiful portrait in a classy folio with a heartfelt letter about how you feel about them. Perfect for a spouse, mother, grandparent, aunt, uncle or grandchild. 

12 Days of Christmas– Surprise your parents with letters and portraits from your children in the mail everyday for 12 days before Christmas. 

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, daddy and daughter, mother and son, grandmother and grandchild, etc. These portraits will be treasures to your children when we’re gone. 

Food Portraits

Looking for something unique for your kitchen? Introducing Food Art featuring your children!  This Wall Portrait of my 6 month old son is displayed in my kitchen and I smile everytime I view it.


$10,000 raised for cyclists

A benefit for Andrea Amezcua and Justin Gailey who were struck by a drunk driver while riding their bicycles on August 18th brought in $10,000. Andrea still has serious injuries and expensive medical bills from being hospitalized for a month. Andrea is at home now and is able to “hobble around” with a walker. She is receiving physical therapy and her mom is staying with her. For information about her progress and what you can do to help, email kristenreiss@yahoo.com. Thanks for your prayers!

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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