Santa and Me ~ 2014

On Saturday, November 8, Elise Beall Photography photographed Santa and Me mini-sessions to benefit Christmas Cheer.  In a 3 hour period, we photographed 15 groups containing 23 children and 2 Boston Terriers.  Needless to say, this place was hopping!  Each session lasted about 10 minutes.  We have found that if children like Santa and sit happily in his lap for pictures, 10 minutes is plenty of time to get a few great pictures.  However, if the children don’t like Santa – there is no amount of time that will allow us to get even one great shot.  So 10 minutes works for those, as well.  This year, about half the groups were afraid of Santa and wouldn’t get anywhere near him.  The other half thought he was wonderful and magical.  For the children who wanted no part of Santa, we took pictures of them without the big guy in the red suit.  So everyone got some pictures – even if they weren’t exactly what they were hoping for.  It’s hard to know which children will pose with Santa and which won’t. Several parents told us that their children had talked about Santa for days – but when they got here there was no way they were going near him.  Our goal is to not traumatize the kids, so as soon as we see them start to get upset, we hustle Santa out of the room as quickly as possible.  For most children, that’s good enough.  But some still want nothing to do with us.  Even if the children didn’t care for Santa, they sure liked the cookies he brought them:-) I’ve found that a little bribery goes a long way!

Because of space, I’m not showing every group.  If you would like to see all of the pictures, go to Elise Beall Photography and click on Clients.  Then click on the Santa and Me gallery.   Here are the majority of the kids (and dogs) who came to visit Santa on Saturday.

We had a great time with Santa and the kids on Saturday.  But more importantly, we raised about $1000 for Christmas Cheer.  And more will be coming as orders are placed.  We donate 100% of the profits to help the children of Onslow County have a good Christmas.   What a wonderful way to begin the holiday season! I certainly could not undertake this project without the help of a lot of my friends.  Special thanks to Will and Rayshal Taylor, Karen and Katie Holder, Lynn Gaddy and Amy Wangerin.  You helped the day run smoothly and made it fun for me and the families who participated.

Andrea - November 13, 2014 - 8:39 am

Such great shots…and a tremendous way to kick of the season. So proud of what you do!

Alec and Sam . . . Again!

Each and every fall since 2004 I have photographed Alec and Sam. It has been such a treat getting to know these kids and watching them grow up.  We are always looking for different locations for pictures, so we’ve been to the beach, the park, downtown, and everywhere in between.  This year we found out at the last minute that Alec was going to be home from college for a couple of days.  I was already booked, but we made plans to have a quick mini-session before my studio senior session.  This was the first time we had ever done fall pictures inside for these two and it was great!  I love them on the white backdrop.  Because Alec and Sam have worked with me for so long, we are very comfortable together.  That means we can work fast and get a lot done in a small amount of time.  A 30 minute session usually provides about a dozen proofs.  In this session, we had 22 really good proofs in 29 minutes.  The proofs were so good, Alec and Sam’s grandmother had to have one of each!  She and Wendi, their mom, absolutely love pictures of these two. The proofs are all different and even included clothing changes which I don’t generally allow for a mini-session.   Something else different . . . this year Alec smiled – with teeth showing!

There is no telling what next fall will bring.  Alec will be a college graduate and Sam will be a high school senior.  Wow, I’m feeling a bit old today!


Sweet Baby Bella!

I love newborns.  While the sessions can be long and grueling, there is nothing better than cuddling a new baby. Beth and Frank worked hard to get this little munchkin.  Bella decided she didn’t want to wait around until her due date and was born almost 5 weeks early.  She was fairly large for being so early, but still spent nearly 2 weeks in NICU learning to eat and function in the real world.  Since she spent extra time in the hospital, we were later than normal photographing her newborn session. I was worried that she might not sleep as well as we would like.  Instead, Bella was probably my best sleeper EVER!  It’s not unheard of for a newborn session to last 3 hours or more.  Bella was sooooo good, her session was completed in less than an hour and a half.  We used a variety of backdrops and props and still managed to finish in way less time than normal.

Meet Bella!

Bella has two older sisters and a brother who are crazy about this little girl.  In fact, Nicholas was so excited he just had to take Bella to school for Show and Tell.  And he had to pick out for the perfect outfit for her to wear. When Beth told me that story, it just made my heart melt.  I’m quite sure Bella isn’t lacking for love and attention from her large extended family.  I’m so looking forward to watching sweet Bella grow up.


Amy’s Senior Session

I have photographed Amy on three different occasions – more if you count Cotillion.  The first time she was in middle school and as cute as could be.  I didn’t see her for a couple of years and was shocked at how much she changed.  When Stephanie had her senior session a couple of years ago, Amy came along for the ride and to be in a couple of sister portraits.  It really made me look forward to her senior session.  Amy is so busy, we had to schedule her session way in advance.  She plays on the Jacksonville High School tennis team which takes up most of her weekdays, and plays Classic soccer on weekends.  Luckily, the first day we scheduled turned out to be one of the prettiest days we had in the early fall.  After weeks of rain, we had a gorgeous, sunny day.  Thankfully the last few weeks have been gorgeous, unlike our summer and early fall.

As with most seniors, we started with a studio mini-session.  Since sports are a big part of Amy’s life, we made sure to take a few shots with her in her uniforms.  Following my directions, Amy brought a LOT of clothes to choose from.  I normally tell seniors to keep it simple – and solid.  But when I saw Amy’s bright, multi-colored dress I just knew it would be perfect on the white backdrop.  I am so glad we chose that dress because the colors just pop and it looks stunning on Amy.

We had a hard time deciding where to go for Amy’s location session.  We went to the Arboretum for Stephanie’s session and loved her images, so we decided to go back.  The great thing about the Arboretum is that it is a constantly changing location.  It never looks the same for more than a few weeks at the time.  When we went for Stephanie’s session, we concentrated on the left side of the pond.  For Amy’s, we didn’t want the images to look the same, so we went to totally different places.  We had so much fun, we didn’t stop the session until it was nearly completely dark.

Amy is an absolute joy to photograph.  She’s been around me enough to be comfortable and she knows what she likes.  She follows directions well – and doesn’t mind changing clothes behind a tree:-) The great thing about my seniors is that I know I will have the chance to photograph them again for Prom and Graduation.  So glad I’ll get to spend more time with sweet Amy!


Santa and Me Mini-Sessions to Benefit Christmas Cheer

Christmas may still be a long way away, but it’s not too early to start raising money for Christmas Cheer!  Each year, more and more families request help to provide Christmas for their children.  Thankfully, we live in a community that steps up and helps those less fortunate.  On Saturday, November 8, 2014, Elise Beall Photography, along with some very dear friends,  will offer portrait mini- sessions with Santa to benefit Christmas Cheer. Sessions will be photographed at 1005 Daniel Drive in Jacksonville from 11:00-2:00.   The cost for each session is a $50 donation to Christmas Cheer.  Your donation will entitle you to $50 in complimentary prints. You get to choose the sizes and poses you want.   Prints and other merchandise, including holiday cards, will be 20% off for Santa and Me families.  The holiday cards are custom design specifically for each family.  You choose the images you would like to use and I will design a card for you.  You will have the opportunity to approve the card and make minor changes prior to printing. What an easy way to have high quality, custom designed holiday cards!

Sessions are available for children of all ages!  The last time we photographed these sessions, we had kids from 3 weeks to 19 years old. These mini-sessions are an absolute BALL!  I get so many hugs and kisses that day, I am smiling for a week!  It didn’t hurt that we give out cookies after the pictures are finished:-) A little bribery helps get those smiles.  Each Santa & Me Mini-Session will last a maximum of 10 minutes.  The sessions are fast and furious – and incredibly fun.  Some of the children love Santa while others are scared to death of him.  We always manage to get holiday pictures – even if the child won’t let Santa in the picture with him/her:-) Since we must move very quickly to complete 16 sessions in 3 hours, we cannot allow clothing changes.  Children have worn a variety of outfits in the past ranging from Christmas pajamas to fancy party dresses.  Anything goes!  You are also welcome to bring any props you would like to use in the pictures – a special book or toy, or maybe a letter to Santa.

To make your life easier, proofing and ordering will be accomplished through a secure, online shopping cart at  Approximately 5 proofs per session will be placed in the online gallery. The exact number of proofs will depend upon the cooperation of the child/children. The online gallery will be available for one week beginning no later than November 19 (probably sooner).  Orders must be placed before the gallery expires. Your finished portraits will be ready for pick-up approximately 2 weeks after the gallery closes.

Christmas Cheer will receive 100% of the profits for all items ordered!  In 2012, the Santa and Me Mini-Sessions raised over $1100 for Christmas Cheer.  Hopefully we’ll raise even more this year! 

A limited number of sessions will be offered, so call TODAY (910.389.2937) to schedule your session.  If it’s easier, you can message me on FB to sign up for a session.  Please provide your name, the names and ages of children, your e-mail address and phone number.  Let me know what time frame works best for you and I’ll do my best to get you scheduled during that time. I will e-mail a portrait agreement for you to complete and return with your donation.   In order to hold your appointment, a nonrefundable donation of $50 (check made out to Christmas Cheer) and the signed portrait agreement must be returned by October 20.  If the fee and/or agreement are not returned, the session will be cancelled.  If you have questions, please use the contact form at the top right of this Blog.  Hope to see you on November 8!

Please share this information with all of your friends!  We want to fill up the schedule and raise a lot of money for Christmas Cheer!

UPDATE:  all 16 mini-sessions were booked in the first 24 hours!  I am still taking names for a waiting list in case there are cancellations.  So excited to be able to support Christmas Cheer!