Trey’s Senior Portraits at Bear Trail Golf Course

I love photography . . . all sorts of photography.  But Senior Portraits are probably my favorite.  I love working with these young adults who are finishing one big part of their lives and preparing for their futures.  Most of these kids are really excited about their pictures and I do whatever I can to make the session personal to them.  As I am fond of saying, for Senior Sessions it’s all about them!  I am quick to tell the seniors that if I ask them to pose in a way that isn’t comfortable, or if I suggest something they don’t like – all they have to do is tell me. I want them to LOVE their pictures and for that to happen, they need to have fun during the session.

When Stephanie contacted me to schedule Trey’s session, she suggested that since Trey is a golfer, we shoot at a golf course.  That appealed to me in a BIG way.  We decided to do a studio mini-session first, then head to Bear Trail where Trey plays.  When Trey came in for the studio part of the session, he settled right in and was so easy to work with.  He and his mom brought lots of clothing choices so we were able  to go through and pick out what we wanted for the studio session and the golf session.  The studio session went quickly and we got some great shots.  When they left, the plan was to meet about 2 hours later at the golf course.  According to the weather forecast, as the day progressed the clouds were supposed to move out.  But that didn’t happen.  When we pulled into the parking lot at Bear Trail, there were huge, ominous black clouds.  We were a bit afraid to get too far away, so instead of taking the golf carts to the holes Trey had selected, we walked to the 18th green.  As we were setting up, it started to rain.  Honestly, we only got one picture before we had to quit.  Not to be deterred, we tried again the next day.  Again, the forecast was for rain early in the day with only a 10% chance of rain after 5:00.  It was fairly clear in town, but by the time we got to Bear Trail, it had clouded up again.  We decided to try for it anyway and hopped on two golf carts and headed out.  Trey found a beautiful place to shoot.  I loved spending a little time with him in the golf cart so we could get to know each other better.  Luckily, the weather held out for a while.  The dark clouds did cause us to lose the light quickly, but we were able to get a really great session.  As the clouds got darker, we decided we had pushed our luck as much as we should and headed back to the Club.  Just as we reached the parking lot, it started drizzling.  Whew, we cut it close.  But it was so worth it to get great pictures of Trey!

First, a few from the studio session.

My favorites from the golf course.  It was really hard to choose just a few because I liked so many!

Trey isn’t sure where he’ll go to college.  One thing he is sure of – he really wants to play golf wherever he goes.  And after getting to know this young man, I feel sure he’ll be a success.  We had a great time with Trey and they love their pictures.  Another Win/Win!



The Landers . . . Again!

I started working in Photography in the Spring of 2003.  At that time, I worked with another photographer.  In the fall of 2004, I decided to go out on my own and opened Elise Beall Photography.  One of the first things I did was have a custom website designed.  In today’s world everyone has a website, but that wasn’t true in 2004.  Back then all of my business came from referrals from friends and previous clients.  I wanted a wider range of clients, so my site was up and running in the Spring of 2005.  A couple of months after I started my site, I got an inquiry from New Jersey.  I was told that an extended family was coming to Topsail for a family vacation and wanted a photographer to come and take pictures on the beach.  That inquiry started a long lasting and wonderful relationship!  Now, 10 years later, I’m still photographing the Landers family when they come for their family vacation.  In all those years, they have only missed one year.  That summer just didn’t seem right.  When they returned last year, all was right with the world.

Back in 2005, Abigail wasn’t born yet.  Most of the kids had mouths full of baby teeth.  Taking pictures of a family of 16, 7 of them under 8, was sort of like herding cats.  But boy was it fun!  It was always a session I looked forward to.  Generally our sessions last about 1 1/2 hours and we take tons of different groups, as well as pictures of each couple, each family of children and even the children individually.  Each year it has gotten easier and easier as the children have grown.  It really helps when working with large groups to know names.  Now I know and love these kids and the sessions are as smooth as silk.  This weekend, Isabelle, the oldest of the Landers grandchildren left for college.  Several are in high school and Abigail – the baby – has braces.  Oh my, how did that happen!

This year, the Landers had horrible luck with weather.  The first two nights I was scheduled to go to Topsail, it poured.  On the third night, we thought we were going to get lucky.  A rain storm came through about 5:00, but by 6:00 it was clear and sunny.  The rain that had come through Topsail an hour earlier was right over Jacksonville, so Karen and I loaded the car in the rain and headed to the beach.  For a while after getting out of Jacksonville, blue skies prevailed.  However, the closer we got to 7:00 and the beach, the darker the skies became.  We were supposed to shoot on the beach at the pier, but realized that probably wasn’t a good idea. We found a pretty area at a small park at North Topsail.  That way we could park very close to where we were shooting and get my equipment in the car quickly when it started raining.  We knew the rain was coming – we could see it in the distance – so we moved very quickly.  From the first click of my shutter until the rain came was only 23 minutes.  I have never photographed so many groups so quickly in my life.  We didn’t have time to think, we just moved.  Having 10 years experience with this family made it possible.

You can see the sky getting darker and darker in the pictures. We could hear the rain before we felt it.  Sadly, because of the time crunch, I didn’t get to take lots of the poses that I usually do. We feel lucky that I was able to get the most important shots.  What made me more sad than missing a few poses was missing the time I usually take to catch up with everyone.  We were so busy, we didn’t have time to visit much at all.    I feel so blessed to have this family return to me, year after year, and watch these kids grow up.


High School Musical ~ Individuals and Groups

Three years ago Onslow County Schools started a new program – the Onslow County Summer Theatre Camp.  The purpose of the Camp is to bring students together from all county high schools to work with musical production.  The Camp begins in late June and continues through July.  Students and faculty spend a minimum of four hours each day preparing for their performance.  The students who come to camp have one thing in common – they LOVE to perform.  Most of them have been in their high school musicals in the spring and want the opportunity to work with students from other schools.  Instead of having several months from auditions to performance, these kids have about 5 weeks.  While they work extremely hard, they have a wonderful time.  This year’s production, High School Musical, was a great choice.  Not only were most of the students familiar with the show,  it drew a very wide audience.

I had two opportunities to work with these kids.  In late June, I took the head shots and group shots for their program.  The program was very professional – exactly what you would see in larger musical productions.  I spent another few hours with the students the day of their final dress rehearsal.  For this session, I took the full cast picture, individuals of students who purchased packages, and group pictures.  I had a great time getting to work with students who I have photographed in the past, as well as students who were in front of my camera for the first time.  The cast was extremely cooperative and waited patiently even when the session dragged on for hours.  I wanted great images with creative poses of each cast member who purchased pictures, so it did take quite a while.  But it was SO worth it.  I loved the images of these students!

The Onslow County Summer Theatre Camp was a huge success this year.  Everyone who attended the shows raved about the performance.  And the students were sad when the curtain fell for the last time.  I’m looking forward to next year’s show already!


Katie and Bub’s Wrightsville Beach Wedding

When Katie and Bub got engaged a few months ago, they knew they wanted to get married this summer.  They are both teachers and wanted to get married when they had time to enjoy the planning and have a little time afterward before school started back.  Within a week or so after the ring was placed on Katie’s finger, they had a date, a venue, a dress, a florist, and a photographer!  Don’t get in Loretta’s way (Katie’s mom) when there is planning to be done:-) She did a great job getting everything done in a short amount of time!  Katie and Bub wanted a beach wedding, so they chose the Hanover Seaside Club – a place that has meant so much to Katie’s entire family for generations.  Their wedding day, July 26, was absolutely gorgeous.  After  a week filled with rain and thunder storms, Saturday was sunny and clear.  While late July in North Carolina is always hot, there was a good breeze so it wasn’t unbearable.

Katie was a completely laid back bride.  I had the chance to spend a little time with her a few weeks before the wedding and she was calm and cool.  Katie definitely had her priorities in order.  She cared about the wedding, but mainly she just wanted to be married to Bub.  Their ceremony was very meaningful, filled with scriptures and prayers.  The day revolved around Katie, Bub, and their families.  One thing that was important to them at the reception was the music.  Bub is a musician and plays with the group Bub and Morgan.  If you’d like to see them, they play often at Sweet and Savory.  For their band, Katie and Bub chose L Shape Lot, a very popular local country/bluegrass band.  Bub even played a few songs with them.

I have known Katie her entire life.  Like my family, Katie has salt water in her veins.  Watching her grow up on Wrightsville Beach has been a joy.  I look forward to getting to know Bub better in the years to come.  I’m so glad they found each other because they complement each other so well.  They had the perfect wedding to start their lives together.  Thanks, Katie and Bub, for choosing Elise Beall Photography to document your day.  It was an honor.

Photography by Charo and Mike for Elise Beall Photography.