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A Study of the First Years | Virginia Photographer

It is a well-known fact that a baby’s growth slows after the first year or two.  During the first year, when the sleepless nights and whirlwind of a new baby takes over, it is ever more important to invest in photography to forever preserve the memories… you know, the ones that you can barely remember the next day.  About two years ago,  I began a bit of what photographers call  “portfolio building” so I would be able to display my style of photography for my business.  As it turned out, I ended up doing several sessions of the same little girl during the first two years of her life.  When I received a wonderful testimonial from the mom (below),  I realized what an amazing study this was in how fast time flies, and how important it is to capture those first months especially.  We obviously cannot go back in time, but our photographs will play such a huge part in enabling us to conjure up the dear memories that would have been forever lost otherwise.

Here are her thoughts: “We had the privilege of being one of Elyse’s original families photographed and have been so beyond thrilled with all of our photos that over the last year, we have had the experience repeated several times.  When my son was born, I had him professionally photographed before he turned one and then not again till my daughter was born when he was two and a half.  In contrast, we’ve had Elyse photograph our son and particularly our daughter about every 4-6 months.  Getting to evidence their transformations through these priceless pieces of artwork has been an awesome experience and one I WISH I had done with my son in his first years of life.  Elyse’s portraits now cover the major walls of our house, and every glance at them brings instant smiles to us as well as all who view them.  We have loved every minute of our Sweet People Photography™ experience – from the fun and relaxed photo sessions to the very special final product.  Thank you, Elyse.”

newborn "snapshot" (just over for a visit- not a session...)

6 months

10 months (ONLY 4 MONTHS LATER!!)

15 months (ONLY 5 MONTHS LATER!!!)

22 months

A common thing I hear from friends now that I am doing professional photography, is that they never had maternity or newborn shots the first time around, so they probably won’t do them the second time (even thought they LOVE my work):)They feel funny since the first child didn’t have them.  I have to laugh because, as we are soon to welcome our fourth sweetie-muffin into the world, I am absolutely certain she will have the MOST photographs/portraits over the other three, and I am certain I will never EVER regret having them.

On that note, I photographed another family three different times for three very different sessions.  Here are the mother’s thoughts:


“It was my little boy’s 1st birthday when I had my first experience with Sweet People Photography™.  Elyse captured a moment when I was smiling ear-to-ear watching my 1st born son singing at his party and wearing his Elmo birthday hat!  Every time I pass the portrait hanging on my wall in the kitchen, I am brought back to a such a wonderful time in our lives! That’s the thing about Sweet People Photography™… moments so precious and pure are captured. Because of them I will never forget the actual feeling I had at my son’s 1st birthday party! Thank you!!”


“My husband would not leave me alone about having maternity photos taken! With my first pregnancy I never did them, so when I was pregnant with my second,  I had not planned to do them either. I didn’t feel particularly attractive and was just really not interested in being photographed at 7-8 months pregnant. That is, until I spoke with Elyse! She reminded me that this is a time in my life that’s very special and unique, and I will, one day, love looking back at my family of 3 before we became a family of 4.  On a beautiful spring day she came to our home and did a maternity session inside and out of my house… she even got great photos in the baby’s new nursery. I wore what I felt comfortable in and Elyse also helped me with what she knew would photograph well.  We did some shots alone, and then had some fun with my 2 year old son and husband.  When I look at these portraits around the house, and hold my new daughter in my arms… I can’t even explain how surreal it seems.  My husband and I are so thrilled that Elyse captured this beautiful and truly special time in our lives.  We cannot wait to show our little girl photos of her when she was ‘still inside mommy’s belly!'”


“I told Elyse I did not really have a need to capture my daughter within the first two weeks after giving birth… I had not done newborn portraits of my son, so I didn’t think it was really necessary.  I felt like the baby would be too little or too sleepy and I sort of had the thought that I wanted her to be smiling.  I WAS SO WRONG!!! When my little baby girl was just 10 days old,  Elyse came to our home, knew just what to do with the baby,  while capturing the most pure and precious newborn shots!  She brought an assortment of fluffy blankets, props, adorable hats, headbands, and tutus, just as I had asked for and was able to capture the baby both awake and asleep.  When I viewed the gallery online,  I was brought to tears… one photo was better than the next! Today I have a gorgeous 11×14 ‘chic & glassy’ piece of art hanging in my family room of my beautiful baby girl (to go with the one I already did of my son from the maternity session),  and needless to say, I am SO glad I did the newborn photos!”



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elyse - Thank you so much everyone! What beautiful feedback – I thank you truly!

Kim - How could anyone seriously think about having a child without having you photograph them? What a truly awesome article!

cindy pennybacker - I knew when I met you that I had found a truly beautiful person. I am so happy to know you and David and those gorgeous babies! I can’t wait the meet the next one! You’re work is a clear display of your talent and your heart. xoxo

Stacie - Can’t wait for many more photos with you!!!

Larry Cardon (Poppie) - The pictures are great. I enjoyed them. Keep up the good work. Love, Poppie

rebecca cardon - What a great article and AMAZING photos!!! When Im preggers….Im going to bug the S*** outta you to snap away!!!!

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