Virginia Children Photographer, Virginia Family Photographer » Virginia Beach based children, tween and family photographer

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Author Archives: Elyse

Elyse Cardon based in Virginia, specializes in newborn, children and family custom portrait photography.


Calling all clients!

First bit of news is-  It’s spring and I am cleaning house! ALL DIGITAL IMAGES ON SALE NOW! What this means is that if you had a session anytime the past 6 years, and didn’t purchase your digital images from your session, or if you only purchased a few, you can now own ALL the images from your session. They will be sent to you via my awesome digital delivery system and you will be able to download them all, save them to your hard-drives, have them with you on all your devices. Print to your hearts content and you can even print professional quality canvas and prints right through the app, which offers amazing prices and exclusive access to an awesome PROFESSIONAL PRINTER! But do not wait- This sale is now through MAY 1st, and then the images will no longer be available.


Second bit of news is – Six years ago, I opened Sweet People Photography®. Back in 2009, it was known as Elyse Cardon Photography but it’s always been the same business – me photographing the life of children of all ages. I worked really hard to be able to achieve “the look” I wanted in a photograph. In a very short time, people were able to recognize my work, my “style” of photography… and when that happened  – well, it was the highest compliment I could’ve asked for.

It is with tremendous gratitude to all of my clients, my “wanna-be clients”, local businesses, my fellow photographers and mentors, and of course my dear friends, that I am announcing the end of an era – and the closing of Sweet People Photography®.

I have SO enjoyed your babies and your children, watching them grow and being a part of your families- even if I only get to see you once a year. Thank you for trusting me to capture some of the most precious and happiest moments in your lives.

I am moving on to my next adventure in life – and as I always recommend one do – I am following my heart. I will continue to write here on my blog from time to time. At least that is the plan at the moment.:)

SO, THANK YOU all of my SWEET PEOPLE and don’t forget to take advantage of THE FINAL SALE on your DIGITAL IMAGES!

SALE PRICE ONLY $350 (retail value=priceless) Then, professional prints and canvases can be easily ordered right through the app starting at ONLY $8.00! Professional prints and canvas, means the same quality, the same lab when I order for you – in this case, you get to do it yourself!!! (DON’T print at Walgreens PLEASE!!)

If you would like to purchase your digital images, they will be for sale through May 1st and prints would make great gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s day! please click HERE.

Okay folks –

That’s a wrap.






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Grateful for Chaos | Virginia Beach, Norfolk Photographer

After only going to school for two days out of two weeks due to snow and ice, my kids are starting back this week as if it is the hardest thing they have ever done. Yesterday and today feels like the second week of school. (Not the first week of school, because they are too excited the first week. You know, the day the second week, when they realize we aren’t going swimming in the afternoon like we did all summer-even though it is still hot and daylight until 9pm?)

Yeah, this week feels like that day.

I try to stay calm. I try to remind myself to be grateful.

I try to gently remind them that their little daily jobs in the morning only entail:

1. Get Dressed (“YES of course with socks and shoes!”)

2. Eat breakfast (“Now that you came down so late, there is only time for a bar in the car!”)

3. Brush Teeth (“Your toothbrush is still in the exact same place it was yesterday when you said you could not find it and now that you haven’t brushed for two mornings- your teeth WILL fall out!”

So, there’s that.

And then there’s this:

The time right when we need them to get into the car. No matter how much time we leave for the actual loading of the car… my kids act like the clock has stopped and they have ALL DAY LONG to do this task.

First the noise level increases. In fact noises are being made for no apparent reason- just everyone has this need to make their own very loud noise. Has anyone done studies on this??? It is a phenomenon.

Then there are all the things that suddenly are needed yet nowhere to be found. This issue (yes we have places for everything) is nothing short of extraordinary. Shoes, coats, homework, papers to sign, snacks, projects, whole backpacks — BIG HUGE BACKPACKS— gone! I mean, the list is endless.

So as the clock seems to speed up suddenly like the last bit of sand through the hour glass, everything goes haywire.

One of my kids is walking around in slow motion, making robot noises to accompany the movement. It’s as if he is just waiting for the rest of us to get our acts together. Problem is that the kid doing this does NOT have shoes on and has not eaten breakfast.

Other kids are screaming and running in circles because I am trying to brush three day old bed-head-hair (I know, I know- I have already been notified, I am the “worst mother e-v-e-r!”

The whole thing reminds me of little wind up toys all going at the same time, some running into each other, some spinning legs in the air when knocked over. Me running over and over over and over into the wall.

Am I alone here? Are your families sitting at the table eating that perfect continental breakfast they used to show on TV commercials -you know, with eggs, toast, milk, orange juice, cereal and then they kiss the parents calmly goodbye on the way out to school?

image from google

image from Google

Today sweet husband drove them to school. So after I close and lock the door quickly to not let anyone back in (believe me, you never know), I am FINALLY in complete silence.

I look around the kitchen and see the aftermath of lunches being made, breakfast being made, a few dishes from last night (because I actually cooked)… and before I tackle all the mess…I just have to take a moment to work the concept of being grateful into my day.

It’s pretty difficult to feel it in the midst of chaos- that is something I am striving for- and I am improving on.

I think about this because I don’t want to feel grateful only when we are past this stage of our life.


After mentally punching those people for saying such nonsense – I stop and ponder the statement, because hands down it is consistent.

The coveted quiet is only so wonderful if it is balanced with the chaos of our crazy kiddos.

I am trying.

I am grateful.

Just need to get more grateful during the chaos.

Anyone good at that? Please message me on best practices:)


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Live Out Loud | Virginia Beach, Norfolk Tween Photographer

So, I am pretty embarrassed that I have let this blog go without writing or showing images since… well, I don’t really want to talk about it. It has been neglected and the more time went by, the more it made me cringe to think about writing something new and admitting to being delinquent. Not to mention, the last time I posted was when my grandmother was sick and sadly, she didn’t make it, so it was always hard to open this blog back up and see that.

So I apologize. Moving on…:)

The latter half of 2014, I started working on pushing a new age group @ Sweet People. The ages of approximately 9-14 give or take little- aka TWEENS. It wasn’t that I didn’t shoot tweens before, it was just that I didn’t go out of my way to and neither did the parents. Parents tend to get baby pictures, childhood up till around 8 or 9 years, sometimes a teen event, and then wait until they are Seniors! What a huge GAP!!!

It sort of makes sense though. When I was growing up, this was not considered the best time to get photographs by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, because it was considered the “awkward years”. Nowadays it seems like getting braces is a cool rite of passage. Back then, don’t even think about smiling big with those silver cubes and crooked teeth.

I have been watching tweens around here for years now, and I’ve been commenting with friends how adorable and gorgeous they seem. One friend always says, “I did NOT look like that when I was thirteen.”

I ususally moan in agreement, but then I wonder, “Or did we?”

It is very hard to figure out since the hair, 80/90’s fashion and over all non-digital world of our childhood probably renders the comparison of them to us more like apples to oranges or iCarly to Facts of Life (images from google images). lol:)

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 11.09.48 AM
Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 11.10.30 AM

Capturing your child at this age will be a HUGE self-esteem builder. I received an email from a mom that brought me to tears. It was in this moment that I realized how important it was to show (through my images) the person that I see.

tween photographer virginia beach

One other big reason I think this age group needs to be captured is that it’s the last time our children will still look and act like kids. They are changing so fast at this age, while going through puberty, and once that transformation is complete and you have a full fledged teenager in your midst- well, that’s it.

Tweens still feel like they can be silly, without carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. They want to be seen and heard and I encourage them to be themselves. I even named this tween division LIVE OUT LOUD.




You can find me on Instagram @liveoutloud_sweetppl

I now offer “BFF” sessions as well as individual and family sessions.  For more information please email

P.S. Thanks for your support all these years (since 2009!)

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Back in Time | Virginia Beach, Norfolk Children’s photographer

Yesterday may be the last time I will see my last remaining grandmother alive. I decided rather spontaneously to go down to Florida and help my mother and aunt who are taking care of her. She has been “independent” up until very recently, even flying to Virginia in November on her own to celebrate her 90th Birthday and Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, she has had a rapid decline in her health.

My cousins, sister, mom and aunt all sat around her little condo in Delray and reminisced while looking through old-fashioned photo albums. Yes, you know- the ones that have loose photos and newspaper clippings that fall out when you open the cover. The kind that as you turn the page, the hole detaches from the metal ring, most likely never shutting properly since the day it was purchased.

We looked through page by page, showing them to Nana. Honestly, it could not have been a more appropriate and meaningful day. Nana barely can smile at this point, but I managed to snap an iPhone picture of her beaming while looking at an old photograph. Is there anything better than that?


I let out a yelp and burst into tears when one image of a very strong memory shot me straight in the gut. I do not recall ever seeing it before. I didn’t know it existed. (Usually it’s the other way around. We have a memory because we have a photograph and can then relive the moment.) The image is of me with my great-grandfather George. If you asked me to tell you a memory about him, it would be one simple thing. We would sit at the kitchen table and he would give me a little beaded change purse. We would empty it out and find the shiniest pennies. I don’t remember why or what we did specifically with them- but pennies and Grandpa Georgie made a big impact on me. I can’t even tell you how it felt to see this picture. It was such a gift- almost like going back in time.


That’s what a photograph did for me… well it did that and so much more.



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Lung Cancer Alliance – Race for Breath 2013

In 2011, I received this email from one of my dearest friends:

“As most of you know, my mom, a non-smoker, lost a 10 year battle to lung cancer a litte over 2 years ago.  During her fight, my mom never stopped “living”.  She continued to do the things she loved to do and take care of everyone around her.  You would have NEVER known she was sick!  She really beat the odds by surviving longer than 5 years after her initial diagnosis and she continued to fight strong near the end.  Even when she was told she would never get off a ventilator and breath on her own again… she did!!!  

My mom was the bravest, most loving and inspirational person I have ever known and I miss her terribly.

Please take a minute to read these facts about lung cancer:

Lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, prostate, colorectal, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers combined.

  • Nearly 80% of new lung cancer cases are either former smokers or NEVER smokers.
  • Lung cancer kills 85% of newly diagnosed patients within five years.
  • Congress earmarks funding within the CDC for specific cancers. The 2010 budget includes:  
    •  $215 million for breast cancer research,
    •  $45 million for colon cancer research
    •  $14 million for prostate cancer research
    • $0 for lung cancer research.  

On November 5, I will be participating in the  Lung Cancer Race for Breath to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  This will be my 4th year participating.  

My mom actually walked this 5K with me just a few months before her cancer recurred for the final time.

Please help me support the fight against this terrible disease by making a donation, every dollar will help.  If you would like to make a donation, please click on the link below  Thank you to all my amazing friends and family that have supported me over the past few years!


I admit, I didn’t know the information she sent to us in that email.  Once I learned it though, I wanted to yell it from the rooftops.  Jan did not ask us to walk with her, because it took everything in her just to send us that email.  To openly acknowledge her painful loss and the desire to repair the world – to personally fight against lung cancer- to ask us for donations… the whole thing made her incredibly uncomfortable.

We assured her that we welcomed “the ask” with great open arms… because we would do ANYTHING to wrap our arms in ANY way possible around our dear friend.
We bundled up and a group of us showed up to walk by her side.  As we walked, it happened that four of us formed a line across the boardwalk… four of us who all have each endured the loss of a parent WAY too early.  We shared some laughs and some tears and all the while, I noticed the sky.  Ever since my dad passed away (1997), my sister and I think of my dad when the sun hides behind clouds and then blasts bright sun rays through the cracks.  She and I shared this privately, but that day, on that walk, I shared it with these friends.
(iphone pics so excuse) :)

Jan says that she imagines my father and her mother hanging out “up there”… and I admit, I LOVE the idea.  It makes me laugh and cry all at once (and that aint a pretty sight).  It makes me FURIOUS that they are not here with us.

I am sharing this publicly because this, I have no doubt, has touched too many people we all know – and though Jan may actually kill me for posting, I want her to know how great the many arms are reaching around her … not only her BFF’s.

This year, please come out to the race and if you can’t do that – consider making a donation (no money is too little, of course!)

No one should make the choice not to smoke, and then get diagnosed with lung cancer.




In HONOR and in memory of my dear friend’s mother… Maxine, YOU ARE MISSED!!!!!

And to Jan …please don’t kill me.
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