Archive for May, 2011

May 24, 2011

will it or won’t it? as I woke up the morning of kristin and bryan’s e-session it was pouring and thunder shook the house. it didn’t look good. I called kristin and after some finger crossing, we decided to meet up at sandy point for our scheduled session – and it was gorgeous!! you gotta love spring! I had gone to sandy point when they had chosen it as a location and wandered around – it’s a pretty cool place and when going back with kristin and bryan we had fun discovering places we didn’t even know were there. they have such a easy way about them - they clearly adore each other and laugh all of the time. I am so excited for their wedding at the silver swan later this summer 

kristin and bryan, thanks for a great (and sunny!) afternoon – see you in august!

  • your full name: kristie michelle cooper
  • your earliest memory: I remember playing barbies with my sister for hours on end in the dining room of our old house – we had 2 of everything so the floor would be covered in layers of tiny shoes, clothes, accessories and dolls
  • first love: art. I started out with a white living room wall and slowly progressed from there :)  I was born into a family of crafters and artists so it’s always been around me and an outlet for me
  • favorite sounds: my “country lullaby” – when I have my windows open, I love falling asleep to the breeze whispering through the screen and hearing the bullfrogs and crickets carry on. occasionally an owl will chime in or a fox will screech – but without lights or cars around, it’s nature’s symphony. I also love the sound of my dog reef whimpering when he’s jealous for attention – oh, and a baby’s giggle is always contagious
  • favorite band/singer: such a tough one! my favorite tends to change with my mood or activity – however my favorite genre would be anything acoustic
  • I love: blended coffees, family cookouts, scuba diving, seafood, traveling to new places and meeting the locals, photography, living in the country, my grandfather’s stories about the past, history, laughing til I cry (my sisters are the only people who have ever made it happen) my grandmother’s homemade strawberry jam, gardening, the beach, a glass of chocolate milk before bed, the cold side of the pillow and my family
  • I don’t like: waking up to an empty and silent house, people who abuse the system, egotists, spiders and all bugs for that matter, the electric slide, improper cell phone etiquette and olives.
  • my role at GPA: studio partner and photographer 
May 18, 2011

I’ve known lisa since I opened the palette where she was a regular (and probably still is!) she was one of the first to sign up for the mothers day mini-session promotion we had last weekend and fortunately her scheduled time was late enough in the day to miss the rain – we had to reschedule all of the early sessions. mother nature reminding me once again who is in charge! despite some wind, the afternoon was perfect and lisa was joined by her 3 beautiful daughters and new furry family member yoda :)

thanks ladies (including you yoda) for a really fun session!

May 17, 2011

bryce is the younger brother of my friend amanda who used to work with me at the palette – his mom tracy had contacted me a while back about doing some photos of bryce before the school year was over and last week we made it happen. I’m excited that I am getting more yound men wanting senior sessions done and bryce was really great to work with. he was really relaxed and funny. he even brought some of his hockey gear to shoot with!

thanks bryce for a fun afternoon – have fun at graduation!

May 17, 2011

lots of changes are going on within gillette portrait arts. with the new studio and after updating our website and blog last year, we kicked around the idea of rebranding. once we moved ito the new studio, I knew I wanted to do a “spring cleaning” so out went old marketing materials and old albums that were just taking up space. with the help of brent holloman, we are working on new branding and logo – he sent me some concepts last week and I am so excited! wait until you see what he came up with – I can’t wait to share the final product. when going through our site/blog I knew I also wanted to update the bios: so instead of just asking everyone to write something, I decided that asking a few questions of each person would keep the format similar while allowing us to give individual answers. so I’ll start….

  • your full name: raye-valion gillette-whaley: yes that’s a lot of hyphens and is my legal name but because trying to read my name to someone over the phone takes 15 minutes, I decided to drop the second part of my first name and just go by raye
  • my earliest memory: watching the jungle book when we lived in baltimore while my dad belted out all of the baloo songs 
  • first love: reading – both of my parents were bigtime bookworms and many snowy syracuse evenings were spent in our family room reading and discussing our books
  • favorite sounds: wind chimes, hard falling rain and the sound of snow crunching under boots
  • favorite band/singer: I think this is a hard questions for anyone and I could go on and on, so I will limit myself to 5 (ugh – so difficult) – I guess my stranded on a desert island group would have to be the beatles. 4 more – grateful dead, widespread panic, michael franti and billie holiday - DMB too. okay 6  :)
  • I love: my husband, my dogs, my friends, coffee, colorado, the outer banks, upstate ny, reading, road trips, almost anything with curry, music festivals, art exhibits, old movies, being barefooot in the grass or sand, big fat snow, bonfires…. my life :)
  • I don’t like: peas, anything with hot pineapple, excuses, flying, bad service at a restaurant, my feet, fake people, cheesy wedding dj’s
  • my role at GPA: owner, photographer and den mother

stay tuned for kristie’s answers coming soon….

May 13, 2011

there aren’t many things we love more than taking photos at gillette portrait arts – but we are all animal lovers and we all have dogs who we love madly! raye’s dogs booker and sampson will be hanging out with the girls at the studio once she and kristie start working down at the new space full time. we all also are aware that not all dogs are lucky enough to have found loving homes and hence our first dog days event was born! paws for a cause is a series of mini-sessions held on may 28th and 29th featuring your best friend. because the studio is right next to the pocomoke river, you will have your choice of in-studio or riverside portraits of your dog. sessions are 25 minutes, include the sitting fee, and online gallery and 1 8×10 – all for only $50! half of which will go directly to the wicomico county humane society – so if we book up all of the sessions, the WCHS will get a $750 donation to help them find homes for someone’s new best friend!

to book your session, just email us at rayevalion@gilletteportraitarts.comand let us know what time you’d like – we’re shooting from 9:00-4:00 on both saturday and sunday in half hour blocks. also let us know if you’d like in-studio or outdoor portraits done. helpful info like the size of your dog and any behavioral tips would be much appreciated as well (for example if they do not play well with others we will make sure the studio is dog free when they arrive) we will have attention-getting toys and treats but if your good boy/girl has something that they LOVE, feel free to bring it with you

we are super excited to be working with the humane society and hope that this will be one of many future events to benefit our furry family members. if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!!

May 13, 2011

beautiful day, beautiful venue and beautiful couple – all of the makings for an amazing wedding day! when I first met katherine and lawrence they went all through their plans on wedding day and just envisioning it from their description had me so excited – so as I was driving to baltimore I could not wait. going into the baltimore country club, every detail was so pretty and special and once I met up with katherine and her girls, the air was electric! katherine just lights up a room with happiness and she easily had one of the prettiest wedding gowns that I’ve ever seen -  it set the tone for all of the decor and special touches. after spending some time with the ladies, I tracked lawrence and his guys and knew that this whole day would be filled with laughter – they were cracking me up! a lot of personal details were included in making this day extra special – katherine lost her father several years ago so they planned the wedding to take place on his birthday – she also wore the veil that her mother had worn on her wedding day – katherine knew a part of her dad would be walking with her down the aisle to lawrence. 

katherine writing a quick love letter before the ceremony and lawrence’s very cool cuff links


katherine and lawrence – I had so much fun with you, your friends and families. the day was so special and it was the perfect way to kick off my 2011 summer season.I can’t wait to see you both again soon!

May 10, 2011

there are some days that just beg for an afternoon wedding and sarah and tom’s big day was just that! the weather was stunning, the location gorgeous and the couple crazy in love. I went up the night before because I was meeting sarah and her girls early in the morning of wedding day. I went down into the hotel lobby the next morning to get some coffee and juice and overheard a man asking a little boy if he was going to carry the pillow for him today and I thought to myself – yay! someone is getting married today. I glanced around only to see that it was my groom tom! I thought twice before going over to say hello - what with my yoga pants and flannel shirt glamour and all – but I did and he was clearly SO excited, smiling ear to ear. after changing into something a bit more appropriate for a wedding day, I drove to the home of sarah’s parents where we had shot their e-session. sarah was as excited as tom and beaming as I entered the room. we all caravaned to the wedding/reception location hayfield’s country club. this was my first time shooting there but hopefully not my last – it is so beautiful!!


sarah and tom decided to see each other before the wedding which if you follow this blog, you know I love. it’s exciting, spontaneous and intimate and has resulted in some of my favorite portraits of my couples, including tom and sarah.


sarah’s mother made all of the headpieces for sarah and her bridesmaids too - aren’t they amazing!! we told her that she needs to open an etsy shop :)

they decided on cheesecake (which they love) in lieu of a tradtional wedding cake which I thought was so cool – guests got to fill their sweet tooth with a custom ice cream sundae bar YUM!

sarah and tom left early the next morning for their honeymoon and I know they’re having an amazing time! you’re such a great couple and I had so much fun with you both. I wish you much love and look forward to seeing you again soon!

May 09, 2011

the studio is definitely in full swing – weddings, e-sessions and family portraits are being edited with zeal and client meetings are happening every day. so as the official studio dogs of gillette portrait arts, we thought we’d help the ladies out and take care of monday moments this week.

  • it’s spring and we are loving it! at this time of year we love nothing more than laying outside under our favorite tree soaking it all up or going for walks along the flower lined streets of snow hill. it’s always the busiest time of the year at the studio so we get to meet new people all of the time and especially with the new space we have so much more room to play AND we’re right next to the river!!
  • we made our first visit to the studio today and we are so excited to take up work day residence there once the ladies start working down there full time – we even spotted new water dishes and maybe, dare we say, a bag of peanut butter biscuits? probably our favorite thing about the new space is summed up in two words: concrete floors – a big dog’s best friend in the summer 
  • rumor has it that there will be some big dog event at the studio at the end of the month but we haven’t been told the details (kinda wrong right, since we are the studio DOGS! you’d think our input would be invaluable) regardless, we’ve heard that it will be announced here on the blog and on facebook later this week.
  • so if you are in the area, stop on in and have a coffee or soda – we’d love to meet you! and although we’re both big dogs, we are 2 of the nicest boys you’ll meet. because c’mon, look at us! does it get any cuter?
May 05, 2011

I met up with becky and her mother at their wedding location, wye island, on monday where we did a venue tour with the other vendors. I am so excited that they are getting married there! I remember the first time I met with becky and wye island was one of a couple of choices. I was, shall we say.. maybe a little encouraging wye mills. I love shooting at new locations and when they are as original as becky and darin’s wedding venue – well then I’m over the moon! so as everyone else was wrapping it up, becky and I went to cordova to meet up with darin at his grandmother’s farm. as I pulled up I saw lush fields, old trucks and hay bales – who was a happy photographer?? yep me! but with becky and darin, it could have been a cardboard box for a location and they still would have made it easy and fun. they are just so natural and easy going that it was like I wasn’t even there – my favorite!   

thank you guys for such a fun day at your farm! I am so excited to work with you both soon!!