Morgan; a little girl full of strength

Morgan is 8. She is a dark haired, beautiful little girl here in Florida. She has a loving family, including a 5 year old brother. She also has inoperable, in-curable, terminal brain cancer. Morgan was diagnosed with DIPG, which, as her mom describes it, is brain cancer that is more like string cheese then a solid tumor.

We met Morgan when we were contacted by Quiet Strength, a non-profit based out of California. Quiet Strength partners with photographers to give families who are dealing with childhood cancers a chance to have their photos taken. Photographers donate their time and skills to spend time with these families and work to give them amazing portraits of their children, who may not be with them much longer.

Morgan

Our day with Morgan was amazing. Her favorite color is purple, so her mom picked out a dress with lots of purple in it and we found some beautiful purple flowers for her hair and some for her portraits. Her mom wanted her hair to look nice, so we found a student at a local beauty college who was willing to donate her time and skills to Morgan and her family.

Despite what she is going through, she smiled, seemed happy and did her very best to help us get her portraits. She never complained and even when you could see that she was getting tired, she continued to smile.

If you would like to learn more about Morgan by following her story or if you can help her and her family, please find her on her Facebook page Morgans Journey (link is below). Her, and kids like her, so desperately need a miracle.

Morgans Facebook Page

 

Danville, Vermont USA

For the Thanksgiving holiday, we decided to get out of dodge and head north, to visit my (Jess’) family in Danville, VT. If you think you have never been to Danville, its possible you have, but you accidentally blinked while you were driving or riding and soared right through without noticing. Its a quaint New England town, sitting in the northeastern part of Vermont, about 55 miles south of the Canadian boarder and 20 minutes west of New Hampshire.

We flew into Boston, then took a bus north into New Hampshire, where we were met by my parents. My Dad recently had throat surgery to remove some cancerous lumps, so he regaled us with tales of the hallucinations he had while on the medication while we drove the 1+ hr further north to my parents house.

We were there for 7 days, 2 of which were spent traveling. My brother and his family came as well, so the house was plenty full (7 people, 3 dogs and 3 cats). While there, we hung out, played cards & Yahtzee, watched some westerns and of course took photos.

Barn in Danville, VT
A barn in Danville, VT

Tony took a crash course in the art of blacksmithing. He quickly learned that the hammer gets heavier with every swing. (That might be due in part to him taking 100 hits to achieve something that my dad can do in 10) Regardless, he made a plant hanger that we will definitely use on the patio.

 

We also traveled to Bretton Woods, NH to the Mount Washington Hotel Resort. Its a beautiful old hotel at the base of Mt. Washington and has some fantastic views from its wrap around balcony.

mount washington hotel, NH
The Mt. Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, NH

Of course, with my niece Zoey there, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take some portraits. Zoey takes after my sister Eliza, the horse trainer. Zoe loves all things horses and is beside herself with joy any time she is around my moms horse Arlo.

Zoey & Arlo
Zoey & Arlo

Overall, we had a fun trip and it was great to see some family. It even snowed a couple of times. Apparently, it snowed quite a bit more the day we left, as my mom texted me a photo of it snowing with a text that said “thanks for wishing it would snow”. I can only assume she was being sarcastic. We arrived back in Tampa on Monday night, flying in to a beautiful sunset over the water.

Sunset over Florida
Sunset over Clearwater/Tampa

Win Some Photography!

It’s that time of year. The time of giving, the time of receiving oh and the time of giveaways and raffleboxes. Speaking of raffleboxes….we have two and are excited about them!

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We are so happy to have joined with the pediatric dental office of Sandra Makram, D.D.S. for our family portrait session rafflebox. The winner of this giveaway can win a portrait session that can last up to an hour and a half. To sign up for this please go to: 13027 W Linebaugh Ave Suite 102, Tampa, FL 33626. Don’t forget to call and set up your child’s dental appointment with them too. (813) 854-5800

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We are also happy to have joined with the Calla Lily Rose Boutique. This rafflebox is for 6 hours of photography for a Quinceañera. That’s right 6 HOURS! So if you or anybody you know is getting ready to turn 15 years old head on over to the Calla Lily Rose Boutique. They specialize in Quinceañera celebrations. They have dresses, tiaras and all other accessories for that special Quince in your life. To sign up for this giveaway head on over to: 2815 W Waters Ave, Tampa, FL 33614. Don’t forget to call them if you are looking for something in particular. (813) 935-8282

The final day to sign up for our raffleboxes will be November 30, 2017. If you need any additional information on our raffleboxes, have any questions about our portrait sessions, quicneañera or wedding collections or if you’d like to schedule a free consultation call or email us or you can use the contact form below. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

So many choices and so little time…..

Choosing a photographer for your special event or portraits can be a daunting task. There are a lot of us out there, and we range from “just bought a camera last week” to “20+ years of experience”. We know that it can be super confusing and frustrating trying to narrow down your choices. Some people even get so frustrated they just give up and either don’t ever get portraits or they pick some random name. So, we decided to give you some pointers to help you make an informed decision.

Here are some things you should look for when checking out a website or social media page:

  1. Consistency. Do the photos look good throughout, or are only the 1st few nice while the rest are just OK?
  2. Do they look like real sessions or do they look like they were staged? (More on this in a later post)
  3. Is the site/page regularly updated or is everything on it old?
  4. Do the photos look like they have a ton of filters/photo shop work done on them? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can sometimes mean that the original photos aren’t that good, and the photographer has to rely on digital technology to make them passable. This can be a sign of someone who doesn’t really know a lot about the important aspects of photography.
  5. Do they have good reviews/comments from past clients?

Here are some things you should pay attention to when you are trying to get information:

  1. Is it easy to get a hold of the photographer? They may not answer the phone when you call, but do they call you back if you leave a message? Or answer in a timely manner if you email?
  2. What is their demeanor on the phone/email? Do they sound like they are rushing you or not listening to what you have to say?
  3. When you ask questions, are they truly answering them or are they moving past them without giving you a real answer?
  4. Are they giving you information about costs and charges that will be associated with your session or event?
  5. Do they have a contract for you to sign? (contracts, while sometimes a pain to go through are vital. They protect you and the photographer)

And lastly, here are a few questions to ask to get a feel for the photographer and their personality/style. It is important that you mesh well, especially in a wedding or quinceañera situation, as you will be together an extended period of time.

  1. Ask about pricing. It should never be a deciding factor, but you have to know if they are in your budget. If they are not,  you may need to re-evaluate your choices or your budget.
  2. Ask how long they have been doing photography. Everyone doesn’t need years and years of experience to be good, but if you are going to pay for it, you should get what you are looking for.
  3. Ask if you can do an in-person consultation. This is super important, so that you can make sure you are on the same page in relation to what you are looking for and how much you will spend.
  4. For portrait sessions, ask for clothing tips, location suggestions and time of day options. Trust me when I say that these are all important and will effect the overall look of your portraits.
  5. Ask about anything you are unsure of. The photographer should have no problem answering your questions, clarifying information or solving your objections.

If you have any questions or need more information about what to look for, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to help, even if you aren’t our client. You can always contact us at the form below:

What to expect from your DLPS Family Portrait Session

We want you to have a wonderful experience as a member of the DLPS family. We strive to be flexible, work with you and get you the images you want and need. We do have a process that we follow with each client and we want to explain that so that everyone is on the same page.

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The first step is for you to contact us and we set up a consultation. The consultation will probably be either in the evening or on a weekend. They usually go for about an hour, and during this time, we will find out a little more about you and what you are looking for. We will make a plan for your session, give you some tips on clothing choices, answer any questions you have and determine a location & date.

Next, is your session. Plan on your session lasting approximately 1 ½ hours. During that time, we will do portraits of your family as a whole, then split you up into smaller groups. The kids together, the parents together, each of the parents with the kids, etc. This will give you great options when it comes time to order your wall collections.

At the end of your session, we will schedule your sales appointment. At that time, we will meet, you will review your portraits, choose the prints, canvases and albums that you want and pay for your order. We accept credit/debit cards as well as cash. Plan on your sales session lasting at least 1 hour. We also ask that parents attend and that the kids are left at home if at all possible. This will limit distractions and will make it easier for you to concentrate.

You will receive your products approximately 2-3 weeks after your sales appointment. This can vary depending on what products you order. (Canvases & albums take a little longer, online galleries a little less time).

That is the basic process of doing portraits with DLPS. We encourage you to ask questions and to always get more information if you need it. We try to be as open and up front about everything and we want you to be comfortable with your choice. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Meet our new Hair & Makeup artist!!!!

Meet Hannah! Hannah is currently attending Empire Beauty School here in Tampa and lives in Brandon, FL where she said she loves the weather, because its always sunny and warm. Empire offers a 9-month program and she will be graduating in March. Hannah is our new hair & makeup artist and will be available on an as needed basis. We are super excited to add her to the DLPS team!

I did a sit down interview with Hannah last weekend after Tony did some head shots of her and asked her the following questions:

How long have you been interested in hair/makeup?

I’ve been into it “my whole life, ever since i was a kid. I always got in trouble for cutting my sisters hair and ruining all my barbies and baby dolls”

What do you hope to do with your HMU experience?

“I want to work in a salon to get some experience and eventually open my own business doing photo shoots and bridal hair & makeup. I enjoy doing the styling part”.

Whats your favorite thing about doing Hair & Makeup?

“The art of it and making people feel beautiful in their skin”.

Whats a piece of advice you would give someone who is looking for a HMU artist?

“Look for someone who actually loves doing what they do and has a passion for it instead of just trying to make money. Someone who wants to make you look how you want, rather then how they want you to look”

Lastly, when asked about how she feels about working with us she said; “I’m so excited to be working with DLPS and your clients. I am looking forward to growing with your company and doing some awesome photo shoots”

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We are really happy to be adding Hannah to the DLPS family and can’t wait to introduce her services to our clients. For more information about how to book a session and adding on hair, makeup or both, please contact us through the form below.

 

Timeline for Holiday Portraits

The holidays are right around the corner and it’s time to update your family photos. We currently have a few openings for family sessions and we want to make sure that everyone understands the timeline for these types of photos.

Due to the volume of photography taking place this time of year across the country, professional labs set deadlines and get swamped with orders, which can sometimes slow down processing. Also, more sessions mean more work and less time to meet with clients. Therefore, we ask that people pay attention to the time constraints and plan your sessions accordingly.

In order to have your photos edited, reviewed, ordered and received in time for the holidays, you need to have completed your session with DLPS by December 2nd.  If you want to order Holiday cards to send to friends and family, you should do your session in November. This will give you adequate time to go through the process and get them mailed to your friends and family.

If you would like to get portraits taken but do not need them in time for the holiday season, then we ask that you have them taken by Dec 17th. Please keep in mind that we will be closed from Dec 23rd until January 5th 2018.

We have limited spots open, so please do not wait until the last minute. Contact us through the form below to schedule your consultation:

 

Mike & Brittany: A maternity session

First, we want to say a huge Congratulations to Mike and Brittany who are expecting their first child in November. We met them when we were hired to photograph their wedding at Creekwood Gardens in Simsboro, LA. It was a beautiful wedding, Mike was a handsome groom and Brittany made a beautiful bride. Now, almost a year later, we were back in LA and just had to take their maternity portraits.

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We went out to Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston before sunset and have some truly beautiful photos of the two of them, complete with baby bump. We are so happy for these two. They are still fun, goofy and down to earth which we love. Brittany has the pregnancy glow and Mike still cracks silly jokes.

They are an awesome couple and we can’t wait to see their beautiful baby when he decides to make an appearance. We wish the 3 of them all the happiness in the world.

 

For more information or to schedule your portrait session, use the contact form below.

How to pose better for portraits

Have you ever been in front of the camera and have no idea what to do with yourself? It happens to all of us. Whether its how to turn your body to what to do with your hands, it can be completely uncomfortable to be the subject of a photograph. So, here are some tips on how to pose better.

For Women:

  1. Don’t stand straight on to the camera. This will make you look wider then you actually are. Turn slightly to the left or the right
  2. Put your weight on your back foot. This will move you back slightly from the camera. Remember, whatever is closest to the camera will look the biggest.
  3. Stand up straight. Sometimes, even when we think we are straight, we are still slouching. Think of having a string at the top of your head and in your mind, pull that string up.
  4. To make your arms look thinner, don’t allow them to rest on your body. This creates a smooshing effect and will make them look bigger. Instead, keep your arms slightly away from resting on your body.

For Men:

  1. Men usually want to look powerful in photos, so being straight on to the camera will make you appear large and in charge
  2. To make your biceps look larger, keep them against your body.
  3. If you want to look leaner, shift your weight to your back foot.
  4. Don’t put all of your hand into your pocket. It will be bulky and look strange. Either tuck your thumb in your picket or your hand with your thumb out.

For Both:

  1. To avoid or lessen a double chin, extend your chin out and down a small amount.

In the end, your photographer should be giving you tips along the way and making sure that you look the best you possibly can. When in doubt, ask questions!!

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