Williston, FL: Jess & Tony’s January Road Trip Adventure

As many of you are aware, we love to travel. We go anywhere possible whenever possible. We have driven places to take photos, to try new restaurants, for conventions, to meet clients and just because.

For 2018, we decided that we were going to pick a place in Florida blindly to visit each month. One of us basically closes our eyes and points to a spot on the map and that’s where we go. We don’t google the place, and we don’t use GPS. We are going old school style. Get there and see what we find.

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In January, we blindly picked Williston. Neither of us had ever heard of it, but that’s the way the game works, so on January 13th, off we went. Turns out, Williston is about 2 hours North of Tampa, close to Gainsville. It is a small town with some friendly people.

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We 1st went to what looked like a granary and did a few photos, then on to a park that had a Howitzer. It was not particularly warm on January 13th, but we did get some nice photos. After that, we headed to lunch at a local place called Melanies Restaurant, which is located inside an old gas station. There, we both ordered the special, which was smothered country friend steak. It was yummy. We also talked to some really nice people who lived there and they directed us to our next photo destination.

After lunch, we took the advice and headed North for about 1.5 miles. There we found Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens, which is a beautifully built botanical garden, complete with a Japanese garden area. (They are also apparently a wedding venue, so if your looking for something different….) We trekked around the gardens for awhile, photographing various things, checking out the Koi pond and stalking the swans (that was all Tony).

Once we got back to the entrance, we decided we should head back to Tampa, as it was getting to late afternoon and Tony had to work that evening. So back on the road we went.

Overall, our trip to Williston was a good day. We had some good food, met some nice people and got to see some new stuff. We shall see where the map takes us in February!

P.S. Tony never got a photo of the swan, it kept turning away from him.

That’s (almost) a wrap…..

Well, Sunday will be the end of 2017 and Monday will see the world waking up to a brand new year, with new goals, plans and resolutions. 2017 has been a big year for DLPS, and we thought we would share a few of our exploits with you.

We started the year off right, by attending Imaging USA in San Antonio, TX. We attended lectures, went to parties and barely slept! Then we drove straight to Southern LA to attend a 5 day, intensive CPP prep class. By the end of those 2 events, we were both fried and needed a vacation.

In March, we took the Certified Professional Photographer exam and both passed. This is the 1st step to becoming certified. We also took a trip to FL to find a place to live and check out Tampa & the surrounding area. We stayed with some friends whom Jess hadn’t seen in close to 20 years. Luckily, Vermonters are friendly and always willing to welcome old friends.

In April, we moved to Tampa, FL from Monroe LA. We decided to come to Tampa for a change of scenery, city size and new opportunities. In doing so, we left behind a lot of fantastic people who were really supportive of our plan to build a photography business.

In June, Jess earned her Certified Professional Photographer certification through PPA and can now write CPP after her name. To earn this distinction, a photographer must demonstrate that they are knowledgeable and skilled in various aspects of photography, and must pass a written test, then submit 15 images through a panel of 5 professional photographers.

In July we went back to LA to attend the annual convention for LA Professional Photographers in New Orleans. We spent 4 days expanding our education, in addition to hanging out with some of our favorite LA photographers. We brought 2 of our LA models back to FL for 3 days of photography in the sun!

August was a hot, humid month, but we did get to go to Universal Studios with some family visiting from Hawaii. Jess learned that she is going to be an Aunt and we got to hang out in the land of Harry Potter! Plus we watched the eclipse through homemade pinhole cameras.

In Sept, we once again made the trek to LA, this time to Monroe & Shreveport for the annual Barksdale AF Ball. We also did senior portraits for Cam, a soon-to-be graduate in Bastrop, LA. We were able to visit some of our favorite restaurants and hang out with some of our favorite people. We also attended LightPro in St. Petersburg, which is one of our all time favorite conferences. Plus we survived Irma, our first Hurricane!!

November saw us heading North to Vermont, where we spent Thanksgiving with the Wakefield family. Of course we got out and took pictures, got some much needed rest and hung out in the snow. Tony also learned the basics of being a blacksmith.

In December, we donated 2 photo booths. One was for photos with Santa at Inspired Living in Tampa with many of their residents. The other was at the Christmas Charity Ball in Tampa, to raise money towards sponsoring families for Christmas. This was a great success and the charity was able to sponsor 60 families in the Tampa area.

Those are some of the highlights of 2017. We are still learning about everything Tampa has to offer and of course still working on getting to know people here. There are many places to see and things to do that we have yet to experience, but its all part of the fun. We will continue to build and grow our business here and are looking forward to a successful and fun 2018. We wish everyone a Happy New Year and will see you all in 2018!

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.

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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

Let your fun flag fly (photo booth style)

The holidays are upon us and we all know what that means…break rooms full of snacks and treats, decorations galore, weight gain and of course, holiday parties!  What could be more fun at your office party then a photo booth?

Our photo booth is available for all of your office or house party needs. We have 3 photo booth options to choose from, all very affordable and super fun. We will bring a backdrop, all the lighting/camera equipment and a real live photographer. We will also bring a bunch of props so that you can get wild and crazy!

Contact us today to book your holiday party photo booth. It will spice up your party and make all the neighbors and other offices in your building jealous!!

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:

 

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