Category: informative

Pre-Black Friday Sale – $60 Sessions!

November 20, 2012


~~~ 2013 PORTRAIT SESSION ONLY $60 ~~~
~~ 3 DAYS ONLY ~~

Sale will end Thanksgiving at midnight.  Purchase your 2013 session now and save $65!  Buy one for yourself, buy one to give, its up to you.  Our photo sessions make wonderful gifts for the holidays!  Regular session fee is $125 so our pre black friday deal will save you $65!  This will be our last sale of the year, we will not have a black friday special because I will be out of town!  If you are looking for the best deal for portraits you don’t want to miss this one!


New Website, Blog and Logo & Special (Tampa Photographer)

May 17, 2011

I am excited to announce the arrival of our new website, blog and logo! Isn’t it beautiful. I love it and I hope you enjoy it as well. Take a look around, you will probably see a few people you know! Everything was designed by brand.YOU by Rhonda Stark. I would highly recommend her to anyone who is looking for a new website and/or branding.

To celebrate, all sessions scheduled from today until Sept 1st are only $75!! Your session must take place before Sept 1st for this offer.

Also, we are looking to build our maternity portfolio, please see the information below for details.

5 Fun Photo Projects!

July 30, 2010

Tired of sentencing your favorite photos to a life in a traditional (read: boring) frame in the living room? Take a look at those memories you’ve captured over the summer, and let your favorite shots out of the box with these quick and easy photo projects.

  • It’s puzzling. Get an 11 x 14 or 16 x 20 print of a family photo and glue it to a piece of foam core board the same size. On the back side of the board, draw the lines of puzzle pieces. Use an Exacto® knife or similar sharp, precise cutting tool to cut out the pieces. (Tip: use a mat or kitchen cutting board underneath to protect surfaces from the cutting tool) Flip the pieces over, and you have a custom family puzzle for the kids to enjoy!
  • Get sticky. Pick out a couple of your favorite summer shots and use your home office software to print them on regular labels. Many software programs will even allow you to add text on top of the image, making super-cute gift stickers, book plates, etc.
  • Go big. Tweens and teens have a psychological need to put posters on the walls of their rooms. Lucky for you, photo enlarging has never been cheaper or easier. Instead of looking at the pop star of the moment all year, let your kids choose a favorite shot of themselves with family or friends, or a scene from a family trip. Upload it to an online photo processing site and have it printed poster size. Voilà—art you both can live with!
  • Frame it up. Want a great photo project for kids? Let each child choose a favorite shot from the summer. Purchase inexpensive, wide, white photo mats sized for your prints. Let the kids decorate the mats by coloring, writing memories, or painting something fun around the photo. It’s a memory and art rolled into one.
  • Magnetize it. Buy a few adhesive photo magnets at the craft store. Stick on your favorite shots, and maybe even trim it down to the shape of the individual in the photo using a sharp tool. Pop your custom magnets on the fridge and enjoy 2,456 times per day.

Source: — GREAT ideas on this site, check it out!

New Product – Boutique Photo Boxes

May 8, 2010

These are so beautiful – these pictures really don’t do them justice!  Boutique Photo Boxes are now being offered .  .  . best part?  They are included in my new Digital Packages!  Contact Christy for information on how you can get one of your own.

Project Idea

May 7, 2010

How cute is this project!  Just had to share because I think I am going to give it a go when I find some “mini clipboards”.

Mini Clipboards – Mod Podge

Why Does Custom Photography Cost More?

May 3, 2010

The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and ability to control various factors during the image taking and making process.  Photographers, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur all benefit from this ability to manipulate pixels.  However, with flexibility comes a price.  Digital camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into creating a work of photographic art. We all know that you can go to the local Walgreen’s and pay a $1.99 for a print – as a client you may wonder why you may pay upwards of $50, $70, $90 for a custom photography print.   Photographers hear this statement every once in awhile:

“How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at x store?”

The truth of the matter is the answer to this question is multifaceted.  Much of the cost of a photographic print produced by a professional photographer has a lot to do with the time,  equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer not to mention expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business. The cost of TIME Approaching it from a time standpoint, let’s imagine that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love.  This photographer is traveling an hour to your destination to photograph your session.  Here is an example of a time break down:

  • booking time: 30 minutes to one hour (client contact time + paperwork)
  • pre-session prep time (30 mins – 1 hour, includes equipment and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)
  • one hour travel time TO session
  • 15-30 minutes prep time at client’s home
  • 90 minutes-2 hours with client photographing subject
  • one hour travel time FROM session
  • 30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer
  • 30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images
  • 2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images
  • 1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering
  • 2-3 hours time with client for ordering images
  • 1 hour sorting through and checking order
  • 30 minutes-1 hour prep time for delivery
  • 30 minutes-1 hour getting order shipped
  • any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

In this example, the time spent per client can range from just under 13 hours to 19 hours – dependent on the photographer’s level of service.  This is time dedicated only to ONE session.  When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot (aka SESSION FEE) you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 12-19 hours complete time for your session.

The COSTS of Maintaining a Custom Photography Business:

Regarding equipment costs, a good quality professional camera with a selection of good optical quality lenses and digital storage mediums and computer set up can run from $10,000-$30,000 costs dependent on the photographer.  Even though you can purchase a really good quality digital SLR for about $2100 there are still other costs related to photography.  A good lens for portrait photography can run from $900 to $2500.  A dependable computer system with software loaded for business and creative usage can run $2500 to $8000 dependent on the photographer. Then come lab costs for specialty products.  A good photographer knows their professional lab is an integral part of their success.  These labs often cost more and offer a range of products that allows the custom photographer to continually offer new, innovative products for the discerning client.

Discussion on other costs of running a photography business could take awhile so we’ll skip many of the intricate details.  An overview:  the costs of running the business, taxes, studio rental/mortgage if the photographer has ownership of a dedicated studio, vehicular costs, costs of advertising/marketing, costs of sample pieces that the photographer will likely bring to your session, etc.

APPLES to ORANGES to BANANAS: Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $19.99 for an 8×10 “sheet” or they may mention other things related to discount photography chains.  The fact is those discount chains make their money on volume, not on customized 1:1 service.  In February 2007 a company who has leased photography retail space in a rather well known discount retailer closed down 500 of their portrait studios across the nation.  The reason it happened is simple, you cannot make money on 99¢ “professional” prints if you do not sell enough of them.  Interestingly enough – those same studios that offer the loss leader packages often charge much much more for their a la carte pricing vs. many custom photographers (as high as $40-50 for an 8×10).

A little history – the whole reason the big department stores began offering portrait services in the first place was to get you, the savvy consumer, in through their door so that you could spend more money with them in other departments.  Your “PORTRAITS” are considered the “loss leader”.  Your portraits that are meant to symbolize a once-in-a-lifetime stage in your child’s life are part of what a store considers a way to get you in there door to spend more money on goods that you might not really want or need but because you’re there “anyway” you buy.

Also keep in mind that when you go to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at your home where your child is allowed to explore, play and be comfortable in their home environment, nor do you get the experience that many custom photographers are known for as well as the lovely captures of natural expressions.  You simply get a bare bones, “SAY CHEESE” experience.

REPUTATION/EXPERTISE of the PHOTOGRAPHER: There is an old story about a ship that cost a company millions of dollars.  Something went wrong in the engine room and the ship was stuck in dock.  They called various “experts” who spent weeks trying to fix the issue to no avail and at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.  Finally a older gentleman was called in who simply brought in his small tool bag and a hammer.  He set about pinging on various parts of the vast engine with his hammer, finally settling on one area.  He spent a few minutes pinging in that area, took out a few tools and fixed whatever what was wrong.  After a few moments the man straightened up, looked at the captain and instructed him to “start her up.”  The captain disbelievingly went to get the engines started while the man sat in the engine room listening as the engine roared to life.  The man tipped his hat as he exited the ship to the staff who sat dumbfounded because they had seen all the experts come on board for days with their expensive equipment only to have the ship not fixed.  This man did it in a few minutes with a few pings of his hammer!

A few days passed and the man sent the shipping company a bill for $10,000.  The accounting department contacted him immediately.  Why all the rumors mentioned that this man had only spent “a few minutes” fixing the ship “with his hammer and a few other random tools”.  When questioned about why his bill was for $10,000 – did he accidentally leave an extra zero on the bill?  The man confidently responded: “In fact the time was worth the $1,000.  The other $9,000 was for the years of experience and the ability to discern the issue as quickly as possible for the company.”

Now I’m not saying that photographers fix large ships but being in demand, being well known for quality work, having a good reputation often costs time on the photographer’s part (years of practice, study, experience, etc).  A photographer’s expertise comes at a cost, their time learning their craft and learning the intricacies of lighting and the commitment put forth on their end to create a persona about their business that oozes professionalism.  A great number of photographers go a very long time from the time that they purchase their first good camera to making money at the business of photography.  Many photographers, when first starting out, rush in thinking that the business will be easily profitable in no time, how expensive could it be to get a camera and use it to create their dream?  These photographers often undervalue what they do because they have the realization that they do not have experience or expertise but are very adept at pushing the shutter on the camera.  Many times these casual “professionals” neglect to factor in the cost of business, the cost of equipment, software, back ups, etc..  When you hire a photographer of sound reputation, you are hiring an expert, one that knows that they must always reinvest in their business to create the reputation of being top notch.  To create good work a photographer possesses not only sound knowledge in the technical and creative aspects of photography but also good, reliable equipment and back up equipment.

The photographer who desires to be known as better/best/unparalelled reputation-wise knows that the most important thing they can do for their business is reliability and dependability.  This is how reputations get built.  Good work often is a wonderful side product of building that good reputation.

I hope this (lengthy) article helps shed some light on WHY a custom photographer is a better choice for your family’s memories.  The photographs that are produced as a result of the professionalism and dedication that your photographer has will be cherished for a lifetime (or more) and great thought and consideration should be placed into hiring who is right for your family’s most precious investment.

content is inspired by discussions with other photographers, my own personal experiences and outline based on an article by San Diego Photographers Caught On Film Photography


April 24, 2010

Hi Everyone! Just a quick update – I am switching computers and it is very likely some emails have gotten overlooked/deleted, etc. So if you have sent me an email the past week or so and have not received a response please resend your email and I will respond as soon as possible. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Aplastic Anemia Awareness – Bone Marrow Donation

January 28, 2010

Hi everyone!  I would like to dedicate this post to my nephew Preston.  He is 2 years old and battling Aplastic Anemia.  I have never heard of this until now so I want everyone to be aware of this very rare blood disease that anyone can get at any point in their lives.  It is diagnosed more often in children and young adults.

Aplastic anemia occurs when the bone marrow stops making enough blood-forming stem cells.  Patients have low platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells.  The bone marrow has low or no growth of cells.  Aplastic anemia is classified as moderate (MAA), severe (SAA) or very severe (VSAA) based on the neutrophil count.  Neurtrophils are a type of white blood cell found in bone marrow and your blood stream that fights off disease and infection.  Neutrophils play a very important role in obtaining a healthy immune system.  If your neutrophil count is too low your body will not be able to fight off infections and/or diseases.

Symptoms of aplastic anemia are bruising, increased bleeding (such as nose bleeds), petechaie (a tiny red or purple spot on the body caused by a minor hemorrage), has a hard time getting better when sick with a cold, cough etc., shortness of breath, fatigue, decreased alertness, dizziness.

Preston woke up one morning with petechaie, although at the time we had no idea what these little bumps all over this baby could be, and my sister and her husband took him to the Emergency Room.  After many tests (blood counts, bone marrow biopsy, medical history of everyone on both sides of the family trees) he was finally diagnosed with aplastic anemia.

There are two types of treatment for aplastic anemia:

Bone Marrow Transplant – this is the choice of treatment if the patient is under 30 years old and has a matched sibling bone marrow donor.  The transplant replaces the defective bone marrow of the patient with the healthy cells of his/her sibling donor.  This treatment often provides complete recovery of 80% of patients.  Siblings will not always be a perfect match for a bone marrow donation.

Immunosuppressive  Therapy – this is the choice of treatment in older patients and also for patients who do not have a matched bone marrow sibling donor.  ATG (Anti-Thymocyte Gloubin) plus cyclosporine is the usual therapy treatment.

Preston is an only child and has been undergoing immunosurpressive treatment for his VSAA (very severe aplastic anemia).   He is just starting to show changes in his blood counts and a bone marrow biopsy was done yesterday to see if the treatment is working for him.  If this treatment does not work the next step would be to find him a match for a bone marrow transplant off the registry of donors.  We pray that the therapy is working and we should know by the end of the week if it is.

I would like to encourage everyone to become a bone marrow donor.  It is easier then you think!  All you do is go to and register.  You will have to answer some questions about your medical history.  They will then send you a registration kit.  All you need to do is swab the inside of your mouth and place it in the provided envelope and send it back.  No need to go to a doctor or hospital to get tested.  Saving a life could be as easy as a quick swab of your mouth and 10 minutes of your time.

January is also National Blood Donor Awareness Month!  Go to your local blood bank and give blood today!  If you are in Louisiana you can give blood in Preston’s name, just let them know when you go in.

Please feel free to check out Preston’s website to follow his updates — Preston’s Website

Jacob, Preston and Renee (my sister) - at Disney World while visiting us before he got sick

Jacob, Preston and Renee (my sister) - at Disney World while visiting us before he got sick

Preston and Maw-Maw (my mom)

Preston and Maw-Maw (my mom)

Other sites on Aplastic Anemia and Donation Sites:

Be A Match – Bone Marrow Donation

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center – Give Blood in Preston’s Name

Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

Give Blood – American Red Cross Centers

Why Choose Custom Photography?

August 31, 2009

Custom Photography as something “special”

Custom photography is more of a luxury than your entry level cookie cutter chain experience. Custom photography truly is not for everyone, it requires a level of commitment, investment in time and money, forethought and planning on the part of the subject/client and requires a larger time commitment for the photographer as well.

Clients who enjoy taking a more active role in the creation of their families’ memories have the desire to have portrait art that is truly personalized. These more discerning clients have been known to budget and allot time for a custom photography session. Many clients opt for it to be a once a year special experience, some opt to have custom photography sessions done to record their child’s stages in life. Having said this, it is clear that custom photography is not in everyone’s budget, it is something that most families save for to splurge on from time to time to memorialize their children as they really are (not posed and primped in the cookie cutter studio setting).
There is a great deal of time involved in creating high end custom photography sessions for a client. The luxury of great service, better choices and a supberb end product. The result of all this are heirloom quality images. The time invested at the session is only a small portion of time involved in this process.
Custom photography has been likened to purchasing a fine vehicle. To get to point B from A let’s face it, even a bus ride would suffice. If you want to luxuriate in a finely appointed vehicle, customizing your own experience by listening to smooth jazz while sitting in a climate controlled setting adjusted purely for your comfort in a body hugging leather interior, perhaps that Lexus you so desire is your cup of tea. Custom photography is much the same cup of tea. It is the Lexus of the photography world. It is where the intangibles make the experience truly wonderful and the images themselves make the investment of money and time truly worthwhile.
Custom photography can be broken down into even more levels. There are on location, studio, mixed studio/on location, specialty location and destination type photographers. The beauty of custom photography is in the choices and in the luxury of thoses options. The customized service level you are sure to experience will be amazing. The knowledge that your final images are the result of someone caring about those moments so much that they take extra time ensuring that the artwork you receive is good enough to stand by with their name on it. That level of quality and commitment is all but lost in the age of “mass produced,” “mass marketed,” corporate “everyone is a number”. Custom photography is based on being unique to you. How great an experience would be, to be able to sit back and allow a photographer to do this highly custom work for images that you will most likely cherish for a lifetime?
Keep in mind more than anything that the Lexus will never appreciate in value the way your portraits will. The portrait art you become invested in from your custom photographer will no doubt increase in value and become more priceless as the years pass.

Written by: Marianne Drenthe

All About Christy

Christy specializes in custom on location portraiture that will capture your family being themselves. She use the natural light of the sun and available light to capture your photographs. This is especially important when it comes to children and portraits. When a child walks into a portrait studio they will see big lights, reflectors, softboxes, cameras, props and backdrops which can be a bit overwhelming for some kids. When I come to your session it is just me and my camera, a reflector and occasionally a prop or two. I work on location only, as I believe that giving children the freedom to roam around in an outside environment eases them, which results in a more natural and candid portrait. I capture children being themselves. Laughing, playing and goofing around are some of my favorite shots! I don't believe in unnatural and stiff poses. My goal at Christy Marrone Photography is to have fun capturing moments in your family's life and to create for you an art piece you will proudly hang in your home to adore and cherish forever!