A 2015 Senior Swimmer, Hannah, Houston TX

When Hannah contacted me for her senior session and told me she is a swimmer I was absolutely thrilled. I’ve been wanting to do some water shots and this was a perfect opportunity.

We started her session by doing some traditional shots in her amazing backyard and on her childhood treehouse. Then we headed to her neighborhood pool where she’s been swimming for basically her whole life. There is a moment in every session I do where a client opens up to me through my camera. It’s a moment in which they become vulnerable and I get to see who they really are. I’m not even sure if they realize this happens but for me it does and it’s the moment we get some of the best photos. Sometimes its after we have a good laugh about something, or when Bill does something silly, but with Hannah it was the moment she entered the pool. I could tell that this was her happy place, her peace, her zen if you will. It was so exciting to capture it and an honor as well. Thank you Hannah for sharing that with me, and for being so very willing to try all kinds of things, jump in and out of the pool and teach me a little about swimming.

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In a Whirlwind I Need A Moment, 5 Things

At this very moment I have 100 things to do, but I need just a moment to post a personal blog. To make it short and sweet I’ll go with the 5 things format because that’ll give me the moment I need without this taking up too much of my time and so…

1. Large Storms, Circling and New Orleans

We were in Philadelphia last week visiting my in-laws and a ton of my husbands family and friends. Most had never met Issa but it was a fun time that was filled with lots of food and family and Amish. Yes Amish. But that’s for a later date.

On the flight home, we start to descend and then the pilot announces that we’re going to circle Houston a while because winds are at 75 miles per hour on the ground. So we circle, and circle and about 45 minutes to an hour later the pilot lets us know that we’ll be making a quick detour to New Orleans because the winds are still too high and we’re running out of fuel. So our 3 hour flight turned into a 6 hour flight with a brief and unexpected stop in NOLA.

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2. I’m Waiting and It’s Hot

Our A/C is out. It’s hot. We’re big time DIYers, but for some things you have to call in the professionals. I’m currently waiting for the A/C guy to come save us from the heat. Yes it’s still 90 degrees in Houston in October. But don’t feel sorry for us, it’ll be 65 when it’s freezing and snowy up north. In the mean time, it’s hot. The bright side is this didn’t happen in August when it’s really hot. I’m choosing to focus on that and not the heat, or the cost to fix it, or that my daughter may wake up when the A/C guy starts poking around in the attic. It could be hotter. It could be hotter.

3. It’s Busy Season Again

Somehow I’m never fully prepared to fall busy season. I need to put a yearly reminder in my calendar to start psyching myself up for the madness that is about to ensue. Even though it’s busy and I have no downtime I still love it because I’m creating and doing and it’s awesome and amazing images come out of this time. It also helps me look forward to the holidays because by the time Thanksgiving rolls around things will calm down to a steady pace and I’ll get to enjoy family time and pumpkin pie and tree decorating and those sorts of things.

4. Things In My Head

Sometimes I have something in my head, a vision for a photo or shoot or something and I just have to get it out. It gnaws at me. It pesters. It makes me lay awake at night. Sometimes I sketch it out, and that helps, it gets it out of my brain and onto paper to be utilized at a later date. But this one was super sticky and I needed to do the shoot. So I found a model, my beautiful mom friend Gyna, and I sewed a gown (yes sewed) because that’s easier that hunting around for what was in my head and we went to a location and I shot. I have so much more to share about this session, and many more images, but for the time being, here’s a favorite…

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My brain is feeling much less full now.

5. 30 Is Coming

In eight months I turn 30. It sort of hit me the other day. It has not yet sunk in, but I’m really thinking about the future, and what that looks like for us and where we want to be. I hear that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re 30, from a psychology standpoint it’s just want people go through. I’m also thinking about the party, because 30 is really big and I want to do something big, but I have no idea what that something is. Party and everything aside, more than anything I want to own it, I want to own being 30, but in the mean time I’m going to really enjoy the last few months of my 20s.

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Abbey, Our First 2015 Senior Photo Session, Spring, TX

Abbey is our very first senior for 2015. I love when seniors decide to shoot in the fall, the weather in Houston is perfect for photo sessions, the skies are beautiful and the plant life is still full and green with just the slightest nod that it’s about to change seasons. Bill and I loved getting to know Abbey and her mom during our pre-session consultation and of course during her session. There was a lot of laughter and ridiculousness because I’m fairly certain we all share the same kind of humor. It was the perfect session to start our 2015 senior season and the fall photography session extravaganza (we’re booked pretty solid with only a few openings remaining before we close up for Christmas).

I’m overjoyed with how Abbey’s photos turned out. We shot very simply and let the terrain and Abbey’s beauty take the lead. It was the kind of session that while editing I just stood back and said wow. And then grabbed Bill to say, “Do you see this image? I took that image!” I’ve really been digging into photography as my art and figuring out where I want to go from here and trying to challenge myself both technically, compositionally and conceptually. So thank you Abbey for allowing me to take these photos of you at this time in your life. Thank you for being my muse for a few hours and letting me create art where you’re the subject. You’re awesome.

 

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A Photo Session Family of Three, Tulsa, OK

I have waited to take pictures of this peanut for one year. I’ve taken pictures of her parents when they were dating, while they got engaged, their engagement photos, at their wedding, and a couple’s family photos. Their photos not only document their lives but also the course of my artwork as a photographer. It nearly killed me that I didn’t get to take Addie’s newborn photos. Distance is a cruel cruel beast of a thing. I did take some not so official photos of her when they met us in Dallas for a one night stay/quick girls get together, but she was sleepy and she bonked her head and while the photos are quite hilarious of her yelling while Issa is trying to console her, the photographer part of me was not at all satisfied.

So when we went to Tulsa for miss Addie’s first birthday, my number one mission was to take photos of them as a family of three and a few photos of that beautiful little girl all by herself. My heart is overjoyed and bursting with love for them. I know it sounds super gushy, but really I can not tell you how much I love this family and that little lady and that our girls are such good friends. Friendship is worth more than anything to me, and their’s is something I treasure.

Ok I’m done gushing. Here are their photos.

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Baby CoraLee, a Spring, TX Newborn Photo Session

I’ve known these two for some time. They were students in our youth group years ago. I was Amie’s camp counselor and Bill helped teach Corey to play the drums. We’ve watched them grow and mature and now they’re parents themselves. Which all makes me feel very old. It was an honor to capture their little one during her first days of life, when she was still absolutely fresh and new and with that newborn perfection. Now that my little girl is a running, into-everything toddler it makes me appreciate how short that newborn, teeny baby time is.

This sweet little lady gave us some trouble at first, she didn’t want to sleep, but after a few rounds around the block in the car with her daddy she slept perfectly through the remainder of her newborn photo session. She’s a beauty and I’m so happy she’s finally here.

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Photo Class Pricing Change

Since this is our very first every photo class in this format I’ve decided to make a big change on the price. If this class goes well I definitely would like to offer it again in the future, which makes our very first attendees our trial run. I feel like that means they should pay a bit less since they are acting somewhat as guinea pigs. That said, we’re dropping the class from $250 to $99 per person. There will be two changes with this price drop, lunch will no longer be provided (you’ll need to bring a lunch) and the cheat sheet book will be an optional additional purchase at the class.

I’m so looking forward to this class and I’m hoping the price change will make it more available to everyone. For those who have already signed up, we will be refunding the difference to you.

PHOTO CLASS 101, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18, 9a-3p, LOCATION IN SPRING, TX $99

You can still register by clicking here, the new price will be reflected in the registration form. For the ALL the details on the class please click here.

I’ve had several people ask about the photography class and if you can take it even if you don’t have a DSLR camera and just a point and shoot (ie. an iphone camera). The answer is YES. The photo of Issa leaving for her first day of school which is on this blog post was taken with my iphone. You can still take amazing photos of your family events without a DSLR. There will be a portion of the class that won’t necessarily pertain to your camera but a great deal will still apply and you’ll still learn how to take better photos. So yes, please, come!

Diliberto Photo & Design Amature Photography Class

Issa’s Very First Day of School

I definitely thought I’d be more emotional. The hardest part was leaving her while she was crying, but sighing a great sigh and meeting up with our parent friends (who also have kiddos in Issa’s class) made things much easier. I’ve learned something about myself over the last year and half of being a mom, I’m a much better, more patient, loving and compassionate mom, when I can work.

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It’s hard not to feel guilt for this, like I should desire to be around my child 24/7 to cater to her to be mom all the time. And I am, mom all the time, but there is something about expressing myself creatively through my work, editing a shoot, designing an ad or logo, or going over paper samples with a client for custom wedding invitations, that makes me a better mom and makes the experience as a whole all the more amazing.

issa-firstday-2 I’m doing it for myself, for my own gratification, for the satisfaction of my clients and for her. After I complete a few hours of work I’m excited to see her. I was so thrilled to pick her up today and incredibly disappointed when she hadn’t napped and fell right asleep in the car on the way home instead of playing with me. I suppose some women go for a massage, or a pedicure or what have you to recharge (and don’t get me wrong, I love ALL of those things) but working recharges me, it fires me up and accomplishing things makes me ready to be mom.

issa-firstday-3 I suppose I might be emotional later, probably when I least expect it. Because my baby girl is growing up and becoming her own person but as sad as it is to say goodbye to the baby version of her I am SO excited to see who she is becoming.

Announcing an Intimate Photography Class

Diliberto Photo & Design Amature Photography Class

I’m so excited (and nervous) to finally announce that I will be teaching a beginner photography class which will be open to anyone who wants to attend. I’ve had tons of clients ask me about it and I can tell you all, after years and years it’s going to happen. Below are all the details.

WHERE WHEN ETC.

  • The location will be sent to you after we receive your registration form, but it will be in the Spring, TX area
  • The date is Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 9am-3pm
  • A light breakfast and lunch will be provided
  • This class is limited to people 17 and older
  • There will not be child care

WHAT WILL BE TAUGHT

  • How to shoot on manual (ie. how to use your camera to take better pictures)
  • Photography techniques
  • Understanding light and how to shoot in different lighted situations (outside, inside, in dark areas, at night etc.)
  • Basic editing
  • We will do a hands on mini photo shoot where we will review your images
  • You’ll also be able to purchase a cheat sheet book which will go over all the details from the class

WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR

  • This class is for the beginner or amateur home photographer
  • This class is not for professional photographers
  • If you want to take better photos at home, this is for you
  • If you want to understand your camera better, this is for you
  • If you want to understand light and composition better, this is for you

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • You should own or have access to a digital SLR camera (also called a DSLR), there are tons of brands and varieties, but basically you’ll need to have more settings on your camera than just an automatic setting
  • If you do not have a digital SLR camera (and take pictures with your phone or an point and shoot) you are still welcome to come to the class!
  • A desire to learn about photography
  • A complete things-to-bring list will be sent to you after you register
  • A sack lunch

HOW TO REGISTER

  • You can click here which will lead you to a form to register
  • Your payment will need to be made in full to secure your spot
  • Space is limited to 10 students so please make sure you register early
  • You can make your payment via paypal using a paypal account or credit card
  • The cost of the class is $250 $99 which includes the 6 hour crash course and a light breakfast (and of course coffee, you can’t have class without coffee).

DISCLAIMER

Please note this class is not for amateur professional photographers. Our goal is not to teach people how to become professional photographers, we are teaching how to better use your camera and take better memories at home, on vacations, during holidays and at kids’ sports games and performances, places you may not always have a professional photographer handy.

That said, being a professional photographer is very hard. Mastering the art takes years of classes, practice, studying under other great photographers and continuing education. The market is saturated with tons of photographers and competition is very tough, especially when many of them give their work away, it’s hard to compete with free much less make a living. I say all this not to steer you away or discourage you, but I just want to be sure folks are coming to this class with the proper expectations of what it will be.

That said, if you’re wanting to learn more about the photography industry and how to make it a business I can definitely steer you in the right direction. I’ve had several amazing mentors that still mentor me to this day and they offer fantastic teaching tools for new professional photographers, or those considering it as a career choice. We’re also always looking for great photo assistants when Bill can’t make a session, and that is the best way to learn. SO if that’s what you’re looking for, let’s talk.

ANNNND A LITTLE MORE INFO…

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. :)

I shot my husband.

Not too long ago Bill and I were either driving in the car or sitting in bed, or one of those places where toddlers are either in bed asleep or tied down and thus somewhat distracted. He looked at me and said, “you know, you’ve never photographed me”.

And other than just shooting our lives and whatever we happen to be doing at the moment, he’s absolutely right.

I’ve been shooting some commercial photography work here and there. A friend got me into it. It’s something I’ve always been interested in and have studied on my own. I must say it is really nice to get a specific request and get to sit and think creatively a bit and then go shoot that one thing. It’s a different brain space, commercial photography, and it has been an energizing and inspiring change of pace.

So when I received a request for a bearded hipster male in sunglasses I racked my brain thinking of all of our hipster friends, non of which currently have beards. Then I looked at my husband, smiled and said “I want to take pictures of you”.

We’re closet hipsters so I’m told. So he grabbed a v-neck and his ray bans and I posed him in front of a tree in our front yard. Here are two of my favorite shots.

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He did a fantastic job. He’s a good man like that, always willing to participate in one of my hair brained ideas, but not without giving me one of those “you know you’re just a little bit crazy right” looks. And if I do say so myself, he looks quite good.

The mini photo session was short lived though because just after the shot above the sprinklers turned on, not two feet away from us. I leapt out of the spray of the sprinkler onto the sidewalk, shielding my camera with my body while Bill ran and scooped up Issa who was playing at our feet while I shot these.

And there you have it, I shot him, with my camera.

So, do I just get a CD of images?

This post is long over due. I get this question a lot, “So, do I just get a CD of images?”, and when I hear it, my heart hurts. This is a loaded question, way more loaded than any client or potential client probably intends it to be. It’s loaded because it’s personal and because I’ve had potential clients argue about it and say hurtful things. It always makes me sad.

In short, the answer is kinda, but not really, and there are a lot of reasons why, which I will explain below. There are ways to get a CD, but there’s a lot of reasons why we don’t just give one over, and never full sized images, and here’s why…

The Why
One of my favorite parts about what I do, other than the photography portion, is getting to know my clients. Often times my clients become good friends, and when they call to have me design a card, we end up chatting for a good 30 minutes about life and the funny things our kids are doing these days. It’s because we spend time together, planning sessions, during the session, and during ordering and later when they call for the next big life event. I get to know their children over the years. I get to watch them grow. My clients become family to me. I truly feel if I just handed over a CD after a session this would never happen, it would be a disservice to my clients. We’d never get to collaborate on how to print the images, or on Christmas card layout ideas or senior photo books. I never want to be a portrait studio that is based on volume. My desire is to be your friend, to get to know your family and to be here to create art and celebrate chapters in life with you.

That said, we are not creating this art together so it can sit on a disc for all eternity. We are creating this beautiful artwork, capturing your family in this time, so it can be seen and shared. This is why we do ordering sessions in your home. I want to see your walls, your decor and help come up with creative ways to print, display and cherish your photos.

You may say “no, that’s not me, I’ll definitely have them printed”. We all go into it with good intentions. Photographer friends have shot my daughter and my family, beautiful images, and as a photographer they have trusted me with the digital images. Are they printed and hanging in my home? No. Because we forget and the disc gets set aside and we get busy and this does not do their art justice. To those photographer friends, I apologize.

There’s also a technical aspect to our policy on not giving away or selling digital images. My computers are calibrated to the printers we use, meaning the color I see on my screen is as close as it can possibly be to the color it will be when it’s printed. Different printers are calibrated different ways so the image won’t print as I intended at any other printer except the one my computer is calibrated to. It’s why sculptors use the same foundries over and over, it’s why painters use the same brand of paint and brushes. It’s creative and quality control and as an artist I’m not willing to let this go just yet.

Thirdly, technology changes, remember floppy discs? Remember VHS? Who has home movies on VHS or High8 with no way to play them? I do. The idea that 15 years down the road we will all still have CD and DVD readers in our computers is kind of silly. We just purchased a new laptop and there’s no CD or DVD drive. So if you’re like me and you get busy and you don’t print the photos, there may be a time where you just can’t because the technology is extinct. But prints, high quality prints like the ones we offer (when kept properly) stand the test of time. Lots of us have old black and white images of our families that were handed down to us by grandparents. These images are family heirlooms and a part of me really hopes the images I capture of your family will be as well.

The Compromise
I’m also not willing to stubbornly sit here and say no. I am well aware that we live in a digital age where photos are shared online. This is why we always share a few images from your session on our Facebook page with our logo on them (this is for both for your protection and our own). We’re always willing to share additional photos you’ve purchased (in prints, a book, cards, jewelry, whatever) on our Facebook page after your ordering session. We even offer to create a free custom Facebook cover photo for you. We LOVE when you share our work. It gives me warm fuzzies all over. It’s also how we get new clients since our business is 99% referral based. We even have a referral rewards program to thank clients who send friends and family our way.

I also know some people just want a disc, even though we keep your photos forever and you can always order more years later. As a photographer I get this. This is why, once a $250 print order has been made, we offer a keepsake disc for purchase which allows you to archive your images. These discs are not full size images (remember that bit about creative and quality control as well as correct color printing above). They are images suitable for printing as a 4×6 or 5×7 for scrapbooking or just to remember or to use as the background on your home computer without our watermark on them. The prices are below:

4×6 size – (ten images) $250    (fifteen images) $375    (twenty images) $500

5×7 size – (ten images) $300    (fifteen images) $450   (twenty images) $600

Years ago, before digital, it was rare that a photographer ever sold his film negatives. If he did they were pricy. Giving away or selling digital images is like a chef giving away his recipes. There’s value there, and trust.

The End
I hope this very long and photoless post helps to clear up my reasoning behind our policies. If you have any questions about anything please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m always willing to work with my clients’ needs and vision.

We’ve entertained the idea of just swallowing that whole bit about creative and quality control, raising the session fee and giving a disc with the session. However when I asked my current clients what they thought they said don’t do it. And when they said that I breathed a breath of relief, not because of the quality control or the creative control but because seeing my work printed is seeing it completed. Seeing my clients’ faces when they receive their prints, or cards, or jewelry, or books or whatever product we come up with is the most gratifying thing an artist could ask for. Developing relationships is equally as important to me as capturing that perfect photo. It makes me smile and it makes me know that what I’m doing, this art, is good and right.

As always, thanks for reading.