Valentine Portrait Package – 2018

Valentine Portrait Package – 2018

Most couples will celebrate Valentine Day with flowers, candy, dinner or maybe all of these. All of these are great ways to enjoy your time together. However, at the end of the day all you have to show is the memory. Memories are great, unless something really happened you’d rather forget. So, why not try something different or add something extra?

Consider coming into the the photography studio for a portrait session. A special priced package is offered and here are the details:

  • 1-1/2 hour in studio sitting session. Bring 1, 2 or 3 clothing changes.
  • 1 – 11 inch X14 inch color print on premium photo paper. This size is ideal for framing and hanging in your home.
  • 2 – 5X7 color prints on premium photo paper. These prints are an ideal size to frame for the office or to gift to others.
  • All 3 prints must be from the same pose.
  • Order any additional prints from the current price list (not packaged price).
  • This limited offer package cost $99.00 plus tax. A $50.00 deposit is required to schedule your sitting session.
  • Offer expires February 28, 2018.
  • Terms and Conditions apply. They are available from the studio by request.

To take advantage of this offer, call the studio to schedule your sitting:
440-354-2535 (Off)
440-725-6504 (Cell)
Payment may be made by cash, check or credit card.

Expectant couple

Your photographer Tom Szabo looks forward to seeing you in the studio. Call now!

Valentine 2018 Shopping

You can give a very special gift for Valentine Day this year. Of course there will be a lot of jewelry shopping this year, but offers something truly different. Consider jewelry spotlighting prehistoric fossil jewelry from teeth and bone. Sounds a little different – right. The Ocean Sands line of jewelry features specimens from prehistoric shark teeth, megalodon teeth, whale bone and manatee bone. These specimens adorn bracelets, earrings, key chains and necklaces. Check out the store now for that special gift. As an extra incentive, use coupon code valen18 to receive 20% off your order. Have fun shopping!

Ocean Sands Jewelry by Tom Szabo.

Shop Small – Shop Local

Shop Small

Shop Small – The Christmas Season is just around the corner. So let me challenge you to Think Small. That’s right, look around for small businesses to support this season.

In doing so, check out the on line store. In the store you can shop for Ocean Sands Jewelry, Home Town Note Cards and Elegant Flight Sampling Trays. You’ll find these to be items you won’t find in just any store. However, you can find Ocean sands Jewelry at Starfish And Coffee  or CraftSmith’s.

Shop Small t-s logo.

Shop Small – Shop t-s

You Wonder Why A Pro Photographer Is Protective Of Our Work?

Photographer –

So I’m doing some research on an image I created. This caused me to go to the Garfield Home website. I stumbled upon a photography event at the Garfield Home, part of the US National Parks. Here’s a link to the event.

The National Parks is inviting photographers to come photograph the historical site. I’m thinking hmmmmm, might be interesting to attend. As I look through the event description, I come upon the following statement:
“Images will become the property of the National Park Service, though all photographers will receive digital copies.”

Are you kidding me? The NPS is going to ALLOW me to have copies of my creations! Typical, the National Parks Service among others know nothing about Copyrights. But they believe every photographer that’s worth anything will jump at the opportunity to spend their time creating copyright images. Then turn the rights over to the NPS just so the NPS can publish them anywhere, anytime and for any purpose with NO compensation to the maker.

Myself and every other professional photographer have money, and time wrapped up in equipment, expenses, training and building our craft. But typical of so many today who believe we photographers don’t care to eat, don’t want to pay our mortgage, have no need to invest into our business. So if you’re willing to give something away, maybe that’s exactly what it’s worth – NOTHING! You won’t see me at this event. business card



Product Update!

I hope you enjoy my announcement about the expansion of the online store! Two new product departments have been added.


Customers have encouraged me to add a line of notecards to the store. The first series released is based on the iconic buildings on the square in Painesville Ohio. The cards are A7 size, 5″X7″ on 80 lb. stock with a 4″X6″ photo of the subject. All cards are hand made and include an envelope.

Home Town Notecards showing iconic points in Lake County Ohio.

Iconic buildings of Painesville, OH are the subjects of new notecard line.

You can purchase the cards individually or there is a special catalog number for a collection of all 6 as shown above. In addition, you’ll see a card listed illustrating the 2016 Christmas Tree that was on display in downtown Painesville.

I hope you find them enjoyable and worthwhile. You can soon choose from other local scenes. They’re not ready yet, I’m in the process of creating images as we speak. Please feel free to offer your comments and suggestions for other local iconic sites in northeast Ohio.


Many of you who follow me on social media may have heard my wife and I joined some friends to journey to the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. If you get the chance to travel there, allow plenty of time to do some “sippin”. When you do, you’ll notice the different ways samples are served to you.

Now you can enjoy your samples in Elegant and Grand style. Check out the new Elegant Flights in the store. The flights are hand made from select hardwoods (Oak and Walnut for now). The flight tray is cut into the shape of a bottle with milled recesses to nest the four 1-1/2 oz. sample glass. Glasses are included. The tray is finished using a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax. The finish helps protect the hardwood from spills and highlights the details of the hardwood.

Elegant Flights from select hardwoods to sample your favorite liquors.

Sip carefully with your friends!

So if you want to share your tasting experience with friends, this is the perfect accessory for you. Of course, please serve and enjoy responsibly!

To learn more about the new products offered by, please visit the STORE. Of course if you have any questions or have a custom need, please contact using the “CONTACT” page.

Events in The Area

EVENTS – It’s August 2017. You may be thinking it’s time to prepare the kids for school. Oh no, there goes the checking account! Let’s take your mind off that for a while and think about some fun things to do. Consider:


August 19, 2017 – Art In The Park. Come meet local artists and find some great deals. Events for kids, Food trucks, Entertainment and more. will have a booth again this year. Check out Tom’s line of Ocean Sands jewelry, portrait photography special, and the new line of blank notecards.

August 26, 2017 – 3 On 3 Basketball. If you love to play basketball, put your team together and signup.

September 7, 2017 – The Taste. Come enjoy the food from local restaurants, food trucks and enjoy the entertainment.

September 15 to 17, 2017 – Fish Festival/Fish Tournament

You can register the kids for a fishing tournament. For the adults there is a stealhead fishing tournament. Meet local boat charters and bait/tackle shops. Lots of FREE clinics. Live bands daily and appearances by Jungle Terry!

September 30, 2017 – Painesville Farm & Flea. The Downtown Painesville Organization (DPO), will be hosting the second Painesville Farm & Flea on September 30, 2017, at 177 Main Street, Painesville, Ohio. The Flea hours are from 9 AM to 2 PM. Enjoy live entertainment and food trucks as you experience area handmade, vintage, farm, food, and artistic vendors. For more information or how to receive an application, call or email at 440.352.6004, or The DPO is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. will have a booth at this event. Come check out Ocean Sands jewelry and learn more about Tom’s photography services.

Advanced Notice: October 28, 2017 – Haunting In The Alley! More info to follow. business card

Shell Enhances Prehistoric Shark Tooth Necklace!

Shell Enhances Shark Tooth!

Sometime prehistoric shark teeth can look a little bit lonesome. On my last visit to the Gulf side of Florida, I started picking up some nice shells on the beach. My mind started to wonde;r how could I incorporate these shells into my jewelry line Ocean Sands? Answers to questions may not always pop immediately into my head. After I returned home a thought came to mind. Why not nest a shark tooth inside the shell? In addition, why not cut the shell to allow the view to go through the back of the shell?

So I grabbed a couple of the “not-so-good” shells and headed over to the grinder to begin grinding away the back side of the shell. After a couple of attempts, I had a new addition to the shark tooth necklaces.

Here’s a sample of an early design. By removing the back side of the shell, whatever the pendant is against will be seen. Whether it’s your neckline, top, or t-shirt, it will show through the necklace. These shells are similar to the shark teeth in that no two are the same. Each necklace design is unique. The odds of duplicating this piece are slim to almost NONE!

Add a pair of prehistoric shark tooth earrings and what a set! As of this post, I’ve made only seven necklaces of this shell style. I have more shells, so I will be adding more to the collection.

You’ll notice that some of the necklaces include one or more pearls to enhance the design in addition to the quartz crystal ships.

Below you will see the other necklaces in this style. They vary as to leather or chain necklaces and different lengths. The chains or leather lengths include 22″, 30″ and 34″ lengths. They should give you a different look to fit the style of your clothing and the look you want. I hope you like the new style. These pieces are all in the on-line store and available for purchase. Let me know how you like them and give me your thoughts or design suggestions!

Professional HeadShot

In Lake County, Ohio we have a lot of marketing/communications professionals. Many of them belong to a local organization know as Lake Communicators. Every year, the organization publishes a directory of members (yes, some folks still like hardcopy) and list them on the web site. To make it easy for members to have a professional headshot, one of the photography members will agree to create member headshots. As Tom Szabo is one of the few remaining photographers in the group, he returned this year to conduct the photo shoot.

Prior to the luncheon meeting, Tom comes in early to set up a portable studio. The studio consists of camera, tripod, main light with a 7 foot diameter umbrella, back light, back drop, stool and light stands. Each member needing a  new/updated head shot steps in front of the camera working with Tom to create a suitable image. Subjects do have the opportunity for a quick review of the image(s) and where requested, re-takes are provided.

Portraits can sometime make people a bit nervous. However, most members know Tom and He works with them to relax. The result is a headshot that appears confident and reflective of the persons personality.

Since the photography service is available before and after the luncheon meeting, there’s not a lot of time for casual conversation. However Tom finds a way to break the ice and ease members in front of the camera. These are professionals with busy schedules and not a lot of time. So most are sit down, a couple of quick words, pose direction, shoot and go on to the next person. That means all set up and lighting checks must be completed and finalized before members arrive.

Below is a gallery of this years work. For those of you photographed this year wishes to thank you for your time and hope you are pleased with the results.

Sea Shell, Shark Tooth Necklace With Pearls

A sea shell beautifully surrounds a prehistoric shark tooth necklace with two white pearls by Tom Szabo. This Ocean Sands necklace is new to the line of jewelry by Here are the details:

  • Prehistoric shark tooth weighting 1.1 grams
  • Tooth measures 13/16 inch long
  • Wrapped using silver plated 20 ga. round wire
  • Two 4mm diameter X 8mm long cultured grade C pearls
  • 1-3/4 inch Pecten sea shell with center cut out and purple accent coloring
  • 18 inch long 2.2 mm silver plated chain with clasp.

Typical of jewelry, the shark tooth and shell have been recovered while scuba diving and the set is hand made by the artist. This prehistoric tooth dates back to the Miocene and Pliocene eras, 2.5 to 26 million years ago. This is a piece of archeological history!

To learn more about jewelry by artist Tom Szabo, please visit the studio web site Consider purchasing Ocean Sands jewelry? Contact Tom Szabo for more information and purchase by:

Phone: 440-354-2535 (OFF) or 440-725-6504 (CELL)



Shark tooth necklace inside sea shell

Prehistoric shark tooth necklace with 2 pearls inside a shell with cutout. Price $57.95

Shark Tooth Necklaces, For Christmas!

Shark Tooth Necklace

Take a BITE out of your Christmas shopping with these new additions to the Ocean Sands line of jewelry. is happy to announce the addition of some new pre-historic tooth necklaces.

Until now, most of the teeth available on Ocean Sands necklaces were 1/2 inch to 1 inch.  Shark tooth necklaces are now available in lengths over 3 inches, weighing in at over 75 grams, due to recent finds by scuba instructor Tom Szabo. All of these teeth come from various sharks that roamed the waters during pre-historic times. These pre-historic eras date back from 25 million years to 2.5 million years ago. This period is known as the Cenozoic era. The Cenozoic era started late in the Miocene era and ended in the Pliocene era.

As with all Ocean Sands materials, the new larger teeth were recovered by Tom himself while diving off the gulf coast of Florida. The teeth are cleaned from their ocean borne deposits. They are then polished, wire wrapped, and matched with a necklace to enhance the tooth. All this work is performed by Tom himself in his studio.

Here are samples of the new additions to the Ocean Sands line of jewelry:

The Ocean Sands line was designed to be attractive for men, women and children. That’s why you’ll see a range of pendant size and chain selection. In addition, wrist and ankle bracelets are available along with ear rings. The beauty of Ocean Sands jewelry is that no two pieces will ever be identical. That’s good news and bad news. If you like a particular piece, waiting may cause you to loose out!

To see these and other selections, contact A select inventory is also available at the first retail outlet – The Craftsmiths in Perry, Ohio.

Sun – For One Light Portraits

Sun: A very interesting portrait video came across my feed today. I wanted to share it with you.

First of all most Facebook photography I see has one thing in common – Bad Lighting! Please stop and think for a minute; where does your outdoor light come from? Of course the sun. So that means you have a single source for your photos. In this video photographer Aaron Anderson talks about shooting portraits using – guess what: 1 light. Think of his one light as the sun. I know, what a concept – LOL.

In the video you’re going to see a lot of studio equipment. Yes, but pay attention to the main tools he uses, a strobe, a camera and a reflector. That’s it. What Aaron does do however is CONTROL the illumination. Don’t have a big DSLR? no problem use your cell phone camera. Remember his main light placement and position your subject using the sun in the same relative position. Oh you don’t have a white reflector card? How about the side of a building, a newspaper, a blanket. Look at what’s at hand that you can use.

You may not have Photoshop to make the post process editing. Don’t worry, you’re not a pro trying to sell your work. Paying attention to your subject position will get you better results than what you have been doing.

Watch the video and pay attention to what Aaron is doing with his 1 light (like the sun). Enjoy and feel free to post your thoughts and/or results. I’d like to see your results.


Portrait photography

Relaxed portrait pose for a high school senior.

Photo Phuss – So What?

Photo Phuss – So What?

Photo Phuss is created by professional photographers. Nope, it’s not a new technique. It strictly involves money! Photographers make money by creating pleasing images and $elling them. With the proliferation of cell phone cameras and photo based websites, images are considered fair game for sharing and theft.

Example: You’ve taken what you think is a great photo of your baby and posted it on Instagram. At your next visit to the baby isle at the store you see your adorable baby on the disposable diaper packaging. Here’s a multi-billion dollar company making millions of dollars of profit off your child’s image without your permission or without any compensation to you. Imagine your child’s college fund going down the toilet. Is your response going to be – wait till me friends see my picture on the package? Probably not. You’re going to want some form of compensation – like a lot!

This is the same issue photographers face everytime someone scans one of their prints then goes to the discount store to print an 8X10. It’s the same lost revenue to the photographer. Or expecting a photographer to simply give you a free copy of a digital image file. Check out what Chris Gampat has to say about Instagram. Let me know your thoughts.

Portrait of baby

Don’t you think I’m cool?

Diarrhea Photography

Crappy Photography

There’s no doubt that cell phone cameras have changed they way we approach taking pictures. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve heard me talk or rant about being smarter than the camera. With everyone walking around with a cell phone camera we’ve been allowed to take a lot of images that, well frankly are pretty crappy. The speed of which we generate all these bad images make me think of the term “diarrhea photography”

I really want people to discover the beauty of what they can “create” using their camera. So I’ve tried to bring you information to challenge your creative side and learn how to use the camera you have in your hand.

To that end check out this video showing how Jaanus Ree created his really cool winter action shot!

Give me your comments.

Photography - Male Portrait

No diarrhea photography here!

Portrait Creativity

Portrait Photography And Creativity.

Creativity, portrait photography can be the the most intimidating art form. It intimidates the photographer and the subject. Often you’ll hear subjects ask “what should I do?” and photographers themselves will wonder how to pose and work with the subject.

Often I’ll look at other photographer’s work for inspiration. Not to duplicate mind you but to  get inspired. Sometime I get a sense of WOW – and others I may just scratch my head wondering.

Well, I came upon this post illustrating the work of Denise Kwong. In my mind, it was a mixed bag of WOW and HUH?. Tell me what you think.


Portrait photography

Traditional head shot for a graduating high school senior.

Portrait photography

Relaxed portrait pose for a high school senior.


Portraits – Duck Lips & Selfies, OUT? Let’s Hope!

Portraits are to become more creative and to speak more about the individual(s) according to report of what’s trending in photography for 2016. So, to become more creative in your photography, does that mean you may actually understand how to be creative? Gee do you think! In addition your images should speak to who is your subject?

Gee this sounds like what Professional Photographers have been doing and want to continue doing. Sorry folks, but it really is about Art. Check out the original article.

Portraits,, tom szabo, photographer

What can you learn about this young man from his portrait?

Photography To Tell A Story

Newspaper and magazine photographers always intrigued me. They would take their camera to a  story and find just the right images to help convey the story. Think about story telling the next time you have your camera in your hands. Maybe you’re watching your kids or grand children at play or maybe you want to share some images from a trip you took. Think about the key elements of story telling. Here’s a recent post I found that talks about the very topic of story telling. Afterwards, try sharing some of your photo results.

Cell Phone Camera – Finally Some Helpful Info!

I’ve read a lot of articles written about how to use your cell phone camera to get what’s inferred to as professional results. The articles are generally written by a “technology” writer not a photographer. They all sound the same and suggest violating some of the well established photography basics. They make me fume!

You’ve heard me say this before: You have to be smarter than the camera! The camera is a tool toward a creative end. Another one of my favorites is: A bad photo with and Instagram filter is STILL a bad photo only it has an Instagram filter applied.

Finally I found a well written article offering some helpful hints to help improve your cell phone photography:

Don’t Photograph Children Sports Unless You Mean It!

Do Your Kids Play Sports?

I see a lot of my friends on FaceBook posting pictures of their kids playing sports. Frankly, the pictures are not very good. Sorry folks, but I calls em as I sees em!  As in all photography, you have to pay attention to the lighting. Start by moving so the light is at your back. Otherwise, just put your cell phone back in purse or pocket. Next look around for a telephoto lens adaptor. You need a telephoto lens to get in tight. Last, put your camera into “sports” mode or make sure you’re using a high ISO and high shutter speed (1/500 sec or faster). Don’t believe me? Read what David Berding has to say about photographing Hockey.

Fairport Mardi Gras Parade 2015!

Everyone has been to a parade at some time. Lake County Ohio residents and even folks from out of town annually come to watch the Fairport Mardi Gras Parade.

With cell phone technology, people will photograph and video all kind of events, including parades. Again this year I had the privilege to carry the banner f or the Painesville Area Chamber of Commerce. The difference this year is I used my iPhone 6 to shoot video as a member of the parade. What a different perspective. It took  some editing to get it cut to it’s final length, but here it is. I hope you enjoy the parade from my perspective!

Tips On Wildlife Photography

Let me suggest that you first look at the images in this article. Then look at some of the pictures on your cell phone camera. Do you see a difference, aside from the subject. Read the article looking for tips that might apply to the picture you’ve taken. I’d like to hear your comments.

Matthew Gillooley: Tips on Photographing Wildlife


Urban Art Promoted

Urban Art

In 2013, my wife Diane and I traveled to Rapid City, SD for vacation. We visited Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument and all the cool towns in South Dakota. While staying in Rapid City’s historic district, we came upon an alley with graffiti or Urban Art all over the place. Turns out the city has designated a two block long alley as an artist’s zone. Local artists are welcomed to create their art on the backs of buildings that line this  two block long alley. You could spend hours examining all this great artwork. It’s so welcoming and intriguing. All throughout the day people would walk the alley enjoying the display. Let me know your thoughts.

Are You A Young Professional?

Consider joining FUEL. This is a networking group for young professionals.

FUEL meets February 19 from 5:30-7:30pm at Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center – “The Generational Challenge – From the Millennial Perspective”, presented by Pat Perry, President of ERC, who will discuss the challenges Millennials can face in the workplace, such as perceptions and expectations from other generations and Millennials interacting with other Millennials.  Bring a guest; existing FUEL members/attendees will receive a $10 gift card (gas, iTunes, etc.) if they bring a friend or colleague who has never attended a Fuel event before.  Admission is free to FUEL members, $5 for Lake County Chamber members and $10 for non-chamber members.  Visit to learn about becoming a member.  RSVP no later than Monday, February 16 to

Class Of 2015 Photography

Say Hello to Taylor.  She was recently in the the A Thomas Image studio for her graduation portrait.

I love photographing high school students.  They’re happy, eager to try different poses and in general are very easy to work with.  With an attitude like that it gets easy to obtain a pleasing portrait.

Portrait head and shoulders

Doesn’t Taylor look great?

Taylor seated

Nice portrait Taylor!

Infant Photography – Thanks For Being Cute!

What do you bet every photographer, could tell you horror stories about photographing infants and children in the studio. There have been many a time I’ve scratched my head after a sitting with a child or children. I’ve even gone so far as to offer a return to the studio at no charge when things have gone  REALLY bad. Maybe after so many tough children’s sittings, you get rewarded with a great one.  That’s what happened with this little guy.  We’ll call him “Jimmy”.  When Jimmy arrived, he was in a very happy mood.  You could tell that everything was wonderful in Jimmy’s world.  He was very comfortable in his little studio setting and enjoyed visiting me.  Hopefully you can see the happiness in his eyes and posture.  I truly enjoyed my visit with Jimmy.  Hope to see you again – li’l buddy!

Photography - infant holding his sandal

I think Jimmy likes his sandals!

Infant photographed in studio

“I’m just so happy!”

MAST In-Water Training

I’m very fortunate to be able to enjoy some really cool hobbies.  The two major ones are photography and scuba diving.  If I’m able to enjoy both at the same time, life just can’t get any better!

As a member of the Maritime Archeological Survey Team (MAST), I also am pleased to serve on the board.  These are some great people and even better volunteers.  On May 18,2014, we conducted the in-water training session for the basic underwater archeology class at White Star Quarry in Gibsonburg, OH.  During this portion of the training, students use the measuring and documentation skills they learned in the classroom environment, while scuba diving.  Everyone finds out how different it is during an actual scuba dive vs. dry land.

Hopefully my images will give you some sense of how the divers, use a tape measure, record their data on their clip board and actually try to measure the features of an archeological site.  It really is a fun activity!

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To Flash Or To Not-Flash, That is the question!


After spend what might be way-to-much time on social media and watching people use camera phones and I-pads for photography, I’ve decided that I’m a “Camera-Snob”.  Yep that’s right, a Camera-Snob.  Watching the general public take pictures makes me cringe and crazy or crazier.

Let me explain.  In early September, 2013 my wife and I took a trip to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and the Black Hills.  Both Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial have wonderful night time ceremonies.  Being a photographer, I had my camera and tripod with me for the night time light shows.

We’re sitting in the outdoor theatre, the sun has set and the show begins.  I’m looking around watching people take pictures of the ceremony with their camera (point-n-shoot, I-pad or camera phone).  Now my guess is we’re seated – oh, a half mile or more from the 4 faces carved in the mountain.  I found this humorous, people raise their camera, trip the shutter, they look down at the results and shake their head in disappointment.   Then without making any camera adjustments, the person raises the camera again, trips the shutter, looks down at the results and again shakes their head in disappointment.  Didn’t Albert Einstein say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?


Mount Rushmore photographed at night

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota shot in the dark. There was enough light at 8:30 P.M. after the sun went down to record this image.


So what do you do in this situation?  First of all turn off the flash.  The typical on-camera flash will effectively reach to about 20 feet.  So in the case of Mount Rushmore, you’ll see the 20 feet of the scene reasonably exposed and the rest of the scene will be BLACK.  Its physics folks, you can’t change it.  With your flash set to OFF and the rest of the camera in “auto”, you stand the best chance of getting a picture.  The way to get a good image under this lighting will depend on your maximum ISO speed available and if you have something to steady the camera for a long exposure, like a tripod.  Since its digital photography, you can make changes to the exposure to dial in the correct setting(s).


Mount Rushmore Light Show

This image was shot during the Mount Rushmore Light Show.


Oh yeah, you’ll need to understand something about photography to understand how to shoot in the dark using existing light.  Sometimes, you just have to be smarter than the camera.  Sorry the snob in me is coming out.