Networking – Grow Your Business


Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce

Here in Lake County Ohio, we have a couple great resources to help grow your business. The first is Eastern Eastern Lake County Chamber Of Commerce. Especially important, if you think paying your membership dues will cause your sales to jump; You’re wrong. You will have to get out of your office and work the chamber through participation.

Meeting new business leaders and build relationships with them is especially relevant. Hence, events such as Business After Hours, Luncheons and Coffee Contacts are available cover a time period that suits your schedule.  Referrals and new business come as a result of people getting comfortable with YOU!

Your invitation is below. Print out the coupon and present it to attend an event for FREE. Not sure about being the newbie, call me I’ll join you.

Network - ELCCC referral coupon

Events: Business After Hours, Luncheons and Coffee Contacts.




Eastside Business Group

Lake County has another networking opportunity. I belong to Eastside Business Group. We meet every Tuesday at 8:00 A.M. tie 9:00 A.M. for coffee and/or breakfast at Favored Flavor Family Restaurant (1945 Mentor Ave, 44077). Members of this group have grown to be friends first, then business associates. Again, the best part of this group is the referrals.

  • Membership is limited to one business per industry.
  • No referral quotas are required
  • Coffee is part of your annual dues.
Network - EBG invitation

Friends first and business associates afterwards.

To learn more about EBG, contact me. You will be my welcomed guest for FREE coffee! OK, I’ve given you all you need to know about growing your network. In conclusion, the next step is up to you. So come learn more!


Your Rights – Public Photography

Your Rights

Often photographers will ask about their right to photograph people in public? Do I need a release? Let’s start by asking where are you? Legal rights vary from country to country. They may even vary from state to state or city to city. With technology being what it is today, you might start out on Google. Some countries may say OK, but some cultures there may say NO!

Generally here in the states, I will compare my situation that of a photo-journalist. What do they do relative to photographing in public? Often, they will record names and location to identify the subject in print. You don’t see the photographer asking someone in public to sign a release. The time spent getting their subject’s name allows time to discuss usage and any problems publishing the photograph. This may not necessarily address any legal issues, but it sure gives the subject the right to ask not to have their image published. You might also use this time to offer to send a print as a “thank you”.

Here in northeast Ohio, we have a big event coming to town, the Republican National Convention. There will be a lot of people here in town, offering lots of photo opportunities. You may even spot some celebrities. With that in mind, you might want to learn more about your rights and the subjects rights. A panel discussion is being put on by the National Press Photographer Association (NPPA) at Cleveland State University. You will need to register for this free event.

Musician playing banjo on stage.

Workin’ a bad banjo!

School Pictures And Special Deals

School Picture Business

School pictures are a real tradition for families. People often ask if I provide that service. My answer: well I’d like to. I learned a long time ago this is a very difficult market to break into. Schools have told me they are under contract with large photography studios for the service and in addition, the school gets a cut of sales. One of the biggest contract term that’s a barrier for me is the no competitor clause. These contracts often prohibits another photographer from suppling promotions to students within the school.

In fact, the picture business made the news in Washington, D.C. on the local News Channel 4 report. Please don’t think I’m angry or upset about their practices. I just wish I could participate on some level.

tom szabo, jeweler, photographer, scuba instructor.

This high school senior portrait uses 3 colors, skin tone, white and red.

What’s All The Fuss?

Have you noticed how photographers are overly protective of their images? I often get requests from people to send them digital photos. To the point they feel  they are entitled to them. Here’s an example of why photographers are so protective. A photographer image of her daughter was stolen then entered into a competition! Can you believe the nerve?  Read on……

7 Tips To Look More Professional!

Using LinkedIn as an example, look at the profile pictures that people use? In addition, have you noticed how many people don’t have a profile photo?

Let me offer some suggestions as to how your professional head shot should or should not look:

  1. Lighting – Look at your photo to insure the lighting is even and flattering. Stay away from bright backgrounds when you are in shadow. When taking your picture in the office, use fill flash. This will keep the big black covers off your eyes. Oh yeah, take off the sunglasses. If you have dark hair, don’t stand in front of a dark or black wall. Your hair will practically disappear from your head.
  2. Exposure – Many sites may darken your photo. So if your photo is already too dark, you may disappear from view. Check that your photo has enough brightness.
  3. Location – Find a location that compliments you and makes you the appear as the subject. Stay away from photos taken at parties or your night out with the gang. In case no one told you, your car is absolutely the last place to take your professional head shot as a “selfie”. In addition, forget the “duck-lip” look.
  4. Color Balance – If you want to look professional, use the proper white balance setting on your cell phone camera. This is why your picture looks overly red or blue. Pay attention to the ambient light. If there is a lot of a single color in the lighting (a lot of red lights from the neon Budweiser sign at the bar), go to another location.
  5. Crop – There are way too many profile photos where the subject was cropped from a group photo. That hand on your shoulder from the person standing next to you is a dead give away. Crop the photo to include your head and shoulders. Don’t crop off the top of your head an ear or your chin. Stay away from cropping too little. You become almost unrecognizable when dropped from the waist to above your head.
  6. Aspect Ratio – Make sure you maintain the correct aspect ration on your photo. That will prevent the photo from being squashed making you look like a “pin-head”. Make sure the file is sized so the image does not shrink after you upload it. When this happens, you may almost disappear on some screens.
  7. Photo/No Photo? – Use a photo as opposed to the grey silhouette icon.  Most professionals will delete connection requests from unknowns with no photo.

To truly be viewed of as a professional in your industry have a professionally created head shot done. How can you be viewed as valuable if you won’t invest in yourself? If you have any questions or want to learn more about your professional head shot, please feel free to contact me.

Working For FREE?

If you own a business, I’m sure at some point you’ve been asked to work for FREE. In this case the article is directed at photographers. But I’ll bet if you replace “photographer” with your profession, the scenario will sound familiar. Check out the article and give me your thoughts!

How Would You Respond as a Photographer if You Are Asked to Work for Free?

How A Photographer Turned Pro!

Almost everyone today believes that technology makes you a photographer. You’ve heard me talk about understanding light, learning the craft, knowing your camera/phone and studying light. Here’s an article about Michael Afonso and his journey to turning pro.

Michael Afonso: How a Portrait Photographer Went Pro

Small Business Symposium – Lake County, Ohio

The 2015 Small Business Symposium is on track for June 5, 2015 from 7:30 A.M. To 1:30 P.M. Here are just a few highlights:

  • Lunch with Keynote Speaker, Kordell Norton-Making a Difference-YOU can Change the World!
  • Speaker and Author, Lisa Ryan-The Gratitude
    Advantage: Giving and Receiving for Fun and Profit.
  • 4 Programming Tracks (Marketing/Sales, Finance & Operations, Business Start-Up and Human Resources)
  • Washington DC Update for Businesses from Congressman Dave Joyce
  • “Build a Website for Your Business” in partnership with Google (special registration-limited seating-$10)

Fee: $35 – Includes breakfast, materials, and lunch with Kordell Norton

Questions? Contact 440-525-7312
For more info or to register, see:

Photography And Copyrights – Who Cares?

Let’s start by saying as soon as you press the shutter, your image is protected under federal copyright laws. Many social media sites are changing their “terms-of-service” to minimize or eliminate your rights under the copyright laws. Do you wonder why photographers are so fussy about protecting their work. You may say, “but I’m not a professional, so no big deal”. Maybe that’s true, but do you want to give up your rights so quickly? Copyrights first, then what?

Find out more by attending this free 1-hour webinar

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.

Photographer Invites Area Business To The Small Business Symposium

SAVE THE DATE! – Friday June 5, 2015

What: Small Business Symposium

Where: Lakeland Community College


Continental breakfast and networking

Opening Speaker

Marketing/Sales, Finance & Operations, Human Resources and Business Start Up breakout tracks

Luncheon and Keynote Speaker

So mark your calendar and watch for more details and registration materials to follow. See you there

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

Social Media Profile Picture

After adding a contact on a professional social media platform, I was presented with a list of suggested contacts. I was amazed at how many connection suggestions had no or a poor profile photo.  How can I confirm our connection if I can’t see who you are?

If you are going to add a profile photo to a site for professionals, please use these suggestions:

Use a neutral background. That means DON”T hang a sheet behind you!

Watch the angle of the flash. You don’t want a sliver of shadow to outline you.

If you’re taking the picture in your office, turn on the flash. You don’t want black eyes.

Use a professional pose. Don’t pose like you’re doing a porn shoot.

Forget the “selfie”. Have someone take the picture.

Resize the image to upload so it fills the space allowed.

Of course, if you want to look real professional, schedule a sitting with a professional photographer. Your personal brand will be greatly enhanced. I hope this helps.

High School Student Learns About Starting A Business

You read in my earlier post about Brandon McClain, who was asking for help with his market research.  Brandon has been hard at work launching his business.  To learn more about Brandon and B-Kind Cards, check out this You Tube video we did:

I hope you enjoy this short video.

Photographer Digs Up Gold!

Photographer Tom Szabo recently dug up Gold at the Lake Communicators APEX Awards on April 9, 2014.  A commercial photography assignment for a wood framed sunglass manufacturer was submitted to Lake Communicators for it’s annual APEX Awards. The assignment was given a “Gold Award” in the Individual Category for Photography.

Lake Communicators is a Lake County based organization for marketing communications professionals.  The awards highlight the work of local creative professionals.  The ceremony was held at the Mooreland Mansion on the campus of Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio.

“Now I understand how actors feel at the Academy Awards”, Mr Szabo commented.  “It’s great when your peers recognize your work as worth an award” he said.

Tom Szabo is the owner of A Thomas Image an aerial, commercial, portrait, wedding and underwater photography studio.  Located in Concord Township, A Thomas Image has been serving clients since 1999. Now Tom returns to the task of digging up his next assignment. More prospecting in hopes of striking Gold!

Wood sunglasses, case and assecories

Wooden sunglasses photography assignment that won APEX Gold.




Photographer with APEX Gold

Tom Szabo, Photographer, show off his APEX Gold Award.













I Violated My Own Buy Local Rule

DV Warehouse Product Support

On November 22,2013 I ordered a pre-owned MacBook Pro 15 (mid 2010) from DV Warehouse.  After it arrived, I had my local computer service transfer a 1T drive from a laptop pc to the MBP 15 and load the MAC Operating system on it.  The MAC came with a 500 GB drive which was transfered to the laptop pc, then loaded with Windows 7.

Around the 2nd week of December 2013, the MBP started crashing .  I began saving the crash reports and sent a copy to DVW customer support and they were forwarded to the tech department for evaluation.  After sending two different sets of crash reports, DVW contacted me with a Return Material Authorization number.  Knowing the computer was to be returned I had my local computer service remove the 1T drive and install the original 500GB drive for return to DVW.  The original 500GB drive came out a pc laptop with Windows 7 and was re-installed into the MBP.  Mistakenly the OSX orating system was not installed back on the drive.  So the MBP got returned to DVW with Windows 7 as the operating system.

On Dec 13, 2013 the MBP was sent to DVW and received on December 23, 2013.  DVW emailed me indicating they ran the computer and found no problems with crates.  I asked them for a refund as I was not confident the machine would perform.  On December 26 or 27, 2013, Tech Support indicated their would be a 25% restocking fee to take the computer back since the warranty was now void.  The claim was that the Windows 7 software voided the warranty.

After updating them again on the change in hard drive and operating system, DVW refused my request of a full refund, only a refund less restocking fee.  At that point I requested the return of my computer and prepaid expedited shipping for it’s return.


The computer was received by me on January 5, 2014.  The MBP continued to crash.  I was able to isolate the crashes during the use of Photoshop CS 6.  After several discussions with Apple directly, they suggested bringing the machine to the local store.  On January 20, 2014, Apple reinstalled the operating system and sent me on my way.

After installing IMovie and IPhoto, The machine no began to crash when running IMovie and IPhoto.  On January 23, 2014 I spoke with Apple tech support.  They ran some tests remotely and collected more operating data.  The data was forwarded to their Engineering Department.  Later that evening I received a call from Apple requesting that I take the machine back to the local Apple Store.

On Saturday Jan 25, 2014 the Apple Store reviewed the Engineering report and rand the prescribed test.  The video card failed the test and was determined to be the cause of the crashes.  The solution was a $310.00 board repair.

At that point I reviewed my options and decided to purchase a refurbished MBP 15 from Apple On-line to be delivered to the local Apple Store.  Since the crashes only seemed to occur when the video control was under high load, I elected to put the machine up for sale to recover my cost.  However now the computer will crash while running low level video programs (Pages and the like).  So now I have a machine that has to be sold at a significant loss and another machine due any time now.

Now you know my experience with DV Warehouse in Hollywood, California.  Buyers beware!

Photographer Helps Lake County Marketing Professional Group

Small businesses are often looking for ways to stay in the mind of their customers.  In many cases, it’s almost a full time job.  Here in northeast Ohio we are fortunate to have some of the best marketing and communication experts to help.  Many of these professionals belong to a group called Lake Communicators.  For a recent Lake Communicators brochure we were aske for comments to describe Lake Communicators.  My comment was:  “Lake Communicators has more talent than you can shake a brochure at.”  I truly believe that statement.

Recently Lake Communicators sponsored is second annual “Marketing For Mar-Coms” workshop.  The event included representatives from three local businesses to talk about their marketing success stories.  Hear what a couple of attendees had to say.  You can hear their testimonials by checking the following links.


For more information about Lake Communicators check out their web site: 

Can Painesville, OH Become An Art Meca?

I had a couple meetings with some local folks in the City of Painesville to discuss boosting the arts presence in the city.  Think about it – we have some very artistic people in north east Ohio, Lake Erie College is a fine liberal arts college and Lakeland Community College has a great arts department.  Throw in Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, areas like Tremont and the Cleveland Art Museum and you see just how artistic the area is.

So how can little ol’ Painesville capitalize on this.  Our discussion has centered around two approaches:

  1. Display works of art in the retail and commercial businesses in the downtown area.  This idea has been well received by the merchants
  2. Use empty storefronts to display artwork for public viewing.  This effort is still in progress.

Now I’m going to offer a third approach.  Often property owners worry or complain about graffiti.  I’d like to suggest an approach taken by Rapid City, South Dakota.  It’s called “Art Alley” (  Art Alley is located in a one block by three block central historic district of down town.  Here artists are welcome to paint using the alley building elevations as their canvas.  The artwork changes as the artists see fit.  Here are some shots from my visit to Rapid City, South Dakota in early September, 2013.


Painting on brick guilding.

Art work from Art Alley, Rapid City, SD.


Eagle painting on back of building.

Imagine the work to complete a display of this complexity.


Alley art on everything.

Everything is a canvas in Art Alley.


Colorful graffiti shows local talent.

Art Alley is one block long and has become the canvas for the city.


Building art

Looking like a 60s album cover.


It’s great to see people stroll the alley to stop and study the art work.  While my wife Diane and I strolled the alley, we felt quite comfortable and secure in the alley.  We didn’t feel threatened in any way.  Hellos are easily exchanged amongst the art aficionados also enjoying their stroll.

Can you guess the Painesville spot I have picked out for an art display?

5 Reasons To Not “FRIEND” Me.

Social media continues to grow.  More and more people and businesses use these tools.  At the heart of social media is the concept of “friend”-ing.  You know, you click the “like” or “friend request” button and the person at the other end gives you access to your profile and status updates.

If you’re like me you have multiple reasons for wanting to “friend” someone.  They truly may be a personal acquaintance of yours, maybe a family member, maybe it’s someone you want to get to know, the person may be a potential mentor or maybe it’s someone you feel should know you.

 Here are 5 reasons why you should not friend me:

  1. You don’t know me and you’re just trying to build your friend list.  I suggest you go out and meet some real people.
  2. You don’t know me and you use the “default” friend request text”.  Change to default text to explain your request.
  3. I don’t know you and you don’t have a photo of yourself in case I simply don’t recognize your name.  People do forget names you know!
  4. Oh by the way, if we don’t know each other, there is a very, very high, almost 100% chance I won’t recognize you by having your pet as a profile photo.
  5. I don’t know you and the “about you” info section is blank, giving me no clue who you are.

Good luck building your following.  Remember if these 5 reasons bother me, they may bother others also.  All-in-all, I welcome friend requests.  Just help me to understand the reason behind your “Request”.  Happy “Friending”!

Photography And The “Retail Syndrome”

I don’t know why, but so many clients feel that by paying a photographer for service, they OWN the results.  Perhaps it’s what I’ll call the “Retail Purchase Syndrome”.  You walk into the store, give the cashier the money and walk out with whatever you paid for.  Now it’s yours.

 It doesn’t work that way when dealing with creative work.  Here’s an educational article written for the graphic arts field, but the same laws apply to photography.  Enjoy the link:

As always, give me your thoughts.

Please Tell Me If I Get This Bad!

Photography has been a passion of mine for almost – well, too many years (chuckle).  Even as a kid I used my Dad’s 8mm movie camera to make a stupid little movie.  I cut a door in a cardboard box.  The box was large enough to fit over one of my friends.  I started the movie camera (no sound in those days), had the kid in the box exit through the cut door,  then and stop the camera.  I repeated this process until all the kids in the neighborhood took a turn.  So when the movie was shown, you watched 10 or 12 kids crawl out of a box big enough for one, one after the other.  I thought it was cool anyway.

 OK, Back to my original topic. Generally, I try to use my blog to educate you the reader and share my work.  This post will vary from that concept.  Why you ask?  As a small business owner, I realize the importance of customer service.  I strive to make that my way of life. At a recent networking meeting, we talked about examples of poor customer service we experienced here in Lake County, OH.  It was interesting to hear the local businesses that made the list.  Here they are:

  • Heinens – Mentor
  • Giant Eagle – Willowick ( the word Horrible was used)
  • Giant Eagle – Willoughby
  • Giant Eagle – Mentor On The Lake (One employee was named specifically)
  • Active Plumbing – Painesville
  • Lowe’s – Mentor (mentioned by several)
  • Home Depot – Diamond Center
  • Time Warner Cable – Painesville/Concord
  • AT&T – One of our members has been waiting since Dec, 2012 to get a fax line transferred.

Those are some major names in the area. So my question is: What’s been your experience at these businesses?  Good, Bad or other?  Feel free to speak your mind.

I hope my customers have great things to say about my studio, A Thomas Image.  If you see my business headed in the direction of those listed above, please, please, please take the time to tell me so.  I would really, really, really like to know!

Is Cheap Photography Really Good For The Customer?

There is no doubt this economy has taken it’s toll on small business.  I get offers to shoot for organizations for free in hopes their event will generate leads for my studio – Yeah right!  Brides call to get pricing for wedding photography with a budget of $500.00.  But they know someone with a big camera who will do it for free.  Mom’s call for pricing only to tell me they can go to Sears or Walmart an get all these prints for less than my sitting fee.

Well check out what’s happened at Sears and Walmart.  Their photography vendor just pulled out of the US Market.  Maybe there are other reasons for the pull out, but I wonder just how long can you be the cheapest provider and stay in business.  Read on…..

Give me your comments!

No Shadow Product Photography

No Shadow Product Photography!

I use Google Alerts to send me web notices about photography topics.  One day a listing about shooting whites without shadows caught my attention.  I clicked on the link which took me to a Youtube video by Alex Koloskov.  Alex is a photographer based in Atlanta and creates some gorgeous photography.  You can learn more at:

After watching the video, it was obvious just how simple and effective Alex’s technique is. The beauty is in the simplicity.  At some point I knew I wanted to try his technique.  A client contacted me with an assignment that was perfect for Alex’s method.  I already had a 30 by 60 inch sheet of plastic to use, so it was off to the local hardware store (where they’ve known me on a first name basis for years!) to build a table. 

As most everyone who does home projects knows, often, there is a second and better design.  So I came up with a plastic PVC pipe table design.  Not fully seeing the approximate size of the plastic sheet used by Alex, mine was too large to allow heat forming over the kitchen stove.  It now sits in the corner of the studio with ripples and a burn spot!

That meant another trip to the local home center for another sheet of clear plastic.  That also meant the table needed to be modified.  So, off to the local hardware store again for more supplies. So design number 2 is shown in the photos attached. 

The PVC tubing table has glued joints.  By not gluing all the joints, the table can be broken down for easy storage when not in use.  Using clamps allows me to change the clear plastic sheet positioning to suit my needs.

In some of my first product shots using the table I noticed the frame reflecting on some of the product surfaces.  A coat of black paint on the frame fixed that issue.  So The photos included show the table and clamping system and a quick shot of a plastic hairspray bottle to show how the shadows are GONE!  Alex, a trip of the shutter to you for inspiring me!  Thanks.

Glued joint on ight table.

Simple glued join construction.

Swivel support

Swivel support for table top.

Large radius in table top.

C-Clamps retain plastic sheet to form a large radius.

Product photography light table

Clear plastic table top on a PVC tubing frame.

No shadows now.

Viola! – No shadows and a pure white background.

March 29, 2012 Businees-After-Hours at Quail Hollow Resort.

Quail Hollow Resort entertains Painesville Area Chamber of Commerce members in the Bronze Bear Lounge.

Click on thumbnail to view larger image.

April Coffee Contacts

Click on the images to see full size.

The Executive Head Shot With A Twist

Over the years, I developed a professional relationship with business owner Kordell Norton.  That relationship has turned into a great personal relationship.  I’m pleased to call him my friend.  Kordell is a recognized sales, marketing, and motivational speaker. He is known as an “out-of-the-box thinker”.


Typical executive head shot

Kordell Norton - sales, marketing speaker and out of the box thinker.

As a motivational speaker, Kordell uses a lot of props and storytelling to support his presentations.  This has become part of his brand.  If you view his website, you won’t notice stock images.  He relies on promoting his business by promoting himself.  He is the product.

Executive head shot with dry marker props.

Head shot of speaker with dry markers as props.

For the next version of his website, Kordell wanted to update his photo portfolio.  So he called me to schedule another sitting.  As we talked, he described the type of shots he wanted.  It became apparent that he put a lot of thought into his list.  I could see how he was continuing to build his brand.


Relaxed pose for an executive head shot

Kordell a bit more relaxed.

One of his clients described him as watching popcorn pop without the lid.  That’s a pretty good visual – wouldn’t you agree?  So Kordell decided to incorporate “popcorn” into his brand.  It sounds like one of the popcorn images will make it on his business card.


Kordell - like watching pocorn popping without the lid.

Kordell - like watching pocorn popping without the lid.

So if you’re like many of us small business owners, you realize that you are the product.  Give some thought about to how you market yourself.  How are you building your brand?  Does your photo portfolio support your brand?  Maybe my friend Kordell can give you some inspiration. Check him out at:

Photography Assingment – Too Good To Be True?

This was an inquiry I received through  After going through this inquiry, I made up my mind I would not participate in the assignment.  You know what they say about “too-good-to-be-true”.

Hello I will like to confirm if you can shoot a wedding event on the 23rd of November 2011? Please get back to me. at Regards

So I responded and below is the thread for the email listed above


Yes, I have Nov 23rd, 2011 open.  Will you and/or your fiance call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX to discuss your details and arrive at pricing and a contract.

Tom Szabo, Photographer

Mark’s reply:
Thanks for the mail,Here is a little about the wedding.The wedding is taking place in Denver, Colorado. It is an 7 hours event starting from 9am till 4 pm. It is an indoor event which consist of 100 guest at most, I will like you to cover the reception as well which will start from 2 Pm till 4 pm on that day. I will like the picture to be on a CD, and I don’t have a wedding planner, I plan it by myself. Please reply me by e-mail cos I am physically impaired (Hearing).  You may think about the flight and hotel accommodation, there is provision for that , my flight agent will make arrangement for that. I think with all the details have given to you now,Calculate your fee alone, you should be able to calculate and let me know how much it will cost. Please get back to me as soon as possible. I just contacted you via marketing tools and want to know if you can handle it.


Your email did not allow me to determine if one or two photographers will be required.  So, I’m going to assume that two photographers will be necessary for complete coverage.  Providing 7 hours of coverage will therefore require a 3/4 day (9 hour).  I’ve attached a wedding photography price sheet for your review.  You’ll see that the fee for a 3/4 day , two photographers is $X,XXX.00.  In addition you will need to select your final deliverable(s) and add that to the fee.  You indicated you desire a CD of images as your deliverable.  The fee for that $XXX.00.  Should you decide on additional products, you can add in those fees also.  You would be required to cover all travel, accommodations (2 rooms), meals and car rental expenses.  Since you indicated you have a travel planner,  I’m sure they can make the arrangements and work out direct billing to you for all expenses.

If this meets with your approval, Please let me know and I will email a contract to you.  It will detail the scope of services, deliverable, fees, expense coverage and deposit.  I await your reply.

Tom Szabo, Photographer

By Mark:
Thanks so much….I am very much okay for the price for 2 photographer. Please get back to me and let me know how much I need to pay as initial deposit to get the date reserved. Also get back to me with your name and address so that I can get the check for the deposit sent as soon as possible. I want everything to work out fast cos the date is drawing closer.

Thanks so much

I then email asking Mark why he had to fly two photographers in to Cleveland.  There must be photographers in Denver that can handle the assignment.  At this point I gotten no reply from Mark.  Strange inquiry – wouldn’t you agree?

Mark’s email address is:
You might want to watch for these types of inquiries.  So you see not only do consumers have to watch out for unscrupulous service providers, business owners need to watch for questionable customers.

Portrait Of A Graphic Artist/Illustrator

Let me introduce you to John.  He is a graphic designer and
illustrator.  We both belong to the same
business growth network.  As we were
discussing some new marketing materials for John’s studio, I suggested he
consider a new headshot.

After a review of his marketing materials and a preliminary
discussion, I had a better sense of John’s needs.  When he arrived at the studio, John’s wife
came along.  It was great to have her
join us.  A lot of time guys need our wife
there to tell us the shot looks good or — not!

I wanted to create a look for John that fit his personality
and his craft.  I hope I accomplished
that goal.

John the illustrator.

John the illustrator #1.

John the illustrator.

John the illustrator #2.

John the illustrator.

John the illustrator #3.

Jennifer’s Portrait Session

Jennifer is a marketing and sales professional with a local
corporation.  She wanted to expand her
portfolio and came to the studio for a sitting.

We worked with several different outfits and tried several
different poses.  Here are a couple of
the images we shot.  I wish Jennifer the best of luck in her pursuits and hope she is successful.


Jennifer #2

Jennifer #4

Jennifer #3

Photography Studio, A Thomas Image Announces Winners

Smart phones are becoming the rage for both personal and business use.  Visitors to the A Thomas Image – Shop Lake County booth at the Great Lakes Mall on February 25 & 26, 2011 were invited to use their camera/smart phone to photograph themselves. 

A Thomas Image, Photography, Cleveland, Northeast Ohio

Shop Lake County visitors were welcomed to the studio booth February 25 & 26, 2011.

Located in the booth was a 40 inch by 80 inch smart phone replica.  The display area in the replica was cut out allowing visitors to stand behind the replica and be photographed using their personal phones.

In addition, visitor’s photos could be uploaded to the studio Facebook Fan page making them eligible for a portrait package drawing.  The goal was the photo with the most “Likes” would win a portrait package. 

Due to the response for the contest, two winning entries were selected. 

A Thomas Image, Photography, Cleveland, Northeast Ohio

Heather and Ashlee pose at the A Thomas Image booth.

One of the entries selected was submitted by both Heather Elzeer and Ashlee Dunston from Mentor, Ohio. 

An additional entry selected was submitted by Dan Nugent of Geneva, Ohio.

A Thomas Image, Photography, Cleveland, Northeast Ohio

Dan Nugent and Claire at the A Thomas Image booth during Shop Lake County.


It seemed that everyone who stopped at the exhibit booth had fun with their cameras and the smart phone replica as a prop.  “Smart people” and a “smart phone”, what a winning combination!

Speakers And Presenters: Let The Photographer Be Your Friend

Guest speakers and meeting organizers usually present for civic or professional organizations. The organization may have a professional photographer or a member on hand to photograph the event.  After all, they may wish to publish photographs for marketing purposes on the organization’s web site, blog or newsletter.  

When the audience listens to you speak, they see facial expressions, hear your voice, and watch your mouth as you make your presentation.

A Thomas Image - Photography
Figure 1

Everything the audience sees and hears combine and flow smoothly making the speaker sound normal.

However, the camera freezes a single instant in time.  The camera doesn’t listen or see as we do.  The camera catches the facial expression, the shape of your mouth and your lips just as you speak in a single instant (See figure 1).  Trust me these expressions can be hilarious.  

So do the organization, the photographer and yourself a favor.  Think about working with the photographer!  

He/she should be easy to spot – they’re the one with a camera getting paid to shoot the event… although there may be multiple photographers present.

As if there wasn’t enough pressure on you in front of a crowd, now you’re saying – “A photographer?”  

Don’t worry; here are a few tips to help create good images that make you look like the entertaining, confident and expert speaker that you are! 

Do’s and Don’ts of working with a photographer

DO look your best

Regarding hair and clothing; most speakers will make sure everything is fixed, tucked, zipped, the tie is straight and the hair is combed.  The camera will catch everything little thing.

DO pose a bit

As you move about the room or podium and see the photographer, go ahead and pose. We’re not talking about posing for a portrait, but a quick stop or pause, look at the photographer and smile (See figure 2).  

A Thomas Image - Photography 2

Figure 2

In the beginning it may seem long and drawn out, but over time it will become second nature. A careful intentional pose will help the photographer and he/she will notice your cues. Soon the photographer will pick up on your timing and these “poses” will become almost invisible to the audience and have a natural flow.

DO stand up straight

All speakers or emcees should have good posture, so remember to stand up straight. If you’re the type to work the podium or use certain movements or body positions, don’t worry.  It’ll all look great when photographed.  The action will stand out.

DO consider your props and flip charts

Consider your props and “flip-charts”.  Colorful and bold lettering and graphics photograph well and help tell the story.  Besides they’re easier for your audience to read. Also consider your position relative to these items and the photographer.  Pause when holding the maker or pointer, rest it right on the chart, and then give a glancing look at the photographer.

And here are a few don’ts…

DON’T worry too much about movements or expressions

While it’s true that animated speakers or those that use gestures photograph well and are more likely to look calm and professional when photographed, you can easily mimic a few of these gestures when you intentionally pose for the photographer.  And if you’re not the most animated speaker, try becoming one.

DON’T hide the awards

If you’re handing out an award, turn yourself and the recipient in the direction of the photographer and smile for the camera.  Don’t forget about the award; hold it in front of you (right side up is helpful) so it’s visible to the camera. If the award is bright white or behind glass, tip it forward and downward to minimize glare.

DON’T neglect the handshake

Hold onto to the other person’s hand, stop the handshake so the photographer can catch that moment and again, look at the photographer. This makes for a great shot. You can even prompt the other person by pointing to the photographer or go so far as to quietly tell the other person to look at the camera.  Don’t worry; chances are the audience won’t hear you direct the other person.  And if they do – so what?

DON’T be quick to run off

A good photographer will want to take multiple exposures of the moment.  You’ll be given “nod” or quick wave when the photographer is finished. 

A guest speaker is special at an event or a meeting.  Take the time to work with the photographer.  It lets the audience know they’re attending something special.  Why shouldn’t you appear special to them?  Attendees will also feel the event or meeting was a wise use of their time when they see it being photographed. 

All you have to do is pause, look at the camera and smile.  You’re happy to be talking about your favorite topic – right?  Let it show and smile. The images will speak for themselves.  Keep these simple suggestions in mind and you’ll look like the pro that you are!

HHS Students listen to Entrepreneurs

On January 5th, 2011, Harvey High School students were treated to presentations by two local entrepreneurs.  The students most likely thought this was just a great chance to not have to listen to their teacher.  But all eyes were fixed on the presenters:  Ms Jennifer Pealer of Jennifer And Company plus Mr. John Gadd of Flozio.

The students in attendance participate in the E-City program through the business class taught by Ms. Nell Rapport.  E-City allows high school students to learn about entrepreneurship by starting and operating their own business, in addition to writing a business plan.

The program is funded through Big Brothers – Big Sisters of North East Ohio.  In addition to listening to speakers today, three of the student companies repaid their seed funding loan commitment to Big Brother – Big Sister.  The loan repayments were made through profits from product sales for each individual student run business.

You can see how the presentation went by looking at images on the following slide show link:

E-City students – you rock!