Pieces, NEW For Ocean Sands!

Pieces, NEW For Ocean Sands!

Tom’s fingers have been poking away at the keyboard here at tom-szabo.com. At this point, the on-line store for Ocean Sands jewelry has the following categories:

  • Bracelets
  • Earrings
  • Manatee Bone Necklaces
  • Shark Tooth Necklaces
  • Whale Bone Necklaces

There is inventory ready for sale in each category, that’s good for you. A great selection to choose from. Remember, these featured fossil materials date back to the Miocene and Pliocene era, about 2.5 million to 26 million years ago!

In preparing the store, some new concepts have been introduced. There are two necklaces with a sea shell ground to form a ring around a prehistoric shark tooth, suspended from pearls or a quartz crystal. If these may not be exactly what intrigues you, there are more shells in inventory. That means more variations will be on the way.

Featured in the Earrings section is the NEW tear-drop shaped Marquis wire. These new wires are 2 inches long. They provide a real long elegant look. Plans call for a 1 inch long Marquis Wire. That will allow for more and longer embellishment to the shark teeth used.

Of course these new and exciting pieces are for the near future. But don’t sit back and wait. Check out the current inventory so you don’t miss anything. I need to get back to the store. I’m looking at some nice sized Megalodon Teeth hanging from a rugged chain, They need to get put into the  store. You shouldn’t have to miss anything!

Ocean Sands Jewelry by Tom Szabo.

Ocean Sands Jewelry by Tom Szabo.



Infant First Portrait Session

Infant Portrait Session.

So there’s this girl, NO, NO, NO, not like that! Shannon belongs to the same networking group as I. Gosh we’ve known each other for years and years. I feel like her brother. I can’t say Father since I know him also and he’s a pretty cool guy.

Well Shannon and her husband Travis recently had their first child. Let’s call him say, Mike. I’ll use my brother’s name. Mike is now almost four weeks old. So Mom and Dad brought him into the studio for his first sitting. You’ve heard the description of newborns; eat, poop and sleep. That’s what makes them so cool to photograph. You can put them in almost any healthy non harming position, photograph them and they sleep through the entire session.

Well, not little Mikey! Midway through his session, he woke up. I think he just didn’t want to miss anything! In any event, Mikey was a trooper. We put him in all of his poses and he just stayed their for the most part.

Typically, in these sessions, infants are often photographed in the suit they were born in. Of course it was then that Mikey decided to leave his mark on the fleece posing cloth.  Good job, Mikey. But no problem that’s what washing machines and bleach are for!!

So here’s a few images of Mikey for you to enjoy. Oh by the way, can you tell Mikey’s dad is a deer hinter?? Mike was a pleasure to have in the studio. Love you Mom, Dad and Mikey!

Infant in camo.

Get ready all, I’m waking up!

Sleeping infant

Aren’t I just so cute while I’m sleeping?

Infant boy in black and white.

Our little guy in black and white.

 Mom and Dad with infant son.

Don’t Mom and Dad look so happy?

If you’d like more information about infant photography or any other services offered by tom-szabo.com, check the studio website for contact information.

Black Friday – 2016

Black Friday 2016

Holy Cow, Are you kidding me? Black Friday is almost here. Where did summer go? I know it’s the middle of November, but I’m still hanging on to summer by wearing sandals. I know at some time I’ll have to convert to socks and shoes.

So do you have a plan to take advantage of the specials for Black Friday? You could try waking up real early to get to the big-box store right at opening. Maybe you could leave at 12:01 a.m. after Thanksgiving Dinner to get a jump on things.

Once you fight your way through the front door, then what? Maybe you have a specific gift in mind for that special person or family member or maybe not. My luck would be I have a great idea only to find the store has just sold out – urrgh! You may be stuck wandering the isles aimlessly looking for a hint. I’ve done that. Ask my wife and she’ll tell you She knows she’s difficult for whom to buy.

Here’s a good one for the guys. You find just the perfect outfit for your girlfriend or wife. Get just the right gift wrapping paper. Only to find out – that great outfit doesn’t fit!

So here’s a suggestion. Buy some fun and an heirloom. I’ve got the solution. On Black Friday you can call me while enjoying your morning coffee (Let’s say after 10:00 A.M.) and purchase a certificate good for a 1-1/2 hour studio sitting, an 8X10 color print  and save big money. Normally an $85.00 purchase. But for Black Friday you can get the package for 50% OFF. Hey for that price you can purchase a second to give to another friend or family member for the price of one gift. You’ll look like a hero!

This offer is good only for Black Friday, so don’t hesitate! A sample of the certificate is shown below.

Black Friday - 50% OFF Portrait Package

Relax, have your coffee and get your shopping done! One-size-fits-all.

Pin Hole Camera – Make Your Own

Pin Hole Camera – Make Your Own

Pin Hole Camera? What’s that you ask? This is the most simple form of film photography you’ll find. It’s a great way to make your own camera and learn more about photography. If you have kids, they’ll be intrigued also. Remember film is light sensitive, so you have to devise a way to protect your film for handling. Also, film needs to be developed, so you may want to learn how that works also.

This article came through my inbox. It has some photos of other pin hole cameras and “How-Tos”. These are great for black and white film. If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to email, text or call me. Enjoy the read!

tom-szabo.com, tom szabo, jeweler, photographer, scuba instructor

Light, It’s All About The Light!

Light, It’s all about the light.

Light! My wife Diane and I like to vacation at Siesta Key Florida. The beach has the softest and whitest sand you’ll see anywhere. During our walks on the soft powder white sand, Diane gets tired of my commentary on the people taking photos with their cell phone cameras. It generally goes something like this “there’s another photo that won’t turn out very well!”

Even though she gets tired of listening to me, I’m right. Two major problems I see: Stop putting the sun at your subjects back! Number two, move in closer. So let me spend some time again talking about lighting. Why my comment about sun placement? Camera sensors don’t have the capability that our brain does. Sensors can’t adjust the image we see through our eye and correct the exposure. Don’t believe me? Take the scenario I just described and experiment. Put the sun behind your subjects back. Look at their face. I’m sure you’ll see the detail in the face. That’s because our brain and eyes work together to adjust the lighting and see the detail. Now take the picture. How much detail do you see in the near black orb called the face. Almost none.

So how do you fix this problem. You have to train your eye to evaluate scenes for lighting. Look for the highlights and the shadows. Make slight adjustments in subject positioning to reduce the amount of shadow in the subject. Take a picture after your adjustment to see the results and continue to adjust your subject. Eventually you’ll begin to learn what works.

Another way to learn is to observe what other photographers do. I’m not saying to copy their technique as much as observe and adjust. Evaluate the lighting of the scene and subject to see how they work with light. Look at what award winning photographer Irene Chen has accomplished in her photography. Although she uses studio lighting for the award winning images, see how she uses control over lighting to work her magic. Read more about her work.

You’re welcomed to ask me questions. Or just give me your comments.

Film used in family portrait photography. Light.

Portrait photographers strive for detail in their final prints.

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. tom-szabo.com

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

Golden Hour Photography?

Golden Hour vs. Mid Day

The Golden Hour as referred to by photographers as the hour around sun up or sundown. The sun and atmosphere combine to give the photographer unique and colorful lighting. Photographers often avoid shooting mid day. Why? The more direct and overhead sun causes a lot of shadows, a lot of contrast and deep dark shadows.

So do you put the camera away during mod day? Absolutely not. This is where you have to be a photographer not a “snap-shot-er”. Huh? Yes, spend the time looking at the scene obviously for composition but also for lighting. Can you position your subject in a location where the lighting is softer and away from dark shadows? Can you shoot in an area that is in shade? Of course you can. You may have to think a little bit and take the time to find a location that gives the light you want.

Take a look at what Chris Gampat has to say on this topic. At the same time look how He controlled the light in his images.

Golden Hour vs. mid day photography

Choose an environment that offers soft light. If needed, add fill flash.

This Portrait Video Will Make You Think About Lighting

Portrait Photography And Lighting.

Portrait photography requires that you always think about lighting. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a boat-load of studio equipment or a cell phone. I found this short video demonstrating 3 different set ups. These set ups will demonstrate how you can change the result using some minor tweaks of lighting.

Obviously you’ll notice how much equipment a professional photographer uses. That’s not the point. The point here is when taking a picture of another person or persons, you have to open your eyes and plan your shot accordingly. I hope you find the video helpful! Feel free to post your questions, comments or thoughts.

tom szabo, tom-szabo.com, portrait photographer for families, high school students and executives

Notice how your eye is drawn to the subject in this image?

Think About The Colors To Enhance Your Portraiture

Do you really love your family? Silly question right? Because you love them, why would you share them through lousy pictures? Today with the proliferation of smart phone camera technology, it’s too easy to shoot without thinking. I suggest taking about 3 seconds to examine your subject and their surroundings before you start snapping away. Of course think about the lighting, but don’t forget about the colors in the subject and scene. The color scheme should compliment the subject not cause conflict. Check out what Chris Gampat has to say on this topic.

Photographers – We All Were Beginners!

As a photographer and a Scuba Instructor, I often tell beginners: “We all started as beginners”. It’s a thought we should all remember. We need to be reminded that we had to work to get where we are today. Here’s an interesting blog post that talks about the road we travel to improve as photographers:

A Declaration Of Love To All Our Crappy Shots


Make Your Photography Subject Standout!

Anytime I look at an image, I expect a clear answer to the question: What’s the subject? When you ask this question, is the answer clear to you? Let’s not be concerned with camera exposure at this point. Let’s think about composition. How do you use your camera so its obvious who or what is the subject of your image. Here’s a great article to help you emphasize the subject of your photograph:

Six Ways to Draw The Eye to a Specific Subject in a Photo

Senior Portrait Photography

So you want to by pass hiring professional to shoot your child’s senior photos? OK, then do some research and learn what it takes to capture that perfect photo. Here’s a great article on where to begin. If you decide not to do this project yourself, then please consider contacting me to be your family photographer.

Zach Ashcraft: Taking Better Senior Portraits

Photography Tips

The tips in this article should help you to open your mind when you look at the cell phone camera screen. Although I follow the author’s comments under the section “Avoid Using Flash”, I’d suggest using flash. The reasons cited are valid for the pro photographers, but the people I see using cell phone cameras might not even notice the problems mentioned. I’ve seen too many pictures ruined by not using flash vs the down side noted in the article. So read on!


People Photography – Your Eye Is Key

If you’re not looking at your subject and visualizing the resulting photograph, chances are you’re DOOMED! That’s right take a quick look at the surrounding elements and the subject then ask yourself: How will this look when finished? For People Photography, the first thing you should check is whether the face is in shadow or not. If the face is in shadow, then move to illuminate the subjects face. In addition, what background elements are there to add or distract to the surrounding environment. Want to improve your photography? Read, Practice; Read, Practice; Read, Practice; then repeat.

Check out this article to see what I mean.

Portrait Photography Projects

Poses For Portrait Photography

Posing a subject for a portrait is sooo very important. When people come into the studio, they are nervous and uncertain. Try to take a picture of your family or friends at an outing or on vacation. Even then you have to direct your subjects to achieve your intended result.

So here is a short workshop style video that will give you some suggestions and techniques. Yeah, Yeah, I know; You’re going to say Tom I’m not a professional. That’s right, but take just one tip from this video and you’ll be better off. There is a section on newborns in the video. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it also. Let me know your thoughts.

A Complete Guide to the Basics of Posing for Portrait Photos

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!”

Photographer Asks: What’s Your Beef?

I want to try something different with my Blog.  Part of the maturation process involves learning to make decisions.  If you’re an adult you’ve gone through the process.  Some of us more successful than others.  If you’re a teenager, well the process may still be ahead of you.  Yes, that is a generalization on my part, but it’s my blog and I allow myself to do that! (Chuckle)

So here’s my first question to adults and teenagers alike:  What is it about your child or parent that drives you nuts?  Please feel free to post your thoughts.  Then feel free to comment about the thoughts posted.  Adults and teenagers please offer comments on the other views. Offer some helpful hints and insights to the issues posted.

There are sone requirements:  No swearing.  No name calling.  No berating anyone.  I will exercise editorial license if I feel necessary.

Love, Anticipation and Excitement in Portraiture

Erika and Mark called to schedule a maternity portrait session.  When they arrived, we talked about their thoughts on the session.  After deciding on wardrobe and colors, we get ready for the photography.

 The three of us talked about the range of emotions that expectant couples experience.  Words like love, intimacy, excitement, nervousness and potential came up.  I explained to Erika and Mark that I wanted to catch these emotions during the session .  As an expectant couple it wasn’t difficult to see those emotions come out.

 I hope my goal was achieved.  Let me know your thoughts.

Maternity portrait photography session

Erika ponders her child.

Expectant couple

Erika and Mark, the happy couple

Child Photography


If you’re a Parent, and you want to see how much energy your toddler/young child has, schedule a studio portrait session!  As a photographer it just amazes me how much energy kids have.  If only we could bottle that energy and sell it! 

This energy can be an advantage or a hindrance.  Fortunately RJ’s Mom and I tried to use his energy to our advantage. My studio is in my home.  So this provided plenty of space for RJ to run, and run, and run, and run – Get my point?  In between all this running, Mom and I managed to get RJ to sit still a few moments for some portraits.  As you can see we even managed to get him to imagine himself flying through the air.

 As I go through the image files to prepare the web proof page, I use a “Not Used” folder for sorting.  A session like this generates a lot of images in that folder!

Photograph of young child

“I can really cause you some trouble”!

Child studio photography with props

“I’m flying”!

The “Scattered Family” Portrait Photography

Portrait of the scatered family

When's the last time your family sat for a family portrait?


When’s the last time you actually had the entire family together in one room?  If you’re like most today, you have family members living in multiple states.  Or if you’re like me, I still live in my home-town, but my Mom lives in another state!


So if it’s difficult to get everyone in the same room, when is the last time you had a portrait created for the entire family?  For some reason that just doesn’t seem to happen much anymore.  Recently a business acquaintance of mine had his entire family in town for the Christmas holiday.  It wasn’t my friend, but his wife who made the decision to have the portrait created.


The good thing about the time we live in is; all of the family members will be able to use technology to view proofs and make decisions on the selection of that perfect family portrait.  They’ll be viewing proofs on-line and talking via email to make their selections.


Ahhh, time just keeps marching forwards – doesn’t it?

Having Photography Fun With An Oversized I-Phone


Recently some of my business friends and I promoted our businesses during the local holiday lighting ceremony.  Since this was the first time anyone exhibited during the event and our location was somewhat remote, no one was sure what size crowd to expect.  Part of the strategy was for my studio to set up the oversized I-Phone prop out in the entry area to draw in the crowd.

It was intriguing to see how people had to be encouraged to use the I-Phone prop with their own smart phone.  But after some cajoling, they took advantage
of the opportunity.  Here’s a couple of images from that night.  It was fun to see some folks get a bit crazy.  Hope you enjoy!

Birthday Party Celebration And Underwater Photography

Take a special event like a child birthday, a swimming pool,
a hot summer day and what do you have?  A
great opportunity to photograph kids underwater.  I recently photographed one such birthday


I arrived in advance of the party.  This gave me time to assemble my scuba gear
and set up the digital camera in the Ikelite underwater camera housing with 2
underwater strobes.  After explaining to
all the party-goers the plan, I dropped down on the bottom of the pool and
started shooting away.  The gals were
just as hammy as they could be.  They
really had a good time.  On a hot summer
day, I enjoyed the time on the bottom of the pool also!

Swimming pool and underwater photography.

Ashley's birthday party!

Get Photographed On A Super Sized I-Phone

A lot of folks are getting tired of the cold and snow here in northeast Ohio.  Why not put the bad weather out of your mind and have some fun with your digital camera or smart-phone.

A Thomas Image will have a booth at Shop Lake County.  The show highlights local businesses on Friday, February 25, 20111 and Saturday, February 26, 2011.  Show hours are 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Picture yourself in the large I-Phone prop at Shop lake County.

Bring your friends to have fun at the A Thomas Image booth at Shop Lake County.

Stop by the A Thomas Image booth and be photographed at the I-Phone.

While visiting the A Thomas Image booth, sign up or become a Fan on Facebook to enter a drawing for a free photography package.

What’s the worst that can happen; you’ll have fun or maybe win something.

Family Portrait Photography Sitting

Jen and Brian came into the studio with their 5 month old daughter Marin for a family portrait sitting.  Kids can be rather unpredictable when it comes to photography, but Marin was just a good as she is cute!  You gotta love that baby soft skin on children.  Jen and Brian, thanks for coming into the studio and thanks for bringing Marin!

Santa Photography – Just For Kids?

A local chamber friend of mine, Tracy, is very active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  A trip of the camera shutter to her for all the work she does.  And I mean she does a lot of work for them.

When Tracy asked me to take children’s portraits with Santa as a fund raiser, I couldn’t say no.  So here’s a sampling of the days work, no fun!