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Tampa Photography Blog

 
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Sep 25, 2012
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

As I was shooting a commercial assignment for the University of Tampa at the Don Cesar Beach Resort in St. Petersburg, I stumbled upon this shot of a surfer heading out to the water. I'd be lying if I said I meant to overexpose the photo this much but sometimes we get lucky and get a cool shot from a "mistake."

There, I said it. Not everything we shoot is intentional art. My photographer buddies are going to be so mad at me!

Nonetheless, enjoy!


Sep 1, 2012
Category:Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

If you don't invest in your business, why should anyone else?

If you don't have a professional head shot of yourself yet, this event is a great way to purchase one at a discounted price. For group sessions, the cost is only $110 per person and you receive FIVE final high-resolution images to keep and use for your marketing or social networking purposes.

NEW REFERRAL PROGRAM: Bring a new guest or two and receive a discount on your head shot!

One new head shot client=$10 off your session

Two new head shot clients=$25 off your session

Three new head shot clients=Your session is FREE!

Just a reminder...A professional head shot is one that is taken by a photographer with studio lighting and preferably a clean backdrop. With all the money we invest in our business, a $110 head shot should be an easy decision. If you don't need a head shot for your business, maybe you know someone who does. I appreciate clients who spread the word of my business so I try to reward them as often as possible!

If you'd like to compare prices with other companies offering head shots, please read this blog. I hope this information helps!

What: Professional head shots

When: Wednesday, September 26, 2012;  2-5 p.m.

Where: Cheval Golf & Country Club, 4312 Cheval Blvd, Lutz, FL 33558

How much: $110 plus tax = $117.70

Payment: Payment is due in full at the time of the session in cash or check (made out to Jessica Leigh). If you'd like to use Paypal, please do so before the day of the session. Thanks!

Investment:

What the head shot session includes:

*Five final images to keep & use with unlimited rights

*Minor digital retouching (ex: blemishes, skin tones, scar removal)

*Editing/toning/cropping of images

*Option to choose your pics from a raw image gallery (or photographer can choose)

*High-resolution images are emailed to you or burned to CD within one week of the session

Booking/RSVP: Jessica Leigh  813.468.0075


Aug 31, 2012
Category:News Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

When covering a massive political event like the 2012 Republican National Convention, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the scope of the event. However, with some planning, organization and a little flexibility, it always seems to work out! It was a wonderful day spent in my home town covering what is hopefully not the last national political event to be held in our great city!

The RNC spans several miles in downtown Tampa. The 15,000 members of the media are set up in the Tampa Convention Center, the nightly events with speakers like presidential nominee Mitt Romney are hosted in the Tampa Bay Times Forum and the protesters are in the tent city dubbed “Romneyville”, several blocks away from the tight security that surrounds the other venues.

And don’t forget all the folks that put this entire week together (I call them “worker bees”) and the ones who keep it going like the fine folks at Tampa Bay & Company who created the Social Media Command Center held at St. Leo University in downtown Tampa.

While it may take me a few days to edit through the photos, I wanted to post a few from some of the stops I made. While I did not cover the evening events, I did get to meet a slew of fantastic people in downtown Tampa and Ybor City

 Everyone pays attention to a man in a cowboy hat!

A fabulous, festive woman so excited to attend the RNC: “It’s like when you wear all your team’s colors on game day!”

RNC attendees board the “Ybor trolley” to catch a ride into downtown Tampa.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks to WNYC Radio at the Tampa Convention Center.

Fox News talk show host Geraldo Rivera interviews actor Stephen Baldwin at the Tampa Convention Center.

Google+ not only created a very unique media room at the Tampa Convention Center but the web giant also knows how to please journalists: free snacks and free coffee ALL DAY LONG. These poor baristas had a line full of shaky journalists the whole time!

The free coffee in the Google+ room was provided by a favorite local coffee spot, Buddy Brew in south Tampa. Thank you!!!

One of the super slick ways to “play” in the Google+ room was to sit down in this booth (nice light too) and record a message for a member of the military. That’s just a wonderful thing to offer!

Swank, comfortable chairs and bright colors graced the Google+ lounge.

Although I will never understand what most protesters are trying to say, they are always fun to photograph! (William Poe Park, Tampa)

Members of the Junior State of America take a break from their schedule to snack in Centro Ybor.

RNC media use the plush Tampa Bay & Company booth in the Tampa Convention Center to relax and take a break from work.

The hard workers at the Social Media Command Center at St Leo University in downtown Tampa pose for some silly portraits. I love meeting other people who love their job!

The savvy team from Spark interviews Tampa Bay & Company’s fearless leader and VP of Marketing, Doug McClain.

Police on horseback patrol downtown Tampa during the RNC.

 

All photos copyright 2012 Jessica Leigh Photography. Contact Jessica Leigh to request these images.


Jul 2, 2012
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

The Downtown Tampa’s Solstice Bash was a smashing success and I’m honored to have been a part of it! This special event offered great music, food and cocktails. And if you’re looking for a great night out, why not help a charity in the process?

The Rotary Club of Tampa and The Tampa Bay History Center hosted this fabulous event that benefits multiple charities including Wheels of Success. One of the best moments of the evening was when Executive Director Susan Jacobs gave a United States Veteran keys to his car! This organization is vital in giving veterans and struggling families a fighting chance to work and live in our community.

The night was complete with live and silent auctions, complimentary tastings and entertainment courtesy of PRP Wines, Cold Storage Craft Brewery, Channelkatz, Diamond Crown Cigars.

To see all the photos from, the evening and/or order reprints, please contact Jessica Leigh at Jessica@jlpflorida.com for online gallery information. Thank you!


Jun 27, 2012
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

It's not often I photograph someone in very little clothing (except for my boudoir clients) but that changed when I went to fitness trainer Kim Simpson's house.

BEFORE you look at the photos, know this woman is 40 years old and a mother of two boys.

Now, take a look at the photos I took of her and ask yourself what body part you would give up to look like this at any age??? And the best part? Kim is such a sweetheart and was wonderful to photograph. She's the entire package.

Since our session, she has been featured in Fitness Life Magazine online, Status Fitness Magazine and she met her original goal of being chosen for the "Future of Fitness" piece in Oxygen Magazine (see below).

I'm so proud of Kim and happy that my photos may have played a small part in getting her noticed by these magazine editors. When I met Kim, she was very upset because after going to the mall to get the fitness photos shot, she ended up with one very unflattering 8x10 of herself to show for it.

And after our shoot, she seemed very pleased, which is all I can ask for in a session! Thanks again to Kim for making the right move to get better photos and I look forward to seeing where her and my photos show up in the future!  


Jun 26, 2012
Category:Behind the Scenes JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

For many photographers like myself, we avoid any attempt to be in FRONT of the camera.

We like the comfortable space behind the lens.

However, like most business owners, we need professional head shots too. This is when you make a call to friends and tell them you need some shots for your business. We are almost always willing to help each other but we are the worst people to photograph sometimes!

Thankfully, I have friends like the stylists at Collective Creations and the husband and wife team at Tim Schultz Photography, both in Tampa Bay.

A talented stylist named "May" worked her magic on me (at my home) to make me presentable and maybe a little less of a pain in the butt for the Schultz team.

Then, I headed out to Ybor City to explore the alleys and streets and I tend to find a new favorite spot each time I visit. Ybor City is a gold mine for fabulous photos--you just have to be willing to walk through some questionable puddles and maybe get your heels dirty.

Karin and Tim Schultz were so much fun--they really made it as easy as possible to be on the other side of the camera. And anyone who has photographed me knows I am not a fan of it! And the night ended with some new photo geek friends and a Mexican dinner complete with margaritas.

That's called success! 

(And here are a few of my favorites...)


Jun 15, 2012
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

I decided to try something new in marketing my photography business last year so I offered a portrait package on Living Social in an effort to meet some new potential clients.

I was overwhelmed and overjoyed at the response!

Adding 45 new clients to your schedule is no simple task. But Living Social made it easy with the Merchant Center online and great customer service. If I can make the time, I would probably do another Living Social deal in the future.

As a thank you to those customers who purchased my voucher, I am offering a discount of $75 off your next photography session with JLP. This discount can be used towards the following sessions:

*Family portraits

*Children’s portraits

*Boudoir portraits

*Business head shots

*Commercial & advertising photography

*Corporate events

*Private event coverage (weddings, parties, etc.)

This deal expires on December 31, 2012. Please call or email me for any additional info and to receive a personalized quote on the photo session you need. I appreciate your loyalty and look forward to seeing all of you again very soon!

------------------------------------------------

Here’s a taste of what some Living Social clients had to say about their JLP experience:

“I loved working with her. She is so awesome. She really made it a special day for me. Thank you Jessica. Would highly recommend. Her follow up is amazing. She put more effort into this than I’d ever expect and I was very impressed.”

“Wonderful! Very professional and very easy to work with. Super personality and the photos were fabulous!!”

“We had our portraits taken by Jessica Leigh Photography and it was a great experience for the entire family! Jessica was great to work with, had some great and very unique ideas and made the whole experience wonderful. I will not use anyone else for my portraits…highly recommend to all.”

“Jessica was great with our daughter. We can’t wait to see the pictures!”

“She was very professional yet had a warm and outgoing personality. She made me feel comfortable from the minute we talked on the phone to the actual photo shoot. I highly recommend her services.”

"Great personality! Professional department. Amused the children and was effective in getting them to follow instructions. TOP MARKS.”

“Jessica was a pleasure to work with and would definitely use her again!”

“Jessica was great. She was punctual and professional. She made sure we had the shots and poses we wanted and was very friendly.”

“She was great to work with. Very friendly and funny. Also very accommodating and creative. Can't wait to see the pictures.”

“Jessica was very personable, kind and fun. Thanks!”


Jun 6, 2012
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

You've probably seen the photograph.

A nine-year-old girl running naked down a street in Vietnam after a napalm attack.

But not many people know the relationship that was built between Associated Press photographer Nick Ut and the girl in the photo, Kim Phuc.

For the last four decades, the two have kept in touch and had many reunions. But what Ut didn't know after he drove the little girl to a hospital to save her life is that his famous photograph would take away Phuc's freedom for years to come.

Not often does a photograph bond the photographer and subject for decades and decide the fate of both people's lives.

To read the story of these two amazing individuals, please click here.

*Photo by Nick Ut*


Jun 1, 2012
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

In the last six years, I've learned that people buy from people.

As I network and refer business to different clients, I often choose the people I have a personal relationship with or I choose the businesses that have made the extra effort to show a little personality.

And all of that begins with solid professional photography.

It pains me to see business owners using "head shots" photographed with a point-and-shoot camera and poor lighting. Or to see photos of an office or product that is of such poor quality, I hesitate to approach the business about my own needs.

Assuming you don't change locations or your appearance drastically, you can use your professional commercial photos for years. All it takes is one session to get a professional head shot, high-quality images of your office and well-lit photographs of the product or service you offer.

I hope this special encourages business owners to invest in themselves and their own marketing. First impressions are more important than we realize and a professional photograph can help in getting that new client in the door.

Sessions can be scheduled seven days each week to work around your schedule. I can shoot the session during your business hours to include customers and staff or after hours if that's more appropriate.

JLP Commercial Photography Package:

*Personal phone consultation with Jessica Leigh (to discuss photo needs for the business, marketing, your product/service, wardrobe for employees, etc.)

*Photography by Jessica Leigh (minimum two hours)

*Head shots of staff (traditional head shots with backdrops and studio lighting OR contemporary head shots with natural lighting and a mix of candid and posed photos)

*Variety of photos of office space, services/products, customers

*CD of retouched high-resolution images with unlimited rights

*Digital retouching and toning

*Password protected online gallery (professional prints can be ordered from the site)

*Shipping of CD to your office within 2 weeks (rush processing available)

(This special is for NEW commercial clients only please.) 

Please contact Jessica Leigh for a personalized quote:

e:  jessica@jlpflorida.com

p:  813.468.0075


Apr 29, 2012
Category:Giving Back Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

Want to help others in the fight against cancer? Want to support survivors like Vicki Odioso Peters? Want to impress fitness trainer Carrie Kukuda?

Well, if none of those questions light your fire, you can at least get some free photos of yourself competing in this year’s Miles for Moffitt! Jessica Leigh Photography is teaming up with Get A Grip Total Fitness (GAG) to provide free  photos on the day of the race to anyone who signs up for the 1-mile, 5K, 5-mile or kids races under the “Odioso/Peters/Get A Grip Total Fitness” team. Photos will be shot before the race at the GAG tent, at the finish line to the 5K race (and possibly the 1-mile) and after the race. Please wear your blue Get A Grip shirt so Jessica can identify you as the cross the finish line.

Photos will be available the week of May 14th on the JLP blog and on the JLP Facebook page. Please check both pages that week to find your photos.

Although Jessica would rather do anything but run, she did participate in the 2011 Miles for Moffitt as a runner and it was a wonderful experience. “There’s a level of camaraderie and passion that you don’t expect to encounter when you first show up for the race," said Jessica. "Seeing thousands of people coming together for one cause is a moving moment. Representing survivors we love and those who had their life cut short too soon makes it worth it to donate, race, volunteer or sponsor.”  

Jessica Leigh Photography is proud to call Vicki Peters and Carrie Kukuda clients and friends. We hope you will join us on May 12th to celebrate survivors and raise money to finally find a cure.

To register, please visit Active.com and sign up under the team name "Odioso/Peters/Get A Grip Total Fitness". If you have any questions, you can contact Jessica Leigh at jessica@jlpflorida.com.

*Photos from 2011 Miles for Moffitt courtesy of Get A Grip Total Fitness.*


Apr 1, 2012
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

If you've been thinking you need to update your family portraits, now is the time! I'm running this special in April because as Tampa Bay residents you might have noticed it's heating up already. Don't wait until July when your clothes are soaked in sweat, your kids are irritated and sun burnt and the humidity reaches 100%!

I shoot family portraits year-round but always recommend that clients try to avoid the months of July and August, as those are usually times for record temperatures. Of course if your family can only get together during the summer, we will make it work! (Just bring a cooler of cold water and umbrellas for the seniors in your family.)

Portrait sessions can be scheduled seven days each week, just after sunrise or before sunset. Weekdays are a little more flexible but I will always do my best to get you on the schedule. If I am unavailable on all the days you request in April, I will extend this special to the first week of May for any new client.

JLP Family Portrait Package:

*Personal phone consultation with Jessica Leigh (to discuss location, wardrobe, etc.)

*90 minutes of photography by Jessica Leigh

*Combination of styles--posed and candid

*Combination of portraits (just kids, just parents, everyone, etc.)

*CD of retouched high-resolution images with release to print at any color lab (20 images on CD)

*Option to choose your 20 retouched images from a raw image gallery

*Ability to purchase more than 20 images at $10/image

*Digital retouching and toning

*Password protected online gallery (professional prints can be ordered from the site)

*Photographer’s favorite images included in black and white or sepia tone

*Shipping of CD to your home within 2 weeks of image selections

*Photo albums and calendars available for an additional charge

*Choose from these locations for the special: Ybor City (Tampa), Curtis Hixon Park (downtown Tampa), Philippe Park (Safety Harbor), Starkey Park (Trinity), Howard Park (New Port Richey)

Session rate: $350

April/May Special: -$75

FL sales tax @ 7%: $19.25

Total: $294.25

(This special is for NEW clients only please.) 


Mar 12, 2012
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Yahoo recently posted old black and white photographs, shot on film, that were altered. The crazy thing about these photos is that they were altered (with some precision) without the digital technology that we have at our dispoal in 2012.

One of my favorites is a photograph of Adolf Hitler. I don't particulary care about it's content but the interesting detail about it is that it was only altered to appease Hitler's ego. He had a falling out with a man named Joseph Goebbels, so he simply had him removed from the photo.I'm sure it was a little more difficult in those days to remove someone from a photo without the help of Adobe Photoshop.







Now photographers are getting in trouble for altering photos digitally because they are doing so to make their photo better in some way. Most of the time this is done to photos in post-production that were shot during a war or covering a timely event - where the photographer has no second chance to reshoot the photo and make it right. Many photographers have been suspended or fired for committing this ethical violation while some are just "frowned upon" in the photojournalism community.

One of the more famous incidents was when Los Angeles Times photographer Brian Walski altered a photo he shot outside Basra of a British soldier directing Iraqi civilians to take cover. He merged elements of two different photos to create what he thought was a superior photo. And it cost his his job and his reputation. Most newspapers have strict rules about these kinds of violations.

The first two photos below are the originals and the bottom photo is the composite Brian Walski made.


Mar 7, 2012
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Pet Photographer Seth Casteel was already quite the talented freelance photographer before he started posting pictures of dogs he photographed underwater.

But now he has at least 1,000 new clients wanting him to photograph their special furry friend. He has been written about in several major newspapers, appeared on national television shows and publishing companies want to get their hands on his new book featuring the underwater photography.

It's amazing how one great, fun idea can change your career.

I sat for at least an hour looking through Seth's website. He has a gift. Whether he's on land or in a pool, he captures these pets in such a way that is unique and most of the time, hilarious. I sometimes photograph client's pets but mostly I shoot my own Brittany Spaniel, Lucia. She's an active little hunter and I know how long it takes to get the right moment, light and composition--all without getting slobber on your lens.

Well done Seth! I look forward to seeing where your career takes you!

To check out Seth's photos, please visit his website. And if you have a soft heart for animals too, please donate to his charity, Second Chance Photos

*All photos copyright Seth Casteel, Little Friends Photo.*



Feb 24, 2012
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica
Ten years ago, I was proud of a portrait I shot of William Joyce, an eccentric Shreveport, Louisiana native with an incredibly creative mind. Today, I’m proud to say he and his company, Moonbot Studios, are nominated for an Academy Award for the animated short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. This is Moonbot’s first Oscar nomination, although Joyce already has three Emmys on his shelf for his series Rolie Polie Olie. As people fill out their own Academy Award ballot online to follow along with the Oscars tonight, I thought I’d share a little insight I have the privilege to share from my time in newspaper photography.

-----

I knew children’s author William Joyce was a little strange (and quite interesting) the moment I walked into his office at Centenary College in Shreveport nearly a decade ago.

Each brightly colored wall had a strange shape. To say the lighting was cool is an understatement. And bizarre chairs scattered around the rooms allowed the artistic juices to flow whenever and wherever possible.

My employer, The Times, assigned me to photograph Joyce for a feature story. He’s quite the celebrity in Shreveport and soon, everyone will know his name. Normally, when photojournalists are sent out on portrait assignments for a newspaper, they will shoot a “standard” portrait that every editor will approve for publication. Nice light. Simple composition. Done.

Then, we shoot what we want. Something just for us. It may never see the light of day but who cares? It’s what keeps us going when the not-so-fun photo assignments come rolling through the department.

And when someone like me has the pleasure of photographing a creative mind like William Joyce, you have to push the limits a little bit. You know artists won’t ask you “why” when you suggest they do something strange for the photograph. When I saw the beautifully colored walls of his office and how each strange shape led to another, I asked Joyce to stand between the walls. I was trying to create some layers in my photograph and add content to show the reader his unique office. Joyce ended up kneeling behind one wall so that all I could see was shapes, colors and his head (including his signature big box glasses).

So when you are filling out your Oscar ballot online, consider how a creative mind from Shreveport, Louisiana made his way into the minds of kids all over the country. William Joyce deserves recognition for his lifetime of hard work and creative spirit.

(Photo by Jessica Leigh/The Times)


Feb 19, 2012
Category:Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

If you don't invest in your business, why should anyone else?

If you don't have a professional head shot of yourself yet, this event is a great way to purchase one at a discounted price. For group sessions, the cost is only $110 per person and you receive FIVE final high-resolution images to keep and use for your marketing or social networking purposes.

I am teaming up again with "Paul Mitchell: the school" and participants can have a complimentary make up application and hair styling before their session. The stylists from Paul Mitchell have worked with me on several shoots and they do a great job. Thank you for your hard work!

NEW REFERRAL PROGRAM: Bring a new guest or two and receive a discount on your head shot!

One new head shot client=$10 off your session

Two new head shot clients=$25 off your session

Three new head shot clients=Your session is FREE!

Just a reminder...A professional head shot is one that is taken by a photographer with studio lighting and preferably a clean backdrop. With all the money we invest in our business, a $110 head shot should be an easy decision. If you don't need a head shot for your business, maybe you know someone who does. I appreciate clients who spread the word of my business so I try to reward them as often as possible!

If you'd like to compare prices with other companies offering head shots, please read this blog. I hope this information helps!

What: Professional head shots

When: Wednesday, February 29, 2012; 1:30-4:00 p.m.

Where: Get a Grip Total Fitness, 1914 Oak Grove Blvd., Lutz, FL

How much: $110 with FREE makeup and hair styling

Payment: Payment is due in full at the time of the session in cash or check (made out to Jessica Leigh). If you'd like to use Paypal, please do so before the day of the session. Thanks!

Investment:

What the head shot session includes:

*Five final images to keep & use with unlimited rights

*Minor digital retouching (ex: blemishes, skin tones, scar removal)

*Editing/toning/cropping of images

*Option to review raw images at a later date (or photographer can choose)

*High-resolution images are emailed to you or burned to CD within one week of the session

*Complimentary makeup and hair styling, courtesy of Paul Mitchell

Booking/RSVP: Jessica Leigh  813.468.0075


Feb 17, 2012
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

Photography and traveling are my two favorite passions and when I can combine them, I'm a very happy girl!

My husband, Justin, is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri in Columbia ("Mizzou") and we go back to visit friends and attend football games once each year. Justin's first priority is always to visit the columns on campus as these are a landmark for the university. The problem is we never know what the weather will be like so the columns could be covered in snow, the courtyard could flood or it could be a beautiful day that makes for a perfect sunset, like the one below. 

Nevertheless, it's a tradition and we visit this spot on campus each year before moving on to Shakespeare's Pizza, Booches and Ernie's--all staples of this quaint college town.

Because I know my husband's obsession with this school and the columns, my anniversary gift to him this year was to have a professional portrait session in this very spot. We hired a wonderful photographer, Andrea, from AMP Design.

And, of course, it rained...all day.


Feb 9, 2012
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

I always try to take advantage of the time I have off by spending it with family and friends. One of my passions is traveling and I have to admit, most of our "disposable income" goes to doing just that. Sometimes it's Norway we explore and sometimes it's our own backyard. But luckily I have a husband who "gets it" and puts up with me shooting photos of him and our dog napping or him freezing his you-know-what off in a foreign country. 

Here's a photo from a weekend vacation to Madeira Beach, Florida. Nothing fancy but sweet sunlight can make a photographer's day. God bless Florida sunsets. Enjoy!

Photo technical info: ISO 100 at 1/100 second at F/3.2.


Feb 6, 2012
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

As I was getting into bed late last night (after flying back from a weekend getaway), my husband came upstairs and said he had to show me something outside. Delirious and skeptical, I walked outside in my PJs and what I saw was spectacular. I've heard a little bit about the “Halo Moon” effect but have never seen it in person.

Technically, the ghostly circle around the moon is called a lunar halo. According to Earth Sky, “Halos are a sign of high thin cirrus clouds drifting 20,000 feet or more above our heads. These clouds contain millions of tiny ice crystals. The halos you see are glints of light from these ice crystals, which have to be oriented and positioned just so with respect to your eye, in order for the halo to appear. That’s why, like rainbows, halos around the moon – or sun – are personal. Everyone sees their own particular halo, made by their own particular ice crystals, which are different from the ice crystals making the halo of the person standing next to you.”

Most photographers will agree that you don’t necessarily have to travel across the globe and spend thousands of dollars to see something wonderful like this…just step out your backdoor.

Photo info: 2000 ISO at 1 second at F/2.8.


 


Feb 5, 2012
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

 At JLP I often get asked about photos that don't make the cut. What happens to the photos that I shoot when I'm on vacation or the photos that are shot on assignment, "just for me"? I try to store all of my raw images for at least one year after I shoot an assignment. A client rarely returns to me and asks for an "outtake" or a raw image. So, why not display some of my favorites for everyone to take a peek at? 

Some of the photos I post in this series will be funny, some will be thoughtful and some may be what I call "art". You may not love all of the photos but I hope you enjoy this series as much as I am going to enjoy writing it!

 My first post is "Breakfast in God's Light". I found it when I arrived at John Chestnut Senior Park in Palm Harbor, Florida near sunrise. I was waiting to shoot family portraits for the Kutches but wanted to scout out some spots in the park before they arrived. I drove up and immediately saw several herds of deer scampering across the sunlit grass. I parked my car, walked over to a wooded area and saw a few deer eating breakfast. I got within a few feet of them before they decided to move on to another spot.

But they were beautiful.

And I realized I'm not the only one who had this bright idea. I saw another photographer following the deer with a 300 mm lens (like the ones you see sideline photographers use at football games). He was obviously at the park with the sole purpose of shooting wildlife photos.

Photo technical info: 400 ISO at 1/640 second at F/4.5. 


Feb 1, 2012
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

At JLP, we love to run specials. It gives clients a chance to hire a professional photographer without breaking the bank. And in some cases, it may give people the slight “nudge” they need to try something new.

We are very excited about our February and March special for new and current clients. For any boudoir portrait session scheduled to be shot between February 1st and March 31st, we will take 25% off the entire package!

These boudoir sessions are so much more than what they seem. Really, it’s selfish of us to do them. Because with every session we shoot, we get a little satisfaction knowing a woman walks away from it with a greater confidence and a little pep in her step. We’ve seen women transformed from timid, self-conscious conservatives to proud, sassy divas!

You don’t have to take my word for it—read what clients have said:

"Jessica did something that I did not know was possible – she made me feel comfortable in my own skin. I love photography, and don’t mind being in photos, but when you’re the subject in lingerie, A LOT can go through a woman’s mind. And I’m happy to say, that Jessica was there every step of the way to put my mind at ease. Not only did she make me feel so comfortable, I felt sexy, confident and had an overall wonderful time throughout the boudoir portrait shoot.”

-Ana, Tampa, FL

"When I decided on boudoir portraits as an anniversary gift to my husband, I was concerned the experience might be awkward. A few minutes into shooting, however, all my reservations were gone. Jessica Leigh combined her technical skill as a photographer with her unique personal vision to capture and highlight what made me feel sexy as a woman. Her attitude and aptitude for her craft are empowering. She encouraged me to step outside what I felt were my flaws, and the end result was photographs that I’m not sure who enjoys more – my husband or me!"

-Keri, New Braunfels, TX

“My boudoir portrait session with Jessica Leigh was fantastic. I've always loved pin-up girls, so the session was something that I could check off my bucket list. Jessica is a true professional who takes your feelings and opinions into account throughout the entire session. I had no idea how beautiful my photos would turn out. My husband was blown away. What a blast! I would recommend every woman to take the plunge and do something daring. Jessica is great at capturing your inner beauty on the outside. You won't be disappointed!”

-Cristina, Land O’ Lakes, FL

“Although a bit intriguing, the idea of boudoir portraits was a bit intimidating, and I really couldn’t imagine pulling this off.  I would say I’m pretty simple and conservative, definitely not model material or a desperate housewife, and after having three kids, my body was definitely not photo worthy!!!

So, I met with Jessica to learn more and she was fabulous to work with. She asked so many great questions about our relationship, interests, who we are as a couple, what my husband loves about me, my body, etc. After speaking with Jessica, I decided to go for it, and I have to admit, I was really looking forward to my day of exhibitionism.

The boudoir portrait session was taken in our home and Jessica was very professional. She is an amazing artist and she worked diligently to create unique portraits. I was worried about all of my imperfections showing and she was concerned with lighting, shadows, color, angles, etc. I was so impressed with how comfortable she made me feel and all of a sudden all those imperfections seemed to disappear and I felt empowered and beautiful! It was an amazing afternoon and so much fun!

It was so much fun to step out of my “mom shoes”, even if only for a couple hours, and feel the sexuality that gets lost along the way. And, it didn’t even matter that I didn’t have the body of my youth or of a Cover Girl. My husband saw the girl he fell in love with…the boy-shaped, quirky girl that likes to laugh and have fun!

Jessica’s pricing is amazing as well for this high level of photography and instead of this being a once-in-a-lifetime gift, I’m already thinking about what the theme will be for Boudoir Photo Session #2!!! Jessica captures so much more than just a body, she captures the very essence of who you are and what makes you sexy no matter your age or size!”

-Kim, Land ‘O Lakes, FL

All the details of the special are below so please email or call with questions or to book a photo session. And to see more boudoir portraits, please visit our gallery here. We also partner with several local stylists so if you’d prefer to leave the hair and make up to the professionals, we’ve got your covered!

JLP Boudoir Portrait Package:

*Personal consultation with Jessica Leigh

*Two hours of photography by Jessica Leigh

*At least three looks/outfit changes

*CD of high-resolution images with release to print at any color lab (20 images on CD)

*Option to choose your 20 retouched images from a raw image gallery

*Ability to purchase more than 20 images at $10/image

*Digital retouching and toning

*Password protected online gallery (professional prints can be ordered from the site)

*Photographer’s favorite images included in black and white or sepia tone

*Shipping of CD to your home within 2 weeks of image selections

*Photo albums and calendars available for an additional charge

Session rate: $350

February/March Special: -$87.50

FL sales tax @ 7%: $18.38

Total: $280.88


Aug 7, 2011
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

Selomeh is one of the happiest children I have ever met. I think every child has a personality, even at a young age. Selomeh is no exception.

Selomeh's parents are not your average couple--Maaza is Ethiopian and Anthony is British. Not something a matchmaker would formulate but it works. And God bless their genes because this child is precious. She will never have to wear a stitch of make up or do a thing with her hair. She has beautiful skin and crazy, curly hair that is a sight to see.

I have known this wonderful family for years. I photographed their wedding and I was overjoyed to hear they were having a child! And I was, of course, honored to be asked to photograph their daughter. She is a photographer's dream come true!

I met them at their New Port Richey home for the family portrait session. They have a really cute house and back patio, which Selomeh had no problem performing on.

Maaza is an amazing woman--I tell her she's Mother Nature all wrapped up in one person. She's a phenomenal mom and seeing her with her child is about the best day I can have as a photographer.

Thank you for allowing me into your lives...


Aug 3, 2011
Category:Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

 Potographing corporate events can be bland but not with folks like the Professional Media Group.

I had the pleasure of covering the Models of Efficiency Awards dinner for the University Business Magazine and Higher One. The event was held at the very swank Jackson’s Bistro near downtown Tampa on Harbor Island.

Thank you to all of the people who were involved in planning this event, especially those who had to do so far away from Tampa! I am always amazed at how well organized companies like these are and how they can pull off an elegant event from across the country.

I look forward to working with you all again soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Aug 1, 2011
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

If you don't invest in your business, why should anyone else?

If you don't have a professional head shot of yourself yet, this event is a great way to purchase one at a discounted price. For group sessions, the cost is only $75 per person and you receive FIVE final high-resolution images to keep and use for your marketing or social networking purposes.

I am teaming up again with "Paul Mitchell: the school" and ladies can have a complimentary make up application and hair styling before their session. The stylists from Paul Mitchell worked my last head shot sesison and did a tremendous job. Thank you for your hard work!

NEW REFERRAL PROGRAM: Bring a guest or two and receive a discount on your head shot!

One new head shot client=$10 off your session

Two new head shot clients=$25 off your session

Three new head shot clients=Your session is FREE!

Just a reminder...A professional head shot is one that is taken by a photographer with studio lighting and preferably a clean backdrop. With all the money we invest in our business, a $75 head shot should be an easy decision. If you don't need a head shot for your business, maybe you know someone who does. I appreciate clients who spread the word of my business so I try to reward them as often as possible!

If you'd like to compare prices with other companies offering head shots, please read this blog. I hope this information helps!

What: Professional head shots

When: Friday, August 19, 2011, 12-3 p.m.

Where: Get a Grip Total Fitness, 1914 Oak Grove Blvd., Lutz, FL

How much: $75 with FREE makeup and hair styling

Payment: Payment is due in full at the time of the session in cash or check (made out to Jessica Leigh). If you'd like to use Paypal, please do so before the day of the session. Thanks!

Investment:

What the head shot session includes:

*Five final images to keep & use with unlimited rights

*Minor digital retouching (ex: blemishes, skin tones, scar removal)

*Editing/toning/cropping of images

*Option to review raw images at a later date (or photographer can choose)

*High-resolution images are emailed to you or burned to CD within one week of the session

*Makeup and hair styling, courtesy of Paul Mitchell

Booking/RSVP: Jessica Leigh  813.468.0075


Jul 29, 2011
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

Like many other small-business owners, I was searching for something more than a “leads group” to invest my time and energy into. I have attended countless networking meetings in the Tampa Bay area and I found one called BLAB (Business Ladies Advancing Business) in 2008. I loved it! The women were all fabulous and so very different in their professions and personalities. They all seemed to know how to have fun but still get business done!

Unfortunately in 2010 the founders decided to disband BLAB and I, along with about 12 other women in my chapter, didn’t want the networking and friendships to end.

So, Dr. Carrie Oleston approached me about starting our own group and I loved the idea. Dr. Carrie and I believe in the “give to get” philosophy when it comes to networking. We don’t expect leads to be handed to us when we walk into a meeting but we’d rather get to know a group of select women and build life-long relationships.

We launched Tampa Women of Worth in January of 2011 and it has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception. What started with 14 members has grown to 30 members in just a few short months. We are capping the membership at 40 women so we don’t lose the intimate feeling of really getting to know one another.

Our meetings are held on the first and third Mondays (except holidays) at Mimi’s Café on North Dale Mabry in Carrollwood from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. We get everyone situated from 11:30 am to noon with ordering lunch, seating and chatting. Each meeting we have a “Member Talk” and a “Mastermind Discussion”. The Talk is a 10-minute presentation on a member’s business. It’s just another way for us to get to know our members, what they do and how we can help. The Discussion is presented by Dr. Carrie, myself or a willing member and the goal is to educate our group and find ways to improve our businesses. One discussion might be about incorporating social media into your marketing while another may be about balancing life, family, and work. And we hope our members walk away with some new information each time they visit.

We only allow one member per profession so please check the industry exclusives here before attending as a guest. All of our info is on our Facebook page but you can also find us on Meetup and Twitter! Please RSVP on Facebook under Events if you'd like to join us.

We hope to meet you soon!

*Logo design by WOW member Tami Kowalkowsky with Sky Web Works Website Design.


Jul 28, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

The Obama White House is the first to use the photo website Flickr as a way to distribute pictures to news organizations and the public.

The problem that is created by using the popular photo website occurs when news photographers are excluded from meetings and events because an official White House photographer is there to shoot the photo (and distribute it via Flickr), keeping in mind the White House's image is number one priority. News photographers are essential in providing unbiased images from current events because the goal is to document a political event with no agenda.

For example, if there was an abortion rally with people for and against the controversial topic, it would only be fair to have someone document the event without giving preferential treatment to one side or the other. If someone from an abortion clinic or a pro-life organization was documenting the event, it would be almost impossible for them to provide an unbiased account of what happened.

So, when photographers that work for the White House are the only ones that get to document an event, it keeps the White House in control of what images get out to the press and to the public.

This controversy was reignited when Navy SEALs raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound in May and the most iconic image from the mission was taken by a White House staff photographer. The photo is of President Obama and his cabinet in the White House Situation Room watching the raid unfold via live video.

There’s obviously a need for White House staff photographers but I think news photographers are just asking for the same access so they can do their jobs well. Is that too much to ask?

*Photo by Pete Souza, The White House


Jul 27, 2011
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

Lytro will unleash it's new light field camera this year that takes the guess work and technical decisions out of the photographer's hands. After taking a photo, the user can refocus the image to a different point in the photo. Like the photo above, in the first one the cat in the foreground is in focus and in the second, the small cat in the background is in focus.

Same photo, different focus.

To read more about the science behind the camera and information about how to reserve one, click here.



Jul 26, 2011
Category:General Out and About 
Posted by: Jessica

The Noones contacted me when they realized that their whole family may not be in the same country together for quite a while.

Their son, Joey, is engaged and planned to move to Manila to be with his fiance in late July. So, the pressure was on to get everyone together for family portraits before he left. The matriarch of the family lives in St. Pete (and shouldn't be subjected to this Florida heat on a beach) and the Noones live in Land O Lakes. So, we all decided it was best to shoot the portraits at the Noone's home in Land O Lakes and do a few photos in their backyard under the beautiful cypress trees and the rest of the portraits inside so everyone would stay dry and happy!

The session went great with the exception of things we all expected--mosquitoes, heat, humidity and almost a downpour of rain!

The Noone family is another client that just makes my job easy. They have fun together and it shows. So, after gathering mom and dad, brother and sister, an aunt and a grandmother, we made it a success!

Thanks to the Noones for being so cooperative and going with the flow--you all are a blessing to work with!


Jul 25, 2011
Category:General Out and About 
Posted by: Jessica

The McCloy sisters are a force to be reckoned with...and they are some of the funniest clients I've ever photographed.

God bless the fabulous couple who raised these girls--having children is a challenge but having FIVE GIRLS must have been an adventure. I’m guessing this experience is where they got their sense of humor!

The best part about photographing family portraits for folks like the McCloys is that they know how to make the best of a situation. Shooting portraits outside in July in Florida can be miserable. It’s not the best month to do this but when sisters from five states can be in one place at one time, you make it work.

We traveled to Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park in New Port Richey, Florida for the session. It’s a great place to shoot with different options depending on what clients want out of their portraits. It’s definitely packed with “wilderness” so I wouldn’t recommend tuxes and prom dresses!

I’m finding out every day that this is a small world we live in. Mrs. McCloy was born in Shreveport, Louisiana—where I lived for four years working at the local newspaper. And the family decided to vacation in Odessa, Florida, five minutes from my home!

Moral of the story—shooting family portraits in 95 degree heat and nearly 100% humidity is totally worth it when you have clients like the McCloys!


Jun 23, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Kia has released an advertisment for their vehicles with dual climate control that is meant to shock but I'm not sure they realized the underlying stench of pedophilia suggestions in the ad.

The ad shows a teacher flirting with an adolescent student and one one side she looks her age. On the other side she is a busty, beautiful teenager in a school girl outfit.

I'm not terribly offended by the ad. What's confusing is that Kia took a heavy risk with an ad that doesn't really explain the benefits of the vehicle very well.

What do you think, parents? Would you boycott Kia because of this one ad?


Jun 17, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

The movie, Rock of Ages, is causing quite a stir in south Florida.

Traditionally, if a movie is being shot in a public place and the general public is still allowed to walk through the area (an open set), then photographers are also free to shoot movie stars that descend upon their town.

Not so in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Police and city officials have banned photographers from taking photos of the movie stars but they say the public is welcome to walk the area and frequent the local businesses.

If you tell a photographer they can't shoot something, you better have a reason why. And because the city of Fort Lauderdale does not, photographers along with the Society of Professional Journalists, are staging a "lunch-in" today. Local shooters will buy lunch at a restaurant in the area while shooting photos of stars that might be in the area.

Norm Kent, publisher of the South Florida Gay News, filed a lawsuit (with SPJ) against the city, seeking an emergency injunction against the city's illegal action.

I applaud the efforts of my fellow shooters in south Florida to fight for the right to do their jobs.

When I was working for newspapers, I was never one to lead a rally or push back against the police to the point of an arrest, but it always angered me that those in power feel they can make up rules to suit their own needs. I always obeyed authorities if they told me to step back, stop shooting or leave the scene. But I always asked "Why?". Most of the time, they didn't have an answer.

They were probably thinking the same thing I was..."I'm just trying to do my job."


Jun 17, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Olympian photojournalist Tony Overman knows all too well how dangerous his job can be.

While covering an "anti-police brutality" rally in 2010, a participant spray painted his face and camera lens. This anger stems from incidents when police used photographs from The Olympian to identify anarchists who committed crimes at rallies and protests. The police were only allowed access to those photos published in the newspaper and online, the same ones that the general public view.

More recently, vandals painted "Overman Snitch" on the Olympian's building and tagged a company vehicle, Overman's truck and his home. Overman believes the vandals are trying to intimidate him so he won't cover certain stories.

A rally was held last weekend to show support for Overman. "The reason why it's so disturbing to me is that you'd think that in a free country, the people who use the First Amendment to express their right to free speech would also respect the First Amendment right of the free press," Overman told The Olympian.

What's ironic to me is that the anarchists in question are upset because someone is documenting them participating in criminal activity. Well, there's a simple solution to that: stop breaking the law.

For more info, click here.

*Photo by Cliff DesPeaux*


Jun 8, 2011
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

Jenee and Alex are like most engaged couples. They're giddy, silly and don't mind kissing for photos.

I'm running this blog now in honor of their wedding this Saturday in Richmond, Virginia. Alex is my younger brother and we have teased him for years about not getting married, settling down, finding the right woman, etc. We know now why he waited so long--Jenee is fantastic!

We chose Ybor City for their engagement portraits while they were visiting us in Tampa. This is a place of endless textures, colors and architecture. I LOVE shooting there and find a new corner that’s perfect for portraits every time I go.

Photographing family can be tricky. For many photographers like me, there’s a work persona and a non-work persona I have when shooting. I’m not a completely different person but I do try to maintain some sort of professionalism on assignment while still having a really good time doing what I love. (As opposed to sitting around in my “PJs” on Christmas morning taking photos of my family opening gifts.)

The tricky part is that I ask clients to do all kinds of strange things when shooting their portraits. So, when I’m shooting portraits of my own brother, asking him to “make out” with his fiancé in a dark elevator is a bit bizarre.

However, I take great pride in photographing my own family—I’ve shot many family portraits, engagement portraits, business head shots and will possibly shoot boudoir portraits in the near future. (That’s about as close as a family can be!)

I am honored to be a bridesmaid in their wedding and have said on numerous occasions how blessed we are to add someone like Jenee to our family tree. Best wishes to the happy couple!

(And be sure to check out their wedding photos in a few months shot by an old friend and fabulous photographer Craig Mitchelldyer from Portland, Oregon.)


May 23, 2011
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

Back 9 Dips began with a great recipe, a little fate and a couple with a passion for good food.

Nique and David Mealey have taken what was once just a great party dip and built a very successful business from it. I tried their original Buffalo Chicken Dip in 2007 and LOVED it. It truly does taste like a chicken wing on a chip. I’ve served it at many a party and it’s always the hit of my tailgate!

I met the Mealeys when I joined a networking group with Nique and was honored to shoot their engagement portraits when they decided to tie the knot. Now as they move forward in life with their business, I’m thrilled to be a part of the Back 9 family, even if it’s just as “the woman who shoots photos of the dip!”

What is now known as Bubba’s Buffalo Chicken Dip, thanks to their partnership with Tampa legend Bubba the love sponge, is spreading like wildfire! You can find this delicious dip in restaurants, grocery stores and truck stops all over Florida.

The best part about this venture is that they are already launching a new dip—“Southern Sweet Heat”. If you’d like to taste it before all others, stop by the launch party at Hot Rod’s BBQ in Lutz on Thursday, May 26. There will be live music, great BBQ, chicken dip, beer and wine. I hope to see you there!


May 17, 2011
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

Simplicity is a beautiful thing.

Kelli and Michael know this is key when planning a wedding. Their April wedding consisted of a beautiful sunset beach ceremony at Honeymoon Island, Florida with their closest family and friends followed by a relaxing reception with good music and good food. That’s really all you need, right?

I applaud their efforts to make their big day special but not complicated.

The bridesmaids wore tangerine dresses and carried a single Calla Lily. The best man wore a cream shirt and khakis. And no shoes allowed!

The ceremony and reception had the traditional outdoor Florida vibe—easy going and full of fun! The only unwanted guests were the mosquitoes but that’s the risk brides and grooms take when planning a Florida beach wedding!

This wedding was a referral from a wonderful couple, the Downings, which I met when Mr. Downing trained my dog two years ago at American Family Dog Training. I then shot their family portraits (including their three German Shepherds) and when Mrs. Downing asked me to shoot her daughter’s wedding, I was so honored. Truly the greatest compliment I receive is a referral from a family member or dear friend of a client. Thank you!

 

Vendors:

Planning and venue: Honeymoon Pavilion

Music/DJ: Grant Hemond and Associates


Apr 28, 2011
Category:Behind the Scenes In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Being a wedding photographer can be stressful.

A bride and groom’s wedding day is one of the most important days of their lives. They want it all documented, from start to finish, with no moment missed and no flaws.

It’s a ton of pressure to put on one photographer because if you screw it up, there is NO reshoot. There is NO second chance.

I can’t imagine how photographer Hugo Burnand is feeling right now.

In about 12 hours Burnand will be responsible for photographing the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, otherwise known as the “wedding of the century.”

No pressure whatsoever.

For William and Kate, I’m sure the process of choosing a wedding photographer for such an elaborate and publicized event was difficult. But I do not envy Burnand for the task that lies ahead. If he makes any mistakes, he has to answer to the Queen of England!

Burnand has his job cut out for him Friday—it’s a long day for any wedding photographer to shoot a full service and ceremony but for this, it may actually take him all day.

Photographer Mario Testino shot the engagement photos shown here that spread on the internet like wildfire. The whole world is watching and everyone wants to see the most up to date photos of the royal couple.

I’m interested to see how quickly Burnand’s photos make it online tomorrow.

And wedding photography is just ONE facet of this enormous event about to unfold—there are also chefs, cake designers, florists, musicians, printers, program designers and a slew of other vendors like most weddings.

But this one has a slightly bigger budget.

*Photos by Mario Testino*


Apr 27, 2011
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

While housesitting for my parents in Odessa, I opened the garage door and a tiny brown bird flew past my head in a hurry, like she was on a mission.

The next time I came back, I opened the garage door again and before my car could pull inside, she flew back in and headed for the Christmas decorations.

My parents have a lift hanging from their ceiling that holds two huge Christmas trees.

Apparently, this is a very cozy and quiet place to build a nest. I got up on a ladder and looked a little closer at the pocket of pine needles sticking out from the bright green storage bags. Sure enough, this little bird has flown in pine needles, leaves, sticks, feathers and a bit of trash to make a great little home.

Today when I walked into the garage, I heard adorable, faint chirps and I realized she needed a home for her babies!

While mama was away, I snapped a few photos of these (what seem to be) very young birds. They are obviously hungry in these photos and probably wished I was their mother bringing them some food!

So, keep your eyes open--you never know who might be in your garage!



Apr 27, 2011
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

DeVry University treats their graduates right and has one of the most helpful staffs I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Not only do they make it easy on graduates to organize their last days at DeVry but they also treat them well and show how much they value students.

The staff hosted a party for the graduates complete with vendors for graduation and all the necessary information to get across the stage and on to the next phase of their life.

I shot traditional portraits of the graduates and DeVry is sending each student a complimentary print. With all the expense that goes into a commencement event, I was impressed that DeVry remembered the little things--like a keepsake photograph.

I've included a few of the portraits I shot as well as the adorable cake they made just for this event. Thanks to Publix Bakery for their creativity and the entire staff at the Tampa campus for helping me with the shoot.


Apr 27, 2011
Category:Behind the Scenes In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

From time to time I like to recognize my fellow photographers because so many people are shooting really cool work across the globe.

Photographer Nate Bolt had the patience and creativity to do a time-lapse video of his flight from San Francisco to Paris, capturing one of the coolest phenomenons on the planet: the Aurora Borealis. He said he didn't even know what he had captured until later. The camera took 2,400 images and pieced together, make for a fantastic video.

Bolt shoots strange photos and video that always seem to catch my eye. And that's really one of the best parts of being a photographer--seeing what your fellow shooter can do that takes your breath away.

I'll be posting some of my own photos from my recent trip to Norway soon. I chased the Northern Lights all the way to Finland but I don't dare say it's as cool as this video!

*Photo and video by Nate Bolt.*


Apr 26, 2011
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

Senior portraits have come a long way, even since I was in high school.

You don't have to go to Olan Mills or Bryn Alan any more if you want something a little more unique and a little less traditional. It seems that every 17 and 18-year-old wants to be viewed as a unique, special individual so why not make their senior portraits personal to them?

Corey is an artsy, creative, smart guy. He wants to continue his higher education in animation, which I know he'll succeed in! So, when thinking of a place in Tampa to shoot his senior portrait session, Ybor City of course came to mind.

Another characteristic that makes Corey unique is that his whole family owns Mini Coopers. So, it only seemed appropriate to have a few shots of him with his car. We drove to the top of a parking garage to get a clean background and luckily, no one was up there. I know his parents personally and they are both artsy, wonderful people so this was a true honor to photograph him. (They took photos together with all their Mini Coopers for their holiday cards. How adorable is that?)

With some sweet sunset light and a fantastic high school senior, we made some great photos. Thanks Corey!


Apr 24, 2011
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Thanks to Carrie Kukuda of Get A Grip Total Fitness for creating partnerships with all of her favorite Tampa business owners to benefit her clients even more!

The VIBC (Very Important Boot Camper) discount program allows boot camp members of Get A Grip to receive discounts on products and services like athletic apparel, nutritional foods, cleaning services, jewelry and of course, photography.

Anyone who is in the VIBC program will receive $50 off a portrait session with Jessica Leigh Photography. The portrait discount extends to kids, families, couples, engagements, boudoir and commercial sessions.

I have personally been a part of Carrie's boot camp for a year and half and she is the perfect example of a trainer who values her clients. This program is just one way she gives back to them.

Read the latest tesimonial from JLP here.


Apr 22, 2011
Category:Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

Have you added a personal touch to your business lately? A professional head shot is just one way to entice potential clients. If you don't invest in your business, why should anyone else?

If you don't have a professional head shot of yourself, this event is a great way to purchase one at a discounted price. For group sessions, the cost is only $75 per person and you receive FIVE final high-resolution images to keep and use for your marketing or social networking purposes.

For this event I am teaming up with "Paul Mitchell: the school" and ladies can have a full make up application and hair styling for FREE before their session!

I recently met the Paul Mitchell team at a charity photo shoot and was incredibly impressed with their styling so don't let the "free" part scare you!

A professional head shot is one that is taken by a photographer with studio lighting and preferably a clean backdrop. With all the money we invest in our business, a $75 head shot should be an easy decision. If you don't need a head shot for your business, maybe you know someone who does. I appreciate clients who spread the word of my business so I try to reward them as often as possible!

If you'd like to compare prices with other companies offering head shots, please read this blog. I hope this information helps!

What: Professional head shots

When: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 3-6 p.m.

Where: Get a Grip Total Fitness, 1914 Oak Grove Blvd., Lutz, FL

How much: $75 (head shots alone) with FREE makeup and hair styling

Payment: Payment is due in full at the time of the session in cash or check (made out to Jessica Leigh). If you'd like to use Paypal, please do so before the day of the session. Thanks!

Investment:

What the head shot session includes:

*Five final images to keep & use with unlimited rights

*Minor digital retouching (ex: blemishes, skin tones, scar removal)

*Editing/toning/cropping of images

*Option to review raw images at a later date (or photographer can choose)

*High-resolution images are emailed to you or burned to CD within one week of the session

*Makeup and hair styling, courtesy of Paul Mitchell

Booking/RSVP: Jessica Leigh  813.468.0075


Apr 20, 2011
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

I recently had the pleasure of photographing Etcetera's spring clothing line and now their summer trunk show is already in progress! Etcetera representatives Vicki Peters and Letty Best are classy, knowledgeable women who enjoy making women happy by finding the right clothes for them. What a concept!

The "What Women Wear" shows are held in Vicki's home in Cheval in Lutz and it's a shopping experience like no other. Instead of being hassled (or ignored) by annoying sales people in the mall, Vicki and Letty listen to what each woman likes and they give honest opinions on what looks best.

It's as simple as this:

1. Call Vicki or Letty to make an appointment so they have ample time to dedicate to you.

2. Choose the clothes you'd like to try on after looking at their selection. (Have a coffee and muffin while you shop...)

3. Letty adjusts the clothes to fit you.

4. Order the clothes you like and they are delivered within a week or two!

The special during this summer trunk show is: clients receive $25 OFF one item of your choice when you bring a new customer with you!

Contact info:
Vicki Peters, 813.833.1069
Letty Best, 813.340.3679
whatwomenwear@gmail.com


Feb 24, 2011
Category:In the News Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

The words “thank you” said to a police officer must seem pale in comparison to what they do on a daily basis.

I can’t imagine putting my life in danger every day for complete strangers.

This isn’t a fear most officers have—they just know they have a job to do, at whatever cost.

After 31 years with no fatalities, the St. Petersburg Police Department has had three officers die in the line of duty in less than a month. To call this a tragedy is an understatement.

Officer Jeffrey A. Yaslowitz and Sgt. Thomas J. Baitinger were killed by Hydra Lacey as the officers were serving a warrant on Jan. 24. Officer David S. Crawford, a 25-year veteran, was shot by 16-year-old Nicholas Lindsey as he responded to a prowler call on Feb. 21.

What frustrates most of us who are merely by-standers is that we don’t know how to help. How do you help an officer’s wife or kids when you don’t know them? How do you offer support?

The Police Benevolent Association is selling t-shirts for Yaslowitz and Baitinger and will probably have one for Crawford shortly. This may seem like a simple idea—how can buying a $15 t-shirt really help these families in need? The original goal was to sell 500 shirts and they have now sold approximately 26,000! With 100% of the proceeds going to the wives of the fallen officers, that’s $195,000 for each family!

The next time you think a small gesture doesn’t count, remember how a t-shirt helped two distraught families stress a little less about finances during their time of mourning.

The only positive aspect of any atrocity like this is to see how a community responds. And I can tell you I’m proud to see how the Tampa Bay and St. Pete communities have stepped up in response to the deaths of Yaslowitz and Baitinger.

I’m sure we’ll do the same for Crawford.

All we need is a t-shirt and a few folks with big hearts.


Feb 15, 2011
Category:Out and About JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica


Feb 8, 2011
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To compliment my boudoir portrait specials running through March, I’ll be posting testimonials from those women who have taken the plunge! I hope the kind words these women wrote about their experiences will ease others’ fears and help them realize, we’re all sexy…no matter how we view ourselves!

"Jessica did something that I did not know was possible – she made me feel comfortable in my own skin, while under the flashes of light and clicks of her equipment. Did I mention I was doing boudoir portraits to give to my fiancé as a wedding gift?

I love photography, and don’t mind being in photos, but when you’re the subject in lingerie, A LOT can go through a woman’s mind. And I’m happy to say, that Jessica was there every step of the way to put my mind at ease. Not only did she make me feel so comfortable, I felt sexy, confident and had an overall wonderful time throughout the boudoir portrait shoot.

My fiancé has only been allowed to see one of the many photos from the shoot, and by the look on his face, I know he’ll be a happy man when he receives the photo book I created for him.

In fact, I was so happy with the results, I’m giving this to him as an anniversary gift, and I may even create one for myself as a treat!

Ladies, if you want a wonderful gift for your significant other, or to just treat yourself, I highly recommend working with Jessica – I know I’ll be relying on her for my future photography needs."

-Ana, Tampa, FL

To view more of Ana's photos, click here.


Feb 3, 2011
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

For small business owners, simply saying the word “taxes” can send us into a angry rage.

Luckily, there are accountants like Tonya Seay with Strategic Success Builders who make this not-so-fun part of owning a business tolerable.

I met Tonya in a networking group called the Women’s Insider Circle in Tampa. After I spoke with her, she came to my home and looked at all the information and questions I had regarding some tax laws for small businesses like mine. Turns out, I owed the Florida Department of Revenue some money I was unaware of so she quickly put me at ease saying that we’ll figure it all out.

Getting this kind of news when you think you do everything right (I am quite the “Girl Scout” when it comes to my business), is shocking and honestly, depressing. I won’t go on a political rampage here about taxes because everyone has their own personal gripe and no one needs to hear mine. The bottom line is that Tonya makes it easy by meeting you at your home or office, working on your timeline and keeping her rates low so that you do the right thing—hire a professional accountant who knows what they’re doing!

Tonya is not only kind and personable but she works hard for her clients and it shows. She keeps all your information confidential so I feel I can trust her when divulging financial matters about my business.

My husband I plan to use her this tax season for our annual tax preparation for the household. I highly recommend her and once you hire her, you’ll see why you won’t want to go back to massive companies that don’t have a personal touch.

You can contact Tonya at Tonya@strategicsuccessbuilders.com.


Feb 1, 2011
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

To compliment my boudoir portrait specials running through March, I’ll be posting testimonials from those women who have taken the plunge! I hope the kind words these women wrote about their experiences will ease others’ fears and help them realize, we’re all sexy…no matter how we view ourselves!

"When I decided on boudoir portraits as an anniversary gift to my husband, I was concerned the experience might be awkward. A few minutes into shooting, however, all my reservations were gone. Jessica Leigh combined her technical skill as a photographer with her unique personal vision to capture and highlight what made me feel sexy as a woman. Her attitude and aptitude for her craft are empowering. She encouraged me to step outside what I felt were my flaws, and the end result was photographs that I’m not sure who enjoys more – my husband or me!"

-Keri, New Braunfels, TX

To view more of Keri's photos, click here.


Feb 1, 2011
Category:General In the News Tips and Tricks 
Posted by: Jessica

The website Gizmodo is featuring 175 images shot at nighttime that look as though they've been shot during the day. These images were simply shot with a very long exposure so the maximum amount of light would appear in the photo. An amateur photographer could try their hand at these shots by using a tripod (or a steady place to balance the camera), shooting with a camera with manual settings for long exposures and staking out a place that you think might be a good shot.

The photo above was taken by K.C. Alfred and he explains his technique below:

"I was camping with my son at San Elijo State Beach in San Diego, CA when I took this photo of a lifeguard stand in the middle of the night on Jan. 23rd, 2011. Since I did not have a tripod, I just leaned my camera against the staircase. When I was editing I noticed you can see the constellation Orion in the clouds at left. (Nikon D3 17mm, f2.8, 6 seconds, ASA 4000)"

To see the whole gallery, click here.


Jan 30, 2011
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

The University of Tampa is known for recognizing its staff, faculty, boards and donors for the time and dedication they offer to the university. The holidays are no different and I had the pleasure of covering the annual holiday party held at historic Plant Hall for the Board of Trustees, Board of Fellows and Board of Counselors.

As always the university is generous in its hospitality and it shows in every detail. I hope to cover this joyous occasion again in 2011!



Jan 19, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

French Vogue has done it again.

It seems that most of the European Vogue magazines thrive on publishing questionable and controversial photographs, no matter what the price. They say it's the culture. They say it sells clothes. They say it's ok if the models are willing and able.

What if the models are five-year-olds?

The latest example of this kind of thinking is evident in the December 2010/January 2011 edition of Vogue Paris: Cadeaux. Photographer Sharif Hamza used three girls, ages five to seven, for the photo shoot, all posing as adult models do--sultry, sometimes sexy and with very serious expressions.

Like most bloggers I've read posts from, I just don't get it. It doesn't make me want to buy the clothes or jewelry or perfume. It makes me want to call their parents and ask them what they were thinking. How did this seem like a good idea? What's the end goal?

I guess if you're trying to boost your five-year-old's modeling career, Vogue isn't a bad name to have on your resume.

Looking at the photos, I can appreciate the lighting, the fashion, the colors and the composition. Then I see the cute, young faces and I wonder who's idea this was and why these kids aren't outside playing with their friends.

To view the rest of the photos, click here.

*Photo by Sharif Hamza*


Jan 18, 2011
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

To compliment my boudoir portrait specials running through March, I’ll be posting testimonials from those women who have taken the plunge! I hope the kind words these women wrote about their experiences will ease others’ fears and help them realize, we’re all sexy…no matter how we view ourselves!

Cristina made her session into a party--she invited her closest girlfriends to her home to do her hair and makeup and pour a few drinks before I arrived. When I walked in, they were all laughing and drinking wine...a wonderful way to start the night!

“My boudoir portrait session with Tampa photographer Jessica Leigh was fantastic. I've always loved pin-up girls, so the session was something that I could check off my bucket list.

Jessica is a true professional who takes your feelings and opinions into account throughout the entire session. I had no idea how beautiful my photos would turn out. My husband was blown away, and was super excited about the baseball pin-ups. I mean, what guy wouldn't love his girl in his favorite team gear? The photos are up in his sports room right next to his Wrigley Field sign. I have the more intimate boudoir photos in a scrapbook.

What a blast! I would recommend every woman to take the plunge and do something daring. Jessica is great at capturing your inner beauty on the outside. You won't be disappointed!”

-Cristina, Land O’ Lakes, FL

To view more of Cristina's photos, click here.


Jan 16, 2011
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

As a photographer, one of the best feelings in the world is when you can teach a child about photography. Most of the time, they end up teaching you but regardless, seeing a child hold a camera and take it on is a beautiful thing.

The Goodlands is a program centered in a predominantly Latino community in Philadelphia that offers kids a chance to use a camera and understand the power of a single image. Kids are simply asked to take photos of what they see in their community. Some shoot the graffiti on the walls to show what needs to change and some shoot flowers and the beauty they find on the streets.

While working at The Shreveport Times in Louisiana, I had the pleasure of working with a group called YJMP (Young Journalist Mentoring Program). It was one of the best experiences of my career because I was able to reach students in middle school and high school and encourage those who wanted to pursue photography in college. Sometimes kids just need the opportunity and encouragement to pick up a camera and then their artistic vision does the rest.

Click here to see more photos by these young artists and read about the program.

Click here to view an interview with the kids and staff from The Today Show.

*Photo by Siani Lee Rodriguez*


Jan 13, 2011
Category:Out and About Events JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Start off the new year right with a new look for your business! If you don't invest in your business, why should anyone else?

If you don't have a professional head shot of yourself, this event is a great way to purchase one at a discounted price. For group sessions, the cost is only $75 per person and you receive FIVE final high-resolution images to keep and use for your marketing or social networking purposes. Now, for an additional $35, ladies can have a full make up application and hair styling before their session! Introducing my stylist partner Andie Sleeman--please take a moment to look at her work and once you do, you'll see why $35 is an affordable price to pay when you want to look your best. Click here for Andie's portfolio.

A professional head shot is one that is taken by a photographer with studio lighting and preferably a clean backdrop. With all the money we invest in our business, a $75 head shot should be an easy decision. If you don't need a head shot for your business, maybe you know someone who does. I appreciate clients who spread the word of my business so I try to reward them as often as possible!

If you'd like to compare prices with other companies offering head shots, please read this blog. I hope this information helps!

What: Professional head shots

When: January 24, 2011 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Where: Get a Grip Total Fitness, 1914 Oak Grove Blvd., Lutz, FL

How much: $75 (head shots alone) or $110 (head shots plus make up application and hair styling)

Payment: Payment is due in full at the time of the session in cash or check (made out to Jessica Leigh). If you'd like to use Paypal, please do so before the day of the session. Thanks! 

Investment:

What the head shot session includes:
*Five final images to keep & use with unlimited rights
*Minor digital retouching (ex: blemishes, skin tones, scar removal)
*Editing/toning/cropping of images
*Option to review raw images at a later date (or photographer can choose)
*High-resolution images are emailed to you or burned to CD within one week of the session

Booking/RSVP: Jessica Leigh 813.468.0075


Jan 11, 2011
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

To compliment my boudoir portrait specials running through March, I’ll be posting testimonials from those women who have taken the plunge! I hope the kind words these women wrote about their experiences will ease others’ fears and help them realize, we’re all sexy…no matter how we view ourselves!

“After 17 years of marriage, I was having trouble trying to figure out what to do for my husband for our 16th anniversary. I mean, really, after all those years, what could I really give him that I hadn’t before?

This is when Jessica Leigh, presented the idea of boudoir portraits. Although a bit intriguing, the idea was a bit intimidating, and I really couldn’t imagine pulling this off.  I would say I’m pretty simple and conservative, definitely not model material or a desperate housewife, and after having three kids, my body was definitely not photo worthy!!!

So, I met with Jessica to learn more and she was fabulous to work with.  She asked so many great questions about our relationship, interests, who we are as a couple, what my husband loves about me/my body, etc.  After speaking with Jessica, I decided to go for it, and I have to admit, I was really looking forward to my day of exhibitionism.

The boudoir portrait session was taken in our home and Jessica was very professional. She is an amazing artist and she worked diligently to create unique portraits. I was worried about all of my imperfections showing and she was concerned with lighting, shadows, color, angles, etc. I was so impressed with how comfortable she made me feel and all of a sudden all those imperfections seemed to disappear and I felt empowered and beautiful! It was an amazing afternoon and so much fun!  I couldn’t wait to see the pictures and share them with my husband!

Jessica took an incredible amount of pictures and it was fun to go through them. She did an amazing job of editing and created lots of different looks and sizes to choose from. Her pricing is amazing as well for this high level of photography, and instead of this being a once-in-a-lifetime gift, I’m already thinking about what the theme will be for Boudoir Photo Session II!!!

I chose 24 photos in various sizes and with four different themes. Jessica gave me the idea to scrapbook them and include notes from the years we’ve been together. I dug out cards and notes he wrote me over the past 16 years and included them with the photos along with a personal message for each theme. To say he was blown away is an understatement. He absolutely loved the photos and was really touched by the time and thought that went into such a personal gift. He said, outside of our children, this was the best gift he ever received! He also enjoyed the CD that came with the package that included every photo that was taken.

It’s been a few months since he received “The Book”, as we refer to it, and he’s still talking about it!

It was so much fun to step out of my “mom shoes”, even if only for a couple hours, and feel the sexuality that gets lost along the way. And, it didn’t even matter that I didn’t have the body of my youth or of a Cover Girl. He saw the girl he fell in love with…the boy-shaped, quirky girl that likes to laugh and have fun!

Jessica captures so much more than just a body, she captures the very essence of who you are and what makes you sexy no matter your age or size!”

~Kim, Land ‘O Lakes, FL

To view more of Kim's photos, click here.


Jan 10, 2011
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

French model Isabelle Caro died in November at the age of 28.

When I first heard of Isabelle’s death, I had mixed feelings. Isabelle was an underweight, anorexic model and posed nude for an Italian campaign against anorexia in 2007. The campaign was launched just before Fashion Week in Milan, igniting controversy about how the fashion industry promotes unrealistic and unhealthy women.

Now that I’ve read more about her and seen several interviews with her side of the story, I see that she was honest, true and humble in her message. She understood she had an awful disease that stemmed from her childhood and she wanted others to be shocked and appalled by her images. I think her hope was to turn women off from going down the same path.

Isabelle struggled most of her life because of her disease. She led a short, rough life and dedicated the last part of it to helping other women.

She said she was never once questioned about her weight by a modeling agency. So, does the media and fashion industry have an effect on young models?

Isabelle was 85 pounds the year of her death.

*Photo by Oliviero Toscani*


Jan 1, 2011
Category:Events JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Ever wonder what your man really wants for Valentine’s Day? A steak dinner would be great and maybe a Tampa Bay Rays game but have you been looking for something creative, romantic and unique?

Look no further…the perfect gift has arrived. And it’s all about YOU!

Let’s face it, men are visual creatures. One of the best gifts you can give the man in your life is something he will remember and cherish…sexy photos of you!

“Sexy” is not a clothing size, height, weight or the color of your hair, eyes or skin. Sexy is how you feel and 99% of the time, your man sees that more than you do! So, remember it’s not about how you’re described on your driver’s license. Whether you see yourself as a cowgirl or a pin-up girl, it’s all about the attitude!

To encourage those ladies who are on the fence, I’ve created a “Choose Your Special” Boudoir Portrait Photography Sale so you get to pick the discount or deal that best suits you. This offer is good for January, February and March of 2011. Your session must be shot during these months!

I’ve listed below my standard boudoir photography package and added the specials you get to choose from so don’t be shy. Ask me questions, read the testimonials and ask your girlfriends for support. If it makes you feel at ease, you can invite them to the session too!

Many women have inspired me throughout these sessions—I love shooting them because I get to see amazing women transform from mothers, wives and businesswomen to confident sex goddesses!

Jessica Leigh’s Boudoir Photography Package:

*2.5 hours of photography by Jessica Leigh

*At least three looks (outfit changes)

*CD of high-resolution images (min. 30) with release to print at any color lab

*Online gallery to order prints if desired

*Digital retouching/enhancement by JL

*Shipping of CD to your home within 2 weeks of session

*Mileage to/from location

$350 plus tax

(Suggested add-on: Professional hair & make up to ensure you look your hottest! Styling by artist Andie Sleeman with pricing from $100 and up! Check out her amazing portfolio here.)

“Choose Your Special”:

#1:  15% OFF your boudoir portrait session

#2:  FREE professional print package: 1 – 8X10, 2 – 5X7s, 2 – 4X6s

#3:  50% OFF a custom 12-month calendar

#4:  FREE 8X6-inch custom paperback pocketbook album

#5   50% OFF a 11X9 inch custom hardcover photo album


Dec 25, 2010
Category:Events JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Since we all know nothing goes completely according to plan when family gets together, I asked readers to give me their funniest holiday story for a contest I called the Burnt Turkeys and Sour Egg Nog Contest. The winner receives a $25 Target gift card for participating and sharing their funny story with us. Thanks to those who entered and Happy Holidays!

The winner is...VICKI PETERS!!!

And here's Vicki's story:

*Thought I won the big one!*

"We typically spend Christmas Day with our good friends Bob and Letty Best. They are kind enough to invite our family as well as several others to join them. Letty sets a beautiful table with a gorgeous holiday centerpiece, her finest China and stemware, place cards, and a favor for each of her guests. One year she put a lottery ticket by everyone's name and as we were seated, she told us to scratch it off to see if there were any big winners! Sure enough, I had three matching numbers! I didn't share this with anyone, but very excitedly, began to scratch off the place to reveal how much money my prize was! $10,000!!!!! Vanity had prevented me from wearing my glasses, but I was almost certain that is what it said. I started screaming! "I won! I won! I won $10,000!" I was sitting next to a nun and I even promised to give $1,000 to her order! Letty just let me go on and on for what seemed to be an infinity...until she finally told me to turn over the lottery ticket...at which time I found out that it was a "fake" ticket that she had purchased at Wooden Nickel in Tampa. Ha! Ha! Very funny! By the way, we still are friends and we still go to her house on Christmas Day."


Dec 23, 2010
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

Each year the University of Tampa hosts a fabulous dinner for those members of the Minaret Society to honor their biggest supporters. Director of Community Relations Alexandra Ellison is the ringleader of the event and does an amazing job every time with the decor, food and ambiance.

My job as the event photographer is to first photograph each person or couple that attends. They receive a print later as a keepsake from the event. Everyone looks their best so it's nice to be able to frame a professional photo from their evening.

After those portraits are done, I pack up all my backdrops and lighting and head into the main event--dinner. There are always musicians and singers there to entertain and a gorgeous meal follows. So, I document guests enjoying the evening and all the decor that shows how much planning goes into this one night. Enjoy!



Dec 21, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

For the Mackin family portraits, they suggested heading down to Hyde Park because of the festive decorations and versatility of the area. I loved it! I would really like to shoot portraits in Hyde Park again in the Spring maybe with some cute, colorful umbrellas and rain boots for the kids.

The Mackin's daughter is Fiona and she is a pistol! She loved all the decorations including the sleigh and gigantic presents in the center of Hyde Park. She was fun to chase around and once she got used to me, the session was a breeze!

I also love the attire this family chose--red, black and gray are very popular for holiday family portraits this year and it looks stunning in photos. Enjoy!


Dec 18, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica
The Tran family is colorful...and I mean that very literally. Every year they bring gorgeous Vietnamese outfits to our family portrait session and I'm so touched they feel so connected to their culture. They also change clothes several times and each time they have new and vibrant colors for the family. I’m impressed with seven adults and four kids, they can organize this for a photo session and it seems flawless!

We shot the portraits at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor, FL—one of my favorite areas. I say this because they have stone steps, Spanish moss that looks beautiful at sunset, a beach, playgrounds, an Indian Mound and so much more! If you can’t find a spot to take a family portrait there, you aren’t looking hard enough.

Thanks to the Tran family for their continued loyalty to Jessica Leigh Photography. I value my clients a great deal and love seeing their kids change each year they ask me to photograph them. Happy Holidays!



Dec 16, 2010
Category:Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

I am blessed to be a part of the BLAB organization (Business Ladies Advancing Business) and they are offering discounts during the holiday months to new and present customers. Check them out and contact me if you have any questions about these women, their businesses or their holiday discounts.

*Kim Fish of Cookie Lee Jewelry - December hostesses receive 25% cash back (minimum $300 show) PLUS January hostesses receive double ‘1/2 off’ hostess benefits & receive one item at 50% off when you book your date! [She also has deals if you’re interested in joining Cookie Lee as a consultant.] View the catalog online at www.cookielee.biz/kimberlyfish. Hostess benefits are listed on page 34. Contact Kim at kfish1@tampabay.rr.com or 813-918-0204.

*Dr. Carrie Oleston of Back in Health Wellness - 10% off Zinc tablets for December. Back in Health runs a special every month on a supplement so join their newsletter to get up-to-date information on the discounts. Contact Dr. Carrie at 813.909.0961 or http://backinhealthwellness.com/.

*Vicki Peters of Etcetera Clothing - New boutique show in February so be on the lookout for new events! Contact Vicki at www.etcetera.com or on their Facebook page.

*Carrie Kukuda as The Someday Coach - $50 gift cards to new clients who want to try fitness boot camp. If you’ve ever seen my blog, you know I believe in what Carrie does! I’ve had amazing results during the last 14 months. Contact Carrie at http://carriekukuda.com/ or 813.600.5208.

*Esther Ropp of Primerica -  FREE Financial Needs Analysis to see if she can help someone save more money or make more money. Contact Esther at www.primerica.com/eropp or bdebtfreecme@yahoo.com.


Dec 14, 2010
Category:Events JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Ever wonder when that hilarious but crazy family story would come in handy later in life? Well, now is your chance to win a gift card by telling your story for the Burnt Turkeys and Sour Egg Nog Contest!

Tell Jessica Leigh Photography your funniest holiday story in the comment section below and a panel of anonymous judges will pick a winner on Christmas! Everyone has one so don't be shy!

Whether it's a deep-fried turkey experiment gone wrong or an angry pet cat who decided to take on the 12-foot Christmas tree, each story is unique and could brighten someone's day. And during this time of year, we could all use a good laugh!

Be sure to check this blog on Christmas to find out if you won! Target usually has a huge sale after Christmas too so put your gift card to good use.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Jessica Leigh Photography!


Nov 29, 2010
Category:General JLP News Events 
Posted by: Jessica

In honor of the Cyber Monday online shopping tradition, Jessica Leigh Photography is offering any Tampa portrait session - bridal, boudoir, family, children or pets - for $100 off the normal rate! So, if you've been waiting for a great deal on a professional portrait session, today is the day to take advantage of this sale!

The $100 discount also applies to private event coverage - holiday parties, corporate staff parties, anniversaries, birthdays, Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceneras and more!

To get the discount, simply call or email and I'll send you a PayPal link to reserve your session with a non-refundable $50 deposit. The deal ends tonight at midnight so don't wait!

Once you reserve a session, you have six months to use it so start planning now...

Happy Holidays from Jessica Leigh Photography!

Contact:  Jessica Leigh - jessica@jlpflorida.com - 813.468.0075


Nov 24, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

The Clemmer family is always a joy to photograph. Their daughter, Kaylyn, is the only child I know that has a smile on her face from start to finish whether the session is 30 minutes or two hours. She's a blessing to family portrait photographers like myself!

The Clemmers took advantage of our special: "Holiday Family Portraits in a Snap!" For the first time, we offered smaller sessions for less money so clients can still get professional holiday portraits at an affordable price.

The session took place at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor. It's one of my favorite places to shoot because there are so many options and I discover a new location each time I'm there.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!


Nov 23, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

The Voges family is a unique one.

When someone says they'd like to go to Ybor City and the dad will bring the cigars, I know I'm in for a fun family portrait session!

What's great about this family is that the parents understand their three gorgeous daughters are all very different from one another. They did not want to dress them all the same, because they are not all the same! I love it!

Madeline is the youngest and wants to be an actress - and I have no doubt she will succeed. Noelle is the middle sister and the quiet one (but quite the funny girl); I met her in a fitness boot camp she attended with her mom. Liesl is the oldest and seems to be the caretaker of the three. All of them were such a pleasure to work with – fun, cooperative and best of all, they think outside the box!

My favorite portrait from the session is one I shot in an alley with graffiti all over the walls. The word “Sinful” was written in huge red letters above a door so I asked all of them to pose. The mom, Leslie, is one of the funniest people I know so it seemed fitting to have a family portrait taken there. And the dad, Kent, just sits back and watches the show with all his girls. Lucky man!

We ended our session with breakfast crepes at La Creperia on 7th Avenue. Perfect!

I hope to work with these wonderful people in the years to come. It’s clients like these that make my job worthwhile!


Nov 21, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

French photographer Sacha Goldberger was concerned when his 91-year-old Hungarian grandmother, Frederika, said she was lonely and depressed. Thinking of how to help her with the gift God gave him, he decided to do a series of superhero portraits of her dressed in funny costumes in different situations.

He created a MySpace page for his grandmother and she now has 2,200 friends and more support that she ever imagined.

Goldberger said she is not depressed and is enjoying inspiring other people.

Check out more portraits here.

*Photo by Sacha Goldberger*


Nov 20, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

When dog trainer Jeff Downing asked me to photograph his family (aka his wife, Vickie, and their three German Shepherds), I was honored. But I also didn’t expect the story that came with this family.

Jeff’s pride and joy is a beautiful dog named Seigo. He is everything a man could want in a best friend—loyal, obedient and sweet. But Seigo is sick. He has squamous cell carcinoma at the age of nine.

So Jeff and Vickie made the tough decision to do chemotherapy treatment. He beat it once and he’s going through another round again after they found an additional tumor. They all hope for the best, as always, but the part that I think keeps them going is that Seigo is not ready to quit. I could sense that after only spending two hours with him during our photo session.

The session itself was entertaining because Seigo’s siblings, Oly and Tia, are not quite as friendly and laid back as he is. So, we got a few photos with the furry family at their house (no harm was done to the dogs or photographer) before taking Seigo to a local park in Palm Harbor. I kept asking if Seigo was ok to play and walk around the park. Jeff said he’ll go until Jeff tells him it’s time to go home.

But we didn’t push Seigo. We did some photos of Jeff and Seigo doing tricks, fetching and playing together. Then we did some quiet portraits in the grass so Seigo could rest and just “be”.

I’m a dog person and I never thought I’d fall in love with an animal that wasn’t mine so quickly. Seigo is such a sweet soul, I can see why the Downings will do everything they can to make sure he’s happy and healthy.


Nov 18, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Photographer Jeff Sheng is humanizing the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the United States Military.

And he’s doing it without showing a face and without identifying the subject.

Sheng’s photo story speaks on a number of levels but what struck me first after seeing his collection was how powerful his portraits are despite being shot mostly from the neck down. He shows their struggle through fists and covered faces and turned backs. It takes talent to show emotion without using eyes or a mouth.

No matter what your stance is on the policy, I hope you’ll take the time to look at his images. Sheng has done a wonderful job telling the story through photos – and giving these soldiers hope that one day they can come out.

*Photo by Jeff Sheng*


Nov 10, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

It's refreshing to see Virginia-Pilot photographer Amanda Lucier cover what happens at home when soldiers are deployed to fight a war.

So many of the photo stories I see these days are focused in Afghanistan and Iraq while families are struggling back in the states while a mother or father is gone. I still believe in the importance of documenting history as United States soldiers fight for our country. But I also love the idea of covering life as it unfolds back home.

Lucier did a fantastic job of documenting everyday situations and milestones in these military families. From a mother grocery shopping with the kids to a father brushing a child's teeth before bedtime--these are daily tasks that we might take for granted. But with the help of Amanda Lucier, these moments won't be forgotten by anyone, home or abroad.

Check out her series here.

*Photo by Amanda Lucier*


Nov 8, 2010
Category:Events JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

If you won't invest in your business, why should anyone else?

If you don't have a professional head shot of yourself, this event is a great way to purchase one at a discounted price. For group sessions, the cost is only $75 per person and you receive FIVE final high-resolution images to keep and use for your marketing or social networking purposes.

A professional head shot is one that is taken by a photographer with studio lighting and preferably a clean backdrop. With all the money we invest in our business, a $75 head shot should be an easy decision. If you don't need a head shot for your business, maybe you know someone who does. I appreciate clients who spread the word of my business so I try to reward them as often as possible!

If you'd like to compare prices with other companies offering head shots, please read this blog. I hope this information helps!

What: Head shots

When: November 15, 2010; 1:15-3:15 p.m.

Where: Prudential Tropical Realty office, 20537 Amberfield Dr., Land O' Lakes, FL 34638

How much: $75 due at the time of the session

Investment:

What the head shot session includes:
*Five final images to keep & use with unlimited rights
*Minor digital retouching (ex: blemishes, skin tones, scar removal)
*Editing/toning/cropping of images
*Option to review raw images at a later date (or photographer can choose)
*High-resolution images are emailed to you or burned to CD within one week of the session

Booking/RSVP: Jessica Leigh 813.468.0075


Nov 6, 2010
Category:Out and About JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Waking up before sunrise is not my favorite way to start a day. Some people are “morning people” but I am not one of them.

But if you ask me to get up early, put on a wetsuit and tell me I get to take pictures first thing, that’s a totally different story. Waking up at any hour is worth it if the end product is cool photos.

I work for the University of Tampa often and one of their most popular publications is The Journal. It’s a wonderful magazine highlighting UT alumni and where their lives have taken them.

For the third time in the last year, I shot the cover of The Journal—this makes no difference to most people but I like the challenge. You have to shoot for a certain size photo as well as make sure one story-telling photo can draw people into the magazine as well as keep the cover aesthetically appealing.

This assignment had my husband and I up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to meet UT marine biology students and their professors at the Tampa Bayside Marina. (My husband occasionally works as a freelance writer for UT as well—it’s rare we get to work together any more so this was a treat!) We were told that we might be in knee-deep water so wear something that could get wet. Little did we know, it was really waist-deep water—thank God for extra wetsuits!

The purpose of the morning for the researchers was to find and collect seahorses and pipefish. This is a lot harder than it might sound. Dwarf seahorses (to be specific) are about the size of a fingertip.  And there are so many amazing creatures in the sea; it’s sometimes hard to sift through the seaweed to find the tiny seahorse.

But with huge nets, these students scraped the ocean floor and found what they needed to complete the mission. They then photographed each creature (and measure it’s length) plus recorded all the data.

It was a really fun day and it made me thankful for my career, once again. How many people can say they got paid to throw on a wetsuit, spend time with their husband and shoot photos of seahorses on a Saturday morning?


Nov 4, 2010
Category:Out and About Events JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Nothing can brighten my day better than an adorable child on picture day. Some kids come in a ballerina outfit, some in a dress shirt and tie but almost all are excited about the new adventure for the day!

I recently traveled to the East Coast to shoot pictures of students at First Step Learning Center in Port St. Lucie, Florida. A friend of the family owns the center and she is an amazing woman. Kathy juggles teachers, parents, children and contractors like me who work for her on occasion.

It was a wonderful experience to meet all the kids, between three and five years old, and I plan to go back in the spring of 2011 for graduation photos and class photos.

The "school photos" were definitely a new project for me and a new way of doing business. In this economy, I am trying to open all the doors I can and offer professional photography to those who value my services. Thank you Kathy! 


Nov 1, 2010
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

 



Oct 29, 2010
Category:General Behind the Scenes Tips and Tricks 
Posted by: Jessica

Every year, a few bored, artsy photo geeks figure out how to turn a physical object into a camera. It's actually quite easy once you get the hang of it and it can be done with almost any object including cans, boxes and pumpkins!

Check out this video to see a step-by-step demonstration on how to turn your Halloween pumpkin into a pinhole camera. Enjoy and Happy Halloween!



Oct 28, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

One of the highlights of being a professional photographer is that I have the honor of photographing my own family and their major life milestones.

My brother, Jason, and his wife, Melissa, had their first child, Evelyn Jeannine, on August 6th in Fredericksburg, Virginia. (I am very excited to officially be “Aunt Jessica!”) Luckily, we had a family trip planned for mid-September to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee so it was the perfect time to photograph “Evie”.

We plan our vacations around Florida Gator games so we planned this one around the FL vs. TN game in Knoxville. We rented a cabin in the mountains for a few days to relax. And on Sunday when it came time to do the photo session, everyone explored the mountains while the four of us turned the cabin into a photography studio. (After one minor diaper incident, Evie was ready to begin!)

For being only six weeks old, Evie was remarkably expressive. She has a great smile and thinks her Dad is hilarious! And Melissa has a natural maternal instinct that makes me so proud. They are both wonderful parents and I can’t wait to see them develop as a family. I’m blessed that I’ll be able to document Evie throughout her life.

It was a unique experience to photograph and witness the birth of a new family inside our own and I’m so happy my brother has a great start to his new life.


Oct 25, 2010
Category:Events JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

With only 60 days until Christmas and only 38 days until Hanukkah, this is the perfect chance to get your portraits done early and off your “to do list”!

For most of us, we don’t make the time or have the money for luxuries these days. Unfortunately, quality photography sometimes falls into that category and I hope to change that this year.

“Holiday Family Portraits In a Snap” are affordable for Tampa Bay families, they won’t take up an entire afternoon of your time and they provide you with professional portraits for your holiday cards for family and friends.

Each 30-minute session will include a CD containing a minimum of 10 high-resolution images, toned and ready to print. You will also receive a photo release allowing you to print and order holiday cards from your favorite company. An online gallery of your photos will be posted on www.efotolab.com (my favorite site) where you can order professional prints and cards if you wish.

What? Portraits of who you consider to be your family—a parent, a spouse, a child or even a pet!

When? Sunday, November 7, 2010 – 3 to 6 p.m.

Where? Philippe Park, Safety Harbor

Why? Because everyone deserves quality photography for their family!

How much? $99 plus tax

Space is limited so please call to make an appointment: ask for Jessica at 813.468.0075. Holiday cards are available for an additional $28 for 25 cards/envelopes.

Thanks and Happy Holidays!


Oct 22, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

Today I’m reminded just how great it is to be an American.

A Uganda newspaper (Uganda Rolling Stone) ran a front-page story this month entitled “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak.” Obviously, this kind of journalism (or lack thereof) would not happen in the United States but the newspaper did this to expose “evil in the Ugandan society,” according to Managing Editor Giles Muhame.

This story comes one year after a bill was introduced in Parliament that would make homosexuality (already illegal in Uganda), punishable by death.

According to gay rights activists, four people have been attacked since the article ran.

Rolling Stone also claimed that homosexuals were raiding schools, looking to recruit one million children by 2012. The difficulty with a foreign media story like this is that we don’t know the reality of what’s happening in Africa and who’s telling the truth.

I was having dinner with a friend last night and we were discussing her upcoming trip to Israel. As we were chatting, she commented on a blog series I did of what it was like to cover Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. We both agreed that no one know what’s really happening until you visit a place yourself and can say with 100% certainty, “This is what I saw.”

I can’t find peace when human rights are being trampled on, whether it’s in the United States or Africa. It doesn’t matter if you agree with someone’s sexual preference or not, they have a right to be who they are. My heart breaks for those Ugandans who are now in hiding in their native country because they are afraid of being attacked or killed on the street.

I’m sure this kind of hatred happens all over the world, whether it’s backed by a newspaper article or controversial bill, but it doesn’t make it right.

*Photo by AP*


Oct 21, 2010
Category:General Thankful Thursdays 
Posted by: Jessica

Once again, I have to thank my fitness boot camp trainer, Carrie Kukuda (aka The Someday Coach), for keeping me on track for the last year.

I am unlucky in that I was not blessed with natural athleticism so I never played sports in high school and have never been particularly interested in exercise.

I’ve tried almost everything—gyms, DVDs, group classes, personal trainers, Taebo, Pilates, yoga, biking, etc. The list goes on! I don’t think I’ve ever truly committed to anything so therefore, I quit whatever exercise I try about three months into the program. I either get frustrated because I don’t see results or I come up with an excuse as to why I can’t do it any more (money, fatigue, time, etc.).

I am amazed and so proud of myself for committing to boot camp and staying in the program for one year! For me, this is a huge accomplishment. And I have no intention of quitting any time soon. I may curse Carrie when I’m in camp but I always thank her later when I see the results.

I have changed my outlook about exercise because of Carrie. I now see it as a priority and part of my everyday routine, instead of an “option”. I hate missing camp and only do so if I have a photo shoot that cannot be rescheduled or if I’m sick. Even when I go on vacation, I try to do something active or bring along home workouts and my kettlebell so I don’t get off track.

When Carrie says she loves her job because she changes lives, she’s not kidding. If you would have told me one year ago that I would still be in boot camp and would have lost 39 inches of fat, I would have told you that you were completely delusional!

And beyond what Carrie provides, I’ve made some wonderful new friends. These women inspire me and motivate me every day. From the comic relief to friendly competition to kind encouragement, I always get what I need from them and I hope they know I wouldn’t still be in camp without them.

One of the funniest compliments I’ve gotten since I started is from a dear friend, Kym Klass. She’s a runner and a bad ass. She runs ten miles with ease and doesn’t need medical attention so I find her incredibly awesome. She told me there’s no way she’d do our boot camp and doesn’t know how we get through it. I feel the same way about her running but it feels so great to hear that from someone I think can do anything.

So, for the next year of boot camp, I plan to tone the new muscles I have and work on my problem areas more. I plan to make better decisions when it comes to what I put in my body and focus on my successes, not my failures.


Oct 20, 2010
Category:Behind the Scenes In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Mike Kamber is a photojournalist in the truest sense of the word.

He photographs what he sees with no agenda and doesn't stop until he's done his job.

Kamber created a video to show unpublished images from the war in Iraq and to expose the censorship he endured while embedded with the United States Military.

He said it was a difficult to find a balance between showing the reality of what he witnessed with what he was allowed to document. Car bomb photos were not allowed then wounded soldier photos. Well, maybe wounded soldiers but don’t show their face or identifying marks. And don’t show any of the faces of the other men in the soldier’s unit. Oh and don’t use photographs that show badges on the soldiers’ uniforms that could identify the unit.

You can see how that would get frustrating as a photographer. You’ve been sent there to do a job and you’re getting paid to do it well. Where’s the balance?

I try to be unbiased as possible even though I am a photojournalist and I feel for Kamber. I remember the struggle I had when covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Obviously, Iraq is completely different and a much more dangerous situation but I do get how upsetting that would be. It’s hard to get orders from your editor (“Go shoot evacuees at the Superdome. I want to see inside.”) and then get to the edge of the Superdome and hear from the National Guard (“There’s no way we’re letting you in—no photos.”). It’s heartbreaking.

From the perspective of the military, I think they believe it’s disrespectful to photograph wounded soldiers. I understand that too. They are there to do a job as well—to fight and protect their own unit. The last thing they need is someone documenting one of the worst moments of their time in Iraq.

I guess my response to them would be that when the war is really over, they might want a true, accurate account of what they happened in Iraq. If I was risking my life to fight for my country, I’d want people to get it right when it gets published in history books.

*Photo by Michael Kamber*


Oct 19, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica
Flashes of Hope never disappoints.

Even though I can't disclose the identities of the kids, I know their names. I know their smiles. And I've seen their joy.

These children are an inspiration--for just one hour, maybe less, they act like kids. They aren't concerned with tubes, treatments, needles and pain. It's truly amazing to watch the transformation from timid patient to silly kid in a matter of minutes.

One boy winked at me, one girl growled like a lion and another giggled so hard, she almost made me cry.

But unfortunately, not all the kids are ok. Not all of them can let loose. Some either feel too sick or are just too scared to enjoy the photo shoot. And that's ok too.

The goal of this organization is to raise money (of course) and photograph kids with life-threatening illnesses like cancer and give those photos to their families as a gift.

The structure of the photo shoot changed a bit allowing us to photograph outpatients, which means more families! I photographed 17 families in one afternoon at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, with the day organized by Tampa Bay Chapter Directors Dana Hudepohl and Marc Silbiger. (Aveda provides make up and styling services and local photographers rotate monthly.)

All of the people involved are volunteers and the families don't pay a dime for any of it. They receive a print package and a CD with the high-resolution photos after the photographer edits the images.

So far, 215 children have been photographed in Tampa Bay.

If this charity interests you, I urge you to donate your services or money to keep it going. It means a great deal to me and I hope after seeing some of the photos, you’ll feel touched too. For more photos, please visit my Facebook page.


Oct 18, 2010
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

One of the highest compliments I receive is being asked to photograph an assignment for a friend and colleague.

I met Mark Kohler while working at the Shreveport Times in Louisiana. Mark is a strange, interesting and incredibly smart man. His views may not always be favorable but they are well thought out, strong and bold.

He's currently teaching at Penn State University and has published his first book, Exiled in America: A Gen-X Journalist's View on Politics, Culture, Religion and Social Control in the 21st Century. He asked me to photograph the cover for him and it is an honor that he trusts me with his work.

Clients and friends always ask me “behind the scenes” questions about where I shot something or how I shot it. Mark called me with an idea he wanted to convey and let me run with it. Believe it or not, this cover was shot with my husband as the model (thank you Justin) on railroad tracks on US 41 in Lutz, Florida. We waited until sunset and used different angles, compositions and lighting techniques to produce the cover you see here. This was Mark’s favorite image as he felt this best represented his ideas in the book.

Mark describes his book as “A visceral response to Tea Baggers and right-wing radicals. All the evidence you will ever need to beat back the willfully ignorant intent on driving this country off a cliff.”

If this peaks your interest, please check out his book on Amazon. He’s a fantastic writer—you won’t be disappointed.


Oct 12, 2010
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

One of my favorite commercial photography clients to work for is Moffitt Cancer Center. All of their events have a common purpose--to raise money and continue research to find a cure for cancer. It's hard to be unhappy with clients like Moffitt!

I recently covered the APCC Luncheon (Advanced Prostate Cancer Collaboration) where the Bay Area Advisors handed over a handsome check to Moffitt with money they raised from charity events. It's nice to know there are still organizations in the Tampa Bay area that are focused on giving back to the community!


Oct 8, 2010
Category:Giving Back Events JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

One lucky Tampa professional will receive a free head shot in the month of October. Five anonymous judges chose the best entry and the winner is...

Sheri Jacoby with Body By Vi!

And for all the applicants who registered for a free head shot, you get $10 off your head shot if you book before the end of 2010!

The blog about the contest is listed below--I'd like to do this two to three times each year so others will understand the importance of a professional business portrait. Thank you to those who entered and those who judged! I appreciate you.

Posted on Sept. 24, 2010:

Who doesn’t need a little help every now and then?

In an effort to help others see the importance of a professional head shot, I am giving one lucky Tampa business owner or Tampa professional a FREE head shot.

I have spoken about the importance of presenting your best “self” many times and I believe selling your product or service, starts with selling yourself. If your potential clients see an unprofessional photo on business cards and marketing materials, it might imply that you are not serious about your business.

If you don’t invest in your business, why should anyone else?

Using a well-lit, professional head shot when you look your best is essential in getting those potential customers to pick up the phone and call you. It also helps them to remember you if they saw your head shot and thought it complimented your marketing materials well.

This Tampa head shot session is a $75 value and will include five retouched, high-resolution images for you to keep!

All you have to do is enter your information (name and an email address or phone number) in the comment box below and tell me where you work and why you deserve a free head shot. A panel of anonymous judges (excluding myself) will look over the final entries and pick a winner.

Enter by October 1, 2010 and find out if you won on October 6, 2010!

If you don't need a professional head shot, but know someone who does, you can nominate them too. Just enter their contact information below (if you have it) and write a few sentences about the person you're nominating. Thanks!

*The free head shot session will take place during the next group session offered by Jessica Leigh Photography. These sessions normally occur monthly and the location will be determined once the date is set.*


Oct 7, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

After writing numerous blogs about famous people doing crazy things for photographers, I’m convinced magazine covers are the best publicity tool in use today.

Just ask actor James Franco who decided to dress in drag for this month’s cover of Candy. Candy is “the first fashion magazine ever completely dedicated to celebrating transvestism, transexuality, cross dressing and androgyny, in all its manifestations.” So, it’s not a shock that someone is in drag on the cover, just that James Franco happens to be wearing the dress. This doesn’t help rumors that Franco is gay but he still denies them. I wonder why he decided to do this?

And ESPN the Magazine is unveiling their 2010 Body Issue—an issue dedicated to nude portraits of athletes. These portraits are stunning because of the light and strategic composition of the athletes, so they don’t expose anything more than their muscles. One of my favorite portraits from this year’s series is of PGA Tour golfer Camilo Villegas. His signature pose is balancing on one leg to see the best putt from the ground view. In this cover photo, he’s obviously naked but without showing too much, you can see every muscle in this avid-cyclist’s body. He’s only one of the multiple covers created—others include New York Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire, 2009 WNBA MVP Diana Taurasi, wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer and the USA Women's Water Polo team.

Magazine covers are meant to stir up emotion and whether you like them or not, get you to open the magazine and buy it. ESPN has done an excellent job with this year’s Body Issue—showing just enough to be sexy and revealing but also showing the athletic prowess of these amazing stars.

*Photo by Darren Rovell*


Oct 6, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Photographers have rights.

We aren’t labeled as a group that usually needs help but we do. In the last week, I have read about two instances in which photographers are being censored and portrayed as something we’re not.

The first came to me from NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) and the article describes the reaction the NPPA had to TSA (Transportation Security Administration) using posters depicting photographers as suspected terrorists. TSA chose to distribute cards and posters in airports to alert people to suspicious activity. The posters show a person wearing dark, hooded clothing standing near an airport fence, pointing a camera at a runway with a plane in the background.

When I first saw it, my reaction was that it was insensitive and the photo insinuates that we should be aware and cautious with all people taking photos in or around an airport. I understand the need for authorities to watch people but do we need to alert the general public to this? I think it will create paranoia among travelers and more problems for professional photographers.

The second troublesome story I came across was from Arab News. Saudi photographers are being censored in so many different ways, it makes it almost impossible to do their jobs. Authorities and citizens become angry and question photographers in public whether the photos are of buildings, a sunset or people. They censor photos of obvious security threats like government buildings and homes of people of high-authority. Now they’re also prohibiting photos in shopping centers and restaurants.

Saudi photographer Bakri Omar says he’s forced to use Photoshop and alter images drastically just to avoid harassment on the street when he’s shooting.  Omar says police are mixing law and tradition to censor photographers. Saudi Arabia has always been conservative (to say the least) when it comes to photography but it’s getting out of hand in the digital age. Saudi tradition is about concealing women, including limiting photographs of them. With the ease of uploading photos to the internet, Saudi men are nervous about their women being displayed to the world.

All of this makes me so grateful I am an American photographer, who doesn’t take a ton of photos at airports.


Oct 1, 2010
Category:Behind the Scenes Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

Geekfest is a gathering of professional photojournalists from around the country who come together once a year to drink, share work and mainly kick each other in the butt.

Everyone needs encouragement and inspiration and sometimes the best place to get it is from others in your profession.

I have to admit, at first I felt a little disconnected this year. I no longer work for newspapers and in my freelance career, I don’t shoot much editorial work. My clients want commercial photography, family portraits, business head shots and boudoir portraits.

Many of the photographers at Geekfest are still working in journalism and focused their presentations on photo stories, which I rarely shoot any more. But what’s great is that whenever I leave this conference, I feel like I too can shoot whatever I want, whether a client wants it or not. I sometimes forget this is for me, not them. It feels selfish to say that but I didn’t choose photojournalism as a way to please others. I chose it (or it chose me) because I’m good at it and it’s the artform I’ve been most passionate about for the last 15 years.

St. Pete Times Director of Photography Boyzell Hosey started off the weekend by updating us on the “Eye of the Storm”. He created this tagline by comparing the newspaper industry today to a Category 5 Hurricane. Boyzell said people suffering in the industry ask, “Why me? Why on my watch?” To which Boyzell replies, “God says ‘Why not you?’” His talk comforted me even though the industry doesn’t affect me directly. But many of my friends still work in the business and I can’t hear about any more furloughs, layoffs, buyouts or just plain sadness about their jobs. It breaks my heart.

One of the most shocking and moving photo stories was the “Resurrection of Amalia Mendoza” by Greg Kahn of the Naples Daily News. Amalia was in a horrible car accident in 2001 that took her eyes, nose and part of her skull from her. She put all her hopes and prayers into a doctor name David Trainer. Kahn followed her through this journey and the video and stills are incredible.

The story that I was most impressed with was “Michael’s Story” by Los Angeles Times photographer Liz O. Baylen. She covered a story about a 6-year-old boy who was molested by a L.A. Unified School District special education aide. Liz could not reveal the identity of the victim or his parents so she said she used audio to recreate the story. And somehow she pulled it off.

The person I think I connected with most during the presentations was Atlanta photographer Zack Arias. He’s humble, honest and tells it like it is. He touched on a few key elements with lighting that I had simply forgotten. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with bills, deadlines and clients that I forget how simple creating a great photograph can be. Zack reminded me that after I pay the bills, it is for me. Shoot for the client and please them, but shoot some frames for myself too. He said (and he may have been quoting someone else), “Commercial work is your life but photojournalism is your mistress.” Love it.

When I heard humanitarian photographer Ben Rusnak talk about what working for a non-profit entails, I was impressed because it seems the first thing you have to do is let go of your ego. He said you need to give up control over your photos and the design in which they are used, don’t expect to receive any photo credits and understand that fundraising comes first, and changing lives is second. Ben is a rare shooter—most of us have egos (it comes with the profession) and it warms my heart to see that he has risen above it all.

As New York Times photographer Todd Heisler came to the podium and looked around the room, he said, “Is photojournalism dead? Well, apparently not.” He wowed us with his “One in 8 Million” project, showing how everyone, even in NYC, has a story. Lawyer/teacher Alexis Lambert reminded us that photography is a business whether we like it or not. She’s a genius when it comes to contracts, copyright law and anything related to the University of Florida. And that’s not the only reason I adore her—she’s also one of the funniest people on the planet. Designer Deb Pang Davis broke down the rules of marketing yourself and described branding in a whole new way for me. She stressed that we should speak about our passions and focus on our personalities, not our work. Brilliant.

San Antonio Express News photographer Lisa Krantz has passion about everything. From her daily assignments to her big projects, like covering Sam Houston High School, she loves what she does. It is wonderful to listen to someone who simply can’t say enough great things about their career. Picture Editor Mike Davis showed me a new side of editing—how he sees our raw images. Wow! I was not ready for that. Editors do have a different eye and it was fun to see that. He said, “There are people who respond well to visuals and those who don’t—most of them work at newspapers.”

I saved the best for last, as did organizer Melissa Lyttle. With a welcome only heard in sporting events, Portland photographer Sol Neelman entered the ‘arena’ wearing a Lucha Libre (wrestling) mask. I saw him hiding by the door to the auditorium (with the mask on) and he casually says hi, how are you, etc. I can’t help but laugh—he’s amazing and he doesn’t even know it. Sol is refreshingly honest (he might curse like a sailor), and he encourages others to do what it takes to be happy. He said, “If I can suck, you can suck too,” after showing us his first portfolio. In a room filled with photographers (who can sometimes be competitive), that was brave. Sol makes a living by chasing his passion—weird sports. He’s covered everything from the Redneck Games in Georgia to Hog Wrasslin’ in Wisconsin. To say he’s passionate is a gross understatement.

On the last day of speakers, a shooter walked by my friend and I and we saw what looked like spiders tattooed on both calves. When he came back, we asked what they were—he said they were apertures. Freakin’ apertures. Not the numbers (f2.8, f4, f5.6, etc.) but the diagrams of each aperture as they are seen inside a lens. Bad ass.

After seeing all the work presented, listening to the passion of other photojournalists and being in the same room with all that talent reminded me why we’re here—to leave something behind that we created or as Sol put it, “This is what I saw on this planet.”

Geekfest 2011…here I come.


Sep 24, 2010
Category:Events JLP News General Giving Back 
Posted by: Jessica

Who doesn’t need a little help every now and then?

In an effort to help others see the importance of a professional head shot, I am giving one lucky Tampa business owner or Tampa professional a FREE head shot.

I have spoken about the importance of presenting your best “self” many times and I believe selling your product or service, starts with selling yourself. If your potential clients see an unprofessional photo on business cards and marketing materials, it might imply that you are not serious about your business.

If you don’t invest in your business, why should anyone else?

Using a well-lit, professional head shot when you look your best is essential in getting those potential customers to pick up the phone and call you. It also helps them to remember you if they saw your head shot and thought it complimented your marketing materials well.

This Tampa head shot session is a $75 value and will include five retouched, high-resolution images for you to keep!

All you have to do is enter your information (name and an email address or phone number) in the comment box below and tell me where you work and why you deserve a free head shot. A panel of anonymous judges (excluding myself) will look over the final entries and pick a winner.

Enter by October 1, 2010 and find out if you won on October 6, 2010!

If you don't need a professional head shot, but know someone who does, you can nominate them too. Just enter their contact information below (if you have it) and write a few sentences about the person you're nominating. Thanks!

*The free head shot session will take place during the next group session offered by Jessica Leigh Photography. These sessions normally occur monthly and the location will be determined once the date is set.*


Sep 22, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

I love it when I get a "taste" of what's to come later...

Christine and her daughter, Thea, wanted some family portraits taken since Thea turned two years old in August. We planned a trip to a Tampa park so Thea could play and be herself. Because it was a weekday morning, Thea's dad, Ted, was unable to make the photo session.

But this was a great way for me to get to know Thea because in November, her and a few other girls from China are having a reunion.

Well, they're too young to plan it but still, a reunion will occur.

The Corlesses adopted this sweet baby girl in 2009. Through this long adoption process, they bonded with other families who were going through the same thing. In November, three of these families will reunite in Tampa. I cannot wait to photograph all the girls together and shoot family portraits of each new happy family.

Thea is a darling to photograph and most of the time, she's too busy chasing bugs or dragging her stuffed animal around (appropriately named "Bunny") to pay attention to me. I LOVE it when kids are just kids and forget about the lady with the camera.


Sep 14, 2010
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

I truly enjoy helping Tampa business owners with their marketing needs. It can be something as simple as shooting a professional head shot, photographing a product line or covering a corporate party. Whatever it is, I love knowing that my photographs may help bring them business or encourage a new client or customer to call them.

To me, it's particularly important to hire a professional photographer when you need head shots and portraits for marketing materials. Those business owners who take the time and money to invest in their own marketing will find that others want to "invest" in them as well. Back in Health Wellness understands this and always uses professional photography when they update their brochures and website.

I have had the pleasure of photographing both doctors, Dr. Carrie Oleston and Dr. Cindy Perkins, as well as their staff and treatment session with their patients. If you have any chiropractic, acupuncture or massage needs, I highly suggest checking them out.

"Jessica Leigh has done commercial photography for us at Back In Health Wellness Center and she is fantastic to work with. The photography turned out beautifully and we are proud to use the photos to represent our practice. Jessica is extremely professional and has such passion for what she does.‎"

-Dr. Carrie Oleston (Lutz, FL)


Sep 10, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

The Baileys may seem like a quiet, conservative family but behind closed doors they are silly as can be.

I had the pleasure of photographing the Baileys at their home in Stuart, Florida. Chris and Catherine had their first child in December--a beautiful baby girl named Allison (aka "A-Bear").

Seeing a father like Chris do anything possible to make his daughter laugh was one of the best moments I witnessed during our photo session. It's great to see men who are hard-working, normal guys turn into funny dads who imitate character voices and sing songs.

And "Tiny Catherine" (as I call her) is a wonderful mother--you'd think she had done this five times before. Everything comes so natural to this woman and it's amazing how much love can come from such a small package!

It was so much fun photographing Allison and getting to know all her faces--sad, happy, silly, playful and so many more. She is an expressive baby which makes my job that much more entertaining!

Thanks to the Baileys for allowing me into their home for their family portraits. These are my favorite kind of photo sessions for babies--shot in the family's home where everyone can be themselves and get silly!


Sep 9, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Usually the anniversary of September 11, 2001 brings out extreme religious zealots who curse others’ beliefs.

But those fanatics are usually in support of Al-Qaeda, not America.

When Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Church in Gainesville, Florida announced that he would burn several hundred Korans on September 11, religious and military leaders, politicians and Christians alike were outraged.  He named the event “International Burn-A-Koran Day”.

"We are simply burning a book," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "General [Petraeus] needs to point his finger to radical Islam and tell them to shut up, tell them to stop, tell them that we will not bow our knees to them."

Leaders including President Barack Obama urged Jones not to go through with the burning warning that any blatant, offensive act against Muslims would create violence overseas. Jones said he is not backing down.

In defense of anyone who wants to exercise their First Amendment right, this is what the Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, I do defend Jones’ right to protest the Koran.

However, when a war is still going on and a four-star general warns you not to burn a religious book (no matter how much you may disagree with what’s in it), you might want to listen. The idea that this one pastor at a small church in a college town called Gainesville may incite violence against our troops infuriates me. These soldiers and military leaders have enough to deal with overseas without Americans creating more trouble and resistance for them. (In addition to violence abroad, Jones is creating a security risk for the 185,000 residents of Gainesville as well as the tens of thousands of visitors who will arrive on Saturday for the UF vs. USF football game.)

I agree Jones has a right to burn the Koran. But I don’t understand what he thinks he will accomplish by doing this. Has burning someone’s sacred religious books ever created peace and harmony? Doubtful. Most likley this is just another publicity stunt aimed at getting international attention that would otherwise not be available to such a church.

Some suggested that the media not cover Jones’ book burning but we know that won’t happen. Unfortunately, this is a story and it will be told. I just hope it’s not at a soldier’s expense.

*Photo by John Raoux/AP*


Sep 8, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Once again, Lady Gaga is proving that it doesn't matter if people like you or hate you, as long as they are talking about you.

I don't care for Lady Gaga's music but I finally get why she does the crazy stuff she does--it attracts attention from fans and haters alike. Her outlandish costumes, bizarre performances and unusual cover photos all create a "buzz" that makes her the latest water cooler conversation.

This month Lady Gaga is Japan's Vogue magazine cover girl. She is wearing raw meat and nothing else. As one would expect, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is furious with her. "Oh, Lady Gaga's job is to do outlandish things, and this certainly qualifies as outlandish because meat is something you want to avoid putting on or in your body," PETA's President, Ingrid Newkirk, told The Daily News.

Personally, I am not a vegetarian so this doesn't really offend me but I can see why it would others. I just think it's another Lady Gaga stunt aimed at gaining publicity.

Well done, Lady Gaga, well done.


Sep 6, 2010
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

The Tampa Bay Rays hosted a day with the University of South Florida to drive Bulls fans out to St. Petersburg. It worked like a charm!

The day included USF Coach Skip Holtz throwing out the first pitch and talking with Rays players and Manager Joe Maddon. Even though I am a Florida Gator to the core, I have to admit Coach Holtz is one of the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure of photographing!

The Rays also distributed hats with the Rays logo on the front and the Bulls logo on the back.

USF mascot "Rocky" was on hand to celebrate the new era of football at USF with Coach Skip Holtz and of course, watch the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 7 to 3.

It's going to be a great season for the USF Bulls!


Sep 3, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

Kaylyn Grace is only one year old but she has the sass and humor of a teenager.

She is the funniest baby I've ever photographed. She's got every look a photographer could want--pouty, happy, giddy, pensive, silly and more.

Ashley and Jud are fun, wonderful parents and their personalities already shine through in this tiny version of themselves.

I shot their family portrait session at their home in Land O Lakes, for the sake of convenience. We started with some photographs of three generations--Kaylyn, Ashley and Ashley's mother. Then we moved on to some fun in their guest bedroom with Kaylyn and her parents just playing together. I find that some of the best photos develop from natural situations with children. (And Kaylyn redefines how cute a ladybug outfit can be.)

Kaylyn was an angel through all of it. We played in their backyard and I got to know this funny little girl a bit more. Raisins are the bribe of choice in this family--a good fact to know when photographing a child.

Once we were done with formal photos inside and backyard photos, Ashley changed Kaylyn into her alligator bathing suit and let her play in the pool with Jud. The great thing about kids is that they seem to enjoy every situation they are a part of--whether that be swinging from a tree, eating Raisins, swimming or just wrestling with their parents on the bed.

God bless kids for finding the fun in everything.


Aug 20, 2010
Category:Tips and Tricks Behind the Scenes General 
Posted by: Jessica

The Photojojo Store takes being a photo geek to a whole new level.

My logo designer, Javier Sola, sent this site to me and I'm dying to spend some hard earned money on these silly, fun photo gadgets.

They have everything from inflatable frames to a camera lens mug! They also make being a photographer even cooler and stranger than it already was. With bowling bags used for SLR cameras and glasses that double as a video camera, I cannot say enough about this weird little photography website.

So the next time you find yourself wondering what to get the photo geek, or photographer, in your life, check out www.photojojo.com.


Aug 19, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

There’s always a debate about how much access the White House Press Corps should have to the President of the United States.

The latest blunder occurred when the Obama family traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida last weekend. Only one member of the White House staff was allowed to accompany the family to the beach to shoot photos; the other photographers were kept at a hotel for a few hours while the President swam in the ocean.

The White House said the reason they did this was because it was easier to coordinate with a staffer than the press corps. The photographers know it was because showing a bare-chested President Obama in photographs is not a good idea. It happened once before and stirred lots of controversy for the President (see first photo).

The press corps wanted to document the event because seeing the President swim in the Gulf waters after the BP oil spill could be very symbolic. It could help calm the nation’s fears after what has been months of problems due to the spill.

So many interesting and intimate photos have surfaced that were shot because there was great access and a smart photographer captured the moment. I hope the White House sees the value in this and doesn’t keep the photographers at bay.

*Photo credits: (top) unknown; (bottom) Reuters*


Aug 17, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

An Israeli Reserve officer recently posted photos on her Facebook page of her smiling at blindfolded Palestinian prisoners.

There’s no violence or intention to humiliate anyone in the pictures,” Eden Abergil tells Army Radio. “I know I didn’t do anything wrong,” she said.

The problem really isn't the photos--compared to the ones that surfaced from Abu Ghraib in 2006, these are in better taste, if that's what you want to call it.

The question is this: when will people stop posting career-damaging photos on social media websites and when will employers stop using personal profile pages as a way to punish them? In most instances, I have to side with the employers. If you're stupid enough to post tasteless photos of yourself abusing a prisoner, getting drunk or doing drugs or maybe just some photos that are a little too sexy, that's your own fault. That’s what privacy settings are for—to exclude those people who shouldn’t see your personal photos.

I don't have government secrets nor do I do drugs or have half-naked photos on my personal Facebook page. BUT, I do have a separate page for my business where clients can still connect with me but they don't have to read if I'm going for a drink with a friend on Friday night. I keep my personal page for my family and friends.

You never know what someone's opinions or prejudices are so I think it's better to be safe.

Another example of Facebook postings gone bad was when Israeli Defense Forces had to cancel a West Bank raid after a soldier posted detailed information on the upcoming mission on his wall.

This month in Cleveland, a woman typed in the name of the woman she thought her husband was having an affair with and photos of his wedding to the mistress at Disney World appeared! The husband claimed she already knew and was doing it as a publicity stunt. Who knows...

Some folks are using the social media for good—or at least to deter others from being bad. The Police Department of Evesham Township, New Jersey has decided to post names and mug shots (arrest photos) of DUI offenders on their Facebook page.

Have we gone too far?


Aug 7, 2010
Category:Behind the Scenes In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

When I read a story about six teenagers drowning in the Red River in Shreveport, La. on Monday, I felt such sadness for the families. None of the parents or children knew how to swim, yet they decided to have a barbeque by the river and wade in the water. It upsets me that parents would plan this outing knowing that if an accident happened, not one person there could help.

This story reminded me of my spot news days working at a paper. I worked as a photojournalist in Shreveport for four years before moving back to my hometown of Tampa, Florida to open my freelance business. One of the reasons I left the newspaper industry was because I wasn’t meant to shoot spot news.

I remember how the “subjects” used to look when I would come on scene with my cameras slung over my shoulders, ready to document the worst day in their lives.

No one really understands what it’s like to do a job until you are asked to do it. I loved my job as a newspaper photojournalist. There were good and bad days (and assignments) like any job but I really felt like some of the work I did made a difference.

Then there were the days like Monday. I know how the photographer might have felt; pulling up to the riverbanks and knowing that there would be intense, raw emotion pouring out of this family.

It’s hard to photograph days like these but it can be helpful. Many great photographs taken under stress and taken of awful situations have led to good things—legislation to prevent the same crime from happening, a fund set up for the victim’s family, awareness of a social issue, etc.

One of the last major events I photographed before leaving the newspaper world was Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, La. It was the hardest assignment I shot. I’d never truly documented the destruction a natural disaster like a Category 5 hurricane leaves behind. I’d covered car accidents, fires, murders, etc. but never something on that scale. So many people were affected and I felt that my personal safety was always in question.

I applaud those photographers who cover wars and disasters and manage to remove themselves from the chaos to photograph what’s happening and do their job. It takes a special person to do this and I hope others understand what sacrifices these journalists make to bring the news to you.

So, next time you see photos of a major tragedy like September 11, 2001, the Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq war or the Indonesian tsunami, think of the guts and strength it took for someone to snap the shutter. Some news photos are incredibly hard to view; imagine how hard it was to shoot.

*Photo by Jessica Leigh Photography*


Aug 5, 2010
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

I saw this list and had to repost it. Being born and raised in Tampa, Florida, I understand each and every one of these "facts"! Enjoy!


You know you're a Floridian if....

Socks are only for bowling.

You never use an umbrella because you know the rain will be over in
five minutes.

A good parking place has nothing to do with distance from the store,
but everything to do with shade.

Your winter coat is made of denim.

You can tell the difference between fire ant bites and mosquito bites.

You're younger than thirty but some of your friends are over 65.

Anything under 70 degrees is chilly.

You've driven through Yeehaw Junction.

You know that no other grocery store can compare to Publix.

Every other house in your neighborhood had blue roofs in 2004-2005.

You know that anything under a Category 3 just isn't worth waking up for.

You dread love bug season.

You are on a first name basis with the Hurricane list. They aren't
Hurricane Charley or Hurricane Frances. You know them as Andrew,
Charley, Frances , Ivan, Jeanne & Wilma...Irene...Cheryl...Rita
Mary..Alison

You know what a snowbird is and when they'll leave.

You think a six-foot alligator is actually pretty average.

'Down South' means Key West

Flip-flops are everyday wear. Shoes are for business meetings and
church, but you HAVE worn flip flops to church before.

You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt.

You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls.

A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level.

You know the four seasons really are: Hurricane season, love bug
season, tourist season and summer.

You've hosted a hurricane party.

You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee , Withlacoochee , Thonotosassa
and Micanopy.

You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat, than have
a boat yourself.

You were 25 when you first met someone who couldn't swim.

You've worn shorts and used the A/C on Christmas and New Years.

You recognize Miami-Dade as ' Northern Cuba '

You understand all of this.

(Photo by Jessica Leigh Photography)


Jul 28, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

Astronomers have figured out how to photograph the entire universe using a telescope millions of miles from Earth. The end product is quite beautiful.

To learn what exactly it is that we see in this amazing photo, please take a look at this article. It will blow your mind!

*Photo by the European Space Agency.*


Jul 23, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

If I had a dollar for every time I encountered an article about a “Photoshop-altered image”, well, I’d have some extra spending cash which I would probably use to by the newest version of Photoshop.

BP has yet again become a big blog topic due to three photos that were released of their cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The photos were clearly altered and whoever did it, used a cut and paste technique that did not make the new versions realistic.

I’ve ranted on my blog many a time about altering digital photos and what it can do to my profession and the credibility of all photographers. It cannot become the norm for anyone—photographers, editors, designers or even CEOs.

The reason this particular incident upsets me is because BP is in enough trouble already—they have tarnished their image this year, possibly forever. How would this kind of stunt help? Someone always finds out…thank God for the photo geeks who find these problems. Plus, BP’s reaction to it is that they are now blaming the contract photographer for altering the image and claiming no responsibility of their own.

The photographer may have done this on their own (and for that they should be punished) but BP is forgetting the one lesson they should have learned in the last three months: one mistake can take an entire company down.

View the before and after images here.

*Photo courtesy of BP via Flickr.*


Jul 2, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

One of the most powerful and in-depth photo stories I have ever viewed won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.

Denver Post photographer Craig F. Walker received the award to bring the Post’s Pulitzer total to six.

For more than two years, Walker documented a “boy” named Ian Fisher as he graduated from high school, joined the Army and was deployed to Iraq. Walker’s access and creativity to make every frame different after years covering the same subject is inspiring. Through his images, you can see his passion to tell this story in particular. He didn’t have a model soldier as a subject. He didn’t just want the typical “war images” from Iraq that we have all become numb to after seeing so many of them.

The story is called “Ian Fisher: American Soldier” and I highly recommend you take time out of your day to see what really happens when young men are asked to take on more responsibility than they can handle.

There are so few storytellers left in photojournalism that are given the time and resources to pursue a story and finish it. My thanks go to the Denver Post for giving Walker what he needed to make this an award-winning piece of art.

*Photo by Craig F. Walker*


Jul 1, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

A 25-year-old U.K. mother recently checked out the Google Street View and was surprised to find an image of her 3-year-old son naked, with only his shoes on. A license plate on a nearby car was blurred out but not the naked boy. The mother wants to know why the images aren’t reviewed well before being posted online.

Google later replaced the image with one that blurred out the child from the waist down.

When I first read this story, I thought that the mother was probably somewhere she shouldn’t have been, letting her son run wild with no pants on. (I’ve seen weirder things happen.) I assumed she would cry “invasion of privacy” and sue Google for millions. Then I read that this happened in her garden, I assume in the privacy of her own backyard.

Now I understand why she is so upset and why she feels sick to her stomach about finding this photo. I don’t have a child but if this happened to my husband or me, I would be outraged. I can’t think of a reason why we’d be naked in our garden but you never know!

Where do we draw the line when it comes to technology and our privacy?


Jun 30, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

This year’s recipient of the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) Emerging Vision Incentive award is truly exposing a way of life that is bizarre, intriguing and sad.

Photographer James Chance will continue to document his project called “Living with the Dead: Manila’s North Cemetery.” Through his project he is exposing a community of 2,000 people who have made their home the North Cemetery, among hundreds of thousands of Filipino presidents, celebrities and Catholics.

These families have literally built lives on top of tombs and graves. They live and work there instead of in the city slums, where many of the city’s poverty stricken people reside. Approximately 40 percent of Manila’s population lives below the poverty line.

According to Chance, 80 funerals can occur each day in the North Cemetery.

Chance’s goal is to explore the lives of the people that live among the dead. The most interesting aspect of his plan is to understand the cycle of life in this community—“babies are born as bodies are laid to rest.”

It’s rare these days to see classic storytellers receiving money to do what they do best. I’m excited to see the POYi grant awarded to Chance and I can’t wait to see what he does with the project.

*Photo by James Chance*


Jun 29, 2010
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

John and Robin are entertaining, to say the least.

My favorite part about shooting family portraits or engagement portraits is what people are willing to do, if I ask.

We traveled to Philippe Park in Safety Harbor for their photo session on a beautiful, sunny Florida afternoon. It had been a long eight years since they had professional photos taken and that was at their wedding! So, I was excited to update their photo albums and picture frames for them.

John and Robin could not be more different, in my opinion, but they have one of the most harmonious relationships I’ve ever witnessed. They laugh a ton, tease each other and seem to know what the other is thinking most of the time.

I guess that’s what eight years of marriage will do—you really get to know each other!

They were really fun to photograph, doing everything I asked. I told them, “As a professional, I think you should get on this purple dinosaur.” It works every time.

It was a pleasure photographing them and I hope it won’t be another eight years before I have the pleasure of taking their family portraits again.

“Never have I had a more comfortable photo session! Both my husband and I dislike having our photos taken; Tampa photographer Jessica Leigh managed to make the experience relaxing and enjoyable, resulting in some beautiful family portraits that captured our genuine personalities and relationship. We look forward to using her in the future for our family portraits.

-Robin (Land O Lakes, Florida)

“It was eight years ago that my wife and I last had professional portraits taken of us (and that just happened to be from our wedding…), and we were finally ready to update them. We were turned onto Tampa photographer Jessica Leigh by a good friend of ours. Our ensuing hour and a half family portrait session with Jessica turned out to be an enjoyable, professional, and engaging experience - all traits I now respect and admire in a photographer. She truly took some beautiful, impressionable photographs of us that we are proud to showcase in our house. I would recommend her without any hesitation.”

-John (Land O Lakes, Florida)


Jun 28, 2010
Category:Tips and Tricks Behind the Scenes General 
Posted by: Jessica

When it comes to hiring a professional for a business head shot, most people go to a name they know like Sears or JCPenney because they think they’re saving money. I’m writing this article to map out the different options including hiring an independent professional photographer and going to studios in the mall.

First, let me start by stressing the importance of hiring a professional for your head shot. Asking a friend or family member to shoot your head shot with a point-and-shoot camera is not the same and it shows in the final product. The reason businesses hire professionals is that they know there’s a reason we exist. If you’re an accountant or a doctor or a lawyer, I would hire you for your services because I know you’ve been trained well to do your job and I cannot do it for you. Photography is no different.

Second, when you choose not to hire a professional photographer and use a head shot created by an amateur, it shows your client you don’t think it’s worth the money to invest in a real head shot. If you won’t invest in your business, why should anyone else?

Third, I did my research by calling or visiting these other studios in person so I got an accurate price list for Tampa head shots. I used the area of Carrollwood as my base since there is a JCPenney studio, a Sears studio and a Picture People location in Citrus Park Mall.

Let’s start with what I offer for my head shot package. For a group session (a minimum of five people), the rate is only $75 per person and I travel to your office. The best option is for me to set up my mobile studio in a conference room. The $75 head shot rate includes five final images that are retouched and ready to print. The client has full rights to reproduce these images in any way they see fit. It also includes an online gallery of raw images where the client can choose their favorite images.  I recommend a dark grey/black backdrop but I also have light gray, dark blue, red, white and black to choose from. The client may wear as many different tops as time permits.

I visited Picture People and the associate told me that for only three retouched images on CD, the rate is $90. At JCPenney Portrait Studio, the rate for three head shots on CD is $70. I called Sears Portrait Studio and after being on hold for ten minutes during normal business hours, I decided to look online for pricing information. The current sale offered on their website is one retouched business portrait on CD for $65.

The general public might think they are getting a great deal by going to a department store studio. I researched these options so others can see the difference. My rate compared to those studios is only a $5-$10 difference and, in one case, my rate is nearly 20% less expensive.

My other concern is that if you want your head shot or business portrait to look creative, it is sometimes hard to find that in a department store setting. The employee photographing you usually has a part-time position with little to no real world experience outside of the mall as a professional photographer and more importantly,  he or she may not be there if you come back with any problems or questions.

I always tell clients to do their own research. I believe in what I do and if your only concern is cost – not quality or service, then sometimes the best option is Wal-Mart. When you’re ready for a professional set of images to set your business apart from the others – I’m ready and I’ll be here to help before, during and after any session.


Jun 24, 2010
Category:General Thankful Thursdays 
Posted by: Jessica

Have you attended a networking meeting and felt like everyone was trying to force their product or service on you?

I’ve been to plenty of them around the Tampa Bay area and Networking Girlfriends is one of the best with no hard-core sales pitching. It’s organized by my boot camp trainer, Carrie Kukuda (The Someday Coach), and the information I’ve gathered from it is worth the cost alone. We meet once each month and it’s only $40 per year.

This week I had the pleasure of shooting business head shots for ladies before and after the meeting at Piccadilly in Tampa. And because it’s summer time and so many people are on vacation (and trying to figure out what to do with their children), we had a small turnout. So, about 8 or 10 fabulous females attended compared to the usual 20 to 30 women.

The smaller group was nice for a change and we were able to discuss networking marketing topics and each other’s businesses like we never have before. We talked about social media, discounts, referrals and helping others first.

In this economic climate of everyone trying to “Sell, Sell, Sell”, it was nice to be in the company of quality women who know their businesses speak for themselves.


Jun 22, 2010
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Working with Taylor Albertson Pinke at the University of Tampa is the best assignment a photographer could ask for.

Taylor is the Annual Fund Director in the Development and University Relations Department and she does it well. Not only is she organized, punctual and professional but she makes my job even more fun than it already is!

From reserving a golf cart so I’m not carrying my loads of camera equipment across campus in 95 degree heat to keeping a relaxed attitude about unexpected changes in the schedule, Taylor is a delight to work for. She also makes sure I see how my photos are used in publication, even if it’s months later.

I’ve included some Homecoming photos I shot for Development and I could not have gotten through all those events without staff members like Taylor. Thank you!

"I have used Tampa photographer Jessica Leigh dozens of times for various events and marketing needs. She always finds a way to capture the spirit of an event and the emotions of an individual. Her technical skills are excellent, and she has a great eye for the 'artistic' shot. Jessica is also extremely personable making even the most camera-shy person feel right at home in front of the lens. When I hire Jessica Leigh, I know I can count on her to be on time, and produce amazing images that are delivered quickly. I am very thankful to be one of her clients!‎"

-Taylor Albertson Pinke (University of Tampa)



Jun 18, 2010
Category:Events JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica
Jessica Leigh Photography will be hosting another group head shot session in Tampa. Head shots will be taken before and after a Networking Girlfriends meeting so times available are between 11-11:30 a.m. and 1-1:45 p.m. (See more info at http://www.networkinggirlfriends.com/.) If you are female, you are welcome to stay for the meeting--the first one is free!

What the head shot session includes:
*Five final images to keep & use with unlimited rights
*Minor digital retouching (ex: blemishes, skin tones, scar removal)
*Editing/toning/cropping of images
*Option to review raw images at a later date (or photographer can choose)
*High-resolution images are emailed to you or burned to CD within one week of the session
TOTAL: $75 per person (due in cash or check at time of session)

You must RSVP and choose a time slot to reserve a spot. Call Jessica Leigh at 813.468.0075.

Jun 17, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Not even Lance Armstrong can avoid being “Photoshopped.”

His latest professional magazine photo graces the cover of Outside, a travel and fitness magazine. He wore a plain t-shirt for the photo session and Outside staff added “38. BFD.” (The numbers and letters refer to his age this year--38 years old--and that it’s not a “big f---ing deal”.)

Armstrong is pissed. He called it “weak” that they did it without his permission.

In the age of digital alterations, the only thing that upsets me is that there’s an easier solution—ask him to wear a shirt with the phrase on it in the first place. Maybe they did and he refused but no one has offered up that information yet.

The story is about his 38th year and how he’s overcome so much and what's in store for his future. I get it. It’s kind of funny to have a shirt on that expresses his attitude.

However, so many staffers are now looking to do post-production work on photos that they forget photographers can make most of it happen from behind the lens! It’s lazy and brings more scrutiny on all publications every time there’s a controversial magazine cover photo that’s rumored to be an altered image. Outside staff defended their actions by showing they have very small print on the cover that says, “Note: Not Armstrong’s Real T-shirt.”

Just because someone admits “I’m lazy” doesn’t make it ok.


Jun 12, 2010
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

Sierra said all she wanted for her 9th birthday was to have a glamour party.

Wish granted.

Thanks to Collective Creations, Sierra and six of her closest friends painted their fingers and toes, received professional hair styling and played “dress up” with boas, jewelry, dresses, hats and high heels.

They feasted on pizza and birthday cake and giggled until their bellies hurt.

Sierra is a wonderful, charismatic girl who has impeccable manners and a kind heart. She deserves nothing but the best on this birthday and all the ones to come! Thanks for inviting me into your home to photograph your day, Sierra!


Jun 11, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

When a business decides to embark on a new advertising campaign, change their image or design a new website, I believe the key is starting with great photography or visuals. This can be as simple as taking new business head shots and portraits.

Corless Zinober does it right.

Not only do they have a spectacular website being unveiled this month but they have also invested in new photography for their attorneys. As a consumer, I feel this creates a more personal website which helps when you’re shopping law firms that all seem to look the same.

I photographed some new attorneys and reshot others but what I like about working with them is that they are always open to new ideas. They do whatever it takes to finish a project and do it well. We decided on some tight head shots and a few portraits taken in their office on Westshore Boulevard that reflects their love for art.

Thank you to Ted Corless and the team at Corless Zinober for allowing me to be a part of their new look. Good luck!



Jun 10, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica


Jun 4, 2010
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

I don’t photograph weddings every weekend. I do a few here and a few there. But when I get to do them, it makes my job so much more enjoyable to see a happy, stress-free couple that remembers what the day is all about…love.

Angela and Brad fit this description to a tee. From the time I shot their engagement portraits in December, I knew they were different. I expected there to be a little stress since the wedding was a mere four months away but they both had a calm aura about them. We walked around River Hills Park in Tampa, shot photos, played on the playground, watched ducks waddle and saw a beautiful sunset. It was one of the calmest photo shoots I’ve been on and it’s all because of Angela and Brad.

Their wedding was no different. From photographing Angela getting ready with her best friends to their peaceful ceremony to the colorful Hawaiian reception, they kept their cool and simply enjoyed the day.

Not only was their reception intimate but it was also one of the more unique events I’ve had the pleasure of photographing. It was a Hawaiian luau hosted by The Exotic Plumeria in Seffner, Florida, complete with leis for guests, dancing and traditions unlike anywhere else. Angela was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and the bride and groom both dreamed of a Hawaiian wedding here in Tampa Bay so it seemed a good fit.

The music and video was provided by the team at Celebrations of Tampa Bay and the wedding rings were designed by Spath Jewelers. The bride’s hair was styled by Synergy in Brandon, Florida and Alan Bunch at the Exotic Plumeria took care of all the catering and the performers.

Congratulations and best wishes to Angela and Brad!


Jun 4, 2010
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Most of us would love to have a professional photographer shoot our family portraits, cover our birthday parties and weddings and photograph our children. It can be pricy so why not ask for it as a gift?

More and more people are trying to find new and creative gifts to give to family members, friends and co-workers. Why not give the gift of photography with a gift certificate from Jessica Leigh Photography?

One of the easiest ways to do this is simply add this “gift” to a wish list like www.amazon.com. Click here to add the universal wish list button from Amazon then go to my website at www.jlpflorida.com and click on “Add to Amazon” in your toolbar. You can even specify the amount or quantity of gift cards you are requesting.

Our sessions start at $75 per person for business head shots and $350 for Tampa family portrait sessions and boudoir photography. Wedding packages begin at $850 and commercial photography starts at $350.  These session rates are all-inclusive meaning the rate we quote is the rate you pay. We don’t believe in the “nickel and dime” philosophy so each session comes with a CD of the edited and toned high-resolution photos as well as an online gallery. We also include a release so you can print them at any color lab you choose.

With holiday family portraits being booked as early as September, this is a great time to be thinking of who might enjoy professional photography as a gift. There are only 203 days until Christmas and 181 days until Hanukkah!!!


Jun 3, 2010
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

The event called “Lush” at The Don Cesar in St. Petersburg is named for the feeling you get when you walk through the courtyard.

It’s an elegant and extravagant event centered around food and drinks. Once you pay for a ticket, you can sample as much as they can offer. And like all Loews Hotels events, they do everything right.

From wine to scotch (from Southern Wine and Spirits) and sushi to chocolate mousse, every guest can find something worth trying. Loews Hotels gathered some of their finest chefs from The Don Cesar and Loews Miami Beach Hotel to participate. These chefs managed to cook up culinary delights all night and I don’t think anyone left unhappy.

The Don also provided musical entertainment from ­­­Lamar Tremain and a fashion show by local designer Ivanka Ska with some outrageous and breathtaking designs.

I think I enjoyed this photo shoot so much because it gave me a chance to create food photography again. It’s been ages (it seems) that I have focused on food. I, of course, photographed the models, guests and chefs but food that is prepared by culinary masters is a visual treat for artists like myself.


Jun 2, 2010
Category:In the News Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

One of the reasons I love the new photo exhibition at the Tate Modern in London is that the photos are a wonderful mix of very literal imagery and some that are more suggestive and subtle.

The exhibit titled “Exposed” showcases photographs from various artists that focus on the idea of voyeurism. Some are more subtle like the Harry Callahan photo (1984) of the backside of a woman standing on a street corner. The way it’s shot, it seems as though maybe the photographer is a safe distance behind her, using a long lens and trying to fill the frame with her body.

A more obvious interpretation of the voyeurism theme is seen in Shizuka Yokomizo’s photos from her “Dear Stranger” body of work from 1999. She wrote to strangers asking them to stand in their window at a specific time and date so she could photograph them outside their homes. It sounds creepy to me but apparently enough people did it for her to make a series out of it.

I visited the Tate Modern in London in 2006 while traveling with a dear friend of mine through England and Ireland. I loved the museum and have always held a fascination with modern art. Even if I don’t understand it completely, I’ve always been drawn to it.

Photography exhibits catch my eye first, naturally. Seeing someone else’s work in exhibit form is a special privilege and I don’t take it lightly. I know how much time, effort and talent goes into one show so I’m grateful there are museums out there like the Tate Modern that allow for such artistic freedom.

*Top photo by Harry Callahan; Bottom photo by Shizuka Yokomizo.*


Jun 1, 2010
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Kellye and Nick are the epitome of being “giddy in love”.

When we decided to shoot their engagement portraits on Honeymoon Island, I was really excited. It’s one of my favorite beaches for portraits because of the white sand, beautiful sunsets and they have a dog beach (in case “Max” or “Duke” are invited in to the family portrait).

Kellye and Nick are the perfect subjects for a photographer—they do exactly what I ask with no questions! So, if I say, “Let’s go walk on the rocks under the boardwalk bathroom,” they say, “Sure!” And then I just let their personalities take control of the photo shoot.

They dated seven years before they married and I could not be prouder of them. Kellye is my cousin and a kind, sweet soul. Now that I know Nick a little better, I see why she cares about him so much and why it was worth the wait. They married in March of 2010 in Homestead, Florida and I’m sure they will be blessed all their lives.

“Jessica shot our engagement pictures shortly after we announced the big news. She is absolutely wonderful! She is professional and courtesy as well as fun and creative. She truly captures precious moments that you will cherish forever. Luckily, with Jessica Leigh Photography those moments will never be forgotten. I would recommend her to any person, business or organization in Florida looking for fantastic photos that capture the character and essence of any subject.”

-Kellye & Nick (Homestead, Florida)



May 31, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

*I'm posting my Thankful Thursday entry today since it’s Memorial Day and this may be something our military families need right now.*

I have a dear friend who is a military wife whose husband is a Major in the Unites States Air Force and they have a six-year-old daughter. I love them all dearly and have always wanted to do something to show them I care.

Then I met Executive Director Lisa Berg from Operation Hug-A-Hero.

You might think this organization is like any another non-profit looking for donations but to me and so many military families, they are much, much more. They offer peace of mind, love and companionship to those children who are left behind when moms and dads are deployed.

Through Hug-A-Hero, anyone can order a “Daddy Doll” or donate $25, the total cost of the doll. I decided to collaborate with my friend’s husband so we got a photo of him to print on the front, a personalized message on the bottom and for just a few extra bucks, we got a voice recorder for inside the doll so his daughter could hear his voice once he deployed to Afghanistan.

He gave her the doll right before he shipped out and I’m told she didn’t say much at first. She just hugged the doll and played the prayer over and over again. Now I'm told she won't sleep without it and she took it with her on vacations and sleepovers.

Lisa Berg honestly gives her heart and soul to her family and the military. For this, I admire her a great deal. She manages to juggle a family, being a military wife AND running Operation Hug-A-Hero. She does everything to honor and recognize our military and I have the upmost respect for her.

If you’d like to help, you can donate money (of course), buy a doll for a family in need (the military families receive dolls free of charge) or ask someone at your company if they’d like to sponsor the organization. They have many more requests for dolls than they do donations so if you’ve always wanted to show your support and didn’t know how, this is an easy, inexpensive way to do it!

Help give a little homeland security...
www.operationhugahero.org

“We have been able to give out almost 800 dolls in the last year.   While this may sound like many for such a small non-profit organization, we are not able to currently keep up with demand.  Most recently we have been putting families onto a waiting list while we push hard for donations and sponsorship.  We would love to hear about any companies that are interested in becoming a Corporate Sponsor for our organization.  One of our visions is to partner with defense-affiliated companies that provide materials, technology, etc. for our troops to accomplish their mission. Allowing these industries to come full circle and provide comfort for the Little Heroes left behind shows their commitment and support for our military beyond providing the important tools; we are an excellent opportunity for them to express that support.”  –Lisa Berg


May 31, 2010
Category:Out and About Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

I had the pleasure of photographing the 13th Annual Latinos Unidos Luncheon hosted by The City of Tampa’s Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council at the Tampa Convention Center. Proceeds from the conference and the luncheon helped to fund the scholarship endowment at the University of Tampa. (There are also endowments at the University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College.)

I love being a part of organizations that help other kids go to college. I was blessed enough (years ago) to receive a few scholarships from Tampa organizations and HCC plus my parents were kind enough to pay my tuition at the University of Florida. I understand not everyone has opportunities like these.

The keynote speaker was City of Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and prominent guests included UT president Dr. Ronald Vaughn, USF President Dr. Judy Genshaft and HCC President Dr. Gwendolyn Stephenson. More than 400 Tampa business owners and community members attended the conference and luncheon.

UT hosted a private reception the night before and as always, UT proved to be a wonderful place to host a function. Donors, business owners and guests were invited to celebrate some of the accomplishments of the Hispanic Advisory Council. Council member Maritza Roviro Forino lead the event and honored UT trustee Dr. O. Rex Damron, President of the Krewe of Sant 'Yago Education Foundation.

Thanks to all who help give kids opportunities they didn’t know they could have.


May 27, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Chances are, you’ve already seen Ro Martinez. It might have been in an Amscot advertisement or a commercial for AT&T or Busch Gardens.

Ro is a successful model which makes her a successful modeling coach.

“My goal is to help people reach their dream of modeling and acting without spending a fortune, while avoiding scams,” said Martinez. “I want to share my years of experience with others so they can overcome obstacles and make it easier for them to succeed.”

I first worked with Ro when we collaborated on a modeling photo shoot for one of her up-and-coming models, Oscar. Since I had never worked with Ro before, it was hard to know how the session would go. When she arrived, she had everything Oscar and I could possibly need for a successful photo shoot.

We met at a park in Ybor City in Tampa and only had about an hour to make Oscar a winning portfolio. (It helped that Oscar is already good-looking with a great attitude!)

Not only does Ro know exactly what will sell so her client will get bookings but she has an amazing attention to detail. It was like having my own personal art director by my side looking at lighting glares, clothing issues and skin tones.

For photographers, sometimes having another “leader” on a photo shoot can be difficult. The photographer may have one idea, the modeling coach has another and the model comes up with a third. But working with Ro makes a photographer feel like more than just a person behind the camera who pushes the button. She listens to ideas and offers her own with a pleasant demeanor while still serving the needs of her client.

“I offer career guidance to show the variety of work available to models and actors.  Assistance is given during photo shoots, posing, hair and makeup and photo selection with the ultimate goal of finding agency representation,” said Martinez.

She also wrote a book called Modeling At Any Age, “a comprehensive instructional guide that can be followed by anyone with a strong desire but to motivate by sharing my experience as well as showing photos of a variety of models of all ages, body types, and ethnic groups.”

Check out Ro’s portfolio here and see what she can do for your modeling career!

*Photos by Jessica Leigh Photography*


May 26, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Where does the “altering” end when it comes to digital photography?

When you’re trained to be a newspaper photojournalist, you are given certain rules to abide by. One of them is don’t alter your digital image so much that it looks nothing like the original. Many photographers and sometimes editors have made the news themselves by ignoring this rule for the sake of making a “better” photograph.

I will admit there is a huge gray area so it is sometimes hard to know what’s acceptable and what’s not. Removing people from photos is NOT.

The Dominion Post in Morgantown, West Virginia took it upon themselves to alter Martin Valent's photo (he works for the West Virginia Legislative Reference and Information Center). The editor of the paper, Geri Ferrara, is under fire for her decision that she continues to defend.

The photo in question is of Governor Joe Manchin seated with a pen signing “Erin’s Law”, named after a WVU student (Erin Keener) who died in a hit and run accident. The original photo includes two members of Keener’s family and three delegates with the Governor. The newspaper removed the delegates from the photo because of “the newspaper's policy not to publish pictures of candidates running for re-election during the political season."

Ferrara said her decision is just because she labeled the photo a “photo illustration”. She is truly stretching the definition of the word. Webopedia defines it as “a type of computer art that begins with a digitized photograph. Using special image enhancement software, the artist can then apply a variety of special effects to transform the photo into a work of art.” View the story here and decide if Ferrara has created a “work of art”.

The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) keeps a watchful eye over all newspapers, journalists and editors. They wrote to Ferrara and stated their disappointment in her decision. "Find an alternative to lying," NPPA's letter to Ferrara said. "If the there are no other photos available of this event, then do not run any photo at all or run a head-shot of the governor if you have to run something. You must value your integrity above all else. All other considerations or excuses pale in comparison."


May 25, 2010
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

When Ritchie and Jennifer asked me to photograph their six-month-old twin girls, I was thrilled. I had never photographed twins before and was excited about the challenge. Little did I know that twins are twice the sass, twice the energy and twice the fun!

Dillon and Mackenzie both had amazing personalities for only being in this world for six months. They never cried—they just giggled and stuck their tongue out for me.

I think the parents were more worried than I was about how the family portraits would go. It’s hard enough to keep up with twins when don’t have a photographer in your home following them around. But they were all a pleasure to work with and I hope I get to photograph them this year now that they are one year old!

“When our twin girls reached six months old we decided it was time to book a photo session and we immediately called Tampa photographer Jessica Leigh. She brought a full photo studio to our home, set up, and followed the girls around snapping shot after shot. To say we were happy with the experience and results would be an understatement. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend Jessica to other families and we will certainly use her again.

-Stoner family (St. Pete, FL)


May 22, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

Hitler is wearing a pink uniform with a heart on his sleeve instead of a swastika. Does this sound like a joke? Well, a fashion boutique in Sicily, Italy thinks it’s kind of funny.

The boutique called New Form has caused a controversy by using Adolf Hitler in its current advertising campaign. The photo has been enlarged to 18-feet high posters and shows Hitler in a pink uniform accompanied by the slogan, "Change Style--Don't Follow Your Leader."

I believe the point of the campaign is to poke fun at Hitler while urging their target market to stand out and be your own leader in the fashion world. Good idea but not sure it’s going to go over so well with the general public.

It doesn’t offend me personally and from a public relations standpoint, I can see why they did it. The internet is buzzing about this controversial advertisement and their next one won’t be politically correct either. It features Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse Tung.

Bad publicity is still publicity.


May 21, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica
Controversy surrounding a photo of Modern Family actress Julie Bowen breast-feeding is the latest talk of the blogosphere.

It brings up the question of most photos involving women exposing something—has it gone too far?

One could argue it’s no different than a Victoria’s Secret ad showing women in lingerie covering only what would be blurred by the FCC.

But is it the maternal act of breast-feeding that offends people? Or is it the pride Bowen showed by trying to unveil the photo on The View and then being able to do so on George Lopez’s late-night show.

I asked my husband what he thought when he saw the story and after he joked a bit, he said he didn’t see the point in her showing the photo on national television. I guess that’s how I felt too.

She said she was proud of her “double football” pose because she holds both boys at the same time while breast-feeding. I guess I’m proud of some things I do in the privacy of my own home but I haven’t photographed them and released them to a talk show host.

My question to you is, “What’s the point?”

View the story and photo here. (Photo by REUTERS.)


May 20, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

The first thing you’ll notice when you meet Helena Trangata is her smile. She gives off an energy that makes you want to rub against her in hopes of stealing some of it.

Helena is another rare networker who’s goal is truly to help others first. If you do your job and do it well, she’s happy to tell everyone she knows about you and your business.

The first time I photographed Helena was for Bras & Boas, an event held every few months as a pampering party for women complete with a mini-boudoir portrait session shot by me. She unleashed all the sass she had and brought the event to a new level with her humor and gusto. When she received her 8X10 print from the event, she carried it around with her to show others my work and her beautiful photo. I don’t know anyone who takes that much effort and personal time to market another person’s business.

The next time I photographed her was for a business head shot. She continues to tell people about my work and if they mention “head shot”, she’s there with my name and number.

While Helena is a funny, entertaining woman, she is also a professional on all levels. She was a sales representative for Arbonne but now she has embarked on a new journey as a life coach for Bellisimo.

“I was selling Arbonne (and still am) but found that many of the women had self esteem issues. A Compass coach talked to a room full of us gals about what we would do with more energy. The women shared and emotions flowed. I left there feeling as though I had left a powerful church service. Yet as I said to a friend that night I am not sure what to do with this,” said Helena.

She began working with Compass in October of 2009 but continued to sell Arbonne.

“As I grew in Compass I found that it truly was my passion to allow women and teen girls to experience stepping into their greatness via affordable coaching – priceless! I became a certified coach in March. I have both private and group coaching available. I have coached for years as a parent (I have two sons and five grandkids), a friend, a manager and as a banker via my many financial licenses – coached many on their financial well being. I presently concentrate on these areas: Spiritual Vision board gatherings, Heart & Soul Massages – a non physical service (to allow a more holistic approach) for spas and resorts, and “take back you” time and energy coaching. During these last few months I have had wonderful people come into my path. Never have I had a more rewarding position. I am truly blessed!”

If you’re looking for a way to improve yourself or get that extra “zing” out of life, talk to Helena. At the very least, you’ll make a new friend with a heart of gold.

*Top photo by Jessica Leigh Photography.

*Bottom photo shot at Bras & Boas event (Helena is third from left).


May 18, 2010
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Cristina has dreamed about being a pin-up girl for as long as she can remember.

When I arrived at her Land O’ Lakes home for her boudoir photo session, she had four girlfriends buzzing around her, fixing last-minute hair and makeup. All were drinking wine and giggling and I thought…this is going to be one for the record books!

Cristina has a natural sexuality and energy about her that makes it hard not to smile when you’re in the same room. She’s a natural with the camera, even when she thinks she might be pushing her own boundaries.

Her theme was obviously “pin-up girl” but she also incorporated a Cubs jersey (her husband’s favorite team), an apron with a martini and kitchen accessories, Christmas décor, and lots of sexy lingerie and jewelry. This is one client that did not need my help in the least when it came to planning out her boudoir photo session.

I thought at first it might be distracting to have an “audience” while shooting her photos but it actually worked out great. The girlfriends were not only refilling her wine glass but had amazing ideas that added a little extra to each set of photos I shot.

I don’t think the 50’s pin-up girls had an idea the kind of influence they would have over future generations.

“My boudoir portrait session with Tampa photographer Jessica Leigh was fantastic. I've always loved pin-up girls, so the session was something that I could check off on my bucket list. Jessica is a true professional who takes your feelings and opinions into account throughout the entire session. I had no idea how beautiful my photos would turn out. My husband was blown away, and was super excited about the baseball pin-ups. I mean, what guy wouldn't love his girl in his favorite team gear? The photos are up in his sports room right next to his Wrigley Field sign. I have the more intimate boudoir photos in a scrapbook. What a blast! I would recommend every woman to take the plunge and do something daring. Jessica is great at capturing your inner beauty on the outside. You won't be disappointed!”

Cristina (Land O’ Lakes, FL)



May 15, 2010
Category:Tips and Tricks General 
Posted by: Jessica

When a couple gets engaged they seem to only have days of bliss, then the focus immediately goes to planning the wedding. It doesn't have to be stressful and one of the most important ways to make it go smoothly is to be educated when you choose your vendors. I hope this guide helps brides and grooms choose the right photographer for your wedding.

1)      Be honest. Sit down with your fiancé and decide what the number one factor in choosing a photographer is. Style? Cost? Wedding packages? Experience? Location? Personality? Reputation?

2)      Do your research. Explore at least ten local photographers in the city you are getting married in. This will help you understand what the local market average is for wedding photography and who is overcharging. (For example, you will be charged much more in Los Angeles or New York than you will be in a small, rural area.)

3)      Discover what your photo style is: traditional, contemporary, documentary, etc. You can easily do this by looking at the definition of each style or by asking photographers that you like, how their style is defined.

4)      Set a realistic budget and stick to it. This ensures you won’t waste your time or the photographer’s time if you have a clear idea of what you want to spend. If you want to put a priority on your wedding photos, decide what else you can sacrifice to make it happen. Can you do smaller centerpieces? Can you skip favors or Save the Dates? Maybe you can offer open bar but with wine and beer instead of top shelf liquor?

5)      Meet with the photographers if you are not having a destination wedding. Ask lots of questions. You can also get a good feeling for how professional they are by their timeliness, presentation and personality. A client once told me his deciding factors for hiring a photographer was using a ratio of 50% personality, 25% talent and 25% rates.

6)      Make sure you actually get your images! There are different schools of thought on this but I believe you should always get a DVD of your high-resolution images after the wedding. Some photographers will only show you the proofs and ask you to buy prints from them at an inflated rate. I understand others profit from their print sales a great deal but I still believe the bride and groom alone should receive their digital negatives after making such a substantial investment.

7)      Analyze the wedding packages offered. As I said above, ensure there is a DVD included. And ask the photographer how long it will be before you receive your images. My brother did not know the answer to that question and waited EIGHT months before he received the DVD. All packages are different but they should include an engagement session before the wedding, a DVD of the wedding photos and an online gallery of both. Prints and albums are optional but some photographers like me, prefer to keep it simple.

8)      Ask for two to three recent references and look for reviews online. Some photographers are listed on sites like The Knot and The Wedding Wire and will have clients post reviews about their work.

9)      Understand you will not look exactly like the couples you see on the photographers’ websites. Everyone is different so even though you will look your absolute best on your big day, you’ll still be you. And that’s ok! J

10)  This is extremely important so don’t be fooled that it’s last on my list: Read your contract! Most professional wedding photographers will have a contract that states their rights to the photos, explains what will happen if you cancel, payment schedules, refunds, how a natural disaster or illness would play out and what is required of the photographer. If you can have at least two other people besides you and your fiancé look it over, it will ensure that nothing is slipping through the cracks. Wedding photography is personal and creative but it’s still a business.

I hope this helps brides and grooms in finding the right wedding photographer for your tastes and budget. I understand I don’t fit everyone’s needs so I offer a wedding vendor list (that includes at least five other photographers) to brides and grooms so they can make an informed decision. It’s your day and it’s a huge investment so don’t rush your decision!

Good luck and best wishes!


May 14, 2010
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Jessica Leigh Photography would like to welcome another new client, the University of South Florida.

While USF has an in-house photography staff as part of the University Commuications and Marketing Department, they still use freelance photographers from time to time and I'm thrilled to be on their short list!

USF was founded in 1956 but has emerged as one of Florida's finest universities. They serve more than 39,000 students each year and they reached a new high of $380 million in research grants and contracts in 2008-2009.

From private events to university luncheons to professional portraits, I am looking forward to creating fantastic commercial photography for USF and its faculty and staff.

Stay tuned for more information and photos from upcoming photo sessions in Tampa Bay!


May 14, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

The New York Times maintains a creative and newsworthy blog filled with impactful photos and stories.

This week the staff unveiled a project they’ve spent countless hours working on called A Moment in Time. They asked blog readers to submit photos taken from all over the world at exactly 15:00 U.T.C. on Sunday, May 2, 2010. The project was an ambitious one and the results are pretty cool.

Professionals and amateurs submitted more than 10,000 photos for the interactive globe gallery. You can click on any stack of photos from around the world and see the submissions from that region.

Projects like these keep the passion of photography alive for so many shooters.


May 13, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Sometimes you meet people that were just born to sell. This is Lois Dye in a nutshell.

You’ll find her gabbing in networking groups, talking to strangers in the grocery store and racking her brain for ways to help a fellow business owner.

Lois has a fun, welcoming attitude and truly believes in her product. She makes you believe in it too. Just ask her about Arbonne.

“When I was first introduced to Arbonne I was retired and looking for another start up business of some kind and was told Arbonne had a fabulous business model, so I jumped in with both feet... based on, it's fabulous!,” said Lois. “Then I discovered the products and fell in love with them...especially the one that took my migraine headaches away and the one that improved my wrinkles and sun damaged skin. It was only then that I discovered how I could help other people have fun, look good and earn extra money....and that's why I do this to help others get what their looking for out of life.  Life is all about paying it forward!”

Arbonne is a Swiss-based company that has been selling skin care products for 30 years. Their products are superior to others because they only use natural, botanical ingredients. So, when you use them, you’re not putting harsh chemicals on your skin. You’re adding fruits and vegetables to enhance the natural balance of your body.

When I first met Lois in BLAB, she immediately started thinking of all the contacts she had that would help my own business. She’s sweet, caring and genuine. I find these attributes key in developing relationships with potential clients.

She also has a wicked sense of humor. When I told her I was using an over-the-counter liquid foundation, she laughed and said, “Honey, you’re too young to be ‘painting the canvas’ already. Try this mineral powder foundation.” I thought she was just out to sell me her product but now I see why. I tried the foundation and I love it! My skin looks ten times better and I’ll be an Arbonne client for life because of this one product and Lois’ honesty.


May 12, 2010
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Jessica Leigh Photography would like to welcome a new client, the Don CeSar Beach Resort, a Loews Hotel.

The Don CeSar has launched a new special offer called the Florida Family Memories Package and we are proud to be a part of this family portrait campaign. The Don offers rooms with rates starting from $169 per night. The special is based on a minimum 4-night stay which includes a $100 resort credit plus a family beach portrait sitting with a professional photographer.

This is a great way to take a mini-vacation with your family, earn some resort credit and enjoy a one-hour photo session that you can walk to! All sessions will take place in or around the Don CeSar so it's convenient for you and your family. And if time permits, you can view your photos within hours at the resort. You will receive one 8X10 print of your choice and if you like what you see, you can order prints and a CD of the images.

I hope everone will take advantage of this special family portrait offer. The Don CeSar is a great backdrop for portraits so book your package before the summer heat takes over!


May 11, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

The most recent chatter about the Miss USA Pageant has nothing to do with the actual pageant.

All 51 contestants participated in a very sexy lingerie photo shoot with photographer Fadil Berisha called “Waking up in Las Vegas.”

The photo shoot has drawn some controversy because of its contemporary, sexual nature but personally, I am all for it. Controversy still draws attention the pageant, which has been less than exciting the last few years. I have never been interested in the pageant myself but seeing that they choose to go this route with a great photographer and some edgy photos, draws my interest.

A good point was made that in this photo shoot, no more skin is shown than during the swimsuit competition. It’s just different clothes to cover up X-rated areas. The women look sexual, beautiful and current but isn’t that what some of the pageant is about any way? I have never seen an unattractive woman compete in Miss USA.

What do you think? Is this too much for the traditional Miss USA Pageant or is this just what the pageant needs to bring viewers back?

Click here to view a video of the shoot.


May 11, 2010
Category:Testimonial Tuesdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

To say that Keri has "sass" is an understatement.

Keri is funny, sexy, smart and a little crazy all at the same time. She's a photographer's dream.

We chose an unusual spot for her Tampa boudoir portraits because of the decor inside the Ybor Resort and Spa. They have some very unique and colorful rooms and we found a great place for our portraits in a red room with a white brick wall. The manager, Hank, was so accomodating and helpful that I hope to hold a photo session again there soon.

To ensure that Keri looked her best, she hired my favorite event stylist, Holly Nazario from Collective Creations. Holly did a fantastic job on her hair and make up. I can't stress enough how important professional styling is for a session of this nature.

Keri's theme had to be partly "Texas" as she and her husband are from that great state (as my mother and my husband are so I get it). She borrowed a Texas state flag and brought her own cowboy boots and guns. She even bought a temporary tattoo for the photo session with her husband's nickname on it. The response I get when people see this session is "God Bless Texas!"

Boudoir photography scares lots of people. I'm posting these images with testimonials to show people that it doesn't have to be risque and it can be whatever you choose it to be. The best part about these sessions is that it's customized to you. I've never done the same theme twice and I've never had a client tell me that their photos look exactly like someone else's. That's a wonderful thing to hear--I want people to be as sassy or as reserved as they want. As long as my clients are comfortable and the photos look great, I'm happy!

I decided to start this new series called Testimonial Tuesdays so that clients could read what others say about my photo sessions so they have an idea of what it's really like to work with me. I figured my clients can say it better than I can sometimes so I'll let them do most of the talking.

"When I decided on boudoir portraits as an anniversary gift to my husband, I was concerned the experience might be awkward. A few minutes into shooting, however, all my reservations were gone. Tampa photographer Jessica Leigh combined her technical skill as a photographer with her unique personal vision to capture and highlight what made me feel sexy as a woman. Her attitude and aptitude for her craft are empowering. She encouraged me to step outside what I felt were my flaws, and the end result was photographs that I’m not sure who enjoys more – my husband or me!"

-Keri (New Braunfels, Texas)



May 10, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

John Kaplan.

To most people who are not in the world of professional photography, that name means nothing.

He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

He teaches photojournalism at the University of Florida.

And he has cancer.

John is not your ordinary cancer patient. He has documented his struggle through chemotherapy and numerous other painful procedures and treatments in hopes of bringing some light to the world of cancer.

He said it started off when he took a photo of himself in his bathroom mirror on a whim. Now he’s created a documentary about the entire ordeal.

To call this brave and selfless is not enough. It’s difficult for photojournalists to document someone else’s struggle with a disease. We do it when we have to or when we think a story needs to be told. But to photograph your own story about cancer is nothing less than inspiring.

“As my doctor says, with some cancers you never know,” Kaplan said. “I don’t spend time dwelling on that. (I’m) just glad I’m here to be there for my family, there for my students and know this film project will help other people.”

I was fortunate enough to earn my degree in journalism at UF under the tutelage of John Kaplan. He has made me cry, laugh and work so hard to be a better photographer. When others couldn’t find the time to help, John pushed me and didn’t let me fail. I will never forget that about him. I hope his current students know how lucky they are.

Click here to watch a video of John discussing the film.


May 6, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

To find honesty, creativity and professionalism in one company, much less one person, is a difficult thing to do.

Jeremy Knauff, Creative Director of Wildfire Marketing Group (WMG), not only talks the talk but he definitely walks the walk.

What I first liked about Jeremy was that he looked and acted the part of a competent business owner without coming off stiff. He’s a kind, funny guy once you get to talk to him but he’s also no-nonsense when it comes to business. I respect that a great deal.

We have worked on several projects together for his business and his clients. Through all of them, he has shown me his vision, given me the reins and then expected me to deliver. Like I said, “no-nonsense”. I think that comes from his background in the military.

Jeremy said, “After I got out of the Marine Corps, I started and crashed my first company in 2000, then I worked in just about every aspect of marketing, ad agencies, internet marketing firms, in-house with Fortune 500 companies, etc. My last job before starting WMG was at an SEO firm. I found out they were billing clients for work that had never been done and when I informed the owner, he fired me. It turns out, he was aware of, and in on it.”

I think that Jeremy’s heart is always in the right place. And it’s rare these days to find someone who knows how to run a business properly and professionally but with a sense of compassion for the “little guy”.

More proof that Jeremy’s marketing skills are worth it: “I started WMG to help give small companies the tools and resources they needed to compete with larger companies. One of our first clients was in the specialty bedding industry, competing against multi-million dollar companies like Select Comfort, Nautilus and Tempur-Pedic. We enabled them to out-market their competitors online, which eventually led to a 54 million dollar contract with the Hilton Hotel Corporation,” said Jeremy.

If you have a business that has tough competition or you just need to boost your marketing and look a little different than the business next door, try out Wildfire Marketing Group. At the very least, you’ll get to see how Jeremy runs his business and maybe learn a thing or two in the process.


May 4, 2010
Category:JLP News General 
Posted by: Jessica

For most photographers, it's difficult to edit or choose our best photos. We look at our photos for hours on end and after a while, they all look the same. So, putting together something as simple as a portrait book is not as easy as it sounds.

I started with my absolute favorite images and put those on the cover and as the dominant photos on the inside of the book. Then I tried to choose a variety of images—children’s portraits, family portraits, engagement portraits, etc. After a few hours, I had switched so many photos and “tinkered” with it so much, it didn’t look anything like what I started out creating.

To finish the project, I usually have to ask another photographer or my husband to give me a “cut-throat” decision so I can order the silly book and move on. This time, I finished it alone but not without hesitation.

Photographers create these albums because everyone likes holding something in their hands. You can look at photos all day on the internet but there’s still something unique about meeting a client at Starbucks, grabbing a coffee and turning the glossy pages of a photography book.

On occasion, I will stop by Borders in Tampa, order an iced chai tea latte, find a quiet place in the back and sift through photo book after photo book.

It calms me.

It inspires me.

It reminds me of how many talented people are on this Earth doing what I do.

Take a look at my latest book and tell me what you think. One more opinion wouldn’t hurt.


May 3, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica
POYi launched a new program that will help aspiring documentary photographers make their dreams come true.

The basic requirements are to propose a new project focused on documentary work, be an emerging photographer (not a full-time professional) and be willing to work on the project for a full year.

The part I love the most about this program is that there are no age limitations. So, this grant of $10,000 could go to an 18-year-old enrolled in college or a 65-year-old retiree. As long as you have a strong proposal and a passion for the subject you want to document, you can apply.

POYi Director Rick Shaw explained how this could change someone’s life, "So if someone is a security guard, and their whole hope was to become a documentary photographer, but they're not able to get a foothold because of the current publishing climate and economic realities, this incentive would do it."

The University of Missouri and Pictures of the Year International have a long history of being synonymous with photographic excellence. The Missouri School of Journalism was founded on 1908 as the “world’s first school of journalism.” They produce award-winning photojournalists year after year, most of which enter and sometimes win the POYi contest. The contest is in its 67th year and is still going strong.

If you’ve ever had a desire to explore and document a social issue but didn’t have the time or money, this program is your chance to make it happen.

The application fee is only $20 and the deadline is May 31, 2010.

To read about the details of the program, click here.

To apply, click here.


May 2, 2010
Category:Tips and Tricks General 
Posted by: Jessica
Many clients like to photograph their family members in between sessions with a professional. It’s not only possible to do this as an amateur photographer but it can be easy and fun if you follow a few guidelines.

1)      Choose the right location. Think about what kind of family you are and pick a location that fits your style. Are you an artsy family that likes to dress up for special occasions? Maybe Ybor City is your style. Are you easy going beach bums with pets? Try Honeymoon Island Dog Beach. Do you love the thrill of amusement parks? Busch Gardens and Adventure Island in Tampa are great places to show your personalities for family portraits.

2)      Choose a time with the best light. Photographers call the light at sunrise and sunset “God’s light” because it’s perfect. Most people don’t want to shoot their family portraits at sunrise so aim for sunset. Arrive at your location about two hours before sunset so you can pick a place and you’ll have plenty of time to get what you need.

3)      Ensure everyone is well fed and rested. Eating a light early dinner before the shoot is a great idea. Make sure everyone had a good night’s sleep the previous night and if naps are necessary for kids, make sure they get them before you leave the house.

4)      Bring entertainment for the kids. If you’re going to an amusement park for the day, you don’t have to worry about anything! But if you’re going to a park, beach or other public place, games work best to keep everyone in a fun state of mind. On some of my family portrait shoots, families have brought water guns, silly string, sand castle shovels, Nerf balls and horseshoes.

5)      Be aware of the weather. If it’s a hot July afternoon in Florida, bring lots of cold water in a cooler so no one gets dehydrated. If the adults need some caffeine to keep their energy up, bring your soda or coffee with you or make a last-minute trip to Starbucks on the way! And, of course, dress for the weather. If you’re shooting family portraits in the middle of summer, bring comfortable clothing like tank tops, shorts and flip flops. And if senior members of the family are participating in the session, bring umbrellas and hand-held fans for them so they don’t overheat in the hot Tampa sun.

6)      Choose comfortable, “non-clashing” clothing. Some families like everyone to wear the same outfit. That’s not necessary to make a great portrait. Every person has their own personality so it’s not imperative that you dress the same. If you’d like to dress similar, choose one color that everyone can work around. If you choose blue, allow people to wear different shades of blue and different kinds of clothing—polos, tank tops, strapless shirts, button-ups, etc. Also, everyone can wear variations of blue with designs like stripes, plaids, solids, etc. If you don’t want to have a unifying color, just choose colors that go well together—pink and brown, black and red, etc.

7)      Create a reward for the kids. Maybe you can take them for ice cream or pizza after the session. Or give them an incentive like extra time doing one of their favorite activities at home. Kids always cooperate more when they know the goal and reward.

8)      If you don’t have a camera with a timer, you won’t get the entire family in the photo so let family members take turns shooting the photos. If your kids are old enough, allow them to be a part of the session by showing them how to shoot photos of mom and dad. You might be surprised how good they are at it!

9)      Clean up your backgrounds. When you’re shooting, make sure there are no other distractions in the background that would take away from your photo. If you’re shooting at a park, look for tree limbs and other families or parties that might pop up in your photos. If you’re at the beach, you probably have fewer trees to battle with but you might have more people. There’s nothing more upsetting than looking at your family portraits at home and realizing there’s a stranger in the background!

10)  Have fun! Family portraits are supposed to be fun family time and not a stressful, horrible experience. If you follow these steps, I promise you you’ll have no regrets!


May 1, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

One of my favorite charities to shoot for is Flashes of Hope.

The goal of this organization is to photograph kids with life-threatening illnesses like cancer and give those photos to their families as a gift.

The best part is seeing how the kids light up once they realize this is about pampering them, making them feel special and helping them to forget about their illness, if only for an hour. Being in a hospital for days on end and having to receive treatment that makes you feel worse can be exhausting.

Because the shoots are done monthly and I've only been volunteering for two years, I've done two shoots, both of which were extremely fulfilling. During the first one, we set up the studio in a break room at the hospital. A father came in to escape and get a little distraction. He told me had a 16-year-old daughter at the hospital that had cancer and was not doing well. I stopped what I was doing and sat next to him, just to listen. He went on about how he couldn't believe he had to watch his "baby girl" go through this. And he started sobbing. I couldn't help but hug him and after about ten minutes of talking and crying, he said he felt so much better. All he needed was someone to listen who wasn't a doctor or family member. He needed a shoulder to cry on and I was so touched he chose mine.

All of the people involved are volunteers and the families don't pay a dime for any of it. They receive a print package and a CD with the high-resolution photos after the photographer edits the images.

The entire shoot is coordinated by All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay Chapter Directors Dana Hudepohl and Marc Silbiger. Aveda provides make up and styling services and local photographers rotate monthly.

So far, 185 children have been photographed in Tampa Bay.

If this charity interests you, I urge you to donate your services or money to keep it going. It means a great deal to me and I hope after seeing some of the photos, you’ll feel touched too.

Watch the FOX 13 story here.


Apr 30, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Once again, Lindsay Lohan is making waves by doing a crazy photo shoot.

This seems to be her way to get attention when she's not doing her job, which in case you forgot is acting. The last time she shocked the world was for a photo shoot for the cover of Purple. She was dressed in a white robe with a crown of thorns on her head and her arms outstretched. She was trying to look "Christ-like."

This time, celebrity photographer Tyler Shields photographed Lohan in little clothing with a gun pointed in her mouth, with her legs above her head and with blood on her hands and all over the walls behind her. She calls it "art" and has defended it on her Twitter page.

The photos are provocative and as I've said before, most photos are shot to get a reaction. It doesn't have to be a favorable one, it just has to be an honest reaction when you see it. Shields is doing what any photographer would do--making images that people will talk about, blog about and want to see.

The shoot is called "The Dirty Side of Glamour." Check it out and see if it evokes a reaction in you.


Apr 27, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

WARNING: The video discussed in this blog is violently graphic and contains nudity. Please be aware of this before viewing it. Thank you!

Singer and rapper M.I.A. debuted the graphic video “Born Free” on Monday and the cyber chatter hasn’t stopped since.

No one is quite sure what the underlying message is but that probably is the message: think for yourself.

The 9-minute video shows SWAT-like men rounding up red-headed boys from a neighborhood and forcing them on a bus. The boys are then taken to a desert and lined up, execution style, then told to run into the desert. One boy stands there, paralyzed by fear. He is shot in the head in a scene not unlike that of Eddie Adams’ Pulitzer Prize winning photo of a suspected Viet Cong being executed.

The other boys run through the desert only to be surprised by land mines, one of which blows a boy to pieces.

Now, most people might ask, “What’s the point?” Well, you may not know her message but just like I am blogging about the video that made my mouth drop, you’ll probably have an opinion on it too. She’s hoping for a reaction, a discussion, an argument, a feeling.

While this is supposed to be a “music video”, I do understand the point of shooting something to elicit a reaction. Some still photographers don’t care if you like their photo, as long as you feel something about. We’ve all seen graphic images from war that make us cringe and turn away but we still felt something when we looked at it.

You Tube decided to pull the video from their site due to its graphic nature. I understand the need to protect others from viewing such graphic violence if they think they’re just viewing a hip hop music video. But I don’t see this being any worse than photos or videos that document reality.

Try looking at photos from the earthquake in Haiti or the West Virginia mine explosion or even Hurricane Katrina. I still think about the people I photographed in New Orleans after Katrina hit and I hope someone saw my photos and paused to think about the people in them.


Apr 22, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

After refusing to air a commercial in its entirety, Lane Bryant recently accused FOX and ABC of treating them differently than other clients because they represent and sell to plus-size women. Both networks have rejected this claim and stated that there is no validity to their arguments.

Even though the public technically doesn’t know who is telling the truth in this battle, it’s obvious Lane Bryant is trying to raise questions: are plus-size, scantily clad women viewed differently than thin, petite women, even when seen only in a television commercial?

I have to admit, I see the double standard.

I have watched Victoria’s Secret commercials for years featuring tiny women with unrealistic bodies and very little clothing. This is what society gives women as “the standard,” which we spend the rest of our lives attempting to reach (and most of us fail). I rarely saw plus-size women featured until Dove launched the Campaign for Real Beauty. This genius campaign has reached millions of women of all ages and made it “ok” to show larger women in lingerie or bras and panties.

Lane Bryant model Ashley Graham said she didn't know there would be such controversy about her commercial because she believes it was tastefully done. Read the entire interview here

Take a look for yourself and determine if the recent Lane Byrant or Victoria’s Secret 'The Nakeds' ads offend you or if you think one should not be aired during prime-time network programming.

View the Lane Byrant commercial here.

View the Victoria's Secret commercial here.


Apr 21, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica

The Brian family is prepared for anything.

We meet annually when they arrive at St. Petersburg Beach to vacation at their condo. They need a break in March or April from the winter they've survived in Pennsylvania and they call on me for family portraits.

Not only do they manage to pack quite a bit into a few hours of photography but they are also color coordinated, ready to feed kids with snacks and juice and they always try to make it as fun as possible for their two children.

Keeping kids interested in a family portrait photo session can be a challenge. The Brians bring supplies to make sand castles, they play games, squirt water guns, swim and much more. No child wants to sit in front of a camera for hours and smile. It’s not natural.

So, every year I am amazed at how they make their photo session fresh and fun and always with a new color scheme!

We shot half of our session in their condo and half on the beach. I created a miniature studio in their condo and they invited a couple of family friends over to join in the session. Then, we took the cameras, toys, snacks and water down to the beach for some candid photos.

I've included a few of my favorites…it was a gorgeous Florida afternoon; perfect for portraits!


Apr 20, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

I find it a crying shame that the Supreme Court doesn't see the value in keeping a law that bans the sale of animal cruelty videos.

I always try to see both sides of an argument when something controversial like this comes up in the news. It's difficult though as an animal lover and owner to see our justices overturning a ruling and rejecting a law that seemed to be working.

The justices also threw out the criminal conviction of Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was sentenced to three years in prison for videos he made about pit bull fights.

The law was created in 1999 to reduce the sales of "crush videos" to fetish seekers. The videos showed women crushing small animals to death with their feet or high-heels. Of course, I don't get the fetish so why would I believe in the rights of these people to make and sell the videos?

State representatives have suggested that they will create another law to target crush videos specifically.

The justices sited free speech as the reason for the 8-1 ruling.

Please read the full story here and talk to your Florida state representative about further action here.





Apr 19, 2010
Category:Events General 
Posted by: Jessica

If you don't have a professional head shot of yourself, this event is a great way to purchase one at a discounted price. For group sessions, the cost is only $75 per person and you receive FIVE final high-resolution images to keep and use for your marketing or social networking purposes.

A professional head shot is one that is taken by a photographer with studio lighting and preferably a clean backdrop. With all the money we invest in our business, a $75 head shot should be an easy decision. If you don't need a head shot for your business, maybe you know someone who does. I appreciate clients who spread the word of my business so I try to reward them as often as possible! We hope to se e you on Wednesday!

What: Head shots

When: April 21, 2010; 3-4:30 p.m.

Where: Prudential Tropical Realty office, 20537 Amberfield Dr., Land O' Lakes, FL 34638

How much: $75 due at the time of the session

Investment: Each client receives five retouched, high-resolution images to keep and use for personal or business purposes.

Booking: Jessica Leigh 813.468.0075



Apr 16, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

The new 11-part series from the Discovery Channel called LIFE has me consumed and obsessed. And I'm not the only one.

You don't have to be a professional photographer to see the beauty in the photography captured for this series. And what impresses "photo geeks" like me is the technical aspect of the shoots.

Discovery was smart enough to post video and details with behind-the-scenes insight for people like me.

One of the most interesting scenes was one on Bulldog Bats fishing. I'm sure it doesn't sound ground-breaking but trust me, when you know what went into the three-week shoot, you can appreciate it on a whole new level.

The bats fish at night so there's obstacle number one: light. How do you shoot an animal at night with no light? The crew asked bat experts in Belize to acclimate them to light for three months prior to the shoot. The crew was hoping they would set up, start shooting and the bats would not alter their behavior.

On the first night of shooting, the bats were flying clear of the pond where the crew had set up. No one could understand why the light would affect them now after they seemed to ignore it for so many months. But as the producer was playing with the bat detector, he realized the electric box used to power the lights was giving off the same frequency as the bats. The bats’ frequency was being drowned out by the electric box. And without that frequency, the bats could not echolocate to fish. (They use sound waves to locate prey.)

So, once past the lighting and frequency obstacles, the crew had to photograph the bats flying by at 40 miles per hour and slow it down. Most filming is done at 24 or 25 frames per second. The camera used for the bats shot at 2,000 frames per second slowing the bats down a remarkable 83 times.

Next challenge: how do you know when a bat flying 40 miles per hour will grace you with his presence? The crew used bat detectors to get a warning when the bats were approaching. They set the camera to film eight-second sequences, four seconds before and after the camera was set to record. So, when they saw a bat’s first splash on the water, they got eight seconds of film as he disappeared again.

The last challenge was contending with the weather. It damages camera gear quickly and weakens photographers who often work around the clock for these kinds of projects. The camera the crew brought “died” while on assignment and another one was flown in to save the shoot. With heat and humidity to contend with in Belize, it’s amazing these crews get anything done.

Take a few minutes and check out the series. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

*Photo credit: Discovery Networks*


Apr 15, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

It may seem silly to thank my hair stylist but most women (and some men) get it. When you find a good one, you don’t want them to move out of state or change careers or cut their hours. We are selfish when it comes to our hair and that’s ok.

I have been going to Salon II in Carrollwood (Tampa) for 15 years. The owner, Michael Thomassy, is a dear friend of the family and has cut my mother’s hair for almost 30 years. I started going to Michael and then realized he is a popular man and at the time, I couldn’t schedule anything—I was a teenager and way too important to make appointments months in advance!

Then stylist Stefanie Leaver arrived on the scene.

I clicked with her from day one. She is smart, sassy, fun and most of all, she listens to what her client wants.  What a concept! I have been through perms, cuts, blond hair, red hair, highlights, lowlights, razored edges, bobs, and layered looks. And even though some of those are no longer in style now, I always left the salon feeling gorgeous.

Even when I moved to Louisiana for four years, I planned my trips home to Tampa always making sure I had an appointment at Salon II.

Stefanie is also honest, which I appreciate. If I bring in a photo of Carrie Underwood and say, “I want hair like hers.” Stefanie will kindly tell me I can’t have it. She’s doesn’t give you false hope but she also figures out what would look good on you, not Carrie Underwood.

So, I sit down in her chair about every six to nine months and say, “I’m bored with this look.” Instead of smacking me, she simply finds a new style to give me a fresh look and make me happy.

In addition to the wonderful owner and my favorite stylist, there are several others stylists to choose from, two talented manicure technicians and a receptionist with a wicked sense of humor.

If you’re sick of snooty salons where you don’t quite feel at home and want a contemporary place you can count on for years to come, try out Salon II. You won’t regret it.

Michael Thomassy Salon II, 813.968.6977


Apr 15, 2010
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

The University of Tampa is a very special commercial photography client and even though they run plenty of my images in many different publications, it's always a nice boost to the ego to get a cover photo in the Spring 2010 UT Journal.

This session was a ton of fun--we gathered four local restaurant owners who are also UT alumni. I set up a mock studio in a residence hall on campus. We asked them to bring some of the best food they serve and we would incorporate it in the photo. Little did they know we were planning to get silly!

They were all excellent sports about the photo session and didn’t mind cracking crabs or squirting ketchup on hot dogs. I find that the product always sells itself when the people involved look like they’re having fun!

So, thank you to Anne Rowland and Robin Roger of the University of Tampa Public Information department as well as our subjects—Mike Diogostine and Tyson Caner of Frankies, Andy Bonnemort of Café Dufrain and Tom Geller of Crabby Bill’s. With subjects like these gentlemen, how can you go wrong?


Apr 13, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

None of the obsessive Canon users like myself need confirmation that the company produces an amazing camera. But now the Canon 5D Mark II has made it's way to the set of the show House. Pretty cool in the photo world.

Director Greg Yaitanes said he shot the season finale with the 5D because of the tight spaces he was working in and because the shallow focus pulled the actors' faces to the foreground.

Yaitanes answered 5D questions from 'photo geeks' (a good term in my business) on his Twitter page. Check out the finale airing on May 17 on FOX.


Apr 12, 2010
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

During a recent networking meeting in Lutz, business owners were challenged to come up with five reasons why someone should choose our company over one of our competitors. Some professions are flooded with so many people, it’s hard to make the right choice for your family or business.

I thought I’d share the reasons why I believe someone should choose my photography services for a Tampa event or portrait session. I encourage you to comment, tell me I’m wrong, add something or come up with this list for your own business.

Also, ask your clients and customers why they come to you for goods or services. Sometimes others know us better than we know ourselves!

Top 5 Reasons to choose Jessica Leigh Photography:

1)      All inclusive rates: the rate you are quoted is the absolute total. It includes photographer’s time and talent, sitting fee, travel time and mileage, editing time (lab time), CD of edited high-resolution images, release to print the photos at a color lab and an online gallery. There's no "nickel and dime" charges so the rate is exactly what you'll pay.

2)      My philosophy is that everyone deserves professional photography. The reason that helps my clients is that I want you to have a professional so if my style or rates don’t work for you, I’m going to find someone who will work for you. I keep a special event vendor list for this reason. It includes a minimum of five talented photographers (and many other vendors) because I understand I am not the only photographer to choose from. I encourage clients to do their research so they are comfortable with their decision.

3)      I offer discounts and rewards to those clients who are loyal and those who pass the name of my company on to others. I work in a very competitive field (especially in Florida) so if a client returns to me or has the kindness to pass my name along, I want to make sure they know I appreciate it!

4)      Profits, believe it or not, are not my number one goal. Everyone likes to make money but this is not a joke. I would rather give a new client a discount and hope to keep them as a client than overcharge, take the money and run. I’d prefer happy, repeat clients than broke, one-time clients!

5)      I truly believe you get what you pay for in any investment. I also believe you should get the services or goods you paid for, with no strings attached. So, I offer a CD of images with all my sessions and I try to give a quick turn-around so you’re not waiting forever for your photos! My goal is to send clients images from a family portrait session, small private event or commercial photography session within one to two weeks. Editing wedding photography takes a bit more time but I still try to get the images to the newlyweds within one to two months.


Apr 8, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Donna Riski does more than just frame your art, photographs and memories. She offers personal service.

Not only does she have a great selection but she has little overhead because she frames everything in a cottage on her private property. We met in BLAB and I stopped by her cottage to see what all the fuss was about. It’s adorable and so welcoming. I could have sipped coffee on the porch and watched the critters play in the woods all day.

Most of us probably go to Michael’s or JoAnn Fabrics for our framing needs because of all the coupons we hoard and it seems so darn cheap. Donna offers a less expensive price on framing and will deliver it to your doorstep! Does anyone at Michael’s or JoAnn’s even remember your name?

“Picture framing was something I often thought I might take up as a hobby someday after retirement, and then suddenly, after spending a small fortune to have something framed at a local frame shop, it occurred to me that I might be able to go into business doing affordable custom picture framing,” Donna said.

Donna attended the American Picture Framing Academy and officially opened Keystone Custom Picture Framing, Inc. in January of 2006. Donna said, “Of course I spent most of the first year learning all I could to master the craft which is really on ongoing process and only adds to the enjoyment.  I left the corporate world in 2007 and never looked back.”

She also offers appointments at the customer’s home or office and brings the samples to you. She’s available seven days a week to help and she always has a friendly smile.


Apr 8, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

Photographers Tracy Raver and Kelley Ryden have their hands full, literally.

These Nebraska-based sisters are also moms and claim they are so great at what they do because of their experience and skills working with newborn infants. All of their subjects are less than two weeks old and they say the hardest part of their job is posing their little bodies and keeping the babies happy and asleep.

They have published a new book with a collection of fantastic photographs with all royalties going to non-profit organizations that help newborns.

Please take a moment to browse through their images or put their book on your wish list. You can also watch their full interview on The Today Show.

*Photo by Tracy Raver and Kelley Ryden


Apr 7, 2010
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

I love photographing women who have a natural "sass" about them. They know who they are and they can explain it in one word--fabulous.

Ana is no exception to this kind of woman. She is beautiful, courageous and sexy. It was such a pleasure photographing her!

We decided to do the boudoir portrait session at a local Tampa hotel and to make the best of it, her fiance came over when we were done and they had an "in-town vacation" for the weekend.

Normally, getting a woman to come out of her shell can be a difficult task. But I am so thankful for women like Ana who go with the flow and let the session unfold.

I've included her comments on the session as well as some of my favorite photographs. Enjoy!

"Jessica did something that I did not know was possible – she made me feel comfortable in my own skin, while under the flashes of light and clicks of her equipment. Did I mention I was doing boudoir portraits to give to my fiancé as a wedding gift? I love photography, and don’t mind being in photos, but when you’re the subject in lingerie, A LOT can go through a woman’s mind. And I’m happy to say, that Jessica was there every step of the way to put my mind at ease. Not only did she make me feel so comfortable, I felt sexy, confident and had an overall wonderful time throughout the boudoir shoot. My fiancé has only been allowed to see one of the many photos from the shoot, and by the look on his face, I know he’ll be a happy man when he receives the photo book I created for him. In fact, I was so happy with the results, I’m giving this to him as an anniversary gift, and I may even create one for myself as a treat! Ladies, if you want a wonderful gift for your significant other, or to just treat yourself, I highly recommend working with Jessica – I know I’ll be relying on her for my future photography needs."    Ana—Tampa, FL


Apr 6, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing James Bain, a sweet man with a huge heart.

Bain was released from prison in December after serving a prison term for raping a 9-year-old boy in Lake Wales in 1974. He has repeatedly asked for DNA testing over the years to prove his innocence. In July, a judge granted his request and he was exonerated of all charges.

I met Bain at his mother's home in Tampa for the photo session. The photos were published in a French newspaper called Le Journal du Dimache for Polaris Images. Reporter Karen Lajon meet me there to interview him about his unique story.

I've included some of the photos of Bain, even though only one was published. The home was very difficult to shoot in because his mother had quite a few collectibles in a small place! I did my best and I hope he enjoyed the photos.

Please feel free to add your comment or suggestion at the bottom!


Apr 5, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

Peter Gowland died March 17 but his legacy will live on.

He was responsible for making the classic pinup just that—classic. He used lots of natural light and gorgeous beaches to create images of beautiful women and men.

Gowland seemed to know all the tricks to pinup photography and he published 26 books to share his knowledge with others.

To prevent models from tiring, he made hidden foot supports out of wood so they could stand for long periods. But what most photographers of that time remember him for are the cameras he designed and built in his garage and sold.

Please take a moment to check out his body of work.


Apr 1, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Without a working automobile, most photographers would change careers.

I am lucky to have grown up with a father who knew everything there was to know about cars, how to keep them working and what to do when your daughter blows a head gasket on her first car (oops).

My dad owned a Goodyear store in Tampa for years and thankfully, he taught me about upkeep and maintenance so I would have a reliable car—whether it be my 1986 Sunbird or my 2005 Trailblazer. I’ve taken his lessons to heart and am so glad I did. Who knew I would have a career that would require travel all over central Florida and a second office, in the backseat of my car?

My dad sold his store several years ago so now I rely on the folks at Tire Choice in Land O’ Lakes, Florida. They are truly good people and the manager, Scott, is always up front with me about my vehicle and what really needs to be done to keep me on the road. They have excellent specials and do what they say they will.

It can be intimidating for a woman to approach mechanics because we feel like we’re not treated the same. At Tire Choice, I always feel like I can ask as many questions as needed and leave with a sense of peace about my car.

Check them out on the web and give them a chance next time you need your car serviced. Tell them Jessica sent you!


Apr 1, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

It's truly sad to hear the real story on how some magazines find their photos and the reasons why they publish them.

I understand People and US Weekly are not considered to be true journalism outlets but the deceit plastered across their covers is alarming, especially when they choose the same photo!

Sandra Bullock posed for the cover photo on both magazines but did so in the summer of 2009 for a different story. Since Bullock did not agree to cooperate with the magazines, they could not get a new photo of her for their stories on her split from husband Jesse James. So, they both bought similar photos of her because she looked less than happy in these pictures.

Read the full story and see the covers here.


Mar 25, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Without the help of great massage therapists, most photographers would limp around and cry about their aches and pains on a daily basis.

Ok, maybe we still cry about our aches and pains but we do so less often when we find the right therapist to work out our knots. I have found those therapists in Lutz, Florida.

I had some hesitation in becoming a member at Massage Envy because there are so many therapists and it's a "corporation" not an independent spa. I didn't know if I would lose that spa feel with so many clients and so many therapists. And how do I know how to choose the right one?

Well, I did have a few that didn't match my taste but out of my testing, I found three of the best therapists I’ve ever met: Kelly, Stephanie and Danielle.

Kelly is stronger than most men I know and can work out any knot or pulled muscle. This hard-core therapist doesn’t push you beyond what you can handle but she definitely works out your problem areas. It helps to ask her to use “70% Kelly strength” in case you’re not used to what real deep tissue feels like.

Stephanie has magic hands. For the full hour you are on her table, her hands never leave your body. She is a master of the Swedish massage. I go to her when I need to escape from my daily life and relax. With her sweet disposition, it’s hard to get up and leave.

Danielle offers a wonderful mix of Swedish and deep tissue massage. She listens to what you say your body needs and adjusts her massage accordingly. No two massages are exactly the same and she cares about how you feel when you leave her table. I go to her when a long photo session or a hard boot camp has torn me down. I’ve never left unhappy.

So, thank you to Massage Envy in Lutz for hiring some wonderful women who not only do their job well but also care about their clients' well-being.


Mar 25, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Music photographer Jim Marshall passed away in his sleep in New York City Wednesday.

Marshall photographed legends Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and many more.

One of my favorite photos is the one posted to the right taken at Woodstock in 1969 during a set by Sanata. I love it not only for the color and warmth but because he was shooting with a Fish Eye lens before it was really hip to do so.

Read the article about his death here and check out his work here.

(*Photo by Jim Marshall)


Mar 24, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

Judges in NPPA's 2010 Best Of Photojournalism competition have picked winners in the Domestic News Picture Story, International News Picture Story, Enterprise Picture Story (Large Markets) and (Small Markets), Environmental Picture Story, and Non-Traditional Photojournalism Publishing categories during their fourth day of judging at the contest's host site, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg.

This contest is one of the most respected in photojournalism. I specifically enjoy looking at the photo story winners as this has always been a passion of mine. Please take a moment to view these wonderful images made by some of the best photographers in the world.

http://bop.nppa.org/2010/



Mar 22, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

A significant health care bill has been passed by the House and is headed to President Obama's desk to be signed.

I applaud the President's efforts to change our damaged health care system and provide for those in need. However, I fear this will bring about more problems and less solutions once it's fully functional.

Proposed changes like prohibiting health care insurance companies from denying applicants coverage because of pre-existing conditions could help people like my parents. But there is no guarantee.

I worry about the effect this will have on my family and my future children. Being a small business owner, this bill is supposed to help people just like me.

We'll see where the bill takes us...

Photos (top to bottom):

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) walks back to the Blue Room with U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden after Obama delivered a statement about the House of Representatives' final passage of health care legislation, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 21, 2010. The legislation would usher in the most sweeping changes to the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system in decades. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Supporters of the Tea Party movement hold a sign outside the US Capitol as they demonstrate in Washington against the health care bill. Democrats used their majority to muscle the measure through, losing 34 conservative party members who joined the united Republican opposition, worried about paying a political price in November mid-term elections. (AFP/Nicholas Kamm)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's, D-Texas, arm rests on an autographed copy of the bill after the House passed health care reform in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)




Mar 19, 2010
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

Every year, the Tampa Bay Heart Gallery asks local photographers to donate their time to photograph a child. Never has a photograph been so important.

None of these photos will win awards, be used in portfolios or be profited from in any way.

The photos are simply given to the gallery and are used on the organization's website and in a traveling exhibit to promote awareness about adoption. The hope is that someone will see the photos, hear the child's taped recording and fall in love with their personality.

The best case scenario is that the child is adopted by a loving family. At the very least, the word of adoption is being spread through the efforts of the gallery staff and maybe someone else will be inspired to volunteer.

I had the pleasure of photographing another child this year and due to privacy issues, I am asked not to display his photos. He is a lovely 12-yr-old with a quiet disposition and a sweet smile.

Thank you to Melissa Twomey and Jesse Miller for making this gallery happen every year. And thank you to Dan Weisberg for allowing me to use his photos of the session.

For more information and to learn about the kids, please visit http://www.heartgallerytampabay.org/children.php.


Mar 18, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica


Javier Sola is a man with a knack for logos and an abundance of patience.

When I began my freelance business in Tampa in 2005, Javier helped me create a brand for the company with the design of my very first logo. We went through several drafts but he was determined to create something I fell in love with and could use for years to come.

I can admit I am not the easiest person to please when it comes to my business. I am very picky and want to ensure that my company’s image is perfect in my eyes.

Javier quickly realized this about me but he didn’t waiver. He just kept working.

At last, he created the logo that now graces my website, business cards and all marketing materials I distribute. I receive compliments on my cards every time I give them out. The only thing printed on the front is the logo he created.

He’s also designed a logo for a non-profit project I created called Tour of Thanks, which will be launching later this year. (The project will focus on offering free family portraits to active duty military families.)

Javier’s love for design began at an early age in Puerto Rico when he found he loved geometry. Javier said, “Through the years I found out that anything that would have to do with layout or design was meant to be my career in some shape or form.”

After having no luck finding a design school to pursue his dream, he left Puerto Rico as an adult and attended the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in Graphic Design.

Today, Javier lives in Tampa with his family and owns Rendered Visions Creative. The company focuses on logo/brand development and web design.

To see more of Javier’s work, please visit http://www.renderedvisions.com.


Mar 17, 2010
Category:General 
Posted by: Jessica

I recently had the pleasure of photographing one of the most expressive families I know...the Houses. We took a trip to Starkey Wilderness Park in New Port Richey to have some fun and take some great family portraits. With the exception of a few bug bites and some sibling rivalry, the portraits went off without a hitch. Thank you for allowing me into your lives and for being such accommodating subjects!


Mar 16, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica


This blog entry has nothing to do with photography. The only connection it has to my work is that the person who wrote the following column helped me to become a better shooter. She is a writer, a runner, a mother, a wife, a friend and a brave soul.

I met this amazing woman at The Times in Shreveport, Louisiana and we worked on several projects together. Her work always made my work look better.

I've told Kym for years now that she is my hero. I'm not sure if she understands why but reading this column again, months later, it hits me that her strength is one of her best attributes. The struggles she's gone through in her life that are NOT in this column would shock you.

Please take a few minutes out of your day to read it. I hope it inspires you and maybe helps someone you know step forward about something that happened to them.

Thank you for sharing, Kym.

Please click here to read: 'My goal is to live'


Mar 12, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Anyone who can make my hair look better than Carrie Underwood’s is on my A-list!

I met Holly in 2007 when I was planning my own wedding for the next year. I already hired a make-up artist so all I needed was a brilliant hair stylist. I had shoulder length hair at the time so naturally I gave Holly a photo of Carrie Underwood (with very long hair) and told her I wanted hair like hers on my wedding day. She didn’t flinch.

Holly not only exceeded my expectations but she also created amazing styles for my bridesmaids and Godmother. She exudes flawless professionalism and a unique talent for making you look better than you ever thought you could.

I was so impressed on my wedding day, I hired her to do my hair and m ake up for the 2009 Hearts of Fire Presidents’ Ball plus she’ll be styling me for my anniversary photo session with my husband this month.

We’ve worked together on private events, boudoir portrait photo sessions and Bras & Boas events. I feel confident partnering with her because I know she’ll represent herself well and I have nothing to worry about when Holly is on my team.

Holly attended Manhattan Hairstyling Academy and has been making women feel fabulous for ten years. Her services range from hair styling to make up application to manicures. She hopes to expand the business to include on-location massage therapy and tanning. Her events span generations and include young girl glamour parties, weddings and fashion shows.

To check out Holly’s work and learn about her team, please visit: www.inspirecollectivecreations.com.


(Photos - top to bottom:

*Holly on location with JLP for a boudoir portrait session - Photo by JLP.

*Jessica Leigh's wedding day - Photo by Karla Fountain.

*Jessica Leigh's bridesmaid - Photo by Karla Fountain.)

 



Mar 5, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

My pet peeve about direct sales consultants is that they can come off a little pushy or they don’t understand when you say you simply don’t need their product.

Not so with Kim Fish of Cookie Lee Jewelry.

I’ve attended numerous shows and held my own private party with Kim and she is not only laid back about her sales but her personality brings every event to a whole new level. I’ve never felt like I “had” to buy a piece from her show and she’s constantly rewarding loyal customers with discounts.

Kim also knows how to let her products sell themselves. She has a great fashion sense and wears the jewelry in different ways so others can see how to dress up their own outfits.

I think people are drawn to Kim because she’s easy to get along with, fun and stylish. Plus, she manages a home, husband and three great kids in addition to running this business full-time for four years. I admire her for being able to juggle it all and still look great doing it!

We’ve worked together in BLAB and for Bras & Boas events. I feel confident partnering with her because I know she’ll represent herself well and I have nothing to worry about.

To check out Kim’s jewelry please visit http://www.cookielee.biz/esuite/home/kimberlyfish.

*Photo by JLP*

 


Feb 25, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

I had no idea what poor shape my back was in until I made an appointment with Dr. Carrie Oleston and Dr. Cindy Perkins at Back in Health Wellness in Lutz, Florida.

As photographers, we accept that with the job comes lower back pain, neck pain and general muscle soreness due to all the weird positions we get in to shoot photos and all the heavy gear we lift.

However, I didn’t know there was a way to manage the pain and feel good until I met ‘Dr. Carrie’ and ‘Dr. Cindy’ in a networking group called Business Ladies Advancing Business (BLAB). These ladies do so much more than chiropractic care. I’ve received adjustments from them as well as acupuncture and massage therapy. All of which have helped me do my job better and I have a shorter recovery period (if any) after a very long photo session.

They also helped me after I was involved in a minor car accident. I didn’t have any major physical damage but my neck and back did not fare well after the crash. So, they made a plan for me to heal and a few months later, I was back to normal.

At Back in Health, the staff is friendly and helpful, which makes going to the doctor that much easier. I have benefited from pharmaceutical-grade multivitamins, Biofreeze and back and head pillows purchased at the office. All of the services and products they provide truly do inspire a ‘complete health treatment’ for your body.

To learn more about these lovely ladies, please visit their site: www.backinhealthwellness.com.

*Photos by JLP*


Feb 23, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Toyota executives apologized today for the problems concerning sudden acceleration in some of their vehicles while continuing to deny that the problems are related to electromagnetic interference (EMI). However, others like United Kingdom-based EMI expert Keith Armstrong believe that the acceleration problem is linked to EMI and that the tests performed were not comprehensive enough to decide the root of the problem.

I photographed Armstrong for a USA Today story and while only one of his portraits was published inside the Money Section today, I thought I’d share a few of them that I liked.

Armstrong was photographed at a hotel in Brooksville, Florida while he was visiting the U.S. on business.


Feb 22, 2010
Category:Out and About General 
Posted by: Jessica
While I was out shooting family portraits in Tampa, I found this little feature photo and couldn't help myself. Sometimes we get so focused on the task at hand, we forget to observe what else is going on right under our noses. I know this isn't a 'Pulitzer' but there's a calm feeling that I get whenever I look at the photograph. This couple seemed so peaceful and content, just taking a break from their bike ride to look at the water.

Feb 19, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica

Fitness trainer helped Tampa photographer Jessica Leigh get fit and healthy in boot camp.


When it comes to exercise, I quit everything. I’ll try a kickboxing class, buy a Tae Bo DVD or join a gym and within a few months, I have wasted my time and money.

That all changed when I met Carrie Kukuda in 2009. We met as members of a networking group called BLAB, Business Ladies Advancing Business. She pitched herself as a life coach, a nutrition expert and a fitness trainer. Kukuda backed up all of her credentials with results.

I have been in her boot camp for approximately five months, attending a session at least twice a week. For exercise enthusiasts, that may not sound like dedication. But I can now admit I am completely addicted to Carrie’s boot camp and have no intention of quitting.

I schedule clients and personal appointments around boot camp. If I have to miss one, I work hard to fit in a “make up camp” as soon as possible. When I go on vacation, I do similar work outs so I don’t get off track when I return. I make better food choices and look forward to the “high” I get after I’m done with a session.

Since I lift heavy gear and end up in strange positions for my job as a photographer, I always have back pain and muscle soreness after shoots. Being active in boot camp has helped me gain muscle strength and stamina while I’m on my feet for hours.

Kukuda’s classes are different because I never know what to expect each day I come to camp. And I not only have accountability with Carrie but also with the other people I’ve bonded with in camp. If someone misses a day, we all ask where they are and what their excuse is for missing.

I asked Carrie to explain why she does what she does. She said, “I do what I do because I am passionate about helping people. I have a gift I can offer them to help them change their lives. It is not a job to me, it is who I am. It is what gets me up in the morning at 4am and it's what makes me happy when I go to bed at night. People should live their best life and I am happy to share the tools for them to make it happen.”

To find out more about Carrie, visit www.thesomedaycoach.com.


Feb 16, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Maya Tucker shot this photo of a neighbor holding her baby out of her window as her apartment filled with smoke from a fire that started in a closet. What’s even more interesting is that Maya Tucker is not a professional photographer. When I first saw this photo, I thought it was a great moment caught by a New York Daily News photojournalist and “right place, right time.” Not so.

Great moments can be caught by anyone but it’s rare to have a news-worthy moment documented by an amateur photographer. I applaud Maya for having the guts to photograph this—most bystanders do not think to pick up a camera during a crisis situation.

As newspaper photojournalists, we are trained from day one to do our job, do it well and shoot first, and then ask for forgiveness. If there was a photographer on scene, I’m guessing neighbors might have been watching him or her, wondering how he or she could take photos at a time like this. In the news business, we are forced to separate ourselves from the subjects, even if those subjects are victims.

During my five years as a newspaper photographer, I witnessed countless situations that broke my heart. The last and final adventure I had was covering Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I realized after that week that I was not born to be a newspaper photographer. Some are born to cover natural disasters, wars and devastation. I am not one of them.


Feb 16, 2010
Category:General In the News 
Posted by: Jessica

I'm very excited to be photographing James Bain this week. I'd like to hear what his life has been like behind bars for 35 years, as an innocent man. Polaris Images has asked me to photograph him at his Tampa home for a French Sunday newspaper called Le Journal du Dimache.

 

Bain was released from prison in December after serving a prison term for raping a 9-year-old boy in Lake Wales in 1974. He has repeatedly asked for DNA testing over the years to prove his innocence. In July, a judge granted his request and he was exonerated of all charges.

 

When Bain was released, his first requests were to have a glazed doughnut, a Mello Yello and spearmint gum. It makes me a little more thankful for all the simple pleasures I take for granted on a daily basis.


Feb 12, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica
Lindsay Lohan has once again thrust herself into the public eye. For the cover of a French magazine called Purple, Lohan posed in a white robe, a crown of thorns on her head and her arms outstretched, "Christ-like". The criticism about mixing celebrities, religion and fashion is plentiful on blogs and in religious circles. Is this pose offensive or does she just have a genius publicist? Negative attention is still attention, right?

Feb 11, 2010
Category:Thankful Thursdays General 
Posted by: Jessica



Feb 10, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

ABC News recently obtained new photos from the 9/11 attacks after filing a Freedom of Information Act request in 2009 with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The photos show a different view of what happened that day and how far and wide the damage spread. Will these images help people to rebuild and "never forget" or will they just bring back bad memories? View a gallery of the images and make your own judgements.

*Photo by Det. Greg Semendinger/NYC Police Aviation Unit*


Feb 10, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: Jessica

Sports Illustrated released their annual Swimsuit Edition this week with four Olympic athletes featured including Lindsey Vonn. The photo of Vonn on last week's cover caused some debate over whether the pose was provocative or appropriate for her sport. The latest issue features Vonn in much more compromising positions and in less clothes. So, is it ok for her to be sexy and alluring in the Swimsuit Edition? The whole point of the annual edition is to showcase beautiful women in very tiny bikinis in exotic places. So, why does the world get upset when a female athlete shows some skin but when a male athlete poses shirtless for GQ or Men's Health, it’s acceptable?


Feb 4, 2010
Category:In the News General 
Posted by: admin
Discussions begin over how Sports Illustrated portrays female athletes on their covers.