header Code


Facebook star ratings.

I hate star ratings anywhere for anything.  I'd rather leave and read an actual review.  Ever read low star reviews on amazon?  It's usually people who ordered the wrong thing, or weren't smart enough to read the description of the item in the first place.  With Facebook, people can leave a star rating about any business with no explanation. If the front window had a bug on it we can get a one star rating, affecting our business, turning off potential clients.  The fact that your high school student didn't bring home his school photo order form and your mad that he didn't tell you about picture day shouldn't affect my ability to reach potential wedding clients - it's a completely unrelated issue.  

Call us if there's ever a problem! 

Don't be nasty.  We're humans, we shop at Walmart like you and we go to church on Sundays. If there's a problem, give us a call so we can work it out.  We can fix errors really really fast and without arguememt, you just have to keep your cool.  There's no need to call any business and act rude or disrespectful, and for me, Please and Thank You are still magic words.  Use them!



Wedding Photos

I just really wish that people would talk with a professional wedding photographer, who has been in th business for years before hiring the first friend that come to them that "Really wants to get into photography". It's your most important day of your life, please don't trust it to anyone!  

When we photograph a wedding we are working for you, not for our own Facebook page.  



Vape, pipe & tobacco shops.

Vape tobacco and pipe shops have been springing up everywhere. I see them to be an eyesore- a cheap start up store that anyone can set up and get rich quick, playing to and feeding the addiction of many. 

I believe these stores to be bad for other neighboring businesse and in my mind devalue the area. I was surprised that White Stone allowed such a store, and I'm upset to see one coming soon in kilmarnock. 

Isnt anyone concerned about the youth. The high school kids that get out of school at noon and have 4+ hours before mom gets home? 

Look at past similar stores in our area-  

Topping- http://www.ssentinel.com/index.php/news/article/police_raid_topping_smoke_shop/

Tappahannock - http://www.ssentinel.com/index.php/news/article/spice_charges_bring_guilty_pleas/

Gloucester - http://wtkr.com/2014/02/13/businesses-raided-in-gloucester-county/

Kilmarnock, White Stone.........I'm sure we'll have similar stories to share. 

As a business owner I would never open a store next to or even in the same shopping center as a tobacco store, or a predatory payday/title loan office. Don't even get me started on those places. 




1 Comment

# Things Yours Photographer Didn't Tell You

This is a list put together with a light heart.  I'm not an angry person, and I love what I do.... but this is how it goes sometimes....

1. Put down the phone in the studio.  You're in a professional photography studio, your paying me to take beautiful images of your children, senior, whomever.  I'm taking the time and my professional expertise to pose the subject, choose the best background, lighting ratio, lens, etc.  You can trust me to get it right. Please don't cheapen the moment by shooting over my shoulder with your phone. It's rude. And don't even try to do it after I ask you not to.  I'm a photographer, I'm really really good at telling when someone is taking photos...

2. Don't ask to see the photo right after I take it.  Do you really need that level of instant gratification, or are we just that obsessed how we look.  Again, we're professionals, we want time to retouch things we know you don't like.  Viewing a photo immediately is not a good idea for anyone. OH and if your photographer is looking at the back of the camera after every shot - red flag.

3. Please don't ask me what kind of camera I am using.  This questions is almost followed up with what kind of camera they just bought that is the latest and greatest.  I don't care and it doesn't matter.  Come look at my expenses running a lab and studio and you will see why I can't pop over to best buy to let a guy with a blue shirt talk me into a camera I don't need nor know how to use.  I love my cameras, all Canon and I know them inside and out.  Isn't that enough. 

4. Please let me the photographer create and decide the background and location.  I'm a professional, and I don't think at all like an amateur would.  Usually when I'm looking at a set that someone has created for me to take photos of people at I try to hide my concern.  The worst may have been prom photos a couple years ago.  It was a small-reflective plastic, wrinkled photo of the Eiffel tower.  It didn't reach to the floor, and the tower was dead center to poke out people heads.  I couldn't get feet in, nor the bottom of the dress because of photo proportions.  Now I know that people go through great lengths to create these, but in the future, I'll be using a photo set that we create.

5. No pets on my furniture.  Really, do I need to say more?

6. Posed Sports photos.  Let me say this.  If a mom is standing behind me with the iPhone camera, who then will the child look at....  stranger Steve, or Mamma Mia?  Who then gets blamed when the photo comes back and the child "isn't even looking at the camera it looks like she's looking to the side"?  Please try to refrain from taking photos during the 20 seconds I am.


1 Comment


Steve talks about old movies

I love movies, especially old ones - like really old.... silent films.  Watching and studying these, how they were filmed - the lighting and subtle qualities help make me a better photographer.

Last night I watched George Melies 1902 film, 'A Trip to the Moon' on Netflix.  It's just 15 minutes long, and a real treasure.  To truly understand it, read a little about George Melies and what film making was like in 1902.  The film & Melies are a major part of the 2012 Martin Scorsese movie 'Hugo'

I have such an appreciation for silent and other classic movies.  Films that shaped the industry and this country.  A favorite of mine is The 1927 Buster Keaton film, 'The General', also available on Netflix.  Buster Keaton was a fantastic actor and director during the silent movie era, his comedy was real, and it is easy to put yourself into his shoes. His story lines were well developed instead of just slapstick comedy of other comedians of the era.

The General is loosely based on the true story of raiders from the union army who infiltrate confederate territory to destroy rail supply lines.  Buster Keaton is the man who chases them, and eventually saves the day.  His stunts and incredibly dangerous.  One of the final scenes was the most expensive scenes in the entire silent movie era.  If you haven't seen 'The General' be sure to, if you like it, check out 'Steamboat Jr.' with Buster Keaton.

As I write this, I can't help but think how enjoying great old films is parallel to what we do at Yours Truly Photo. 

So much history lives in movies and photographs.  Take a look at photos from your childhood.  When I look at my old photos I look at everything in the frame - the objects in the backgrounds, the cars, our clothing, and of course - who was there.  These snapshots are like time capsules.  When someones house is on fire what do they run inside to save? Photographs.

Read this (very short) story from Readers Digest!

The value of a photograph is recession proof - it will climb in value exponentially over time, it's one of very few things that our children's children may truly cherish.

So what now?  In 30 years when your child wants photos from his/her childhood how will you deliver them?  Do you....Will you have ANY photos?  Indeed our priceless family heirloom photos that we would risk our life to protect we trust to our digital devices to keep safe.

Print them!

Our prices are as low as 29 cents.  It's easy, and we can make a print or photo gift from any source. 

The memories held in movies and photographs are timeless.  Please handle with care.

Click Here to order prints from your phone or tablet right now.



There I said it.

Everyone thinks it, I might as well say it - Some folks pronounce river as "rivah" - and that's perfectly fine if you have that accent.  But when we start spelling it as Rivah... it makes us look stupid.



People have no idea what we go through.

I was at the ball field the other night and I overheard some people talking about our business...  It was funny - they were from out of town, and only see me at baseball games, so naturally that's all we must do right?.  They were talking about how we must make a 'killing' photographing these games, but since were just a 'seasonal business' we don't do anything during the winter months.  This was quite funny.  And for the record, in Northern Neck small business there's no such thing as 'making a killing'.

On the other hand we have customers who only see us as a lab where they get photos printed.  Others only know us for senior photos.  Pretty interesting.

This past weekend was insane.  We photographed 27 teams playing baseball over a 4 day period, employing several photographers and sales personnel.  Meanwhile, I was in Williamsburg most of the time photographing events centered around a beauty pageant.  I had to follow the girls around town shopping, bowling, etc.  Some days at was at the hotel ready to start photos at 7am.  In the evenings after everyone had completed at the baseball fields I would drive the 1.5 hours to the shop to print photos until about midnight to ensure that we had photos to sell and everything stayed on track.  On top of all this our studio was still open each day, taking orders, processing film, and printing digital photos.

I'm not complaining, I really love what we do, and our team handles it well.  (I'm just glad it's a seasonal sports photo business :-)


1 Comment

Food Truck Friday!


First, read this...     http://www.rrecord.com/-news/2015/7-23-15

Ok, so if you didn't read it, you need to, but here's the jist. Kilmarnock may crack down on 2 great food places. I personally feel that if a Decent business is succeeding in our small town, they shouldn't be under the scrutiny of our town council.  Is scrutiny the right word, I don't' know.

anyway, the other day as I was driving I had an idea. Food truck Friday. Pretty simple, let's get a bunch of people to check out the food trucks to see what they have to offer.  It's not about me or yours truly photo, and I don't want to become involved In a debate. I'm just out to see a few businesses succeed.   I made the flyers and took them around to local businesses.  It should be fun.

So food truck Friday is happening this Friday, July 31. 

Something that I didn't put on the flyer was something to the effect of:  If you say buy local, put your money where your mouth is, then put your mouth on some good food.  But I couldnt shorten it to something that makes sense.  

1 Comment


making things right.

It's Steve - I'm on vacation in Pittsburgh.  Back in town Joanna and another very experienced photographer is working at the Tides to photograph a multi-day business event.  The photos are going well, but we soon find out that something has gone wrong.  There's nothing to do but for me to come home and take care of things.  So I drive home, 7.5 hours to be there for one day to wrap up the event.  Then back to Pittsburgh that evening, another 7.5 hours. 

That's part of being a business owner, and a good example of how serious we take or business.  We will do the job right, even if the boss has to drive 15 hours away from family during vacation.



Film - it STILL exists!

Yeah - of course it does!  A couple years ago the last roll of Kodachrome film was processed, this made national headlines, and everyone wrote it off as the end of film.  NOT SO!

Kodachrome was just one type of film.  Indeed it was a special film, it was a staple of many photographers for years and was even the name of a Paul Simon song, and a State Parks namesake in Utah.  It took special chemicals and machinery to process this film. 

Regular ole' 35mm color film is still being produced and labs like us are still processing it.  You can still purchase it in our shop, even disposable cameras. 

Here's something you haven't thought of - you have rolls of film in the house, or negatives laying around - we can print them, or perhaps even better - scan the film.  Digital images for Facebook and twitter!

So the next time someone says... film do they still make that stuff  say yeah!  and Yours Truly is the place to go!

OH, check this out, is a Youtube video of how film was made years ago!  It really is fascinating.



Shopping Local

Recently, I've been building a swing set in my back yard for the kids.  I didn't want one of thise monster sets - just something simple and nice.  So I decided to build it myself.  I priced out lumber at a large hardware store in Gloucester, but I ended up purchasing the lumber at my local hardware store.  I was very surprised that the local store was cheaper.  Not only that, saved me an hour drive, and they loaded the wood directly on the truck. 

I don't know why this surprised me.  Just like in our business we go out of our way to make people happy, and our prices are right in line with the big photo labs.  As a community we really need to change our shopping mindset.  Think about shopping local all the time - shopping local is code for 'save money & help the people you love'.  As for me?  You'll be seeing me in my local hardware stores more often!