What I learned over the past 10 years as a Pro Photographer

On April 12, 2017, STP Images Photography Studio will celebrate its 10th anniversary.  I’ve been so focused on keeping the photography business pipeline full that I’ve ignored publicizing the anniversary.  This weekend offered me a rare Saturday with no shoots or retouching – so, I sat at the pool in this beautiful weather and pondered the past ten years in business as an entrepreneur.  Here are some of my observations.

  • Working for yourself gives you the opportunity to work for the BEST boss you’ll ever have in your life.
  • Working for yourself gives you nowhere to hide when things don’t go right.
  • Being your own boss is incredibly liberating.
  • Being your own boss can be (at times) paralyzingly frightening.
  • After 10 years of being a full time, professional photographer, I am still learning.  The topics of my learning have migrated from mostly perfecting photography techniques to mostly perfecting building a solid business.
  • I have some of the best (and most beautiful) clients in the world – just look at the sample headshots to see for yourself!
  • Ten years is a long time.
  • Ten years flies by.
  • I have been helped by several generous professional photographers and multi-media artists who taught me things early in my career that are benefitting me today.  Their unselfishness has led me to paying it forward by participating in the Photography Guild of Houston where I will be teaching classes later this year to help embryonic photography businesses with practical information.
  • I love the business I am in – I truly say “I can’t believe this is my job!” out loud multiple times a month.  And I mean it.
  • You don’t have to be the top 1% to succeed, but you DO need to be dogged, unrelenting and totally focused on your goals.
  • It takes a support system of family, friends and great clients to find true success.
  • Photography is art.  Art is a business.  A serious business.

I realized that my 10 years as a photographer has been the longest employment tenure in my life – a milestone that exemplifies how great it is to be an entrepreneur.

I wish to thank my wife, Cindy, for her support during this circuitous 10 year journey.  It hasn’t been easy and there were some scary financial times along the way.  Her support is the foundation that I cling to when the business weather gets rough and batters me about.

My clients are the jet fuel that keeps this business running.  I am grateful for all who have referred people to me, I am grateful for everyone who has booked me after finding me on Google or Facebook and I am grateful for the literal thousands of faces that have graced my studio and passed though my computer screen for PhotoShop retouching.

I look forward to the next 10 years and hope they are as exciting and inspiring as the last 10 years have been.  Now, please call me to book YOUR headshots!

Photography Classes!

Do you own a DSLR camera (see photo), but don’t know how to use it?  Do you have a DSLR camera and are using it, but leave it on “A” (automatic) mode and you don’t like the way your photos turn out?  Do you have a basic understanding of the camera, but want to take more dynamic photos that tell a story?  Do you have lots of photos on your camera card, but don’t know what to do with them?

We all have cell phones and most of us use the camera function on the phone.  Do you wonder why your cell phone photos are always blurry?  Do you wonder why your cell phone photos are all too dark?  Do you wonder why your cell phone photos don’t look like the photos posted by your social media friends?  Do you want to be more polished in your social media sharing of your photos?

lf you fall into any or all of these categories, we have a 2 hour class offering to help you!  Certified Professional Photographer, Todd Parker, has years of teaching experience and most recently taught the Photography 101 and Photography 201 classes at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.  Todd designed the curriculum for these 2 hour classes in partnership with the Houston Center for Photography as well as the International Center for Photography in NYC.  These quick and helpful 2 hour classes include lecture instruction, viewing projected sample images for critique to reinforce comprehension and hands-on photography exercises to practice the concepts.

The classes are held at Vine Street Rental Studio, which provides a spectacularly beautiful backdrop for taking photos.  To see a listing of the classes, check out the class schedule in the right hand sidebar on this page.  By clicking on the class listing in the sidebar, you will be taken directly to our Eventbrite page where you can read the course descriptions, register for class, pay for your registration and print your tickets all at once.  We would love to see you in one of our classes!  Call the studio with questions or see our class listings at Vine Street Rental Studio.


Headshot Happy Hour – Summer 2016

We shoot lots and lots of headshots at STP Images Photography Studio.  We shoot one person at a time at our downtown studio or at our client’s location.  We also shoot dozens or even hundreds of employees at a time in corporate settings.  The end result is always the same – great headshots for both business and personal use.

A while back, we did some special events with a focus on headshots, but it’s been a while.  So, Cori Aston has teamed with STP Images Photography to create a new recurring event called Headshot Happy Hour.  Headshot Happy Hours will be held at STP Images Photography Studio.  Headshot Happy Hours include wine, hors d’oeurves, music, fun, makeup services, hair services and AWESOME headshots.  Bring your friends and make a party of it during your appointment!

Headshot Happy Hour will take place on Saturday, July 16, 2016 starting at 10am.  Your reservation gets you a full custom makeup session by Cori and hair touchups from one of Cori’s best stylists.  Once the makeup and hair has been completed, STP Images will take a variety of headshots right there on location.  Each person will have headshots taken using a combination of studio lighting and natural lighting.  This will give each client some variety in the headshot choices.

Within a week, each client will have a password protected online gallery set up to allow review of the headshots.  Each client will select their favorite two (2) headshots.  STP Images will then retouch each of the two (2) headshots as requested by each client.  For each of the two (2) headshots chosen, each client receives one (1) web resolution jpg (perfect for Facebook or LinkedIn) and one (1) high resolution, print-ready jpg (for use in print publications such as the Houston Business Journal or Houstonia).

The package price for each person is only $395.00.  This includes wine, food, makeup, hair styling, headshots, retouching and four (4) final jpg files.  There are ONLY 8 TIME SLOTS AVAILABLE!  Your credit card holds your reservation.  Call us or email us using the info provided on the flier below.  We typically fill these quickly, so don’t delay.  Let us hear from you soon!

We have a new sister!

STP Images Photography Studio now has a new sister company.  Vine Street Rental Studio is now open and booking business.  I’ve already had three photo shoots in the studio for STP Images and we will have our third studio rental tonight.  Not bad for only one week in business so far!

Not only are we extremely responsive to rental requests (usually minutes, not days) we accept all major forms of payment (cash, certified funds and all major credit cards), we have frosty cold air conditioning for those blistering hot summer days ahead (no need to plan around shooting during “cooler hours” as we’re always cool), we have plenty of FREE front door parking (right by the door, not blocks away) and there is an elevator in the lobby to move equipment between the first and second floors.

Vine Street Rental Studio can be rented by the hour or day by photographers or clients looking for a beautiful, artistic, historic and AIR CONDITIONED space for photography, classes or get togethers.  The smaller shooting space is contained within the 750 s.f. footprint of Suite 210 at Vine Street Studios.  This space has a makeup station, a changing area, a ceiling mounted paper sweep (gray and white) and the option of renting it with or without photography strobe lighting.  This suite has original 1905 wooden floors and brick walls along with a huge double window that allows for incredibly impactful natural light photography.

Options also include using the entire space at Vine Street Studios.  These common spaces are massive, extremely photogenic and will make a spectacular background for you portraits or other styles of photo shoots.  We can even shoot in the basement if a ‘creepy’ feel is what you seek!

Take a look at our website here for more information – CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE VINE STREET RENTAL STUDIO WEBSITE.

Give us a call or shoot us an email if you have questions or want to reserve a spot on out calendar today!



I rarely dip my toes into the ‘artistic photography’ world as my focus is on headshots, portraits and events.  However, this coming Saturday, March 12, my second FotoFest exhibition will open with a reception at the Havens Center at 1827 West Alabama.  To add a little additional incentive to attend the reception, we will have catered fajitas and a mix of great Mexican beers for all who attend.

Outside of my photography, I also am a Bishop’s Committee member of Lord of the Streets Episcopal Church (LOTS).  Almost 100% of the parishioners of LOTS are homeless individuals.  I also volunteer at LOTS once a week at the LOTS building at 3401 Fannin.  In my years of working with the parishioners at LOTS, I have gained a good deal of understanding and knowledge of the plight of the homeless.  My FotoFest 2016 solo exhibition focuses on the positive aspects of LOTS parishioners.

The solo exhibition will run from March 12 through April 24, 2016.  If you cannot attend opening night, I would hope that you could find time to stop by the Havens Center and take a look at this unique and loving look at those around us who are yard.less.  You will then have my permission to stop into the Chocolate Bar and indulge!  Hope to see you all there.

Houstonia Kentucky Derby Party

Houstonia held a huge Mint Juleps and Jodhpurs party at the Houstonia House to celebrate the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2, 2015.  The event was a complete sell-out and the proceeds benefitted the Holly Rose Foundation.  To add to the buzz surrounding the event, a Bravo film crew was on hand in the packed crowd to film segments for an episode of Married To Medicine.  Tons of great food, a Mint Julep competition and a full house of beautiful people dressed for the occasion made for some great photos.

Take a look below at some of our favorites from the party.  To book STP Images for your next event, email us or call us on the studio line to reserve your event on our calendar.