Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Miramar Cultural Center

How often do you get to photograph two fabulous women in the entertainment industry of which one is from South Florida? Such was the case when I was hired as the official photographer for the City of Miramar during the reception welcoming of singer Melba Moore and actress JoMarie Payton (Family Matters sitcom). JoMarie grew up in the South Florida area.

Both Melba and JoMarie received the keys to the City and a grand tour of the new Cultural Center. The facility is currently under construction with an opening date of Fall 2008. Also, a Proclamation was made in honor of JEBA Media, Inc. for presenting the Urban Theater Festival Awards and establishing the Miramar Cultural Center as a future destination of this event.

To view additional images, go to Portrait Corner, select View Events, and enter this session ID: miramar

Additional information about the Miramar Cultural Center can be obtained by visiting Miramar Cultural Center or contacting Edna LaRoche, Marketing Manager at (954) 602-4514.

Dominion Catering set the flavor for the
event with great hors'd'oeuvres.

Actress JoMarie Payton and husband Leonard.
Singer Melba Moore and her entourage.
Mayor Lori Cohen Moseley with the
JEBA Media Proclamation plaque.

Mayor Moseley, Julia E. Brown, & Ed HaynesMayor Moseley, Actress JoMarie Payton,
& Singer Melba Moore.

JoMarie & Melba holding their keys to the City.
Edna, JoMarie, Vernon, Melba, & Camasha.
JoMarie & Willie...a new comedy team.

Mayor Moseley & Edna LaRoacheAssistant City Manager Vernon Hargray giving
a walk through of the new cultural center.

Although the stage was under construction,
JoMarie & Melba christened it with their own performance.
The Finale!!! JoMarie & Melba style.


Host: City of Mirarmar

Caterer: Dominion Catering
Printing: Rachel Moscoso Denis (786) 290-9718 or

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jaguar Shot In Downtown Ft. Lauderdale

All right, the title is a little hyped, but I did shoot Tanya Milton with her Jaguar coupe at a downtown location. Tanya’s portrait session started off in the studio with a few quick headshots just to get her comfortable with my style of shooting. However, my idea of photographing Tanya was to create some hot, elegant, fashion shots of her with her vehicle.

Tanya works as a realtor and I wanted her images to take her far away from her professional persona. I wanted her to simply let her hair down and have a fling with the camera. I think it worked. At first she was a little uncertain about some of the poses I was mimicking for her to do, but eventually she relaxed and joined in the fun. Also, Tanya has a stunning face with features that draw you into her eyes and lips, and she has a mystique about her that I’m still trying to figure out. So, look closely at the really tight headshots of her and see if you can figure it out.

Thanks for a great session, Tanya. Hope you like ‘em.

Tanya and her sleek Jaguar.
With legs like that,
who needs a Jaguar?

I love the mystique of Tanya in this image as well
as the lighting and post-production enhancement.
This is one of my favorite images of her.

Tanya's beauty is undeniable.

Tanya's features are inspiring. I look forward to having
another session were we do
nothing but headshots.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Donovin (alias “Brown Town”)

He’s the newborn son of Jackie Parisi, and is another one of the most adorable babies that I’ve recently photographed. Jackie is a good friend of my daughter (Christy), and she loves Donovin in her own special way. In fact, it was Christy who gave Donovin the nickname “Brown Town” (which seems to have stuck) because of his beautiful skin tone. No, Jackie doesn’t seem to mind that Christy has renamed her baby, but she was excited about bringing him to the studio for a portrait session.

The day Jackie came in for her portrait consultation, immediately I knew I couldn’t miss creating great portraits of her son. He is a naturally beautiful baby. The day of his session was a different story, though. We’d scheduled the session at a time when he was a little cranky and in the middle of the shoot we virtually had to back off and regroup. After a brief nap he came through with some cute expressions that will guarantee Jackie memories for a long time. I’m really looking forward to his 6th month and 9th month portrait sessions.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Death of Windows XP

I’m at the age now where it seems like everyday I receive an email about the death of a good friend or acquaintance. Tonight while you’re checking out your nightly newscast I’m certain you’ll learn that some significant figure in history or life has kicked the bucket too. It’s scary. Maybe it’s just the times. However, losing someone you love (or hate) is a tough deal to handle. In the first case, how do you replace a person who has made significant contributions to society? In the later case, well, thank God they’re gone!

Currently, I just got word that a dear, dear friend of mine is terminally ill with a few days to live… Microsoft Windows XP. Now, if you’re a Mac user I’m sure your sympathy will not go so far as to sharing bereavement with the rest of us who are die-hard PC users. (Recent TV commercials will bear out this truth). Nevertheless, to know that such a friend will no longer be around is going to be a monumental loss to friends and foe.

I’ve been a PC user ever since I entered the digital world. It was when Adobe 3.0 was king. In fact, I cut my teeth on the software by talking a class at McFatter Vocational Technical Center. (I think that was in the year 20 AD). That class was the ONLY time I’ve ever used a Mac. So, the Windows’ operating system runs deeply through my veins. What PC user could forget ALL the operating system upgrades, downgrades, or fallbacks we have endured over the years? I still get violent when I think about the ME operating system that Microsoft dumped on us years ago. Yet, I’ve stayed loyal to the “Microsoft god” and despite the OS follies we’ve experienced over the years, Window XP has been one of the best PC operating systems.

So, 2 weeks ago when I decided it was time to purchase a new laptop to do my digital editing at home, the first thing that I did was to take it to my computer guy and demand he take Vista off and replace it with Windows XP Pro. I’d heard and read many uncomplimentary things about the new OS. Besides, I had no desire to purchase new software or spend hours downloading and installing patches. Oh, my, gosh. Well, the OS transplant didn’t go as well as I expected. It seemed the bios in the new Toshiba laptop wouldn’t allow Windows XP to access certain drivers; therefore I lost use of my Function keys and my wireless card.

After spending days and hours on the phone with tech support at Toshiba and Bellsouth (and not getting any where), I was struck by the fact that it might be a good idea to have someone build me a laptop from the ground up with the Windows XP operating system. I called my sales rep at H&J Electronics and discovered that no one does it locally. Rats! So, I hit the Internet to do some research and discovered several companies that could configure a Windows laptop to my specifications. M-Tech Computers and Voodoo Computers were two companies I found. That’s when I learned that Windows XP is on the Endangered list.

Windows readers listen up. If you plan on using the Windows XP in a present or future computer you’d better hurry up. Last year Microsoft discontinued the shipping of new computers with Windows XP and the end of July (2008) no new-boxed versions of the software will be sold either. (Do I hear taps in the background?)

To finalize this article, it looks like for those of us who have avoided the Vista plague as long as we could, eventually it’s going to overtake us like the Andromeda strain. As I watch my good friend XP take it’s final bow, I have just one comment: “Banzi!!!! May you rest in peace”.

[First they took away my Kodachrome---now Windows XP]

Willie Hill Jr.
Long Time Friend of Windows XP

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Digital Camera Class

Recently one of my long time clients, Wendy Miller, came by the studio to pick up a restoration job I'd done for her. (She's always so complimentary about my work.) Somehow we got on the subject about me going out on EDL (Every Day Life) excursions. Right away she told me she had a digital point & shoot camera that she just couldn't get a handle on. She truly wanted to take better pictures , but the learning curve was preventing her. So, I promised that I'd take her out with me and Dana the next time we went shooting.

That promise to Wendy planted a seed in my head. Why not give a camera class to my clients? For years I taught digital and film photography classes at South Broward High and Hollywood Hills High before the volume of work in the studio forced me to retire. With a heart for teaching, I've decided to come out of retirement and offer a class Saturday, August 2nd from 10am - 12pm. I'm limiting the class to 4 students so that everyone will get special attention to their needs. If you're interested, call the studio at (954) 921-7959 and register before the class fills.

"Pro At Work"

Friday, July 11, 2008


For several weeks I have conducted a survey on the blog to learn if Americans believe we are in an "economic recession" or "economic slowdown". The winner of the Blog Contest is Karen Cochran who correctly told me that we are in an "economic slowdown". Karen wins a free portrait session with an 11x14 portrait (a $200 value).
I conducted the survey because I personally felt that although times have been really tough for everyone, the news on "the street" was totally wrong. We are NOT in a recession. To put my theory to the test I looked up the definition of what a full blown recession should look like. Check this out.

In macroeconomics, a recession is generally associated with a decline in a country's real gross domestic product (GDP), or negative real economic growth. According to one widespread definition, a recession occurs when real growth is negative for two or more successive quarters of a year. However, there are differing definitions: In the United States, the National Bureau of Economic Research's (NBER) Business Cycle Dating Committee ultimately decides whether the economy has fallen into a recession. The NBER defines a recession as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production and wholesale-retail sales."

Now, that's a mouth full for a definition. However, as you can see the GDP hasn't reached the requirement to fill the definition. So, I say to everyone in opposition to what the news media is telling us and how I see this turning out from day to day: "Don't panic! We're gonna be okay". At Portrait Corner Studio, I'm preparing myself and my business for when the "economic slowdown" starts making an upturn. For now, we're just thankful that God is bringing us through this difficult time, and we feel blessed that He is still the CEO and Chief Financial Officer of our business.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It's Live!

Well, if you've visited my website within the passed 24 hours you know that all of the redesigning has been finalized. My webmaster (Marathon Press) took little time in taking all the images and text that was needed to get it up and running. Yep, there are a few typos and images that will have to be tweaked, but for the moment it has already made a HUGE difference in the way clients and prospective clients will benefit from visiting the site.

So, to get my clients involved with the new site, I'm offering $5 bucks for every spelling, grammatical error, or suggestion (that I use) for making the website better! Just email me your correction/suggestion along with your mailing address to this link: Contact Willie


Sherrie and Mark

This couple was featured several blog postings ago (see “Cycles of Love) along with their beautiful motorcycles. Now I’d like to share with you some of their wedding portraits. The ceremony was held on the beach at the Ramada Hollywood Beach Resort on a Saturday that was picture perfect. The size of the wedding party and guests list gave the whole event a warm, intimate, family feeling that set the mood for the entire day. Sherrie was as beautiful as ever and Mark looked impeccable in his tux. In fact, Mark looked so hot I noticed that Sherrie couldn’t keep her eyes, hands, and lips off the dude. (I agree, Sherrie…he looked SHARP!)

Once we finished the ceremony and took several shots of the bridal party and family, we had to dashed inside the Ramada Tu-Can Tango Resturant to avoid a sudden rain shower that blew in off the ocean. Sherrie and Mark and their guests had the entire restaurant to themselves, and that’s when the partying began. The main players in turning on the fun for the evening festivities was LaRae Laws (one of Sherrie’s best girlfriends) and Uncle Bob. Now these two should have their own TV sitcom. They dirty danced the night away and provided endless laughter for invited guests. I did not forget to insert some of their antics in the images below.

Over this year I will photograph dozens of weddings, but already Sherrie and Mark’s wedding has made a lasting impression in my mind. Besides the show of love they have for each other, I really enjoyed the kinship and joy each of their families displayed towards one another. And, I truly appreciated the “artist freedom” they gave me to document "their day" as well as how everyone loved on me and my daughter Dana. It doesn’t get any better than that as wedding photographers.

Oh, by the way, Maggie, Cynthia, and Taylor. Thanks for being such awesome bridesmaids. In my book you ladies were tops and you all made my day's work a treat.

To see more of Sherrie and Mark's wedding portraits click on this website link and enter this case sensitive Session ID: Sherrie

Uncle Bob showing off his latest moves with the ladies
LaRae being LaRae. Who's that dude in the middle?
Why it's Uncle Bob!!
Guess who caught the garter? You guessed it...Uncle Bob.Uncle Bob, you are so-o-o lucky!

Florist: Al's Florist

Cake:NiLus, 1854 N. Young Circle, Hlwd. (954) 927-6005