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Nail polish

I know… why a post about nail polish of all things?  Well, so many of my clients and friends have been asking about the polish I wear on my toes, that I thought it was time to share it!


I love this polish on my toes as it doesn’t chip easily and I like taking a break from colors that can stain my nails. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Click the image to be taken to amazon to buy it. I got it awhile ago, so I am not sure if it is still available at drugstores….

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Giveaway time!

Follow me on Instagram for a chance to win a free lesson

Today I am feeling for all of you who are struggling with photos at home. I have sat with you as you shared your holiday photos and were disappointed that they didn’t turn out like you hoped.  I want to help… I really do. So I am offering a chance to win a free 1-hour, in-person* photography lesson from me! Just follow me on Instagram and comment “lesson” in the post with the image above for a chance to win! That is it! No catch. Easy-peasy, right!

I will tag the randomly selected winner on Instagram on Monday, Jan 30th at 1 pm.

* In-person applies to a single individual willing to come to my studio in Odessa, FL at your own expense (or have a Facetime call) during the following times: Feb 1st – Mar 1st 2017, M-F between the hours of 9am-3pm.

This lesson is for the average person wanting to know why their photos aren’t turning out like they want. You will need your own camera or smartphone because what better way to learn how to improve your photography than on your own device?  Don’t worry, I am not going to get technical about lighting ratios and white balance… I am just going to show you some tricks to improve your own photography. I will ask for samples of your “problem” photos to best understand how to help you, so start gathering up your disappointing images and let’s get to work!

To skip the Instagram game and book your own one-on-one lesson, click here.


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Happy New Year!


I wanted to share a quick holiday tip that I learned The Hard Way. Exhibit #1 Above.

Yikes right!  One little bump the wrong way while unpacking this beauty last year was all it took to shatter. It was right then that I decided to take a photo of all my ornaments. So my big tip is: Photograph your ornaments!  Well, the special ones anyway. Which ones are special to me? The ornaments from my childhood are especially sentimental as my parents gave me one each year that coordinated with my unique interests that year. You can imagine the memories that flood back each year when I decorate the tree!


I didn’t worry about small reflections and even the change in color temperature from image to image… If you have the time I suggest be a bit more critical with your photos before you pack those gems up. Some photo tips are below.


Other ornaments that made my photo list were the ones I have given to my daughter each year.  I also included any breakable ornaments and any treasures my daughter has made.  I didn’t worry about plain glass balls or the accents I put on the tree such as the $1 plastic candy canes, the ribbon or or the glittered snowflakes. It is enough for me to see those in the images I take each year once the tree is decorated.


The photo of my Christmas tree was taken with my cell phone. Sometimes I use my DSLR, but usually I will grab whatever camera is close because during the holidays my schedule is so packed like everyone else’s that I don’t want to add stress to the season worrying about getting out  my big camera. I use an iphone and it does a good enough job for me for my photos of daily life.

Anyway, the last couple of years I got organized and put a reminder in my phone (bonus tip! LOL) to capture a photo of my daughter with her ornament.  I used to think it was a given I would remember to take such a photo, but a look through past Christmas photos says otherwise….



So now a few tips for you to ensure your photos are the best they can be without much effort:

  1. Shoot during the day with plenty of natural light.
  2. Position the ornament so it has even lighting. Since I have windows on both sides of my tree, that means I have enough light to photograph the ornament from the front of the tree. The Strawberry Shortcake and Baby’s First Christmas images were both examples of what not to do. They were on the side of the tree and had light from the window falling directly on them while the image below was shot with even lighting.
  3. Zoom in close and tap (on a smartphone) on the ornament to make sure that part of the image is in focus.


I hope you’re inspired to preserve your Christmas treasures in photographs . . . the stories behind them will be cherished by future family members!






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Westchase Vet Clinic Recap


WOW!! We had a great turnout at the free individual photo day hosted by Westchase Veterinary Clinic! People even braved the rain and were patient in the long lines…. Thanks everyone! Please post on your personal social media and tag me so we can continue the fun!


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Tips for picking a photographer


How to Pick the Perfect Professional Photographer
What you need to consider before you pay that photography deposit.

Christmas is just two months away (Ack!) which means photographers are booking up fast as family portrait sessions for holiday cards are always in high demand. If you’ve started the search for a photographer then you’ll know just how many options there are. Before you go ahead and book a professional photographer for a shoot though, there are a couple important things to consider:

What style are you looking for?
Figure out what kind of style you want by saving images that inspire you to Pinterest. What do those images have in common? Some features to look for are:
1. Feel: Are the images soft and dreamy, modern with high contrast, scenic, close up or traditional?
2. Props: Do your inspiration photos have a lot of props and accessories or are they minimal in that area?
3. Location: Do you prefer the beach, a park or go indoors?
4. Cropping: Do the images show a lot of background? Not much background shows but the head-to-toes of the subject is visible? Or are the images close up shots showing mainly faces?
Photographers have different styles and preferred locations for shooting, so you need to figure out what you want and then find someone who can help you achieve the end result you are looking for. While I am speaking primarily about family holiday photos, this applies to everything from wedding and maternity shoots to family and corporate shoots. Ask the photographer for some examples of their latest work to evaluate whether they can cater to your needs.

Research and review.
Before you invest in a professional photographer you need to do your homework. Get online to find a few customer reviews, browse around their website to view their latest work and have a look around their social media pages to find out what others are saying about them. These platforms will also give you a good idea of their personality and style. Some other important points to consider when researching photographers are:
1. Budget. Do their services fall within your price range?
2. Expertise. Are they experienced enough to give you the results you are looking for, consistantly?
3. Location. Are they based in your area and are they willing to travel to a specific location if need be?
4. Quality. Is the quality of their photography good enough? Look at details such as sharpness, exposure, saturation, color casts, flyaway hairs, etc.

Create a short list.
Once you have done your research, create a short list of professional photographers that stand out for you. Get in touch with each of them to discuss your needs and to ask any questions that you might have. It’s important that you chat with the photographer over the phone (or even better yet, in person) as this is the best way to get to know them and find out whether you’ll be able to work with them. Lets face it, some people just don’t click. If you end up feeling uncomfortable or stressed out around your photographer, that makes for bad photos no matter how talented they are.

It’s important that you pick a photographer that you have confidence in. So just like you research a hair stylist by word of mouth before paying for a a cut, color and highlights, it’s best to research an experienced photographer so you’re confident in the results you’ll get even before the session starts.

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Halloween Pet Photos!


Save the Date!

I will be offering individual Halloween Pet pictures at Westchase Veterinary on Saturday, October 15th.  Come get one digital photo of your furry friend from 9:00-11:00AM.  While the event is free (YES FREE!) as a way to thanks to our loyal clients, we are asking for donations of can goods or pet supplies to support our favorite charities.





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Time for a new look


HM logo abvHM logo appwebCOLORS
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Testing out some new logo designs for an updated website. Lots of changes coming soon to my little company!

The changes should streamline the process from initial inquiry to image delivery and faster image loading online. I hope it saves both of us time and energy, yet allows us to still communicate effectively.   And what about the name change? Well, it’s simple. . . my last name seems to be too easy to misspell. Plus, keeping the word “photography” in the business name seemed limiting when I also offer photo restoration services and branding services. So, since a name change with the state is just a matter of sending in a form, I simply changed the name of Heather Papolos Photography LLC to Heather Marie LLC.  The website address had to be adjusted for the fact that many domain variations of Heather Marie were already taken, so is the new domain. The old domains will redirect you to the new address for a few more months, but be sure to update me in your contacts and bookmarks.







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Who will win the cover spot?

Cute Kiya is in the top spot for the cover right now, will she be able to keep it?? Cast your vote for the pet to win the cover spot: And remember, runner-ups with a $12 minimum vote will have their photo from Westchase Veterinary Center featured in the blank spaces throughout the calendar. So keep those votes coming and lets see how much we can get donated to St Francis Society Animal Rescue and Lost Angels Animal Rescue!


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The studio has been in full swing the last few months  . . . been booked solid with all the calendar contest winners coming in for their sessions! Check out a few of these fun outtakes…

We’re planning the last few free photo sessions at Westchase Veterinary Center for the calendar contest! Upcoming session dates are: Fri. Sept 11th, Sat. Oct 3rd and Fri. Oct. 9th all from 9-12 weather permitting. Hope to see you at Westchase Veterinary Clinic one of those days! These are your last chances to enter our calendar contest!