What about me?

I'm no newbie to photography, I've been doing this professionally for over 35 years. I'm fun, athletic, energetic, creative, an avid biker (that's bicycle) and love to be outdoors in the sun! If you follow my personal Facebook page you'll see a lot of sunsets taken at the beach. Presque Isle is my second home!

My style of photography is always evolving but I love, love, love natural light photography but I'm also a good studio photographer. Well you just have to be a good studio photographer when you live in the Erie area because we only have about 7 months that are viable for photographing outdoors!

What else can I tell you about me? I absolutely love photographing newborns, and couples and families and seniors and weddings and well everything! Not skunks though, although I have a funny story about trying to get a shot of 5 baby skunks. Ask me about it someday.

Oh yeah I'm a prop hoarder. You know - funky chairs, boxes, barrels, fences, suitcases, anything retro and lot's of oddball things. I've been known to dumpster dive and I love yard sales. You just never know when you might find that perfect prop for a picture, that's why I drive a van. Got to have space to take home what I might find unexpectedly!

Okay here's the down and dirty:

I started out in photography at the young age of 21 while I was still attending Edinboro University majoring in Photography. No one told me I couldn't open a Photography Studio with little to no experience. I just rented a place, put out a sign, put an ad in the paper and started taking photos of the droves of people that came in to my studio! Okay it's all true except for the droves of people that came in from my ad. Actually I only got one person from that first ad but I retained that customer's baby through high school and his wedding and now the grandbabies! I must have done something right!

Okay, so within 2 years I needed a bigger place with parking and bought a place just 2 blocks away on the same street. Perhaps you remember Deb's Portrait Place on Main Street in Fairview? Oh come on now. It was the only building in Fairview that was half purple! Little known fact: It was painted with purple accents on a bet and was to be painted over but people noticed the color and said they would have missed the studio if they hadn't seen the bright purple. So I decided to keep the color and purple has been one of my colors ever since!

Okay fast forward 18 years as a successful photographer and kaboom! It all hits the fan! My husband John (whom owns his own business too) gets sick, his biggest customer pulls all their jobs and ships them off to Mexico to be made cheaper, and the bank calls in his business loans. Goodbye studio, house, rental property, boat, cars and dignity. Sometimes God just decides you need a break and you have no choice but to follow. My photography career comes to an abrupt halt.

So now I realize that maybe this is a good thing. I'm burned out of photography and what's all this talk about digital photography anyway? I am a purist! Film is the only way I will ever do my photography! Maybe a career change is a good thing. So the next 8 years I bumble through being an Ebay entrepreneur, an exercise equipment salesperson and a sports store owner all the while my heart is still yearning for photography.

Boom! Another major life change. My husband dies suddenly and I need to make a living to support myself again. Well I think I will try this new digital photography with which everyone is so enthralled. I know I won't like it because it's not "REAL" photography and the quality stinks!

Well I buy my first digital SLR and "Lightbulb!" hey this is really cool! I can see my work without waiting a week for the proofs to come back from the lab! Where has this been all my life? Instant gratification of my work!


That was 15 years ago. I'm back! I'm better and looking forward to creating something unique just for you!

Yep! Debra Gilmore Photography that's me now! But you can call me Deb.