Claudia Dencer- Leonard’s Photography: Embracing Creativity

Upon graduating from the University of Florida, Claudia Dencer, the Director of School Relations and Marketing, was busy exploring her options for the future. Her father, Leonard R. Tucker Jr., President of Leonard’s Photography, suggested looking into one of the open photographer positions with the family business. “I quickly realized that I really liked the photography business on a full time basis, especially doing senior portraits and the creative aspect of it. It sort of took off from there,” Claudia says.

 

Eventually, Claudia transitioned from being a photographer to a major role in the main office of the company, moving up the ladder to become the Director of School Relations and Marketing. Fourteen years later she has never looked back. She is heavily involved in the company’s leadership as well as the follow through of the Customer Service Department.

 

“I have always enjoyed the creative side of just about everything we do at Leonard’s,” Claudia says. Claudia also leads the Visual and Creative Marketing Department. “You have to strike a balance between the old and the new. We like to maintain our traditional core values of handling service on a personal basis, but you also have to communicate in a modernistic way. We have to make sure our brand meets the needs of our young audience.”

Claudia emphasizes the importance of creativity, especially when meeting a young person’s needs as well as their parents. “For example, we offer an artistic piece for the senior’s best poses and that always goes over really well, and it is fun to create,” she says. “But more importantly, we are creating an experience. Our goal will always be to make that experience an extremely positive one.”

 

Working for the three generation family run business naturally carries both pride and responsibility, which Claudia embraces. “We pride ourselves on being a company that has done everything in-house,” she says. “It has given us so much flexibility. You can change things on the fly and not worry about having to go to someone else outside to create a product or piece of equipment. We pretty much handle all of that on our own, and I think that is our biggest strength as a company.”

 

image

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at socialmedia@leonards.com

Employee Spotlight: Getting to Know the Leonard’s Team!

A while back I had the opportunity to interview John Azula. John is our Digital Media Coordinator and he is an amazing part of our Visual and Creative Marketing Department. “John is great because he has an eye for merging the visual and audio components. He is very talented in using these inherent skills to make an incredible impact,” said Claudia Dencer, Director of School Relations and Marketing. Check out the full interview!

-AK

 

What is your name? 

John Michael Azula

 

Which department do you work in? 

Visual & Creative Marketing

 

What are some of your daily tasks?

Producing multimedia slideshows, creating presentations and promotional pieces, editing video and digital images.

 

How do you contribute to the Leonard’s team?

Provide any and all digital content to those who need it.

 

Here at Leonard’s we capture memories! What is one memory you are glad you captured through photography?

I have taken some really good photos of my little nephew Jackson, who is my best bud in the whole world, throughout the first year and a half of his life and each of those pictures are pretty special to me because they show how much he has grown and how awesome he has become. They have definitely provided my family and I with great memories of the little guy and for that I am very thankful.

 

What are three words that best describe you?

Crazy, Sexy, Cool

Do you have any special talents?

I play the bass guitar, love to surf.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I’d really like to learn to speak Spanish better. I’m ok at it, but would definitely love to be completely fluent. I travel a lot with my family and no matter what country we are in or what language is spoken, if you know Spanish, which my father does, you can always find someone to communicate with if you need help. Very beneficial.

If you could meet anyone, living or deceased, who would it be?

I’d like to meet Marvin Gaye. I really love classic soul music, especially the Motown

era, and in my opinion nobody did it better than Marvin. He was the greatest.

What is the best part of waking up?

Best part of waking up is knowing that it’s a new day and that you have a fresh start. Whatever happened the previous day doesn’t matter.

Is a picture worth a thousand words?

Rod Stewart basically summed it up when he said, “every picture tells a story don’t it!”

image

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at socialmedia@leonards.com

Leonard’s Style Guide: Prom Shoes: To Heel or Not to Heel, That is The Question!

Finding the perfect shoes for prom can be tricky. Ultimately, they have to complete your look so they must be stylish! A pair of stunning heels will definitely make a statement, but at what cost? Although I am a huge fan of heels, I would have to say wearing flats might not be a bad idea. The popular trend right now is chic ballet flats. Why sacrifice your feet on such a huge night? From peep-toe to glamorous embellishments, there are plenty of different styles out there. Flats are an awesome way to look great and dance the night away care-free. Trust me; your look will be just as elegant with a pair of chic flats!

-AK

image

image

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at socialmedia@leonards.com

Love it or Leave it: Peter Pan Collars

Peter Pan collars have been seen all over the place! Designers like Carolina Herrera and Marni have spotlighted these glamorous neck adornments in their Spring collections. A Peter Pan collar is a chic accessory that adds flare to any outfit. Don’t be fooled by the name. Peter Pan collars can be extremely sophisticated. Best paired with crew neck tops and dress, these pieces add just enough edge to spice your look up. We LOVE Peter Pan collars! What do you think? Will you be rockin’ these chic collars? Or should they be left in fantasyland?

-AK

 

image

image

 

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at socialmedia@leonards.com

Randy Sellers-Leonard’s Photography: A Way of Life

For Randy Sellers, Director of Operations of Leonard’s Photography, working at the three generation family-run business has been a way of life. Randy’s mother, Linda Black, recalls her son “cutting his teeth bagging pictures.” By the time Randy was ten he was doing every odd job presented to him.

 

“I have worked here for 33 years,” Randy says while thinking back to when he started. Throughout this time he has acquired an incredible wealth of knowledge. “The fact that I started so young doing every job imaginable was really good training for me,” he continues. “It gives you an appreciation of how the entire process works.”

 

Randy is proud to be living the legacy of his grandfather Leonard R. Tucker Sr., the founder of Leonard’s. “My grandfather was a self-taught engineer who had to quit school in the 9th grade because he had to start earning money for the family during the depression,” Randy says. “He was the ultimate “do-it-yourselfer”-like putting together a photo processor by figuring out the parts needed and going to the hardware store to buy them and put it all together.” Randy says this is a concept that still describes the genetics of the vertically integrated company. “We just figure out what needs to be done and do a lot of it on our own. Whether its clerical work, customer service, data entry, computer programming, marketing, web design and programming, it’s all done here. We even have a full time auto mechanic who fixes all of our vehicles.”

 

Leonard’s has 80 year round employees working in the headquarter building in St. Augustine, Florida. This numbers grows to as many as 150 during peak seasons. Randy’s role as the Director of Operations ensures that he will never have the same kind of day twice. “There is always something different going one that forces you to think on your feet a lot,” Randy states. “And that’s what makes it fun.”

 

image

History Lesson: Leonard and Ruth in the 40’s

Although much of the forties felt the effects of World War II, the decade also experienced advancements in technology and the rise of popular film, music and literature. Some of you may not know this but St. Augustine was a major training post for the U.S Coast Guard. It was during this period that our founder, Leonard R. Tucker Sr., joined the Navy. He was stationed in Pensacola for training. (Soon after, their first child, Linda, was born!)

 

Leonard was a photographer for the Navy, mostly focusing on aerial shots where the cameras were mounted into the planes. While Leonard was in the Navy the Tuckers moved around a bit but the war ended before Leonard was ever sent overseas. It is likely that Leonard would have continued his job as a photographer if he had been sent overseas.

 

Once Leonard completed his time with the Navy, the Tucker family moved back to St. Augustine where they started photographing school children in 1947. At this time, they were part of the family business, also known as Tucker’s Studio. The studio was located on the famous St. George Street and the whole family lived above it; H.M Tucker and Mary in one half and Leonard, Ruth and Linda in the other. The family was extremely close. All meals were cooked and eaten together in their conjoined home. (It is important to remember that during this decade families were starting to recover from The Great Depression. Therefore, family bonds were highly coveted.)

 

image

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at socialmedia@leonards.com

Employee Spotlight: Getting to Know the Leonard’s Team!

I had the pleasure of interviewing another awesome team member, Marilyn Morris. Marilyn is major part of the Retouching Department in the Lab at Leonard’s. She has been with Leonard’s for just over fifteen years and has witnessed the changes the advancement of technology has brought to the industry. “The possibilities are now endless,” says Marilyn. “Marilyn pays such close attention to detail,” Ali states. Marilyn is also an incredible team player through her work in the Customer Service Department as the Spanish Interpreter. She is also relied heavily upon during the Senior Season. “Our main focus is to get the Senior Photos out as soon as possible,” she says. “Working as a team is vital. Honestly, we are more than a team. We are like family,” Marilyn states. Check out my full interview with Marilyn!

-AK

What is your name?

Marilyn Morris

Which department do you work in?

Retouching Department

What are some of your daily tasks?

I retouch images for our High School Senior portraits, Cap and Gowns, and Faculty. Basic digital retouching involves removing blemishes and flaws. Extensive retouching is done for our seniors and faculty, (i.e.: removing darkness from under eyes, whitening teeth, removing braces and smoothing out wrinkles). I am also the Spanish Interpreter for our Customer Service Department.

How do you contribute to the Leonard’s team?

I retouch many images throughout the day and finish each task with quality and efficiency.

How long have you been with the Company?

Fifteen years.

How has retouching changed while you have been with Leonard’s?

Back in the day we used to retouch manually with paints and dyes on negatives and prints, where as now every single image is digitally retouched through Photoshop.

Here at Leonard’s we capture memories! What is one memory you are glad you captured through photography?

Leonard’s took many sample pictures of me throughout the years which adds up to a lot of “freebies.” My husband made a collage of my pictures and they are displayed in his five foot locker at the fire station. I think there is room for more!

What are three words that best describe you?

Honest, Considerate and Ambitious

Do you have any special talents?

I have a few! I am bilingual. I speak both English and Spanish fluently. I also love to cook Spanish food (thanks to my Mother!). I can also twirl a baton and make fashion jewelry.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would like to learn how to make a culinary dish and show it on the Food Network! It would be my masterpiece or masterplate! I would also like to learn how to create and design my own Signature Label for my jewelry, but for now, one project at a time!

If you could meet anyone, living or deceased, who would it be?

Any one of the chefs on Food Network, but if I had the choice it would definitely be Emeril Lagasse, BAM!

What is the best part of waking up?

Well first, COFFEE!!! The second best part of waking up is living life to the fullest.

Is a picture worth a thousand words?

Yes, I think images have stronger messages than words.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at socialmedia@leonards.com

Leonard’s Style Report: Jackets for Spring!

This spring it is all about lightweight jackets! No spring wardrobe is complete without a few of them. Whether it is a denim jacket, a basic blazer, leather, or even varsity styles, you will definitely want to pick up some seriously awesome jackets to rock this spring. Mixing it up with a lightweight jacket will add the much need chic factor to any look. Blazers are definitely our favorite this spring. They are extremely versatile! You can wear a blazer with almost any look and they are great for work, nights out, and even formal events. We especially love it when our seniors bring different blazers and jackets to their photo shoot. They are easy pieces that can go with tons of different looks and with senior photography that is a must! Anyways, regardless of the jacket you choose, keep the rest of your outfit in check. No need to go overboard. Also, step out of your comfort zone and pair a cute jacket with a dress or skirt! Just remember, don’t be too matchy and rock it with confidence!

-AK

 

image

image

image

 

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at socialmedia@leonards.com

Love it or Leave it: Oxfords

Since we don’t know anyone that hates oxfords (we think!), this week’s Love it or Leave it  feature is really a trend report! These menswear inspired shoes are all over the runways. We have now seen oxfords in a whole new light! Designers have veered away from the traditionally masculine look to a more trendy and alternative approach by experimenting with color, shape, and overall style. Our personal favorites are oxfords with a small heel! They can dress up any look in a fun way without killing your feet! Oxfords are paired nicely with flirty dresses, a cropped pant and blazer combo, or even high wasted shorts with a blouse. Will you be rocking some oxfords this fall!?!

-AK

 

image

image

 

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at socialmedia@leonards.com

Leonard’s Yearbooks: Memories Captured in Time!

This week we are so happy to share a post from one of our guest bloggers, Regan from our School Relations Department! Check out her post on our awesome Yearbook Season!

“I am very happy to have this opportunity to be a guest blogger for our Leonard’s social media team. While our main focus is school photography, I wanted to tune in to something else that is a big part of what we do: school yearbooks. Yearbooks are treasured items for many people. The photographs we take are not only to provide family and friends with special memories, but they are also used for our school yearbooks. We have an extensive yearbook team that puts together unique books with the help of the yearbook staff from each of our schools.

I think the yearbook production is an amazing part of what we do, because the school is hands on involved in creating their entire yearbook cover to cover! From designing the cover, to inserting pictures, we have it all covered with an array of design programs and even yearbook workshops to help make the process as smooth as possible. It is so nice to see this cumulative effort to create a wonderful remembrance.

The pages of a yearbook reflect on an entire school year of friends, activities, and the wonderful teachers and principals that guide us through our school years. I personally, still have every yearbook from my Kindergarten years and beyond. It is an extraordinary feeling to be able to look back and see where I was (and what my hair was doing!). I moved around a lot as a child and I am thankful to have these memories bound in a creative way. So, if you have an old yearbook at home, dust it off and take a look back in time. It will surely make you smile!”- Regan Canada

image

Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at socialmedia@leonards.com