By Laura Bollin
Angel Malone fulfilled a lifelong dream when she opened her own photography studio two years ago.
Malone, of Justice, owns Photography by Angel, 11416 Harlem Ave. in Worth. She opened the studio in 2010 with the support of her husband, Kevin, and two children - Samantha, 14, and Tommy, 10. A table covered in photographs of her children is a central piece of her studio.
Malone got her first camera when she was 10 years old.
"When I was growing up, my mom, Linda, and aunt, Dawn, both worked as photographers," Malone said. "When I was little, we were taking family pictures all the time and I loved to look at the pictures. It brought back a lot of memories.
"My first photo was probably of my mom. I took a lot of photos of people."
As she got older, Malone began photographing weddings, family portrait sessions and nature.
"I wanted my own studio because I really wanted to be able to focus on the client," Malone said. "At some studios, the focus is on getting the client in and out, and I wanted to be able to build a relationship with them.
"I have a lot of great customers, and it has been a great feeling to see the kids grow up."
Malone has struggled at times to keep her doors open, she said. The building in which the studio is located is somewhat difficult to notice, and the advent of digital photography has empowered many people to attempt their own photos of significant events formerly reserved for professionals.
"One of the hardest things is that people think just because so-and-so has a digital camera, they can take the photos for a wedding or an event," Malone said. "People think they can do it themselves, but the lighting will be wrong, or the photos won't be of a high enough quality to print enlargements. I have had horror stories where people come to me and ask me if I can fix their photos. A wedding day is a special day. You can't recreate that day."
Among the packages Malone offers are maternity photos and a "pizzazz portrait party."
"It's a birthday party package for kids," Malone said of the latter. "They get to have fun with their friends and I'll take their pictures. They get to dance, dress up in boas or funny hats, and have a great time."
After an hour-long photo session, the children can see a slideshow presentation of the photos, have some popcorn and open birthday gifts. The birthday girl or boy also gets a special gift print and a DVD slideshow to take home.
Malone said that she loves spending time in her studio.
"When we moved in, we remodeled the whole place - the floors, the walls, the paint," Malone said. "My heart is really here."