YORK-Debbie Leanne Jones has worked as a professional photographer for 13 years. Australian by birth and American by marriage, she and her husband, Doug, who served in the U.S. Air Force, moved a dozen times over the past 20 years.
The duo left their previous home in Hawaii and landed in York County in the summer of 2018. Soon after, Jones opened her first photography studio in the county, which was located at 2808 George Washington Memorial Highway within the Meyer Suites near Walmart. She moved a few miles down the road to a larger location in the Grafton Shopping Center near the Grafton Post Office in February of this year.
Jones provides a luxury portrait experience complete with fully finished artwork that’s intended to last a lifetime, and then some.
“We are a higher end studio and all of our printed products come from Italy,” said Jones. “I offer heirloom quality products that are guaranteed, and we pride ourselves on that.”
She added pets to her repertoire a few years ago while living in Hawaii. The first dog she photographed outside of her home was an older rescue.
“She had scars and bumps all over her face, and I just fell in love with her,” said Jones. She specializes in working with senior dogs and enjoys every minute of it.
“They’re like people who are sometimes overlooked because they’re old, and just like elderly people, they’re highly underestimated,” said Jones.
When she moved into her first studio location in the Meyer Suites, the property owner introduced her to Dr. Kathy Gallahorn from the Animal Medical Care Center next door.
“Anytime she gave a pet a terminal illness diagnosis, Dr. Gallahorn would give them a gift certificate to come and have their family portrait taken,” said Jones.
The photographer said that the community she lives and works in is important to her. Due to the pandemic, the Heritage Humane Society had to cancel or reschedule numerous fundraising events.
“This year we’re doing a coffee table book with the Heritage Humane Society for their inaugural book,” said Jones. “The goal of our fundraising coffee table book, Tails of Love – Letters of Love, Loyalty and Devotion, is not only to help raise money, but to also give us the opportunity to share with the world just how much our beloved fur babies mean to us.”
The application window for a double-page spread is open until June 30, or until 50 participants have been confirmed. Selected applicants will pay a $150 Registration Fee that will be donated to Heritage Human Society.
Jones is also excited to launch Women of Distinction in Hampton Roads: A Community Project, which celebrates the beauty of aging. She’s on the lookout for 40 women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond to join her in a journey that will celebrate participants and their stories.
Professional camera-ready hair and makeup will be provided by professionals on the day of the photo session. A makeup artist will style customers’ hair & makeup, with the choice of a natural look or full on glam…and everything between. The sessions run $350, and $50 will be donated to Fear 2 Freedom, a local non-profit with a mission of helping restore hope and dignity to survivors of sexual assault.
Pets are encouraged to bring their owners to Debbie Leanne Portraits in celebration of a soft grand opening at the studio from 5:30pm to 7:30 pm on Thursday, June 2. Potential attendees are asked to RSVP to ensure the studio can provide enough goodies for its fur guests.
Located at 5730 George Washington Memorial Highway, Grafton, normal hours of operation are from 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday. The studio is closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 757-790-4050 or visit Debbie Leanne Portraits’ website or Facebook page.