PANAMA CITY BEACH — Long-time local photographer Harold Shipes finished his final Christmas card season. He will start his retirement in 2011.
To commemorate the ending of this period in their lives, the Shipes family members will spend their Christmas morning opening presents on the set in the studio that has been used to take thousands of local family Christmas cards.
Shipes is the owner of Harold Shipes Photography. The 72-year-old local started taking photos when he joined the photography club at Jenks Junior High. During his career he has built a custom studio, a dedicated client base and a legacy. Shipes has five children, two of which are also photographers.
“I just figured it was time to start slowing down and time to spend more time with family,” Shipes said.
He built the more than 5,000 square foot studio in 1971 on 15th Street. The studio is crammed with all types of props, including furniture, clothing and toys. Shipes used to work the wedding photographer circuit but in recent years has settled into doing portrait work in his studio.
“I like working with people,” Shipes said. “Children are the most difficult and the most rewarding.”
Shipes picked up skills through trial and error. His recommendation to other photographers is to learn the business side of things.
Shipes will be reaching out to a photographer’s guild that he is a member off to see if any of his peers are interested in acquiring some of equipment. Shipes also owns the building and is looking to sell or rent the studio, ideally to another photographer, he said.
Although Shipes is retiring, he still gives out his phone number to select clients and will continue photographing families. “I’d rather be behind the camera,” Shipes said. “I’m not much for words, I’m better with a camera.”
The staff at The Best Panama City Beach Condo Rentals www.bestpanamacitybeachcondo.com whish a happy retirement to Mr. Shipes!