Passion and love drive Leesburg couple’s photography studio
Leesburg welcomed a new photography studio Jan. 26 with a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony at its new location in downtown Leesburg.
Alimond Photography is the brainchild of Aliyah Dastour and her husband Raymond Martinez. It is a couture photography studio that was founded in 2010 in Hinesville, Ga. Martinez is a Army Veteran.
The 1,200-square-foot studio sits on the third floor at 18 Royal St. and is catered for women and their families.
When Dastour set out to start a business, she wanted to find something she loved to do and was passionate about.
“I found that once I had kids I was taking hundreds of pictures and I have been able to grow from that. My friends, relatives and neighbors even started asking me to do photographs for them,” Dastour said. “That is really what got me started and in Georgia, I wanted to take it up a notch and learned the business aspect of running a photography studio, so I joined the local Chamber of Commerce. Providing memories for people really started to touch me and helped me realize how much I was providing for families.”
Dastour grew up in Leesburg and her mother still lives here. Once Martinez got out of the Army, it was only logical to move back, so Dastour’s mother could help with her grandchildren.
Another driving force to bring Dastour and her family back to Loudoun was its proximity to Washington, D.C. and the supporting community, especially for small businesses.
Dastour has made a living specializing in working with women, whether its photos of their families, husbands, fiances and the people they love.
She has a particular make-up artist she works with for her female photo sessions and she works with a lot of female-type projects and organizations.
“My passion is working with women. For instance, head shots. Girls come to me knowing that their head shot is going to look really good, because I do know what lighting, angles and personalities work best,” Dastour said. “I am really big on not being a cookie cutter with anything whether it be your wedding, family or anything. Everything is catered to the customers personality.”
The couple both became involved in the business after Martinez’s interest in photography peaked after leaving the Army.
“I specialize in working one-on- one with the clients and he provides the back end support like administrative or marketing aspects. If we are doing some kind of event, then he is my backup second shooter,” Dastour said. “We are that dorky couple that put our names together for our business name and said we are in this together. It is a true representation of us. Alimond is Ali- from Aliyah and -mond from Raymond put together and I tell people it is a short little piece of our story.”
Martinez’s background in the Army is with fuel. When he finished in the Army, Martinez was really looking for something that would allow him to spread his wings.
“When he got done in the Army, he wanted to do something fun, because I just spent the last three years serving,” Dastour said. “I wanted to do something I was passionate about and really loved and he started falling in love with photography as well, even though he wasn’t necessarily a photographer. He loved the whole process of it and getting the clients and talking with them.”
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