About Julie Mancini

2x 5683It’s tough to explain the vast influences that have made me who I am today. I suppose that would be easier for a person who was, say, in their 20s just starting out.

I’ll try though. Because would you really entrust me with your wedding photos if you didn’t know me just a little bit?


I got my first camera when I was seven years old. My Auntie Anne gave it to me as a gift for my first communion. It was a Kodak Instamatic, the kind that took a flash bar. I loved it!

I graduated (if you can call it that) to a 110 cartridge camera in my teens. It had a built-in flash. Woo-wee! I think it might have had an automatic winder also.

When I trekked off to college at Florida Atlantic University, I signed up for my first photography class and bought my first SLR, a Canon AT-1. What a great teacher I had! His name was Sydney Tal-Mason. The darkroom was available at all hours, and I lived on campus. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time there! I think that was the first “A” I earned at university.

When I returned home from college in 1991, nobody was hiring teachers. So I got myself a job at Ritz Camera and supplemented my income by shooting weddings for my friends. I shot more than 100 weddings on film during the ‘90s and the first few years of the millennium.

I’ll never forget when I got my first digital SLR, a Nikon D100. Shortly after I navigated my way through Adobe Photoshop and began to create custom collages to present to the coaches at the end-of-season little league parties. Somebody suggested I do custom collages for parents. That’s when I got really busy!

I don’t do much with sports any more.  Only special requests for people I know or maybe a championship here and there. One game at a time…

You see, photography, when done correctly, is a tough, dirty job. People think, “Oh, weddings! How romantic!” Although I love every minute, it normally takes me a full day to recover from one! Up and down on the stepstool for different angles. Lugging equipment.  Being ready to shoot so you don’t miss a single moment.  Bossing people around. Coordinating with the DJ and venue. Lighting things correctly. Getting it right in the camera.

You see, I may be Adobe certified in Photoshop, but I still think it is of utmost importance to get things right in the camera. I’m a purist. If you want your pictures to look underexposed because that’s the new “style” you will have to do that yourself when you get that thumb drive of image files from me. I’m going to use my prime lenses, not Photoshop, to get you that bokeh effect. (This is not to say I won’t fix that blemish that popped up on the morning of your big day).

I think photography is a blend of two things: science and art. I know how the camera works, and I know how to use it creatively. And my plan is never to stop learning!


Wow, all that and I’m not even half done!

I began advising yearbook at Dunnellon High in 1998 and newspaper in 2000. What a fun, and sometimes strange, adventure it has been!

We have had our ups and downs. You notice I say “we.” That’s because the most important thing I have learned is that no matter what type of talent or lack thereof I have in my class, I could not have had any of the successes I’ve had without the students.

I will keep this short. (I would not want to say everything and not have anything to blog about)! But just know that you are creating a living history book… with a bunch of teenagers! There are bound to be some challenging moments, but it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I do not think I would care to teach at all if I could not be the yearbook adviser.

But do realize that there is NOBODY at your school that really understands what you do. So please make friends with other people like you and seek them out when you need advice or just a shoulder to cry on.


I’ve been teaching forever now. I might as well keep doing it! Plus, I really love summer vacation! It is the only time I get anything done.

I’m over the hump and rolling downhill towards retirement. I’ve got so many roll-over continuing ed. points that if I never do another training I would still have enough to renew my certificate in both subjects that I’m currently certified to teach (English and Business).

But again, you need to keep learning or you will fail to adapt. There will always be new tests, technology and teaching practices. People will tell you teens today are no different than the teens from 1995 (my inaugural year). I don’t agree. They are very different, but so am I.

I know for certain only that teaching keeps me young, but also makes me feel old!


I love to travel. That’s part of the reason I love teaching so much… summer vacation.

I have had my passport stamped a few times.

I find ways to afford it. I work harder, eat out less, try and cut out wasteful spending.

I make “someday” today. I speak my intentions out loud because I like people to remind me of what it is that I’m planning next.

Next up is Spain. Want to join me?

My parents are both awesome cooks. I learned a lot from them, and my Italian grandmother, Millie.

I make unhealthy things sometimes. I usually feed these to my students.

I myself am committed to eating as healthily as I can. To me, this means no dairy, no gluten (and few carbs) and no added sugar.

I wish I could say that I read a lot. I don’t have much time for it. I did just read (and love) Looking for Alaska by John Green.  Maybe I can read more when I retire!

NOW I’m done… for now!

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