Barry Benton

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Barry Benton Shares Photography Tips on Channel 8-Dallas

Posted by Barry Benton on Mar 31, 2009 9:03:00 AM

DALLAS, TEXAS - March 21, 2008 - Barry Benton, CEO of Gittings-Dallas, appeared on Channel 8, WFAA during the News 8 Daybreak show with Debbie Denmon on Saturday, March 22 between 7:00.

Barry shared how to take better photographs of your children to help you with the upcoming holiday and everyday moments that you want to capture in between your Gittings portrait sessions.  He discussed several ways to improve your photographs including: Get in Close, Get on Their Level, Use Flash Outdoors, etc.

Barry often gives talks to groups around Dallas on "How To Take Better Photographs of Your Children" and "How to Take Better Vacation Photographs."  If your group would be interested in having Barry speak at your next meeting please call the Dallas studio at 214.350.5581.

Another No-Politics Evening: Things I Love

Posted by Barry Benton on Jan 25, 2009 8:48:00 AM

by: Bob Cavnar as posted on

I'm sitting here waiting for the President to give his first speech to a joint session of Congress watching the Stones in Austin during the Bigger Bang tour a couple of years ago on DVD. Rather than getting wound up in the angst of all the talking heads, I'm fooling with one of my guitars trying to follow along with Keef (almost impossible for those who know). He's got a technique that is more instinct that meter.

Anyway. Last Friday I did a post about Keef, his style, and guitars in general. One of my readers asked me what guitars I owned, and I promised a picture of some of my favorites. Today, I got an email from Gittings, one of the best portrait photographers in Houston, of a photo that they shot a few weeks ago for a Houston Grand Opera event. The event theme was "Things I Love," part of the run-up to HGO's biggest fundraiser of the year, the Opera Ball, on April 4.

My wife and Gittings actually set up the shot, and I was pleased with the result. In fact, very pleased. And it features the things that I love. Here it is:

Left to right, Charlie, Max, grandson Joseph, Gracie, Mimi, and ol' grey Jefe

In the background are some of my favorite guitars, most with some personal attachment or story, some old, some new, some more significant than others. I keep them out all the time and they are part of the family, haven taken on a life of their own. I'm holding one of my Keef guitars, a blond Fender Telecaster set up with five strings in G tuning. When I just want to fool around, it's the one I grab.

Thanks for indulging me. Back to arguing about politics tomorrow.

Keeping True to Local Roots

Posted by Barry Benton on Feb 1, 2008 9:10:00 AM

Issue Date: February 1, 2008, Posted On: 2/1/2008

Legendary portraiture studio moves north, strives to maintain clientele
By Tierney Kaufman

By Tierney Kaufman
Society Editor

Image of barry benton, ceo of gittings - photo by allison slomowitz

Staff photos: Allison Slomowitz
Barry Benton, CEO of Gittings-Dallas

The small four-room portraiture studio on Lovers Lane is covered in images of Texas business leaders, celebrities, and local residents. President George W. Bush, actor John Wayne, football legend Roger Staubach, and Neiman Marcus executives are among the many faces bearing the Gittings logo.

“Everyone’s grown up knowing about Gittings,” Highland Park resident Debbie Snell said. “It’s like saying Kleenex in Dallas.”

After 20 years on Lovers Lane and countless clients, Texas’ largest fine portraiture company, Gittings, is moving to Village on the Green in North Dallas. The new location will allow for clientele from North Dallas and Collin County to grow, while still maintaining relationships with the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and downtown businesses.

“Our client base has grown northward,” said Barry Benton, CEO and family portrait specialist for Gittings. “We are not too far from the Park Cities, but closer to Collin County.”

Benton, who previously owned a portraiture studio in Plano, became CEO of Gittings-Dallas 18 months ago. He quickly conducted careful research of the Gittings market through telephone surveys with clients and found that a move north would increase clientele with little loss.

Image of gittings portraiture studio - photo by allison slomowitz
Image of gittings portraiture studio - photo by allison slomowitz

Gittings portraiture studio on Lovers Lane

“We have such a long, rich history with the Park Cities area that we didn’t want to alienate [our loyal customers],” Benton said. “But an overwhelming majority of clients said they would follow.”

He attributes this loyalty to a proven record of high-quality products and client-oriented employees. Gittings’ history with local businesses and organizations, such as the Dallas City Council and Dallas Symphony Orchestra, shows a deep involvement with the community.

Snell, who used Gittings when she chaired the Crystal Charity Ball and the Junior League Ball, thinks the move is a great idea for the company to help expand clientele while remaining a staple in the Park Cities community.

“That’s still a neighborhood photographer,” Snell said about the 10 minute drive north. “I think it’s brilliant to pull in North Dallas and still have the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. They’re very smart the way they do business, so community oriented.”

Highland Park resident Melinda Russ will continue to use Gittings to capture family moments. As a member of the Birthday Club of Gittings, a club that allows parents to purchase annual portraits of their children that are placed in leather-bound books, Russ said she will follow the studio wherever it moves.

“It’s closer to me if [Gittings] were on Lovers, but I don’t mind going out of the Park Cities,” Russ said. “I’m loyal to them,” citing that the studio makes it easy for clients because the company will visit the clients’ homes for three of the four consultations.

Benton agreed, saying it’s the studio’s customer service and easy access that keeps customers happy. He also said if a portrait fades over time, Gittings can update it at the archive retention center in Houston.

Image of dallas cowboys quarterback roger staubach Image of sophia loren

Gittings portraits of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and actress Sophia Loren

“There are things we do that make us different from other studios,” he said. “The secret’s in the sauce.”

Gittings’ rich history began 80 years ago in 1928 when founder Paul Linwood Gittings Sr. worked for Bachrach Portrait Studios as the company was opening studios in Houston and Dallas. Gittings quickly purchased these studios from Bachrach and renamed them, eventually maintaining a total of five studios.

The local Gittings moved across Dallas from the Stoneleigh Hotel Penthouse in the 1930s to Neiman Marcus downtown in the 1960s and six other locations before ending up on Lovers Lane in 1988.

For its 80th anniversary, Gittings will continue the legacy of “capturing cherishing moments” further north.

“[Gittings] made it acc­ep­table to do [fine art] with a family portrait,” Benton said. “[He focused on] the everyday family that appreciates a high quality portraiture. I’m going to continue that.”


ABC13 honors women for community work

Posted by Barry Benton on Jan 20, 2008 9:35:00 AM

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Last night, ABC 13 honored 11 Women of Distinction for their service to the community.

Eyewitness News anchors Tom Koch and Don Nelson emceed the event. More of our colleagues
were on hand for the ceremony, including Melanie Lawson, Tom Abrahams, Dave Ward, and Art Rascon.

The event raised half a million dollars for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.

Portraits by Gittings.

You can find out more about the honorees by Clicking Here.


Gittings Moves North to Galleria Area

Posted by Barry Benton on Jan 11, 2008 9:40:00 AM

Legendary Portraiture Studio on Lovers Lane to Change Location

Dallas, Texas - Gittings, Texas' largest fine portraiture company and legendary resident onLovers Lane for numerous years, is moving north to a new location near the Galleria inearly February 2008. The new space brings a fresh face to the 80-year-old company whilecelebrating its rich history.

Dallas CEO Barry Benton, who joined Gittings eighteen months ago, explains, "The Galleria areaprovides a wonderful location to better serve our growing North Dallas, Addison andCollin County clientele while still allowing us to serve our strong Park Cities anddowntown clients."

The new location, located at 5301 Alpha Road in the Village on the Green mixed-usedevelopment, is approximately 2,100 square feet. The elegant studio features six roomsincluding a theater, gallery, client hospitality area, camera room, dressing room andproduction space. Village on the Green, which opened in autumn 2006, stacks 202 luxuryresidential units on top of 90,000 square feet of space for high-end boutiques andrestaurants, such as BLT Steak, La Bella Belly Maternity, Clive & Co. hair salon, and BoConcept contemporary furniture.

Gittings currently employs four people in Dallas including CEO Barry Benton, who is also Family Portrait Specialist. Catherine Handlin manages client relations. Rob Wythe isExecutive Portrait Specialist, and Rebecca Volcansek is Production Coordinator and Community Relations Manager.

Gittings was founded by Paul Linwood Gittings, Sr. in Houston in the late 1920. In 1928,Mr. Gittings moved to Houston to open studios in Dallas and Houston for the world-renowned Bachrach Portrait Studio, the respected Boston-based photography studio thathad photographed many U.S. President since Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Gittings thenpurchased these studios from Bachrach, at which time a Southern institution was born. Mr. Gittings passed in 1989 at the age of 89.

Gittings is the "photographer of choice" for Texas business leaders, celebrities and upscaleconsumers and its portraits have been an institution "throughout the South since itsformation. Today, Gittings maintains five major studios in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houstonand Atlanta.

Like Mr. Gittings, Sr., the Gittings' staff has photographed many of the best known peoplein Texas and across the nation. In fact, Gittings' clientele resembles a "Who's Who List."Just a few of these notable people are Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Sr.,George W. Bush and Clinton. They have photographed actors Sophia Loren, Princess Grace Kelly, John Wayne, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, and Brooke Shields. Sports figures Don Meredith, Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Mike Modano, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Jones, ByronNelson, and Mickey Mantle are also notable clients. Their Executive Gallery includes boardmembers and founders of EDS, Texas Instruments, Exxon, Texaco, Pennzoil, J.C.Penney, Neiman Marcus, American Airlines and many Fortune 500 companies.

The above list is very impressive. However, the heart and soul of Gittings is capturing thecherished moments of members of the local community and providing an everlastingmemory: a Gittings portrait.

Gittings, Texas' largest and most established fine portraiture studio, is located in Villageon the Green at 5301 Alpha Road, Suite 52, Dallas, Texas 75240. Hours of operation areMonday through Friday from 9am ,Aei 5pm and Saturdays by appointment. For more information, call 214.350.5581 or visit

Gittings Hires Catherine Handlin as Client Relations Representative

Posted by Barry Benton on Jul 22, 2007 9:46:00 AM

Gittings announces hiring of Catherine Handlin as Client Relations representative

Dallas, TX - Gittings, the leading Dallas family and executive portrait studio, is pleased to announce the hiring of Catherine Handlin as Client Relations representative.

Catherine is originally from Abilene, TX, and graduated in December, 2006 from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth with a major in Communications/PR. While at TCU, Catherine was involved in the Tri Delta sorority and volunteered her time to Cook Children's Medical Center. She also spent a semester studying abroad in London which broadened her horizons both educationally and culturally.

In her new role at Gittings, Catherine will be responsible for all aspects of interaction between Gittings and our clients including assisting clients prepare for portrait sessions, helping them select images and insuring that all portraits meet the client's and Gittings' standards and requirements.

"We're very excited about having Catherine join our team." said Barry Benton, CEO at Gittings. "Her education at TCU and work experience make her a perfect fit to serve our clients."

Before joining Gittings, Catherine had participated in professional internships for Baker Botts, L.L.P.; RSVP Soiree; Witherspoon Advertising and the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth.

About Gittings Gittings was founded by Paul Linwood Gittings, Sr. in 1928. For generations the Gittings studios have been synonymous with exceptional portraiture. Gittings photographers are professionally qualified and the art is practiced with skillful respect and deliberation, striving for images reflecting character, personality and kindly interpretation. Appointments are scheduled through our studios located in the Texas metropolitan areas of Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. Services include Family Portraiture, Executive Imaging and Special Event Photography.

Gittings is the "photographer of choice" for Texas business leaders, celebrities and upscale consumer and its portraits have been an institution throughout the South since its formation.

Coming Full Circle: Gittings Acquisition of Heinz Kugler Photography Pays Tribute to Life and Passion of Local Artist

Posted by Barry Benton on Jun 5, 2007 9:51:00 AM

June 5, 2007 (Houston, Texas) - It was 1971 when Heinz Kugler walked into Gittings for his first job as a portrait photographer. It was the place his career started - where he could hone his craft and learn the business prior to starting his own studio - and it is the place where his lifelong passion is continuing on after his recent death.

Gittings, which was founded in 1928, is one of the oldest and most established photography studios in Houston. Its rich heritage of fine portraiture has led it to become the studio of choice for many of Houston's most prominent families and also for many leading corporate executives. Its history alone, however, was not the reason Kugler's widow Brie chose to sell Kugler Photography to Gittings after her husband's death.

"Through the years Heinz shared great stories of when he first began his career in photography with Gittings over 36 years ago. He held those memories very dear," Brie said. "With the studio's acquisition by Gittings, Heinz's legacy of beautiful portraiture and customer service lives on with the full circle transition back to his original photographic roots."

Brie Kugler sent a letter to all their clients notifying them of the transition. It's clear in her correspondence that just as Gittings has served multi-generations of families, Heinz Kugler's clients meant more to him than just business. They were part of his personal life, making the personal connection between Gittings and Kugler even more relevant.

"All of our clients were very much a part of Heinz's extended family and finding the perfect "home" in which to carry on what Heinz loved to give to all of you in portraiture was of utmost importance," Brie said.

Gittings owner Greg Lorfing said he is honored to have been chosen to carry on Kugler's business. "It is very evident by the many calls we have received that Heinz was dearly loved by his clientele. Often his clients will convey a very personal memory of a time spent with Heinz. Not only did they appreciate the art that he brought to their families, but they adored the person behind the camera for the love he showed for each of them."

In order to provide a seamless transition for Kugler's clients, all of Kugler's digital files and negative archives have been merged into the Gittings archives. The Kugler studio's phone number has also been retained and is now connected to Gittings central reservation system for appointments. The Gittings Portrait has been recognized as a mark of personal distinction since 1928. For more information on Gittings, visit