December 1981 ~The economy was terrible, interest rates were double digit. Photography studios are not hiring at all. I was 4 months out of college (BA in Photography, with Honors). I had finished up a photography apprenticeship and was married for 3 months. Before I went to college I had a job at Eastman Kodak, driving a forklift in their warehouse. I got my old job back driving that forklift.
My wife and I figured we had to take my shot at some point, if we could make it in a terrible economy, we would be great when things turn around. So we borrowed $5000, bought some necessary equipment. We made a business plan and an advertising plan. I quit my job at Kodak and opened Firestone Photography out of our apartment, in January 1982. I remember thinking if I screw this up it will take me forever to pay back the $5,000.
The plan was to start with weddings and I photographed a lot of them. Weddings are a great training ground for a photographer, especially in the days of film. You have to deal with outdoor lighting, indoor lighting, you have a white dress and a black tux that have to look great simultaneously. At that point in the photography industry you had to be an excellent technician, you even had to focus the camera yourself! Your people skills had to be awesome. I had a blast with the weddings and made some lifelong friends along the way.
April 1984 ~ I am BUSY, too busy to work out of the apartment, especially with an adorable 3 month old at home. We found a building at 139 Washington Blvd and borrowed $5000 for the build out. I remember putting a knee on the ground, with my Pastor, we prayed for God’s blessing on this adventure. I would have never thought this would be our business home for over 30 years.
In 1987 we started up a volume photography business called Memory Makers, which we sold in 2014. At that I decided to stop photographing weddings — 1300 weddings was enough.
My passion now, as always, is people, I love portrait photography. Capturing that portrait that can change someone’s self-image , help a business career, or that family portrait that means so much to everyone in the family.
Now you know a little bit about me, I hope we meet someday and I create something special for you.