Radio Interview Transcripts

MorePhotos Radio - Young's Studio of Photography
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ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the More Photos’ Radio Photography Spotlight brought to you by Morephotos.com helping professional photographers with all their internet needs. Also brought to you by Labimages.com. Finally, an e-commerce solution for professional photo labs that makes sense. Now here is your host, Damien Allen.  DAMIEN: Good morning and welcome to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen, and joining me today on the phone is Eric Young of Young Studios. Good morning, Eric, welcome to the program.
 
ERIC: Howdy, howdy. Good morning. Thank you.
 
DAMIEN: We are very happy that you are with us today. You are down there at Young Studio and it’s kind of a family affair. How did you get started?
 
ERIC: Oh, it’s very much a family affair. Yes in deed. How did I get started? That’s an interesting question, because when you grow up watching your dad paddle around in a dark room at 4 and 5 years old, it becomes automatic that there is an interest, a passion, intrigue about it. He was showing me the photos in the developer in the safe lights, you know, as they would come up when I was just wee lad playing around with cameras at 5th grade, 6th grade, pretty early on. I started pretty early. Like I said, it rubs off in a family business.
 
DAMIEN: A lifelong thing for you and a lot of changes in the industry, and we’ll talk about that shortly. Where is the studio location and what types of photography does Young Studio specialize in?
 
ERIC: We are right here on Lockerman Street, down town Dover, Delaware. As far as specialize, well, I suppose that most of that would be copy and restoration work of old photographs. We have at any given time between 2 and 5 or 6 clients in here. We are very pleased to hear that the word has spread that we do that work, and I think pretty darn well. We get some awfully impressed customers when they leave, because they have come in with something that was either stained, maybe there was a fire, and these were in the basement and the sprinkler system in a building ruined the photographs or they are stuck together or glass broke and the picture is stuck to the glass. We see a lot of that. Some of them are tin types, 100 year old photographs. We have a couple in here right now, one was taken in the late 1800s, and they want a reproduction of it. We clean it up. We will, in fact, fix that one. So restoration might be a bit of a dubious word there, but we make a replica. We make another one and do all the art work on that and we really must keep up to date on the website, but there are some examples there on our website of that type of work. There are some very good artists here.
 
DAMIEN: Now as the technology has changed over the years from film stock to digital, how much has your business changed and how has the copy and restoration changed?
 
ERIC: Well the copy and restoration has changed in as much well because it is done digitally now and you said specialized so that is why I stammered when you said that only because so few people had working dark rooms. I’m talking now about 15-20, 25 years ago even more that the working dark room that is film and retouching utensils, pencils, dyes, all a manner of different methods by which we would retouch and fix damaged photographs or fix the negative after we basically photographed. It was so very time consuming. The time consuming element is still there, but it is made so much more efficient now with digital and certain computer programs that you are able to get in and as almost everyone knows tweak here, fix it there, take spots off there and that kind of thing. But we really do have a number of approaches that we do and I am very proud to say that when they go out we have some very happy customers. So how has it changed? I suppose you can say it’s pretty much sped it up doing effectively the same thing, but in a more efficient manner would be the way to say it and quicker.
 
DAMIEN: Now Young Studio also does lasting portraiture, commercial portraits, commercial products, aerial shots, and black and white photography. You have received awards and recognition for these things?
 
ERIC: Not certainly all of them, but I would certainly say that my involvement with the Delaware Professional Photographers has been very, very helpful, vital in fact. My dad was a member, I think one of the founding members, when we began in 1985 if I’m not mistaken the Delaware Professional Photographers has been in existence. Now this is a very legitimate branch of the Professional Photographers of America, the PPA. That’s a big, big association and this is the formal, legitimate Delaware chapter of it. So we have very well known speakers who come in to seminars. We meet once a month, and I got on board in doing print competitions shortly after I joined the DPP. That was in 1988 when I joined them, and we would have 2 or 3 print competitions per year, and as one enters print competitions and knows what the official PPA judges are looking for to better your work. That is color composition, thought about story telling elements in your prints, etc., then you learn and so you get those 78 prints and you won and you go in again a few months later and you learn this and try that and improve your work. So much of that has lent itself, I’m proud to say, to some very, very nice awards that I have received and been blessed with receiving. Photographer of my year for my state. In one particular category I believe of interest was, I think we had Best Portrait of a Couple, Best Portrait of a Man one year. A whole number of things that are deemed by PPA judges from my prints that are entered with other photographers, other photographers prints. Yes I’ve been very lucky. I’ve not been involved in it as much recently, but I do plan to get more involved with the competitions.
 
DAMIEN: What do you think attribute to your success, Eric, as a photographer?
 
ERIC: Oh no doubt for me it would be just the creative. I think an awful lot, in fact, I’m teaching right now. I’m doing some classes for some 14 – 16 year old home school kids, that come in once a week. It’s been a lot of fun, and I see that their passion is just like mine. You start with landscapes, pretty pictures, birds, and some pretty funky, interesting things. Then it moves and generates more into the dynamics on how to better one’s photography not just to capture an image of a really pretty sunset. In my case as a child to have developed it, but I believe that that coupled with my getting on board with my high school year book and for 5 straight years that 4 of the ones I attended and then one after that was involved very heavily with being the chief photographer of my high school and from there naturally it’s all kinds of journalistic things like doing all the wrestling matches and football games and all of the photographs that we see of all of the teachers in the school that are in the year book, a lot of it was mine, not all of it, but an awful lot of it. So you learn real quick, I guess, at that point to become not only talkative and personal, but to deal with photographing people to something that early photographers do not get involved with doing that and having kind of a natural gift of gab and being on stage a good part of my young life too doing things, I’m just pretty open to working with people, and I believe that’s it. People see, I love a comment I get from my seniors when I’m doing seniors and their parents are in the room is that after about 45 minutes of mopping sweat off my forehead while she’s changing her clothes into something else, or he, they will say, “you really get into this, don’t you?” “I didn’t think it was so involved.” Because I have six lights and two reflectors and I’m running around sometimes when I don’t have one of my assistants helping me, and they are like, “Golly I didn’t realize it was this involved.” It’s very, very nice to connect with people. I guess that phrase “people person” is kind of a tired phrase, but that might be part of your answer right there.
 
DAMIEN: It’s a completely different animal than having Uncle Joe come in with his digital one shot and take a shot of you and go, “Ok, here’s your picture.”
 
ERIC: Completely different animal is an understatement. It most certainly is and any awards and recognition and a long standing history that we have which again I am very, very blessed to inherit it. I had little to do with that. There is just a credibility there that is automatic. I think that when people come in and see awards all over the wall and nice huge, large family portraits in a place that has been in the same street and the same town for 58 years, they come in with certain expectations like, “This better be good.” Yeah, it’s a whole different animal, sure than Uncle Teds out there with their digital.
 
DAMIEN: You’re coming up on 6 decades of having a studio operating. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a client who is looking to hire a photographer?
 
ERIC: I think that runs along the same lines of where I just was rambling on. Personal contact. I think many, many people who go to other photography studios who can not afford, literally, to become as involved and work as long and become as unique in servicing that particular client’s needs. Everyone is used to that, and we know those studios exist, and they do find work many of them, but you are in and out and you probably don’t make an appointment and one probably doesn’t even consult with the photographer before hand. It’s very different here. What some people might call qualifying, I call consulting. I insist that whenever possible we meet with our clients before any sessions. I mean maybe a week before or a couple of days or a month and get to know one another, and I absolutely feel a relief on their part when they leave the studio and are making plans to come back a week from Monday.   They are excited, they see my excitement and my passion, they see the work on the wall, and we have gone over how we can best help them and answer their questions and come away with some portraits. I look at them, these are artistically done heirlooms as far as I’m concerned. I think there is not enough attention given to that. We take cell phone pictures and show them to people on our little iPods and things like that so we are inundated with photographic images all of the time. How many of those are really going to be important to future generations? So it’s tough to say. I just like that sense of creating something very special with the client’s particular interest. It could be anything even from a business card which we do many real estate agents, attorneys, law offices we work with around here. So a number of things like that. It’s just attention to the service and the customer service.
 
DAMIEN: Is there a difference in the way that you approach or advise a single session where it is just one person doing head shots or maybe senior photos as opposed to a family or group shot?
 
 
ERIC: The difference would be that in the family group shot, most of the time somebody is coordinating it, an adult, and generally they have the authority to say, “Ok, this is what we are going to do folks.” It might be phone calls, it might be emails that go back & forth from the people in New Hampshire who are going to be visiting Delaware or going to go to Tidbury Park or Breaknot Park or Dover Downs right here locally. Wild Quail Country Club, any of those places somebody is putting it together and making it work. So we will consult extensively with that person and say to them that there are ways to do it and there are ways to do it better. I don’t like to use negatives like wrong, but clothing consultation things like that are very important. Location – where we are going to work which we work outdoors a lot, but here in our studio too, but outdoors there are different details and things that will come into play. Different factors, what time of day are we going to work out at that park, very important. Or if it is a place I’ve never been, like their home, I’ll drive 40 miles to go down and visit their home a week before the session to realize what room are we going to work. I prepare myself all I can, clothing, things like socks and shoes very important. People don’t think about stripes, product placement on t-shirts, heavy metal t-shirts in a portrait. You might not be happy that you told Trevor to wear that Iron Maiden t-shirt.   I’m being facetious and also a little exaggerating, but it is a very important thing to get with them and make them understand there are ways of doing it and there are ways of doing it better.
 
DAMIEN: That actually sounded like a family portrait of mine from the 80s, but we’ll skip on that subject.
 
ERIC: It’s ok if you like Iron Maiden. I’m very deeply and passionately into music as it sounds like you are too.
 
DAMIEN: In deed. In deed. Well anything artistic tends to stick to us. It’s just the way it goes. Now as following your father and growing up and now teaching…
 
ERIC: Well not formally, I’ve taught classes for sure, but it’s not a rotation at this point.
 
DAMIEN: What are the kind of the 3 take away points that really pushes how you capture an image? What is the most important thing about how you capture that wonderful image?
 
ERIC: You mean of people?
 
DAMIEN: Yes, or whatever your subject is.
 
ERIC:   That might be a bit valuable as that could change on what it is I’m photographing, time of day and angles and things like doing aerial work from airplanes and doing any type of mechanical or construction, industrial work, progress shots. I suppose that the points on that would be to have an eye. I’m liable to slip into sounding arrogant very quickly, but I have a good eye and I think my compositional sense is very fussy honed over basically trying to improve what I’m doing from the point where at 14 or 12 years old one doesn’t see the flaws yet. What would be the 3 points? Well composition certainly working with people. What expression are we going for, and lighting. Lighting conveying any number of different moods for musicians, say. I’d like to see some of the ones you have had done, Damien. I really would. I’ve done country artists, plenty of metal bands, I’ve done some rappers, solo – not groups. The lighting is going to have to come into play for sure. Any type of image to convey, and then again, senior portrait. I’ve got a guy who wants to bring his soccer ball and/or maybe a football helmet and smear the black stuff under the eyes and make it a character like thing to add the personality of “This is Robert at that point in his life”. That’s a personal thing. So the lighting, again, and the mood is going to create that character if it is applied a certain way. Again, all coming back down to the consultation. Senior sessions tend to go a little over an hour and a half-two hours. They really get involved. I just really seriously have a passion in photography for it and just about all aspects of it. One thing in passing my certification several years back, as far as I know, I am the only certified photographer in Kent County. I could be wrong on that, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. It’s quite a test and it was quite harrowing. That was 2 months of some real worry, but I passed and it’s held by the PPA certification process. People have likened it humorously to going to a doctor and, you know, do you go to a doctor who hasn’t graduated and had school, or some guy who is just good with a knife. No you want to see a plaque on the wall saying that back in 1998 this person achieved this or that success and certification and award, if you will, and knowing that you have the confidence that this person has to know what they are doing. That’s a confidence builder, but it’s not a bragging point, but I am very proud of it.
 
DAMIEN: Young Studio Photography has been around since 1953 last portraiture, commercial portraits, commercial products, aerial shots, black & white photography, senior photos. You guys also used to do hand oil colored portraits. What’s going to be new for Young Studio Photography in 2011, Eric?
 
ERIC: I’m very happy that we just embarked on something new that we are very pleased with. We are modifying one of our two dark rooms into more of a work room wherein we will move more of our computer works in there thus opening up a space in our camera room at the back which we are now going to be displaying very large screen projection system with music. And it is relatively not a new idea, it is new to us, and I've put it off for way too long, but we are now in the throws of that. I sit at the laptop and the music plays, and the lights go down, and you see your daughter or son’s portrait, or family portrait in a slide show presentation to music. Before, I mean, this is the first you’ve ever seen and it’s just something. We can always kick ourselves, can’t we, for not doing something sooner. It’s marvelous. People are really enjoying it. It’s just so much nicer than just coming in a week after the session and you are laying out this deck of cards of their pictures of their kids or family portraits with 9 people in it and you are printing up proofs and the proofs are 4x5, you can’t see 9 faces in a 4x5, not really. Did Jerry blink on this one, I can’t tell. So I’m bringing them up 40x60 on screen now and it’s very impressive. People are really enjoying it. It makes the selection process much nice too. So what’s new, right now that’s our new little toy, and we’re happy about it. We’re evolving our multi-pose specials with our seniors and I believe that we’ll have minimal success with it so far when word is getting out and we market it a little more, people will understand that it is a very, very more cost effective, very advantageous way to go with this multi-pose special, and they are racking their brain a little bit less and worrying about the money a little bit less, because of the way it is constructed and they multiple poses. It’s nice.
 
DAMIEN: Well if someone is wanting more information on Young Studio Photography, where do they go on the web? How do they get ahold of you?
 
ERIC: The website is as easy as it gets and I’m very happy with the people who have helped me at More Photos and James there designing it. It’s www.youngsstudio.com and our contact information is there. My email address is naturally there as well as several gallery pages and a wonderful About Us page that I’m very proud to say that one year ago we passed 100 years of doing photography in my family. Last year, in fact, was our 75th anniversary of Young Studio being born. We started in Florida, my dad did when he was just a child and they opened two studios down in Florida and then finally moved here to Dover, Delaware, in 1953. So lots of milestones going on.
 
DAMIEN: And lots of accomplishments, lot of great photography, and I can not recommend highly enough that you go check out the Young Studio page at www.youngstudio.com. Eric thank you very much for joining us today.
 
ERIC: I’ve had a super time. Thank you very much for the phone call.
 
DAMIEN: You’re very welcome. You have been listening to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen.   Everybody have a great afternoon.
 
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