Portrait studio celebrates 15 years in the biz

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A love of people and making them laugh has allowed a Heckmondwike-based photographer to mark his portrait studio’s 15th anniversary.

Jonny Wall, of Berwick Avenue, opened Photoshoot in Market Street so that he could entertain people – setting him apart from bigger stores.

“Everybody seems to just have a great time when they come in. We base the business on just having a laugh,” he said.

“We’re not interested in the money. What we want to do is just make people happy. When they leave, they’re either laughing, smiling or just chuffed.

“When you’re in the studio with 15 adults in front of you, it’s just like being on stage – you have to make sure they’re laughing. It’s all about memories – they’re getting a memory to keep.”

Father-of-one Jonny quit work as a ceiling fitter with his dad for a stint learning photography with Lords in Cleckheaton from 1989-1991, and opened up his own Paper Portraits in the town in 1994.

“I decided that I wanted to be more creative. I wanted to work with the public,” he said.

But driving through Heckmondwike and spotting his “50p-shaped” shop in December 1999, he knew he wanted to open up at the “prime location.” He kitted the store out over two months and opened on Valentines Day with the tagline “Love 2 Take Photos.”

But digital photography and the ease of shooting good-quality pictures on mobile phones has altered the landscape of his trade.

He said: “It’s completely changed, we’ve gone from doing 500 portraits a year to 150.”

Most of Photoshoot’s business now comes from taking passport shots, of which they take about 10 day where it was once around 10 each week.

But Jonny, who mans the store with his partner Danielle Watson, stays afloat because he no longer suffers from wastage costs – he used to have a cupboard full of photographs which did not get used in customers’ final packages.

And in the age where photography is so widespread, having the odd professional portrait still has its appeal, Jonny thinks.

“We all love doing selfies, me and Danielle did one this morning, but it isn’t what you want to put in your grandma’s frame.”

To thank his customers, Jonny is offering readers a free portrait and eight-by-six print worth £50. Call his studio on 01924 400007 by the end of the month to book.