Originally Published: April 23, 2009 8:13 p.m.
Q & A with J.F. Grover, photographic artist with A Portrait Park by J at 1515 Thumb Butte Road, Prescott. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, with a break for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturdays by appointment. Phone number: 776-1311. Website: www.portraitpark.com.
Q: Who else works in the business?
J.F. Grover: "It says 'Portrait Park by J' on the sign, but there's really three of us that make it work: my wife Terilyn, and my mother, Hildy."
Q: How did you get into the portrait photography business?
Grover: "I was climbing the corporate ladder for a photography company, PCA International. As I got a little higher on the ladder, I got out of photography. I decided that wasn't for me. It was my mom's idea (to open the studio). We were living in the Valley at the time. It was her idea to come to Prescott (18 years ago)."
Q: What services do you provide, and who is your clientele?
Grover: "Our clientele is a cross-section of the community. We work with the schools. We work with children and families. We do some commercial work, magazine work. We have four basic product lines: children, high school seniors, families and weddings. We photograph inside the studio and outside in the park. We have a changing room."
Q: How has the business changed with the digital revolution?
Grover: "We use digital (cameras). Before that, we used medium-format film, 2 1/4-by-2 3/4 (inch) size negatives. A lot of people say with digital you are saving a lot of money because you are not buying film and you are not doing film processing. That is really offset because it takes more labor an in-house equipment (for digital photography). Now we have nine computers. Now you buy a (digital) camera. It is not made as well. It becomes obsolete within two years."
Q: Are you busier this time of the year?
Grover: "We certainly have a season. I think our season runs from April to Christmas, and it slows down (in) January, February. March is pretty quiet except for sports (team and individual photos).
Q: What has been your biggest challenge?
Grover: "One of the biggest challenges we have had, quite frankly, was initially getting started because we came to town. We were new. Nobody knew us, and I think we brought this unique idea: indoor, outdoor, studio. We go on location as well."
Q: What is the key to your business success?
Grover: Teamwork between the three of us and our clients. Doing what we say we are going to do. We try to deliver more than we promise and operate under ethics."
Q: How have you been adjusting to the recession?
Grover: "It has affected us. I think it has affected everyone. We continue to offer top quality, top service. We try to do as much business locally as we can."
Terilyn: "We are promoting baby contests."