Making memories: Don Taylor’s Photography celebrates 25 years

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By Carol A. Clark

Positive contributions during the past 25 years have earned Don and Heidi Taylor a special place in the community.

“The Taylor’s are the kind of business people who make being chamber director pleasurable for me,” Kevin Holsapple said of the couple who own Don Taylor’s Photography. “They’re eternally positive and involved in the community. Don’s been on our Chamber Board. He and Heidi make my job rewarding because they are so positive and they want to see positive things for this community.”

The daughters of two local teachers each recently married out of state. Both families are longtime Don Taylor clients.

Julie and Tom Wangler’s daughter Annie hired Taylor to fly out and photograph her Boston wedding. “It was wonderful,” Julie said. “We’ve had Don take pictures of our family since the kids were small all the way through their senior year in high school and now the wedding. I knew he would a wonderful job and he did.”

Being able to cross the photographer off the list was nice, she said, because the family didn’t know any Boston photographers.

“Don was willing to fly out to Boston, attend the rehearsal and take the time to understand the setting before he photographed the wedding so he could do it right,” Julie said. “Pictures are such an important part of family celebrations.”

Lisa and Robert Chrien’s daughter Jennie was married in Thousand Oaks, Calif. “It was great,” Robert said. “We had Don fly out…he started by transporting bridesmaids from Los Angeles to Thousand Oaks, which really helped…He took lots of informal photographs before and after the wedding and put them together on a CD so we could put them on Face Book and share them with our friends.”

Formal wedding photographs taken by Taylor are framed and hanging in the Chrien’s home and also have been given to relatives,  Robert said.

“I think it’s better to have someone you know and have worked with photograph the wedding rather than to try to hire an unknown photographer in another part  of the country,” he said. “Don has taken our children’s pictures since they were born. He even gave us a combination photograph of Jennie when she was 3-months-old and one from her wedding, which I keep on my desk at work.”

Taylor recalled the families’ being surprised that he was willing to travel to photograph their weddings. “To me that’s what it’s all about – building relationships with families over the years. I want to let people know I will fly to photograph family reunions, weddings and other gatherings.

Taylor hit a milestone about four years ago when student came in for his high school senior portrait and Taylor realized he had photographed his parent’s wedding.

“My philosophy is I never say no – either I can do it or I find someone who can get it done,” Taylor said. “I always treat people as I want to be treated and think that’s why I’ve been in business for 25 years.”

Feb. 2 marked 24 years of marriage for the Taylors. “My wife is real active in our business, doing all the bookkeeping and many other thing’s – we’re a team,” Taylor said.

Studio manager, Alexander Rose, has been an important part of the company for eight years, Taylor said.

“We always have two local high school kids who work for us after school,” Taylor said. “They take passport photos, do printing, scanning and Internet orders, wait on customers and answer phones.”

The kids learn what it takes to run a business and many have returned later in life to thank the Taylors. “That’s kind of flattering, you know,” Taylor said.

He originally came from a similar sized town, Lincoln, R.I, where he owned a photography studio.

“I figured I could always go back if it didn’t work – and here I am 25 years later,” he said. “We’ve had to stay on top of technology and we have a website where people can upload photos and they’re ready in one hour.”

Taylor bought the business on Jan. 15, 1984 from Dan Elliott who told him it dates back to 1947.

Elliott was working at Los Alamos National Laboratory and decided to swap jobs with then owner, Bob Stevenson.

The business began in what is today, CB Fox Kidz, Taylor said. In 1991 it was moved to the old Montgomery Ward Building across from Otowi Book Store and then moved to its present location at 999 Central Avenue.

He captures portrait memories of children, families, pets, sports and weddings. He also does commercial work.

“What’s really nice at this point in my life,” Taylor said, is that I really love what I do.”

His goal for the next 25 years is to keep fine tuning his craft as he has during the last 25 years. “I don’t plan to go anywhere because I really love Los Alamos and it’s been good to me and my family,” he said.

The Taylor’s have two children. Son Luke, 20, is a junior studying business and hotel management at Northern Arizona University.  He is currently studying abroad in New Zealand, Taylor said. Daughter Hannah, 17, is a junior at Los Alamos High School. “She plans to attend college and later work for the Walt Disney Company,” Taylor said.

To learn more about the services available at Don Taylor’s Phtography, access www.dontaylors.com or call 662-2523.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her blog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.