THUNDER BAY -- Local photographer Gregg Johns saw an opportunity 20 years ago when he noticed digital cameras creeping into the market. He had opened ImageTech a decade earlier in 1989 and was taking photos for advertisements, weddings and portraits and had a studio in the Victoriaville mall.
“I saw the change coming with the digital era; this is going to happen, this is going to change the face of the industry,” Johns recalls.
He decided to focus on selling digital photography equipment, which proved a sound business decision. The proliferation of digital cameras also brought about a proliferation of photographers. “It kind of changed the market as a professional, you can’t charge what you normally would charge back then. Everybody’s working for less,” he says.
Now ImageTech sells digital cameras and equipment to a wide range of clientele, from professionals to amateurs. He also sells used equipment on a consignment basis, which is convenient for people switching brands.
After 15 years in the McIntyre Centre, he moved his business to a location on Memorial Avenue three years ago, next to Taco Time. The bigger space also has a studio for photoshoots.
“It’s been hard work and not getting easier, but Thunder Bay has a good population of photographers,” Johns says, looking back at the past three decades.
He now employs a couple of part-time staff; also photographers, so that every customer can get expert advice.
As an experienced photographer and owner of a camera store, Johns has seen many photographers (and aspiring photographers) walk through his doors. Digital cameras have made learning faster than when he started out, he says.
“You can become a more skilled photographer in a shorter amount of time now. Then you just need to create interesting photography and have a good interaction with people; that’s the key to being a good photographer.”