Vail Valley Bizwatch: Gilchrest Photography, located in Avon
Vail, CO, Colorado
Business name: Gilchrest Photography.
Date opened: 2000.
Owner: Dave Gilchrest, (970) 445-7336.
What goods or services do you provide? Custom photography services
What’s new or exciting at your place? I have permission to shoot the “Trash the Dress” photos in a gold mine and at an old gold mill. The location and backgrounds are perfect for shooting a beautiful bride in a location where you would never expect to see her.
I have recently photographed a motorcycle poker run that took place locally and have posted the photos at http://www.smugmug.com. You can view (and purchase) these photos by going to SmugMug and typing in ‘gilchrestphotography’ in the search box.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? I am not locked into a boilerplate approach to photography. When others are posing their clients in predictable settings I encourage my clients to have artistic input in their images. They are the ones who are hiring me and they will be looking at the shots for years to come. I mainly shoot in natural light and believe that this lends to a more relaxed and fresh look for my clients. If they are unsure of what to do, I will offer suggestions until we find what works for them.
I also believe that a great photo should come out of the camera, not from manipulation with a computer program. I am a photographer first.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? The customer is the one who is paying for photographs and I will do everything I can to deliver quality images at a reasonable price and in a timely fashion.
What can your customers expect from you? They can always expect my best efforts to capture the images they are looking for. The true measure of a great photo is one that my clients will share with their friends and show off to everyone they meet. The best reward for my efforts is to have my clients recommend me to their friends or associates. That tells me I have delivered a quality product to my client and have gained their trust. These are the folks that will be calling me back.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: I have been photographing the world around me for more than 25 years and have had several images published in brochures, coffee table books and various company publications along with private sales of a variety of action photos.
Most of my work experience has been centered around the mining and construction industries. I have also been a police officer and a firefighter in Rifle, which developed my eye for detail.
I have lived in Wyoming, Colorado, Hawaii and Arizona, after being born and raised in New England. Having lived in all of these beautiful places I have developed an appreciation for shooting in natural light in the great outdoors. That is my office and studio. I know of no other studio that can measure up to shooting in natural light and natural conditions.
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? I laugh the hardest at myself and that gives me a way to keep things in perspective. I may be in deep concentration and thought, trying to get a “perfect” photo and all of a sudden something will happen to stop the entire process and show me that I am not the most important part of the picture I am trying to get. It evens the playing field and humbles me in an instant. That is when I laugh at myself and, in turn, all things become more relaxed and wouldn’t you know it, I am often able to capture that one moment in time that I was after in the first place. I can only hope to be able to capture that image that drives my passion for photography.
Let’s go out and shoot some photos!
Vail Valley ranch takes a European approach to promoting welfare of this keystone species