“Ohana” means “family” in the Hawaiian language, and family is what photographer Danielle Meyerson strives to create, document, and celebrate. “Photography is not just about capturing great images,” she explains. “It’s about the customer experience.” Photographers who focus on art but fail to address client needs can’t create “rapport and lasting relationships.” Being flexible, never giving up, and giving clients what they want allow her to create an ohana: a close-knit family of customers.
Meyerson’s “style is defined by the love of art,” while her work strives to reveal “the true essence and inner beauty of each individual.” She envisions her finished product hanging on walls, evoking smiles every time her customers walk into their homes, “a reminder to people of things they cherish.” Her “excitement for capturing moments in time” is evident in her work.
Since 2009, Meyerson has served as owner, operator, and photographer in the business she began with her husband, Ward Meyerson. She wears “all the hats: photographer, designer, manager, marketer, HR, PR, business development,” and has learned that success comes from “constantly evolving and improving” services.
Businesses Giving to the Community
Originally conceived as “portrait fundraising” studio, to “give back to the community,” Ohana Photo Studios has evolved to offer “family portraits, corporate portraits, model portfolios, editorial, event photography, school portraits, seniors, graduations, digital art, weddings, underwater photography, videos…almost anything!”
Meyerson believes in “giving from the heart, being grateful for what we have and sharing what we can; whether this is physically donating time to external community causes, via monetary donations or sharing knowledge and information.” To this end, a portion of the studio’s revenue is donated to Catholic Charities Hawaii “to enhance the positive impact this organization has on Hawaiian families and the greater community.” In addition, the studio cofounded a scholarship fund with the Augustin Educational Foundation (AEF): “a percentage of every dollar spent on school portrait packages goes towards scholarships.”
A Value Based Photography Studio
Giving to charity is just one external expression of Ohana Photo Studio’s core beliefs. Success, she believes, cannot be measured merely in dollars and cents: the way she achieves her goals is just as important to her as the goals themselves . To Meyerson’s mind, “a commitment to uncompromising values and integrity should always guide our decisions.” There is no “good enough” at Ohana Photo Studios. They are always seeking to raise the bar.
Creating a relationship of trust with clients is of the utmost importance, and Meyerson achieves this with a commitment to accountability. “We do what we say we are going to do,” she explains, “when we say we are going to do it.” Ongoing staff development helps maintain high standards of excellence along with a culture of trust, respect, and organization. To that end, she works to “build a corporate culture of creativity and capture the talent, energy, and commitment of all employees.”
Creative Services, Clever Events
Meyerson is proud to document all the important moments of her clients’ lives, and cherishes “being a part of that special moment in history where a customer has allowed us to ‘turn their life into light’ through photographs.”
She is available for all iterations of these memorable occasions: “precious moments where a family has just welcomed their ‘newest edition’ and bundle of joy into the world, photographing a ‘ground breaking’ or ‘blessing’ (which we do a lot of in Hawaii) of a new business or center, witnessing parents proudly watching their child graduate, to capturing a young couple in love,” and also enjoys less conventional work: “creating an innovative ‘digital art’ piece,” or doing “green screen” event photography, where the client’s image can be superimposed on any background, and they can add their favorite celebrity to the image.
Tickets for Photography?
When Meyerson needs to shoot hundreds of people in a short space of time, she uses bar coded event tickets that double as a “customer identification mechanism. We scan each ticket prior to photographing attendees, which means we can identify each customer accurately,” an “invaluable” function when you’re dealing with so many faces.
Recently, Meyerson won $500 of free printing in TicketPrinting.com’s 15th birthday giveaway, and she looks forward to using this windfall to create promotional materials like stickers, QR codes, programs, and posters. She also plans to “use perforated tickets for an up and coming competition.”
Looking to the Future
Successful businesses must “always evolve with market needs and wants,” Meyerson has learned. Flexibility and adaptability have served the company well as they expand their line of services: most recently to include a School Portraits Division and an Events Division in 2011 and a Media and Weddings Division in 2012. Photographers who continually fine tune the customer experience, listening to client concerns and creating positive long-term relationships, ensure repeat clientele and a bright future.
“Never give up,” she advises. Keep at the task until you can give the client a product they want, rather than “what we want for them,” and be sure your business is “flexible, adaptable” enough to change as market demand changes. The motto of Ohana Photo Studios is “Sharing the art of turning light into life,” and there’s plenty of light, and life, in the future of this business.