What does an all American football player without a stitch of creativity from Payson do after high school? Open a photography studio, of course.
It may seem like a paradox, but for Jon Gunzel, photography wasn’t something he tapped into until after attending college and the aperture of his world was expanded.
“I was the least artistic person,” Gunzel said of himself in high school. “But the talent was always there, I just had limited exposure to art.”
On July 1, Gunzel and his high school sweetheart, Trina, opened Arizona Photo Solutions in the Sawmill Crossing plaza.
Gunzel specializes in family and senior portraits, weddings, babies and on-location shoots. Trina is a landscape photographer.
Growing up in Payson as a track and football player, there was little room for much else in life, Gunzel said. When he went to college in New Mexico and finally had time to think about what he really wanted out of life, he realized it was taking photographs.
“I knew I always loved taking photos. My dad and granddad took photos,” he said. “But it still shocks me everyday that I am doing this.”
Gunzel left the university, like a photographer leaves film for digital, and headed to Chicago to attend the Shoot Smart photography school, an intense one-on-one training facility.
Since then, Gunzel moved back to Payson and opened a small studio in the basement of his Payson home. When the business took off, Gunzel moved to Tonto Basin where he could afford a larger home.
With a 900-foot studio, Gunzel could take better portraits, but the location was difficult for Payson customers.
“We knew we always wanted to come back to Payson and do something for this town,” he said. “I was encouraged to go to Phoenix, but we really wanted to be in the town we grew up in and could give something back to the place that gave us so much.”
When the opportunity to open in the Sawmill arose, Gunzel jumped at the chance to expand to a commercial space. Since opening a month ago, business has jumped considerably.
“We are thankful to God to come back here and be able to do this,” he said.
“A lot of people would rather go to the dentist than get their photograph taken.”
With this in mind, Gunzel said he strives to give customers the most positive photographic experience. At his new studio, customers can expect to find walls filled with Gunzel’s work, various backgrounds and set ups, comfy couches and changing rooms. All things designed to put a subject at ease.
“We work really hard to capture people the way they are,” he said. “I don’t put them into an uncomfortable pose.”
The greatest challenge is working outside with the light especially midday in Arizona. The mark of a good photographer is capturing a moment using the light.
“Everybody has a digital camera, but a professional photographer’s skills set them apart.”
For more information, call (928) 468-0732 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.