‘Boring’ not the focus of business
By ABBY BELDEN
Stale and boring are two words Thomas and Jayme Zimmerman make sure to avoid in their line of business.
The owners of Crossroads Photography said if the learning stops, stale work is the result.
"And we don't like being stale," Thomas said. "We don't like doing the same thing; it's boring."
Crossroads Photography was named Readers' Choice No. 1 photographer this year in a survey of Hays Daily News readers.
The couple purchased their first DSLR camera in 2007.
The idea to open Crossroads Photography followed after a friend's wedding in 2010.
"We kind of second shot his wedding for candids ... and did some portraits," Thomas said. "But we had some people tell us they liked our shots that we did at their wedding better than the people they paid. So, that is when we got the idea in our heads that, 'Hey, let's give it a shot.' "
The Zimmermans ran Crossroads out of their home until relocating to a downtown location, 719 Main, in June 2011.
The studio's location not only offers space for consultations and sessions, but also grabs attention of those walking by, whether it is during one of the Hays Arts Council gallery walks or someone passing by.
"I think this space showcases what we do pretty well," Thomas said.
Crossroads Photography offers photo services for engagements, weddings, maternity, family, infants, children and high school seniors.
The summer months kept the Zimmerman's busy.
"Our summer, at one point in time, we were booked everyday and couldn't fit another session in for at least two months," Thomas said.
Jayme added they were double-booking sessions to try to accommodate people.
She also said while they had a good number of senior portraits to take last year, the number increased 10-fold this year.
The couple said their favorite sessions often are maternity and senior portraits.
"Seniors are fun; it's laid back and there is no pressure. You just get to go and have fun for a couple hours and make someone feel good about themselves," Thomas said.
The increase in numbers could be influenced by Pioneer Photography no longer offering photography services.
Jayme and Thomas both said they have had longtime clients of Pioneer Photography come to Crossroads Photography.
"It's a huge compliment to have someone walk in and say, 'We used to go to Pioneer. They don't do it anymore. We found you guys and loved your pictures,' " Jayme said.
"They do great work," he said.
Even though Pioneer no longer is offering services, Thomas and Jayme said there are many talented photographers in the Hays area, such as Picture You Photography and Everyday You Photography.
After wrapping up a busy summer, the couple is prepping for the wedding season.
"We have nine weekends in a row coming up for weddings," Jayme said.
Even though fall weddings seem to be more popular, Jayme said they photographed several summer weddings.
The studio has no set hours, unless by appointment. Jayme makes appointments, fields phone calls, places orders, edits photos and watches the couples two young girls.
Crossroads Photography not only serves those in the Hays area, but also branches out to other communities.
The couple said they have traveled to places such as Atwood, Elkhart, WaKeeney, Victoria, Overland Park, Manhattan and others.
"Outside of an hour, mileage becomes involved, but we do a lot of on-location," Thomas said. "A lot of people want us to come to their farms, and we love that."
The duo said they are willing to travel.
"As long as we can get there a little bit early to check out the scenery, we are set," Jayme said.
The photographers also adapt to seasonal hiccups, such as blistering heat and wind gusts greater than 30 mph.
"We've taken portraits of people in weather from minus-5 degrees to 111," Thomas said.
Weather comes second to lighting.
"We can walk into about any situation and make it work out how we want it to, but that's your No. 1 concern. It always is," Thomas said. "Without great light, pictures are pretty mediocre."