It’s taken her several wrong roads and a couple of bad turns, but Victoria Quinn has finally found her place.
“I’ve always had a passion for photography,” Quinn said. “But, at times, life just got in the way of me doing what I really wanted to do.”
Quinn, a mother and local businesswoman, is owner of Victoria’s Photography and Photo Dynamics in Silverdale. Together with her husband, David, she operates a full-service photography laboratory and acts as a portrait photographer.
“Right now, I’m putting about 100 slides onto CDs to be used as a photo tribute during a funeral,” she said. “We do a lot of orders that people can’t find anywhere else to get them done. We can make a print from just about anything.”
Quinn’s lab skills were something she learned years ago when she took classes at Clover Park Technical College near Tacoma. But that was something that happened almost by accident.
“I wanted to get into photography school,” she said. “But all those classes were full, so I decided to take a lab class instead.”
Her route to getting there wasn’t an easy one, either.
From the time she was very young, Quinn knew she liked photography. She got her first camera from her mother when she was 10 years old.
“It was a little Instamatic 110 camera that took (3-inch) square photos,” she said. “I started paying attention to things and taking lots of photos and they turned out good.”
It would be six more years before she got her first 35 mm camera. But at age 16, she took it everywhere.
“I was the annoying one who went on school trips and took the camera,” she said. “I took pictures of everyone. My friends — I know they got tired of me and my camera.”
After high school, Quinn accepted a scholarship to aeronautic school in Prescott, Ariz. She had enlisted in the Air Force and was sent to Embry Riddle to study aeronautics. Her love of photography took a back seat.
After a year, however, she left the school to follow her heart in a relationship that didn’t work out and she found herself back at home in Tacoma wondering what was next for her.
That’s when she signed up for photo lab school.
“It’s really where I learned everything I know about color and about how to process film,” she said. “I loved working in the darkroom.”
Her first color assignment was to print a picture of a woman in a purple shirt.
“I loved that shirt,” she said. “So I made it really, really violet. When my instructor saw it she said, ‘Look at her skin tones.’ Right then, I got it. I understood how important color balance is.”
Quinn went on to work in photo labs in Renton and Seattle. She met and married her husband and they moved to the Kitsap Peninsula.
They bought property in Kingston and lived in Bremerton while their house was being built. Quinn worked for a photo lab in Poulsbo and her husband worked a government contract as a computer electronics specialist. With three kids at home, Quinn decided to be at home with her children and began thinking more and more about becoming a photographer. She got her business license and began shooting weddings and senior portraits.
In 1982, she and her husband bought Photo Dynamics in Silverdale. The business grew and at one point they had 11 employees. Then came the age of digital photography, and the business took a tumble.
“By 2006, the business dropped remarkably,” she said. “We had bought a lot of equipment and we had converted to computer scanners and we kept up with the digital world. But as home scanners got better, people just did their own.”
At the same time her husband lost his contract job and while his computer knowledge and her photography knowledge was a great combination, the business was just very slow. By 2010, the business was in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
But, Quinn said she never lost sight of her passion for photography. In 2011, she began working with a business coach, looking for ways to bring her business back. Last April, she found a location she could afford and re-open their lab and portrait studio.
“We uncovered the windows and turned on the ‘Open’ sign,” she said.
Since then, business has picked up. Most of their business is from the photo lab work, but her studio work is growing. Typical customers are people who find undeveloped film that needs processing, or people with negatives that they want converted to CDs. They also color-correct prints that have been made elsewhere.
Now that she has re-established her business, Quinn is looking to grow her portrait work. She specializes in doing portraits for students who are graduating from high school.
“I like to try to capture their specialness,” she said. “Often times we’ll use a musical instrument or a basketball in the picture to show who they are.”
She likes shooting weddings and she does family portraits, too. She will shoot in the studio, at outdoor locations, or at customers’ homes. Right now her focus is on getting to the point where she is profitable. She is still paying off debts from her previous bankruptcy.
“Some days it’s just hard to get up,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of disappointments. But I do feel optimistic about the future. I like to hide behind my camera. It’s my ‘box.’ But I’m working on getting outside my box.”
In fact, just to get her name known, she recently offered to photograph local Eagle Scouts at no cost.
“It’s a way of giving back,” she said. “I’ve had some very good people help me in my times of need and I want to acknowledge that by helping others.”
Her business is located at 9960 Silverdale Way NW # 12. Call her at 360 692-3039. Or find her on the web at www.victoriasphoto.blogspot.com, or www.e-photodynamics.com.