Ted Nichols has a photograph of himself at age 5, on the day he received his first camera, a Kodak Brownie Flash Six-20.
The son of photo enthusiasts who owned a camera store and had a dark room in their house, his parents taught him to take photographs and develop them.
“I think I was almost born with a camera,” said Nichols, owner of New Hope Photo, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this fall. Located in a strip shopping center at 358 W. Bridge St., New Hope Photo opened in 1984 when photography was all film.
While New Hope Photo has changed with the times, printing photographs from digital cameras and smartphones and selling memory cards and rechargeable batteries for digital cameras, the shop, which remains in its original location, also processes color film every Tuesday.
“We haven’t given up on film,” Nichols said, adding, “We still sell film.” In fact, he said, some young people are turning to film, creating a resurgence.
“We can scan and print any film that’s been processed any day,” Nichols added. In addition, New Hope Photo can restore damaged old photographs, filling in missing portions with astounding accuracy.
For customers who enjoy digital photography, New Hope Photo offers kiosks, or computer stations, at the store, where customers can upload photos wirelessly from their smartphones, or they can upload them at home, for printing at the store.
The New Hope Photo website offers countless options in addition to traditional prints, such as printing photos on gift items, mugs, puzzles, water bottles, coasters, holiday cards and invitations, posters and more.
The shop also prints photographs on a variety of surfaces, including slate, glass, metal, canvas and more, and they too can be ordered online or in store.
Ordering from New Hope Photo has its advantages over online only services, Nichols said. “We’re local, we’re quick turnaround and you can talk to us. And we handle special requests.”
Online sites list items on sale, but their original pricing is often inflated, Nichols said, so sale prices online can be higher than New Hope Photo’s original prices. “I don’t want to play those games with marking it up,” he said. “It’s disingenuous.”
In addition, Nichols said, he and his staff have heard “horror stories” about work that’s been done wrong or delayed from online sites, and shipping charges from online sites can also make them more expensive.
At New Hope Photo, Nichols said, “a small print order can be ready in a little as 15 minutes. People take photos at their kids’ soccer game and pick them up on the way home.”
Nichols’ path from a kid with his first camera to being a store owner included time in high school at New Hope-Solebury on the yearbook staff and press club staff. He also worked at the former Doylestown Camera Center for nine years prior to opening New Hope Photo.
When the shop first opened, it was all film and more hardware-centric, and all photo finishing was sent out to a lab.
Now, Nichols said, New Hope Photo is more accessory-centered, selling items including the Promaster line of rugged memory cards, which are waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof, 100 different rechargeable batteries for digital cameras, as well as tripods and monopods, and lab-related services are the biggest part of the shop’s business.
New Hope Photo also does video and movie transfers, scanning and archiving, to create digital copies of hard copies. Nichols recommends photographers back up their photos locally and on the cloud, and organize them by date and event.
He and his employees also recommend printing.
“I don’t remember who said it, but if you don’t have a print, you don’t really have an image,” said John Hoenstine, a photographer and RIT graduate who closed his own photography studio several years ago and now does framing and matting part time at New Hope Photo.
To celebrate the store’s 35th anniversary, Nichols is offering several coupon specials with discounts on one in-store, in-stock purchase; one online order, which may include multiple products (coupon code “35years” at checkout); and one custom framing order. He said each offer can be can be used once per person during specific dates.