A groundbreaking new partnership in California is set to shake up the professional photography industry this year. Capture Integration and DigitalFusion are two very successful companies – pioneers in their own right, really – and both have agreed to combine their businesses in order to create an unparalleled experience in photo services and sales for clients. On February 26th, their new facility in Culver City (located in western Los Angeles) will be unveiled. Company founders Dave Gallagher and Jon Moeller tell us exactly what to expect from this new relationship and why it’s going to work. Capture Integration sells and rents some of the finest and most exclusive digital photography products in the field, including brands like Phase One, Hasselblad, Mamiya Leaf, Cambo, Alpa, Sinar, Profoto, Broncolor, Leica, Canon, Eizo and Arca Swiss. It also offers photography consultations, training and support. Founder Dave Gallagher knows how valuable these services are to clients.
“We ran the numbers and realized that we had a larger customer base in California. than we did in our home state of Georgia,” says founder Dave Gallagher. “With the new facility, we now have a location in L.A. So, specifically for my customers, they will receive local representation, rental and training. Our products are high-end and exclusive. It’s the best gear you can put together for a photograph. My wife calls the products we offer, products that ‘make men weak in the knees’. They are usually not found locally so we are happy to provide more convenience to our clients.” Its new partner, DigitalFusion, has paved the way for professional digital imaging since 1999. DigitalFusion offers digital capture services, equipment rental, post-production retouching, cgi imaging, scanning and printing services. In addition, the company runs a cloud-based digital asset management software, DFStudio.com. DigitalFusion has been at the forefront of the industry from the start. In fact, digital retouching wasn’t something that was available as a retail service until the company opened the doors fifteen years ago. Co-founder Jon Moeller has especially high expectations for DFStudio.com. “DFStudio.com started development in 2005 and officially launched on Jan 1st, 2006. We’re looking at an 8 year old product that has achieved tremendous success in the enterprise photography market. If you consider that the pro photographer market caters to only tens of thousands, not millions, the fact that it has lasted for over 8 years is great. Now couple that with Dave and his sales staff, people who really know their stuff, and what we have is revolutionary. He sells to a much broader range of photographers. Those people, when they see DFStudio.com, wonder where we’ve been this whole time. So this is a door opening on an amazing product.”
As with any collaboration, trust and communication is vital. In terms of the relationship between the two founders, who have known each other for years, both have nothing but utmost respect for one another. Says Gallagher: “Jon and I have known each other for a long time. In this strange marketplace, where some dealers are good and most aren’t, we found each other because we’re like minded partners. We’re more comfortable speaking with each other than others. So the transition has been incredibly smooth. We gutted and redesigned the L.A. office – that’s been the hardest part.” The sentiment is met with agreement from his business partner. “We see exactly on the same level,” explains Moeller. “We’ve known each other, respected and appreciated each other’s business. The idea for this partnership came out of the reality of the economy. It was about a year and a half ago, we were at a show I think. We met up like we always meet up and we just started talking about it. When a good idea happens, it just happens.”
And the idea has certainly taken off. Both founders believe that the best part about the partnership is how each company will merge their differing specializations to produce an experience that will be much larger than the sum of its parts. “Our focus is sales. A focused company is always going to be a stronger company,” Gallagher points out. “So instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, we have decided to combine rather than be too spread out.” Moeller expounds on the idea further. “This partnership is based on a couple of foundation principles. The first one is focus. This is post-recession thinking, for those of us who have survived in the photography business. Dave and I think that our survival is based on focusing what we do best. Ultimately what we want to accomplish is this: every time a customer walks in, he talks to someone who is an expert at his primary business. If they need something else, they can go right to the next desk and talk about the latest and greatest gear with an expert on that. It’s all about the people. It’s not the camera or the rental house that creates the pictures, it’s the people. In fact, I think the photo industry doesn’t get the credit it deserves for the effort it takes to make a single photograph.” This partnership will be a considerable undertaking for the companies, but both sides believe that the mission is more than worth it. “We are trying to reinvent everything out there about the industry,” says Moeller . “Think about the NEST guy who reinvented the thermostat. I mean, really? Well it worked. So people ask us: are you really going to reinvent the photo business? My answer is yes.”