C&H Photo, located at 7442 Girard Avenue, has been a favorite among camera lovers in La Jolla since 2005; from selling the latest high quality digital SLRs to a wide variety of instructional classes, owner Leon Chow knows what customers are looking for in today’s constantly changing photography world. The Blue Book stopped by the shop to chat with Leon and get an inside look at C&H Photo La Jolla.
The Man Behind the Lens
Leon Chow, who co-owns the store with award-winning underwater photographer David Hinkel, grew up in Brooklyn and went to NYU for a degree in computer science – though photography has always been in his veins. He initially wanted to be a photojournalist, and loved the idea of watching a story unfold as he captured the action through a lens. Leon eventually made his way out to California and got a job at a camera store. A few years later he bought his own and named it Nelson Photo La Jolla, which became C&H Photo in 2005. Leon and his employees are all highly experienced, and each worked in the industry before moving on to C&H Photo. Leon himself has worked in the field for 31 years, and David has done underwater photography since 1972.
Learn from the Experts
Though the store is well known for its in-depth underwater photography involvement, one of the best things about C&H Photo is their plethora of photography classes and workshops: they can teach you how to shoot architecture, landscape, underwater, your pets, your kids; how to use GoPros, iPhones, iPods, and iPads. All of the courses are very hands-on, and are often held outdoors with knowledgeable guest experts. An added bonus: if you buy a new camera (point and shoot or DSLR) at C&H, they’ll offer you a free introductory class on how to use it.
On November 17, they will be hosting a Girl Scout Junior Digital Photographers Badge Workshop where participating girl scouts will have the chance to earn a Junior Digital Photographers Badge. Plus, stay tuned for a special event happening sometime in December: it will be co-hosted with ProRituals Salon across the street, and customers will learn how to shoot professional hair and makeup models.
Turning Camera Owners into Photographers
There aren’t many camera stores willing to take their business abroad, but that’s just another part of C&H’s exceptional service: some of C&H’s staff members are part of the San Diego Underwater Photography Society and truly take their expertise to the next level. Once a year, team members will travel to various places around the world (Indonesia, Asia, Mexico, Bali) to focus on one specific aspect of photography – almost like an in-depth, extended instruction course on a particular photographic element.
A store’s success is measured in part by its longtime, regular customer base. The fact that Leon has been with many customers from their very first camera purchase to the latest, more sophisticated equipment is testament to his dedication to customer service. Leon and his combined staff have an incredible amount of knowledge and experience; using that, their goal is to make better photographers out of regular people with everyday, affordable cameras.
Check their website regularly for updates and information.
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