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Focusing on solutions

Photo center aims to help local shutterbugs

Posted: July 23, 2009 10:11 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Photographer David Saffir leads a Photoshop-based workshop recently on portrait retouching at the SCV Center for Photography. Saffir focuses on commercial, portrait and fine art photography.

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Saugus residents Mel and Karen Carll are fulfilling a dream and helping their fellow photographers in the process.

Saturday is the grand opening of the 3,700-square-foot Santa Clarita Valley Center for Photography, where the pair are offering gallery space plus studio, office and equipment rentals.

The idea was born out of both Karen's desire to open a business and a perceived need among local photographers, Mel said.

"For this valley, it gives people a little bit of everything," he said last week, as the center's first scheduled photoshoot was under way in the expansive studio space.

A major focus for the Carlls is offering workshops for every level of photographer.

The goal for the first year, Mel said, "is to offer constant workshops that the local photographers want."

Additionally, he hopes to see shutterbugs be able to get the training they need to advance to the next level.

Several local photographers have partnered with the center to host the workshops.

Earlier this week, David Saffir guided about a dozen photo enthusiasts through a tutorial on touching up portraits using Adobe Photoshop.

Other workshops on the center's schedule will cover topics including portrait lighting, landscape photography, digitally saving old photographs and using Photoshop to design and create photo books.

The Carlls are members of the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association. Mel said the pair started getting into picture-taking more than 2 1/2 years ago.

Mel formerly worked in finance, and Karen was a corporate trainer for Wells Fargo.

Photography, he said, "is a good relief from the corporate world. It's a whole different aspect."

In addition to renting out studio time, the center also rents out equipment, including backdrops, lights and some camera gear.

A private office is available to rent for photographers who need a place to work or meet with clients, and the main entry area includes gallery space.

Mel was not too concerned about starting up a new business while the country is still in a recession.

"The economy is starting to turn," he said. "Any new business is a risk. While it's a risk, it's our passion as well."

The SCV Center for Photography is located at 28368 Constellation Road, Suite 340. For more information, call (661) 904-2092 or visit


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