A former teacher with a passion for photography, Argha Dutta launched St Helens Photo Studio on Westfield Street back in 2012.
Predominantly working solo over the past nine years, Argha has worked with hundreds of clients to document their most memorable days; from weddings and birthdays to family portraits and the start of new businesses.
The Photo Studio, which also prints and frames photographs and offers passport pictures from its Westfield Street hub, is the only industry-recognised photography business by the British Institute of Professional Photography in St Helens.
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Argha, from Prescot, said: “I’ve worked on a real variety of shoots over the years, but I always try to show people in their best light and make their self-confidence better.
“Sometimes people are self-conscious when getting their picture taken and tense up, so I’ve had a saying over the years for people to be their own celebrity, and try to make them feel like a celebrity for a day.”
Although the industry recognition has brought greater respect to the Photo Studio and improved Argha’s standard of work, the 45-year-old said it has been difficult to manage the business following the difficulties of the pandemic, cost of living crisis, and declining foot traffic on Westfield Street.
With the majority of Argha’s trade coming from online sales, he suggested that subsidised or free parking in the town centre, improved connectivity to retail parks, and appropriate investment from the council’s regeneration plans could be ways to improve the desperately needed foot traffic in the town centre.
However, Argha is confident that by priding the business on his personal touch, he will be able to sustain the Photo Studio and continue to battle with big-name photography brands.
Argha, 45, added: “Things have definitely dropped off since the cost of living crisis, but people still want to have that special day photographed and remembered.
“I pride myself on knowing each customer by name and remembering a little detail about them, and this helps me take on the big names like Max Spielman.
“Things are tough for everyone at the minute, so I’m just focusing on getting through this year and preparing for 2024 with new ideas and marketing techniques.”