Tukwila’s Bruce Hudson changing his business lens

Well-known portrait photographer Bruce Hudson has a new backdrop – Tukwila.

Bruce Hudson

Well-known portrait photographer Bruce Hudson has a new backdrop – Tukwila.

Hudson during the last 30 years or so has photographed thousands of high school seniors and countless families on vacation and in special moments.

He started in Fairwood in 1982 and moved to Benson Road in Renton in 1987. In October he moved his Hudson’s Portrait Design to the Tukwila Commerce Center in Southcenter, where he and his son Josh are expanding their business line.

The Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. Jan. 11.

Much has changed in the photography business in those 30 years. Film has given way to digital photography, which has made it possible for almost anyone to record family events and then share the photos easily.

The recession has forced professional photographers out of business as their longtime customers tightened their belts. To survive, those who remain, such as Hudson, are changing their relationship with the customers.

“We have been diversifying a lot,” he said. And he’s spending more time with each customer.

One of those new business lines are classes in digital photography; Hudson has been teaching photography for about 20 years. Hudson now teaches a basic digital class, but he plans to add intermediate and advanced classes.

His new studio has enough space for about 40 students at a time.

Right now, a whole new generation knows about Photoshop, but not so much about photography, said Josh, who is handling the business and marketing side of the business. That’s where his father comes in, with his 30 years of experience.

Ultimately, the Hudsons see the classes as the first steps toward creating a photographic academy or school.

Some, including Hudson, may suggest that training photographers is like training his competition. But, in fact, he says these students are not only learning about photography but also what he can do as a photographer. They are becoming his clients.

Hudson is expanding his commercial photography, which the Hudsons describe as the fastest-growing part of their business. Their services include portraits and assistance with marketing and websites.

His photo safaris continue; he’s doing an Alaska cruise photo safari next year and will photograph three families in Hawaii in February.

There are the Santa photos, too, in the studio. His son-in-law, Dustin Nicholson, is his Santa.

Hudson is perhaps best known for taking photos of graduating seniors, as many as 300 a year. His Renton studio had a large outdoor portrait park, where students and their families could choose multiple settings.

Now, he photographs about 100 seniors a year, but spends more time with each and at more locations. About 95 percent of their photographs are taken on location.

He’s already search out locations; nearby are parks, the Green River and even the sides of a warehouse, which can take on a whole new meaning in the hands of the right photographer.

“There is a really cool train track and train trestle that the kids are totally digging,” Josh said.

To learn more about Hudson’s Portrait Design online, go to www.hudsonportraits.com. The phone number is 206-687-7283, and the address is 641 Strander Blvd., Tukwila.

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