Shoeboxes full of photos give way to CDs

Business adapting to changing technology of photography.


Sunday February 5, 2006


Mitch Goldstone and Carl Berman are helping families save years of cherished memories quicker than say, a camera flash.

Since 1990, 30 Minute Photos Etc. has been serving amateur and professional clients with their photo needs, but times have changed in the photo world – going from film to digital – and that meant Goldstone and Berman had to change, too.

“Business has definitely changed due to digital cameras and I discovered that as a business owner, you need to acknowledge those changes,” Goldstone, president of the company said. “The business has shifted from a solid film base to one that is 100 percent digital.”



And these days, they can turn shoeboxes of treasured photos into archived 300 DPI digital images for $79.50 (per 1,000 images). And it’s done in minutes, while you wait, or the CD will be mailed back the same business day, nationwide. Using Kodak’s most advanced high-speed commercial scanners and Kodak Capture Software, family photos are kept on CDs, not in shoeboxes.

“Nearly every family has shoeboxes full of photos and this is the perfect way to get them all together,” Goldstone said. Once the images are scanned, customers can use them to order photo postage stamps through the Web site. Out-of-town friends and relatives can then order their own photos with same-day service from

“The convenience factor is overwhelming,” Goldstone said, “because any size photo — from tiny wallet pictures on onionskin thin paper to 11-by 17-inch enlargements are all scanned together, instantly.” Goldstone says it’s the natural evolution from film photography, which created those shoeboxes of photos, to digital photography, which typically captures photos on a CD for easy storage and quick access.

“What would take you weeks to accomplish, our online boutique photo services does in seconds,” he said.

Goldstone’s client base has changed from just Irvine residents to military families with family members serving abroad.

“I remember 15 years ago, my business was entirely local,” he said. “Today, I have customers from all over the United States, and as far away as the Middle East. If you had told me 10 years ago that someone from Alaska would be using my services, I would never have believed it.”



Technology continues to evolve quickly in the world of photography.

“Ever since digital cameras came about five years ago, the technology has continued to advance quicker than ever before,” Goldstone said. “This is definitely a cool time to be in the photo world, but I have seen a lot of photo businesses close up shop because they couldn’t go with the changes.”

Business used to rely on the number of film rolls dropped off to be processed.

“People still use film, but very little,” he said. “I think those in the photo business can either watch what is happening or jump on the new technology bandwagon.”

Goldstone will continue to work out of his Irvine location, which he said isn’t some “big factory” because most of the labor is automated.

His store has attracted a number of high-profile clients, Goldstone said, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“We do all of his fundraising photos,” Goldstone said. “We got that job because of how sensitive we are to photos. It has been an honor for us to do the work.”



Last year, Goldstone’s national online photo service founded “Operation Photo” to donate used digital cameras to military families.

He’s at it again this year, and in advance of Valentine’s Day is providing free return shipping to all military families to help soften the distance from those deployed abroad.

Also, 30 Minute Photos Etc. is extending free return shipping to all military families using to preserve photos for sharing with family members abroad.

“It is gratifying to know that we are playing a role in uniting and bringing families together through pictures, because this helps boost moral for troops overseas,” he said.

“On Valentine’s Day, they can’t get chocolate and flowers, but they can open e-mails and instantly view generations of family pictures that we have scanned in for them.”

Article originally appeared in the Irvine World News, link no longer available