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New business puts photos on 'stuff'

BY KEITH LACEY As a professional photographer for a quarter century, Ray Bernstein knows better than most a picture speaks at least a thousand words.

As a professional photographer for a quarter century, Ray Bernstein knows better than most a picture speaks at least a thousand words.

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The name of Ray Bernstein's new business, Photosonstuff, located in the former Bay Used Books location on Lasalle, sums up the nature of the enterprise perfectly.
The owner of Northern Sports Photography for the past 15 years, Bernstein, 48, is hoping the proliferation of digital photography will translate into a successful new business venture he's called Photosonstuff.

Located at 664 Lasalle Blvd., in the former Bay Used Books location, the name of Bernstein's new business venture says a lot. Using digital photgraphy, images and computer software, Bernstein and his staff can transpose photo images onto "stuff," including clocks, tiles, T-shirts, jewelry, blankets, candy tins, place mats, coasters, pet tags, puzzles and seat cushions.

"When it comes to photography, paper is boring," said Bernstein. "There will always be a place for traditional photography, but the new digital age means you can take an image and your imagination and the sky is the limit."

Using sophisticated software, Bernstein's retail outlet showcases numerous items he's confident will prove popular with customers. Included are pictures of youngsters' faces on clocks, photographs of lakefront scenescapes transposed inside decorative picture frames and charm bracelets showcasing pictures of loved ones.

"With the digital revolution, almost everyone has a digital camera and computer," said Bernstein. "Our business is all about taking digital photographs, or any digital image for that matter, and placing them on anything the customer might come up with."

The price range for items will range from $9 for a dog tag to more than $1,200 for a full floor mural, said Bernstein.

"The client tells me what they want, we will work with them and give them what they want," he said.

Bernstein expects a lot of his business will involve parents and grandparents taking pictures of their children and grandchildren and having them transposed onto household items such as clocks, T-shirts and furniture.

Pictures of family pets, favourite garden settings and vehicles can just as easily be transposed onto tiles, T-shirts or murals, he said.

The new location will also allow Bernstein and his staff of eight, including his wife Sue, to continue to expand Northern Sports Photography, which specializes in team pictures of amateur minor hockey and soccer teams across Greater Sudbury and Ontario.

If the business takes off, Bernstein plans to expand Photosonstuff to Manitoulin Island, North Bay and one or two other locations in the next couple of years.

"Franchising is definitely part of our plans," he said.

Northern Sports Photography started in 1991 with Bernstein using his photography skills to take action shots of youngsters playing hockey, baseball and soccer in North Bay and Sudbury.

He expanded using word of mouth and contacts, and soon had dozens of clients across Ontario.

Last year, Bernstein had contracts to photograph youngsters from 32 minor hockey and soccer organizations across Ontario. He also photographs several major dog shows across Ontario and the United States each year.

The advent of digital photography means there are many more competitors in the sports photography field. Bernstein admits to being tired from years of travelling to shoot minor sports teams, so he hopes to pour many more hours into Photosonstuff and use freelance photographers more often to operate Northern Sports Photography.

Photosonstuff is open noon until 8 pm Monday to Friday and noon until 5 pm on Saturday.

For more information, call Bernstein or a member of his staff at 524-1924.