It’s not hard to see why Focal Point has been in business for so long.
Michele Giacacchi and Marisa Miller, two sisters who run a business, may be two of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. It’s not hard to keep people smiling with the wise and familial vibe that the studio exudes.
“These two are highly regarded not only by people in the community, but by clients who come here,” said Sarah Mitchell, a photographer who has been in the business since her school days. “They are like celebrities. They are so gracious and kind to their community and treat their clients like family.”
The studio has been at its current downtown location since 1987, but it first opened its doors in 1973. Focal Point also opened a studio in Plymouth in 1991.
Focal Point will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023. This is a feat achieved by a few small businesses. The studio will honor its staff with a banquet, offering 50% off family portrait sessions and $50 off orders, year-round.
The sisters love Farmington, and from the sound of it, Farmington loves them back.
“Would you really have graduated from FPS if you hadn’t had a focal point take your senior photo?” said Farmington Hills resident Eddie Bellamy.
Focal Point targets most of its marketing to high school seniors, returning when they have had a good experience, get married, have children, celebrate anniversaries, and eventually have high school seniors of their own. I’m betting on the idea that it will come.
One such customer is Farmington Mayor Sarah Bowman. Bowman had her graduation photo taken at her focal point in 1991 and kept coming back again and again.
“I’ve had countless portraits from the focal point over the years,” she said. , from my son’s 2020 South Farmington Baseball photo, to my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary portrait taken last year.
Jakaki, the studio’s general manager, says photographing the elderly is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
“A lot of high school girls are very insecure,” she said. So when a mother tells me she made her daughter feel better about herself, it’s a reward.
One resident said that’s exactly the effect the focal point had on her daughter.
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“The photographers had a way of breaking her out of her shell and making her feel beautiful and confident,” said Andrea Grigola Brooke. Because she feels so much better, you can see it in every photo.”
Always willing to try new things
When Jakacki’s late husband, Jerzi, opened Focal Point in 1973, he wanted to create a way for fresh, young eyes to hide behind the lens. The studio runs an internship program for 16-year-old students all the time.
“We’ve been in the industry for so long that we’ve always relied on spark plugs coming in and lighting us up,” said Miller, director of photography. I think that’s what keeps us open: we’re open to fresh ideas and we’re not afraid to learn at our age.”
True to its spirit, Focal Point was one of the first studios in the United States to embrace digital photography. Kodak chose them to pioneer the format in the late 1990s because of the size and skill of the studio.
“Our peers said, ‘Oh, it’s a fad. I don’t know why they’re investing in digital. It’s going to come and go,'” Miller said. and pioneered it locally.”
witness life’s big moments
Miller estimates that Focal Point has shot between 1,200 and 1,500 weddings. She said they redid the bride’s hairstyle and lent her jewelry to people.
Jakacki remembers offering to reshoot the wedding after the lens he used on his wedding day broke down.
“The bride and groom were really upset at first,” she said. “But when the actual day came, it was a lot of fun because we weren’t in a hurry. It was a photo-only party day. The bride and groom were so excited to photograph everyone at the bridal party wedding.” became.”
The studio was also there to capture those moments when people felt the need to come together.
“When 9/11 happened, our family got very close,” said Miller. “Families realized they needed to grab their belongings and take pictures.
“A big family came over and my son was working at the World Trade Center in New York. That morning his buddy asked him to eat breakfast and go to work late. What they did was come here to take pictures.”
They say their studio is like family too. It’s clear that the sisters love their staff and thank Farmington for always being there for them.
“Farmington was very kind and loyal,” Jakaki said. “It’s just a house.”
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Please contact reporter Shelby Tankersley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-305-0448. follow her on her twitter @shelby_tankk.