Small Photo Business of the day: SugarHill Works

Small Photo Business of the day: SugarHill Works


I don’t know about you, but I’m consistently perplexed about what to do about labs. I process my negatives at a different place every time, it seems, because someone is always letting me down and giving me dust or high prices or attitude. So when I realized I needed to start scanning my negatives to make digital c-prints, I felt completely overwhelmed and frozen. And I’m still frozen! My negatives are still in their sleeves! But I am intrigued by this SugarHill Works, because I keep hearing things about them from the people who are in the know.

The rumor I heard was that a few photographers banded together, bought an Imacon scanner, and now make nice scans for people for cheap. I called one of the co-owners, Dan Weisser, to see if this rumor had any validity. And it is, basically. Dan met his partner, Jenny Burgos (who are both in their thirties), when they were both senior staff at Print Space, and they were toiling away. Then they got to thinking “hey, you know what? we can do this ourselves!” And so they did. They plunked down 20 grand for an Imacon 949 (maybe not all at once, it’s a lease, but still) and started making scans for folks. Good scans, for cheap. Most of their scanning clients are photographers who are shooting
editorial, or needs hi-res images for stock sites, or are making
digital c-prints. It’s pretty nice to be able to call up and speak to the person who’s working on your file. SugarHill Works is located in Harlem, but they pick-up and deliver. Dan jokes that he’s the owner of the company, as well as the messenger.

So how much does it cost? A 50mb, 300dpi, hand-dusted scan= $15.

I called Duggal to get a quote for the same thing. After a bunch of phone transfers, I got an answer: 50 bucks. Um, that’s a lot more expensive. It costs a lot to keep a wet-lab running, after all.

Now SugarHill is doing website design as well, and a bunch of other things. Go see. There are four partners all together; Ciel Mahoney and Tan-ya Gerrodette round out the crew. They’re all photographers who have been working in the industry since college.

Anyway, food for thought. Yay for small photo businesses.

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There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Eric Hamilton at 11:18 am

    Well, the scans sound like a good deal, but looking at the website packages, it looks like they’re pretty much clueless about how the web works in 2008. That copy looks like it came straight out of 1997 — prices and all.

  2. geoff hutchinson at 8:51 am

    Or if you really want cheap fully professional scans you can go to Print Space were you will be taught how to DIY on the Hasselblad X-5 scanner (the successor to the Imacon 949) with full time tech support from there on in. 50 meg scans at 300 dpi will end up costing as low as $5.00 once you get in a groove. Plus you don’t have to wait, and you know what you are getting and have got when you leave. Our helpful staff always there to assist.

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