12,500 Schools and Counting: Leonard’s Jim Klein After 25 Years on the Job

A year on the job for Leonard’s photographer Jim Klein includes 70 overnight trips, 500 schools visited, and 10,000 students photographed. It sounds exhausting to the average worker, but Jim wouldn’t have it any other way. “I definitely like my job” he says of the job he’s held with Leonard’s since 1989. After being on the job for nearly 25 years, “I’ve done it all,” Jim says. “Seniors, underclassmen, groups, candids, sports, formals… I’ve had fun as a photographer.”

Jim has been having fun as photographer since he was 13 years old, when he first started seriously practicing with a camera. He grew up moving from base to base with his US Air Force father, and later followed in those military footsteps. Jim served in the US Army for ten years from 1979-89. His passion for photography and love of travel made being a school photographer an easy career choice when he retired from the Army.

“I’ve never minded travel,” he says, but for Jim, the best part of his job is working with the students. “The kids are great,” he says. “It’s easy because they listen and take direction… They want good pictures, too. It all keeps you happy.”

When we asked him what he thought about parents having increased access to digital photography equipment, Jim was quick to dismiss concerns. “Yes, technology has changed and the customer expects to get their photos sooner, but families will always want a professional portrait with a nice background to watch their students grow up.” He believes the foundation of school photography is providing the highest quality photo at an affordable price: “It’s what we’ve always set out to do at Leonard’s.”

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