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School Photographers' Association Launched

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

The recently formed nonprofit plans to develop standardized policies for school photography companies, work to protect the integrity of the industry, be an industry representative at state and national government levels, and educate others on image copyright laws


GREENSBORO, N.C., July 8, 2020 ( - Schools shutting down this past March due to COVID-19 meant, among many other things, no more school picture days – and with that, another industry was left scrambling to survive. Responding to the effect not only on his employer but on the entire industry, David Crandall, then director of sales and marketing for Strawbridge Studios, Inc., began reaching out to other school photography companies to discuss forming a trade association solely dedicated to their industry. Of the largest school photography companies in the country, all but two decided to participate in what recently evolved into School Photographers of America (SPOA).  In just the last few months SPOA’S membership has grown significantly, thanks to these founding members who came together to form and fund it: Cady Studios, Dorian Studio, GPI, HR Imaging Partners, Inter-State Studio & Publishing Co., Photo Texas Photography, Leonard’s, Strawbridge Studios Inc., Visual Image Photography, Wagner Portrait Group and David Crandall. The LLC they initially formed is now a 501C-6 non-profit business association. Crandall, who lives with his family in Greensboro, North Carolina, has been selected to serve as SPOA’s executive director. He plans to open an office by this October with support staff who will be dedicated to focusing on the health and vitality of school photography. Besides capturing a student’s image for their family’s personal remembrance, school pictures are relied on for other major reasons, including ID and safety cards, student directories for administrators and school resource officers. Pictures of individual students, sports teams, clubs, class photos and event photos are also vital when producing annual yearbooks, and become an important part of the school’s recorded history.   Crandall and SPOA intend to focus on protecting the integrity of the school photography industry while working with state and federal legislatures to ensure the school photography tradition is secure for generations to come.  SPOA will create standards and policies similar to those adopted by the insurance industry and the music industry to protect the services they offer and ensure their consistency. They’ll also educate schools and districts throughout the country about the illegal use of images without permission and sharing student data with 3rd parties. As he transitions out of a long career in corporate America, Crandall said he is excited to lead a nonprofit focused on helping all companies in the school photography industry. After graduating from Clemson University in 2001, Crandall moved to Greensboro to run his first school photography operation for Lifetouch National School Studios. In 2007 he transitioned out of the local field division into Lifetouch’s corporate office.  Crandall and his family moved back to North Carolina years later, when he accepted the position of director of marketing and sales for Strawbridge Studios Inc.   “I could not be more excited about serving for the greater good of the industry and working in the non-profit world,” Crandall said. “My vision is to someday build an educational facility that not only supports school photographers nationwide, but will be a great local and national resource for educators. I look forward to serving not only my industry, but the Greensboro community now that I will be traveling much less than in the days when I was in national sales.” SPOA will temporarily be based out of the new Next Generation Academy (NGA) in Greensboro. NGA’s founder, Dr. Sam Misher, is a lifetime educator who became friends with Crandall over 20 years ago when Crandall managed a local school photography studio. When Misher retired from Guilford County Schools to build and operate a charter school, Crandall served on the school’s board of directors. Initially operating out of a school building is appropriate, Crandall said, since the school photography industry is built on its relationships with schools.

To learn more about SPOA, visit or email David Crandall at

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