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SPOA Member Profile: Inter-State Studio

Guy Snyder

Inter-State Studio is a family-owned school photography and yearbook company that has been successfully serving schools for 90 years.

By listening to the needs of its customers and utilizing the latest technologies, Inter-State prides itself on providing high-quality school portraits and yearbooks with affordable pricing and excellent service.

In 1933, Guy Snyder began selling a new concept to principals at local schools: individual school pictures taken in the school building rather than a single outside group photo. Parents would not have to pay before the pictures were taken and were not required to buy the pictures.

A photography industry leader

Inter-State Studio "Black Beauty" printer

Inter-State Studio quickly became a leader in school photography. In the 1940s, Inter-State’s “Black Beauty” printers were built and manufactured in-house (these were used at Inter-State for more than half a century). These printers allowed Inter-State to introduce photo packages by using a cluster of lenses over a single negative to produce a group of prints of various sizes.

Inter-State also invented several school products. The company originated the classroom composite: Each child’s photo had to be cut and pasted by hand on a layout board, according to class size. This led to assembling the classroom composites for an entire school to create a “composite album” (now known as an elementary yearbook). These composite albums included faculty, composites of each class, and photos of activities and organizations in the 1950s.

In the 1960s - 70s, Guy built a camera that handled color and black-and-white film, leading Inter-State to become one of the first companies in the photo industry to install computerized production.

In 1982, Inter-State began one of its most well-received and life-changing service programs - Operation Child ID. Executives were inspired to create change after the 1981 kidnapping and murder of six-year-old Adam Walsh. Inter-State used their current photos of children to create photo/fingerprint identification cards.

Celebrating 50-Year Milestone

In 1983, Guy Snyder was inducted into the Honor Roll of American Entrepreneurs, along with then Vice-President George H.W. Bush, by the National Free Enterprise Center at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.

Guy Snyder passed away Aug. 14, 1988. His wife, Mary Alice Snyder, briefly took over the company in 1988. In 1991, Guy’s son, Aric Snyder Sr., took over becoming the owner of Inter-State Studio.

An early classroom composite

When Aric Sr. took over, the 1990s were the “Dawn of Digital.” To get involved in data, Inter-State introduced new software programs to schools. Both “ImageWare” and the SchoolDex Photo CD (a program that allowed school personnel to view basic student information and photos) were school administrative software that became vital to organizing student data.

Also during the 1990s, Inter-State adopted the VerifHigh camera-card processing system. This system automated the process of acquiring data from camera cards.

Spring portraits, now one of Inter-State’s leading products, began in 1997-98 almost by accident. During one spring, when a few students were absent for school pictures, their retakes were done outdoors with them standing by a tree with full-length poses. The pictures were a success and led to increased sales and additional exposure in schools.

In the early 2000s, Inter-State introduced several new, personalized ideas for the company. Pixkapow was created as a website for families who purchased products. Autograph Capture was created to include the child’s handwritten signature printed on pictures. Proofs were personalized flyers that showed available poses and themes. Inter-State was also the first national school photography company to launch green screen technology.

In 2017, Aric Snyder Sr. transferred the ownership duties of the company to his son, Aric Snyder Jr. (CEO), his daughter Leslie Nashed (CFO), and daughter Staci Middleton (with son-in-law, Dave Middleton as COO).

The new ownership of Inter-State looks forward to holding the ideals of what Guy Snyder envisioned for the company and focuses on the following core values: people, integrity, innovation, and quality.

Inter-State is proud to be a founding member of SPOA, with employees Aric Snyder Jr., Jen Volcko and David Lake serving in multiple board positions.

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