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Jeff Delacruz (NTHS '99) - Photographer

Jeff DelacruzMaking products look appealing to the eye is crucial in today’s high-tech world, where there are endless options available. Meet a North Thurston Alumni who followed his passion and turned his hobby of photography into a successful career and business.

Jeff Delacruz, graduate of North Thurston High School (class of 1999), is the co-owner of Products on White Photography, which is based out of Chicago. He also attended Lydia Hawk Elementary in second grade. “I’ve been a photographer my whole life,” said Delacruz. “There are actually photos of me with a lens cap in my mouth as a baby and to my credit, I won first place in the 2nd-grade photography contest at Lydia Hawk Elementary school.”

Products on White is a company that specializes in photographing commercial images at reasonable prices. “We saw an opportunity and created a photography business model that allows us to manage 100’s of orders at a time,” explains Delacruz. “We wanted customers to get the same high quality photography they would get from a traditional photographer but easily, quickly and at half the price.”

Currently, Delacruz mostly manages the business opposed to doing photography. He has created an ordering system that has changed the way people can order commercial photography, has designed the look of the website and has crafted the user experience. “Photography was always about creating something beautiful, and today I find a lot of beauty in creating a business model that is loved by our customers and easy to use.”

“Photography was really different back in 1998 when it was all on film,” explains Delacruz. “In the darkroom, photography is a slow and meditative process. Carefully capturing each image at the decisive moment is a powerful feeling, like you’re making a memory permanent. I took Mr. Bell’s photography course, both beginning and then advanced, in my senior year. It was in those darkrooms that I first fell in love with the process.”

Delacruz uses many skills in his career today including, math, typing and excel. “As I progressed along my career, photography transformed into a business for me. I never really imagined I would actually own a business one day and utilize these skills.”

“At North Thurston, Kevin Gary and I would hustle Otis Spunkmeyer cookies during lunch,” Delacruz reminisces on the days when he and Gary were both members of Future Business Leaders of America (FLBA). He was into theater, working on the tech crew and even performing in a few plays with North Thurston Theater Instructor, Kathrine Deneen. He got to experiment with the sound and lighting for the productions. “I began to realize that light is more than just lighting up a room, so you can see, it can create emotion and tell a story,” said Delacruz.

According to Delacruz, photography is at the end of its lifecycle and is a bad field to start out in right now. “There is a lot of competition and demand is slowing. If you want to be a photographer, you should plan on minoring in it as a part of a degree in marketing and expect to get a job at a smaller company as a director of marketing while doing photography as one of the many parts of your job.” He explains that in the future, 3D object creation is going to become more important with the advent of Augmented Reality glasses. “In 5 years, everyone will put down their iPhones and will be wearing special 3d glasses,” said Delacruz. “If you really want to get in on the action, start pursuing 3D Rendering as a profession; it’s going to be what photography was 20 years ago and what video is now.”

When Delacruz is not working, he enjoys exploring Chicago’s vast restaurant scene. “There is always something new to try and enjoy with friends,” he said.

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