Sight & Sound Studios offers web design, stock photography, photography, photo editing, music lessons, and piano tuning & repair in and near Southern Alberta, Canada. Here is our story.
Although Sight & Sound Studios was officially launched in August 2022, the story began long before then.
Dave Mitchell’s passion for photography began in 1997 when he bought his first film SLR. You can read that story on his stock photography website.
His life changed forever when he met Susan (Sue) in 1999 and married her in 2000. An avid shutterbug married somebody who is totally camera-shy and she has been a most reluctant subject ever since. When their kids came along in the mid 2000’s, Sue breathed a sigh of relief as Dave turned his attention almost squarely onto chasing them around with a camera instead. Thankfully, his daughter has always been a most willing subject.
Dave first learned about web design in 2003. He had to stay one step ahead of the students he had suddenly inherited from a teacher on maternity leave. ‘What the heck does HTML stand for?’ It didn’t matter. He had to learn it AND THEN teach it the very next day.
Starting with manual HTML coding, he later re-designed a couple of school websites and then created his first commercial site while working at an employment agency.
What started out as a must-do eventually became a passion. Dave dabbled over the years with creating other websites while improving his skills on different platforms, most while probing different business ventures when, in late 2015, he was asked by an uncle to re-design his business website. Dave managed to put him off until 2018 because he had been intimidated by the idea of designing a commercial website outside the safety of working for somebody else. (Actually, he thought the result would SUCK and that his uncle wouldn’t want to pay for it.)
However, after researching a design platform, Dave re-designed Label-It and – to his complete surprise – his uncle was wildly impressed, simple as the site is. But, his uncle didn’t want “fancy” and Dave believed in respecting the client’s wishes. Being humble, but more so unsure of his skills at the time, Dave figured that a blind monkey could have designed a better site than the previous one.
But the Label-It project marked another first. Dave asked his uncle if he could use his photography skills to take all of the site photos. He reasoned that he could save his uncle hundreds of dollars versus buying generic stock photos. Plus, those unique photos would give his site a unique edge – no other site would have those same photos. His uncle was reluctant at first, thinking it would be a big hassle and a bigger expense. But the hassle and cost were minimal and those photos are the main reasons why his uncle was very impressed with the site. (Actually, Dave was quite pumped about them himself.) Little did Dave know at the time how helpful this idea would be in the future.
Dave’s uncle figured that he could start an official web design business, but he decided to ignore his uncle’s wisdom and play it safe.
Dave lost some key people in his life between 2015 and the spring of 2022. While thinking about how so many of them lived in fear of taking risks or living out dreams because of other fears, like failure or ridicule, Dave realized at that point that he had let fear keep him from promoting the photography and web design skills that he had developed over many years. He decided to stand in the face of these fears and put his skills ‘out there’ instead of people always approaching him.
Dave began intense research into a web design platform that was better suited to the interests of clients than the one he had used for the 2018 Label-It re-design. Once he found one, and after more intensive research to learn it, he began the process of designing the Sight & Sound site and launched it in August 2022.
In December 2022, after some acquaintance with the owners of HomeTime BBQ & Bakery (and a few servings of brisket), Dave was asked to design an entirely new site after some not-very-good experiences with their previous web designer and problems with their site. He also took all but a couple of photos for the site. Within 2 months, their new site was averaging 600 clicks from Google Search per month (with a brand new URL/web address) in a local market of less than 20,000 people. This was the springboard that the “sight” side of our business needed.
Dave refers to Sue as currently being the main “sound” in Sight & Sound Studios. Her lifelong love of music is described here, but suffice it to say that hardly a moment goes by without Sue singing, humming, or listening to music in her home. And like Dave, there’s probably always a song playing in her mind when she’s away from music.
Her advice regarding Sight & Sound has been invaluable. First, she came up with the name and therefore birthed the idea of this being more than about web design and photography. She also gives artistic feedback about website designs. Her suggestions about color and animation are most useful. If what we produce can be called “creative content,” then Dave is the “content” and Sue is the “creative.”
Otherwise, she is regarded by not just her family as being a fantastic cook and baker. She can also sew almost any garment from scratch. She also restores furniture and continually re-designs their home space. Essentially, anyone familiar with Proverbs chapter 31 in the Bible is reading her biography.
Sue is intensely passionate about anything she pursues and also intensely loyal. This business would not be what it is without her, let alone Dave and her family.