Fashion / Beauty

Famed Photography Studio Makes a Big Fort Worth Move — Gittings Reaffirms Its Commitment to Cowtown

More Than 90 Years of Documenting North Texas' History Makers

BY // 11.24.21

Established in 1928 by Paul Gittings, Sr. in the penthouse of the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas, Gittings is one of the most trusted names in portraiture. The company’s history is intertwined with notable Fort Worth figures and families. Recently Gittings decided to make a big move from its Camp Bowie location, where it stood for the past 27 years.

Gittings has opened a new larger Fort Worth studio at 3124 W. 5th Street, which allows it to enhance the full-service portraiture process that its loyal customers have come to expect.

Much of Gittings’ history is rooted in giving back to the communities it calls home.

“Through our locations in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, Gittings has donated millions to nonprofit organizations in these areas through in-kind services and financial gifts,” says Rick Bettinger, president and owner of Gittings in Dallas and Fort Worth. “Some of our core partners in Tarrant County include The Jewel Charity Ball, The Junior League of Fort Worth, The Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, The Fort Worth Symphony, The Fort Worth Opera, Safe Haven and JDRF.”

The exterior and added courtyards at the new studio at 3124 West 5th in Fort Worth.

Bettinger talks about this and more with PaperCity Fort Worthincluding how the new 5th Avenue Studio will move Gittings forward for years to come:

PaperCity: How does the new 5th Avenue Studio space expand Gittings portraiture options?

Elizabeth Anthony

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Rick Bettinger:  In addition to being almost 1,000 square feet larger than the previous studio, Gittings’ new space offers significantly more natural light for the team of esteemed photographers to utilize in place of or alongside their lighting equipment.

The new location also features two courtyards that provide outdoor portrait settings on-site, which was not previously available in the former studio. Vaulted ceilings, a larger camera room and larger presentation room where clients view their images all contribute to a more enhanced customer experience.

Gittings has photographed many celebrities as well including Pilar and John Wayne.

PC: How else will the space be utilized?

RB: Last month, Gittings was pleased to host more than 100 women from the Jewel Charity Ball in our new location. We also created a portrait of the Junior League Rodeo Committee with 35 people. Both of these activities would have been more difficult in our former studio due to its size and layout.

Our new location, and specifically our new camera room, makes a fantastic space for entertaining our nonprofit partners and clients.

PC: What expertise or insights have you gained through your camera lens over your 25-plus years with the company?

RB: The transformation of style, equipment and skill in the portrait photography business that I have witnessed through my 29 years with Gittings is astounding. I started my career with film cameras – no computers or fancy technology. Now, the industry has obviously progressed to become fully digital and high tech.

Gittings was a leader in portrait innovation when our founder and namesake, Paul Gittings, Sr., started the business more than 90 years ago, and we remain a leader today. Maybe one of these days, I’ll write a book about the changes I’ve witnessed through my camera lens.

Gittings – a bride from 60s
Gittings has been a part of so many milestones. Here a bride from 60s.

PC : What part does Gittings portraiture play in the lives of local families?

RB: We’re grateful that this process gives us the opportunity to build relationships with local families and capture some of the biggest milestones in their lives – whether graduating from high school, welcoming a baby, or becoming an executive.

One of the most tangible ways to describe this is through our Birthday Club offering. Members receive a beautiful storybook of a child’s youth from age 1 to 18 in a customized leather-bound photo album. From their favorite stuffed animal to passion for sports, we capture their interests each year and get to watch them grow up.

It’s truly an honor and a unique experience to photograph a child from a young age all the way through their life milestones to adulthood – sometimes even capturing photos of their own children as they continue to grow with Gittings.

Gittings has produced many family heirloom portraits like this couple amongst their azaleas in the late 50s.

 

PC: Now that everyone has a camera phone, what is it about a professional sitting and portrait that makes it more relevant than ever?

RB: Despite the changing landscape of photography, our purpose has not changed. Gittings captures precious memories for individuals and families through exceptional portrait photography. Gittings portraits are meaningful works of art that provide a valuable and cherished statement to the decor of your home.

While we recognize there is a place for digital images, the desire to capture and display memories in a tangible way will never change. From wardrobe and lighting to decor and personality, our photographers dedicate the time to get to know our clients and understand a comprehensive overview of their vision before they ever pick up the camera.

Gittings new studio at 3124 West 5th.

PC: How is the modern Fort Worth studio a game changer for your historic company ― moving it into the next generation of clients?

RB: This new space opens doors for us to expand and enhance our client experience and deepen our roots in the community. It’s a symbol of our commitment to Fort Worth and the families that power this area – and proof that our legacy of more than 90 years is here to stay.

We’ve had the pleasure of photographing some of the most successful and philanthropic individuals in Fort Worth and beyond. And we’re excited to continue being woven into those stories as the next generation of movers and shakers emerge.

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