Foto Centre was founded in 1953 by Max Schmidt, a photographer who trained in Switzerland. When he emigrated to South Africa he fell in love with the picturesque town full of lakes and settled in Benoni, where he started Foto Centre in the centre of the town.
The earlier years saw Foto Centre as a professional Black and White photo lab and camera store, offering developing and printing services to industrial clients, professional photographers and the general public.
A few years later, colour film reached the South African market, and the lab was upgraded to include colour printing. Though their typically German attitude to doing everything right or not at all, Foto Centre soon gained a reputation for providing the best colour printing quality available on the East Rand.
With increasing crime in central city areas, Foto Centre moved to it's suburban location in 1995, also upgrading to an automated colour printing minilab two years later. As this opened up more space, a professional photo studio was set up the following year.
With the advent of digital photography, we upgraded to a digital minilab in 2004 and added a large format printer later in the year, effectively eliminating the need for the wet darkrooms that had served the business for over 50 years.
Effective use of the digital technology in place has seen the introduction of a wide variety of new products and services, the most exciting of which are the "photobook" albums introduced in late 2007. These beautiful books combine the latest digital printing technology with the age-old art of book-binding to produce long lasting coffee table books.
Also very popular, especially for gifts, are the beautiful canvas prints, which we also offer stretched over a "box" frame ready for hanging, as well as offering a service to reproduce original paintings of printed canvas.
In May 2015 the business in Western Extension was closed, and Digital Imaging Services set up in Northmead to address the needs of modern digital imaging. At the same time we retired our chemical printing lab and installed a new all digital "Dry-lab" printer, offering reduced power consumption and short startup time with instant dry, waterproof prints.
This quiet suburban location is far more suited to photography than the traditional mall setting where the "typical" one-hour labs are found, and allows for a relaxed atmosphere and "while-you-wait" service for smaller orders.
Due to disappearing volumes and difficulties in finding chemicals at small enough packing sizes, we discontinued film processing at the beginning of 2020, ending 67 years of supporting analogue photography.
New developments taking place in the photographic world continue to provide new challenges and opportunities. We thus expect to continue to see advances in technology and new products to offer our clients over the next few decades.