About Us

The Arrow Camera Team, from left to right, Kayla, Margrit, Marissa and James

Arrow Photo Today

Arrow Photo is located on the Central Coast just an hours drive north of Santa Barbara. We offer traditional one-hour film processing and printing. Since 1943, Arrow Photo has been on the leading edge of photography by combining a team of expert technicians with state-of-the-art technology. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff works hard to deliver the finest results.

As technology has evolved, so has our shop. Now you can walk in to have photos printed right from your smartphone. Your photographs can be printed on a large variety of materials such as fine art paper, canvas, aluminum, glass and tiles. We also offer other services like custom design, restorations, and passport photos.

We can create, manipulate, restore and enhance your pictures. Arrow Photo also offers professional studio time focusing on general photography, product photography, professional head shots, high school senior portraits, passport, and family photos. Our passionate, professional team is dedicated to providing the best quality and fastest service in town. We will accommodate your small or large projects with services geared to your needs. Nothing leaves our store unless you are 100% satisfied. We treat every order as a custom order without the custom price, so you can trust us to be your one-stop photo shop.

Our knowledgeable team is always available for you, offering support via email, text, phone call, or in person. Arrow Photo takes great pride in our high-quality production, extensive knowledge and friendly, professional service. As leaders in the photo and digital world, we offer the finest results in the shortest time possible. Come in today and we will be happy to assist you!

Arrow Photo Yesterday

Since 1952, Arrow Photo has provided the Central Coast with a variety of customer services, beginning with the initial focus on photo processing.

Arrow Photo’s history extends back as far as 1943, when now-renowned photographer Wynn Bullock opened a commercial photo lab at 120 Church Street in Santa Maria, CA.  Hank Datter purchased the business from Wynn Bullock in 1952, moving Arrow Photo to the old Santa Maria Times building at 207 W. Main Street, where a retail store was formed and photo processing was done in the back. By the late 1950’s, business was booming, and Hank Datter expanded to add color photo processing by adding a facility in Orcutt, CA, located in a former grocery store across the road from Jack’s Restaurant. These larger facilities and growing staff meant Arrow Photo was able to provide film processing for camera and drug stores up and down the Central Coast all the way to King City.

In 1979 Margrit Holmes, the current owner came on board. Born and raised in Germany, Margrit attended photo school in Germany (equivalent to Brooks Institute) and worked in various camera stores prior to going to work for Hank Datter. In 1983, Arrow Photo opened its first one-hour photo-processing lab at Target Shopping Center, with additional one-hour labs added at Acorn Plaza in Orcutt and in Atascadero.

By 1994, with home printers and digital cameras becoming popular, it was time for a change. The one-hour locations were closed, and Arrow Photo moved from 207 West Main to 429 East Main Street where a drive-up window provided customers quicker access to the store than just walking in. With a studio upstairs and a retail camera store and photo lab downstairs, the team was able to provide all photographic services under one roof.

In 2011 Hank Datter died at the age of 90. At that time, Margrit Holmes had worked for Arrow Photo for 32 years and was very dedicated to the company.  Realizing how much the company had meant to Hank and considering how long Arrow Photo had already served the community, Margrit decided to keep the company and its name alive to further provide service to its loyal customer base.  However, in the face of the rapidly changing digital world, she recognized that something would need to happen in order for the business to survive and flourish.  Margrit eliminated the camera store, took the company back to its core of developing and printing and moved the shop to its current location at 700 East Main in Santa Maria, where they are once again serving a growing collection of loyal customers.