About Us

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

Arrow Photo Today

Arrow Photo is located in Santa Maria, on the beautiful Central Coast of California. We are a professional photo lab, striving to provide our customers with the highest quality service. We specialize in a number of different service options from film developing, studio photography, video transfers, slide and negative digitizing, photo scanning, designing, restoration, photo printing, canvas printing, metal printing, photo gifts and so much more! At the core of what we do, we recognize that your photos are an extremely valuable part of your life. Our mission is to honor that and produce products that you will love. Our goal is to see our customers smile. With over 70 years of experience, we know how to make your images look there best. Our work is created with skill and pride so you can love the finished results. We pride ourselves on our knowledge and high quality standards. Producing our products in house allows us to have a faster turn around time. We innovate and are continuously striving to bring great new products to our clients. We use the finest materials available. We have the capabilities and equipment to get the job done right, regardless of size or complexity.

No job is to small or to big. We’re here for you!

Our friendly, knowledgeable and dedicated staff are experts in what we do. We are available by phone, text, e-mail and in person. We will always be happy to assist you!

Arrow Photo’s History in our community; 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. Wynn Bullock was an American photographer whose work is included in over 90 major museum collections around the world. 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 black and white 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. The larger facility 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) She has also taken graphic imaging, Adobe Photoshop and management courses at Allan Hancock College and worked in various camera stores since she was a teenager. Her challenges, besides managing a business, are maintaining the equipment and keeping on top of software and technology changes. Her number one priority is maintaining consistent quality, color management, meeting deadlines, and customer service. In 1983, Arrow Photo opened its first one-hour photo-processing lab at the Target Shopping Center in Santa Maria with an additional one-hour labs added at the Acorn Plaza in Orcutt and in Atascadero, also with another camera store in Paso Robles.. 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 to a former bank building where a drive-up window provided customers convenience to the store. With a studio upstairs, a retail camera store and photo lab downstairs, the team was able to provide all photographic services under one roof. At that time the name was changed to Arrow Camera, to give the company more of a camera store image. In 2011 Hank Datter died at the age of 90.

At that time, Margrit Holmes had worked for Arrow Photo/Arrow Camera for 32 years. Realizing how much the company had meant to Hank and considering how long Arrow Photo had already served the community, Margrit decided to keep his legacy alive. However, in the face of the rapidly changing digital world, and with the competitive nature of online shopping she recognized that she needed to eliminated the camera store in order to survive. She also changed the name of the company back to Arrow Photo, to keep the history alive. We are currently located at 700 East Main Suite 102 in Santa Maria.