“The community feels like one big family.”
Russ Strohmeyer was born in Stayton and he grew up nearby. The small town atmosphere is one of the reasons why Russ has stayed to raise a family and build a business here.
“Everyone’s so friendly, the community feels like one big family,” says Russ. “That family feeling extends to newcomers in town too, because everyone makes an effort to be welcoming. I think that’s one of the reasons why people move here.”
2021 marks the 42nd anniversary of Stros opening their business in Stayton. The studio is one of the longest-running small business under the same ownership in Stayton. Stros provides a local service that is unique. In addition to exceptional photography, the studio sits on a 2-acre wooded portrait park with a wide variety of sets and backdrops, including an old cabin, a gazebo, a circular staircase, and an old Chevy pickup to name a few.
Russ got his start in paid photography when he worked part time during high school at the Stayton Mail newspaper. He moved on to the Statesmen Journal before discovering portrait photography. Russ found his passion: “I really enjoy making people feel good about themselves. It’s so rewarding to be able create beautiful portraits that can be enjoyed and cherished for years to come.”
Russ is also a classic car enthusiast. He organizes and runs the Stro’s Wednesday night A&W Cruise-Ins along with the Stayton SummerFest Car Show where he raises funds for the Brent Strohmeyer Memorial Foundation to give scholarships to area graduating high school seniors. He also DJ’s many car shows from Kalama WA to Klamath Falls OR. During the covid 19 lock down, Russ drove around Stayton in his ’41 Chevy truck with DJ trailer in tow, playing uplifting patriotic music. People came out of their homes waving and saluting the American flag flying on the trailer. The response was so positive that Russ was asked to do the same in other communities in the area.
“I really love the people here, and I wanted to give them something to brighten their day during dark times,” said Russ.
As a local business, Stros Photography participates in fundraisers each year for graduating high school seniors. Russ has served in a variety of leadership roles in many local organizations. The portrait business has changed, and it’s almost all digital now. Images are uploaded to online labs for print or digital output. When ready, digital photos are sent to customers.
“I use SCTC high speed internet on the job every day. If I didn’t have fast internet I’d have to sit and wait for images to upload and a lot of time would be wasted,” says Russ.