Genoa expansion puts the happy in Photo Happy |

Genoa expansion puts the happy in Photo Happy

by Scott Neuffer

A red, rustic studio cloistered in the wooded foothills of Genoa signals the expansion of one of the Valley’s small businesses in a time when few are expanding.

The business is Photo Happy, and owner Diana Basche, who lives in the adjacent house off Carson Street, said she wanted to create an outdoor studio that used the natural features of her property (2 acres), while also providing a cozy office and changing room.

The old outbuilding, shaped like a small barn, turned out to be the perfect location for a new studio, though only one part of Basche’s operation. She still uses her large studio off Highway 395 in Minden, in front of which passersby routinely spot promotional items for whatever thematic shoot is taking place.

This month, it’s DAWG Days of Summer, benefiting the Douglas County Animal Welfare Group. Notice the dog house and stuffed animals dangling from a prop fence.

Basche has a good idea of why she’s stayed ahead of the recession.

“There are a couple of reasons,” she said. “I do all my own production rather than send it off to a lab. It not only saves money, there’s no middleman, but I control the quality.”

The second reason, she said, is her consistent and creative marketing. In fact, Basche worked in children’s marketing for 20 years before relocating to Nevada.

“I find reasons to take pictures,” she said. “No one wants to take pictures in February, yet I started Fairies in February, and people go gangbusters. It’s huge. When I do something, I do it 200 percent.”

Basche said her unique style in the studio also keeps people coming back.

“I always book 2-hour sessions, and there are no fixed poses,” she said. “I talk to people to see what they like, to play and have fun. I capture the personality of the subject.”

For example, when it comes to children’s shots, Basche sometimes dumps a bucket of crayons on the floor to elicit a natural, uninhibited spirit of play.

“The reviews are all private, too,” she said. “People are treated like they’re getting something from Tiffany’s. The packaging is spectacular.”

The bottom line, Basche said, is that people are choosing to spend their money on her product.

“They’ve worked hard for that dollar, and they expect the full experience,” she said.

When Basche bought her house last year, she fell in love with the vintage building on the eastward slope of the property. With a little remodeling, she soon made it the headquarters of her new outdoor studio.

Outside, a rock-lined trail winds through terraces of grass, shrubs, flowers and trees. The Valley shows through the leafage, while behind a timbered mountain looms. Near the top of the property are two ponds, a bridge and a waterfall.

“It really lets me control the environment,” Basche said. “It’s accessible, not a lot of bugs and thorns. I did some research and couldn’t find another outdoor portrait studio in the state.”

Although excited that business is growing, Basche said what really matters to her is community involvement: donating pictures to the class of her twins, Isabella and Branden, or creating posters for student drama productions.

“It’s really important to me to tie into the community,” she said.

But, it’s also important to maintain that sense of fun, she added.

“Kids always cry when they leave because they’re having so much fun,” Basche said. “Seniors love it, too.”

Photo Happy’s outdoor studio is located at 179 Carson St., Genoa. The Minden studio is located at 1573 Highway 395. Basche is available by appointment.

For more information, call 782-2882.