J.D. (what his friends and family called him) began his career as an assistant at Baldwin-Chase, a Photographic studio in Flint, Michigan. During WWII Hicks gained a reputation as a painter of flight jackets and nose art on bombers. While stationed in London, he met and wed Daphnie Hicks, who he brought back to the United States in the 1950’s.
It was during the 1950’s that J.D. began photographing portraits and weddings, first on a part-time basis, and later turning it into a full-time career. As recognition of his skill, he was named Photographer of the Year by the Professional Photographers of Michigan in 1960, 1966 and again in 1969.
In the 1960’s J.D. opened JD Color Lab so that he could create better quality prints for his portrait studio. Soon the lab became his entire focus. He recruited thirteen studios in southeast Michigan to become “Hicks” studios. J.D. would provide the marketing, and the photographers would send all their work to J.D.’s Photo Lab.
In addition to servicing portrait studios, by the late 1970’s J.D. Photo Lab had several independent school photographers as customers. When one of his largest customers left the business, J.D. Hicks started JD School Pictures as a new business focused on the K-12 market. JD School Pictures shoots over 250 schools each season, with 100% of the products being produced by JD Photo Imaging.
In the 1990’s JD Photo Imaging was one of the first labs in the country to offer ProShots, a ground-breaking application that enabled portrait and wedding photographers to transition from optical to digital photography.
By the year 2000, JD Photo Imaging had completely made the transition from optical to digital printing, including replacing virtually every piece of equipment in the 25,000 square foot lab.
Today, JDLab is still a family owned business dedicated to delivering high quality work in every department.
J.D. Hicks’ goals in 1950 remain our goals today: "Provide every professional photographer with the highest standard of quality and service, and to work as partners to help studios grow as successful businesses."
We are very proud of our facility and welcome lab tours. Come see how the lab operates and learn more about what we can do for you.