Our History

Lifetouch – A tradition of service and quality excellence.

Lifetouch Inc. became the world’s largest employee-owned photography company one portrait at a time.  The Lifetouch story began in 1936, when Bruce Reinecker and Eldon Rothgeb made plans to bring their “School Photography of Distinction” to one-room schoolhouses through rural Minnesota.  With $500 in start-up money, they set to work. Sharing a tiny apartment, a cramped office space, and a dream, the two hopeful and ambitious young men poured their skills and talents into their company, which they named National School Studios.

A little more than a decade after its founding, National School Studios had become the largest school photography firm in the country.

In 1978, Reinecker demonstrated his commitment to Lifetouch when he transferred 100 percent of the company’s ownership to its employees.  The Lifetouch Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) has provided many Lifetouch employees with financial rewards unimaginable in most companies. The ESOP unites the Lifetouch family with a sense of purpose, providing incentive for performing the highest-quality work while providing funds for retirement.

Today, under the leadership of chairman and CEO, Paul Harmel, Lifetouch and its subsidiaries serve the photographic needs of people of all ages. Lifetouch truly is “memories for a lifetime.”

Lifetouch 70 Year History