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Archive for the ‘photographers’ Category

Inside Volume Photography with Vickie Viera

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

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Pounds is the leading resource for volume sports photographers, and a major reason for that is Vickie Viera. We sat down with her recently to gain some insight into how Pounds and Vickie are the best assets a volume photographer can have. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or have just begun your career in this lucrative and fulfilling industry, Pounds is your partner.

Pounds: What products have been added for sports photographers?

Vickie: We’ve added more graphics and more products targeted at increasing customer sales. We have increased what you can offer as add-ons to drive sales. For instance, our keychains are immensely popular. We have more than tripled the number of keychains we carry and added more sublimation products.

Pounds: Why are add-ons so important in volume photography?

Vickie: Add-ons are one of the things I emphasize most to photographers. The point of an add-on is to drive sales to your profit packages. Leagues look for photographers that offer a lot of fun products. So, if you want to sign a league, you have to remember they need items not just for team parents, but also for sponsors. We have increased our line of add-ons to fulfill those needs.

Pounds: Do you have advice for new sports photographers trying to figure out how to build packages?

Vickie: Yes! Come and see me! I have seen a 30% profit in one season. It has to do with how you build those packages and what you offer. For instance, when you create three packages, one is high, one is low, and one is right in the middle. That middle package has the right mix of cost and product. That is where your add-ons can be beneficial. How? By adding interest and value to your order form.

Pounds: How does the Pounds ordering system benefit volume photographers?

Vickie: Records is an industry standard for volume sports. It’s a fast and easy way to get everything ordered with the added advantage of having data that makes your clients’ sales trackable.

Pounds: What can volume sports photographers do to create an edge in today’s market?

Vickie: Well, consult with me of course! But, also attend conferences and trade shows like SPAC and SYNC. I consider SPAC the gold standard of training. They focus specifically towards the business client and offer classes from people that run very successful studios. You’ll learn the marketing piece, how to target, how to sell, and how to make your studio more efficient. And you’ll network! That’s extremely important. We have quite a few people in Texas who began as competitors, became friends, shared information, and became the leaders in entire markets. You will learn how to increase your business and how to turn what you spent going to SPAC into a profit!

Pounds: How does SYNC differ from SPAC?

Vickie: SYNC is about more of what to do once your business is running. It’s a smaller conference, and the focus is solely on sports and the challenges related to sports. For instance, banners are a huge thing in sports. Everyone has to have one. How do you sell that banner? Do you give it away free, how do you wrap that cost into your charges? You’ll learn that at SYNC.

Pounds: What puts Pounds above every other lab out there when it comes to serving the needs of volume photographers?

Vickie: People. Marion, Darren, Tracy, Chris— we all offer personal attention and true partnership with our clients. When you need something, you can call. We will make a difference, and we will increase your business. Partnership is the Pounds difference.

Be sure to visit with Vickie at SYNC 2018! REGISTER TODAY

Exciting News!

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

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There is a lot going on at Pounds and we have exciting news! We acquired MVP – Multi Visual Products in 2017 and we are integrating the company into Pounds. We are also expanding our product lines and creating dramatic new Sports Graphics. We know you have a lot of questions so, we turned to Chris Oelker for some answers!

What is MVP?
MVP is a premium full service process. It is a separate division of Pounds providing volume youth sports and group photographers a wide array of products to support their clients.

What should we be excited about?
A lot!

  • Pounds has added new dye sublimation products from MVP. You’ll see additional plaques, clipboards, travel mugs, and keychain shapes.

  • New Pounds graphics are now established in the MVP product offering for spring and soon we’ll be updating the website and improving user experience.

  • Graphic themes are available on prints and a wide product selection including custom cutout products.

  • Online job status tracking is available through the MVP Customer Care Center site.

  • We will be providing individually packaged shipping services to studio, league, coach and home.
  • ezreorder.com is an online reorder site available in the MVP service offering that allows parents to reorder.

Who will benefit from MVP?
It’s tailored to studios requiring services from order entry through individual ship to home packaging. It allows studios to focus on photo day, building their business, and leaving the backroom work to the lab.

Where is MVP located?
MVP customer support and order entry is based in Murrieta, CA and all production is completed in Dallas.

Can I use my Pounds account for MVP?
Customers will need to establish a unique account with MVP for billing and support purposes. MVP Customer Care Center is a comprehensive online service center exclusively for MVP customers.

Contact Lensie Korte to set up your MVP account today!
Email: lkorte@mvpcards.com
Phone: 800-293-9055

Keys to Success in Spring School Photography

Friday, January 5th, 2018

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Spring school photography can be a great source of revenue with the right program in the right school. In general, elementary schools sell better than middle/high schools, and proof sells better than prepay.

Advice for elementary schools:
Photograph everyone and offer a two pose proof or multiple background green screen. Spring sales are impulse driven. Take interesting images and offer choices to receive the best results. Offer your customers a program that is more than the usual head and shoulders.

Advice for middle and high schools:
There is a higher risk of soft sales. Photograph as prepay or as an opt-in proof program. This method reduces your time in the school since you only photograph those interested. Choose a program that looks more like a senior portrait. Offer something fresh.

PICKING A SPRING PROGRAM
Choose an exciting program. Keep the limitations of school photography well in mind. Make sure you can capture each student in one minute or less. Avoid creating elaborate sets that one-half of your customers may not like. It’s human nature to want a choice. You should offer multiple well-chosen backgrounds via green screen, or go with something simple and let your posing provide variety. Simple backgrounds, well photographed, drive the parent’s attention to the child with no complex distractions. Solid backgrounds do better with two pose proofing, provided the poses are distinct. We suggest a three-quarter and a half-length. Another good combination is a full-length and a half-length. Solid white or black are excellent choices provided they are well lit and posed.

Pounds Lab offers technical support for several spring promotions. Our two most popular programs are all white and three-quarter green screen. All white can be captured either as full-length or three-quarters. The green screen program gives you the flexibility of either six or twelve background choices. Select from our catalog of 250 designs, or use scenes you have photographed yourself. We offer step by step manuals, diagrams, and experienced advice at no charge. Also, complete flyer support is available on request. Please allow up to four weeks to prepare customized flyers.

Want to talk spring with someone who has been there?

Contact Marion Hughes
marion@poundslabs.com
469.341.6704

Matt Scoggin: New School and Sports Product Manager

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

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Meet our new School and Sports Product Manager, Matt Scoggin! Matt is located in the Baltimore offices of Nations Photo Lab and will be implementing changes to enhance school and sports products and services. Matt was the operations manager of a high volume school and sports photography studio and a Pounds customer, so he is well acquainted with the unique challenges volume photographers face. Having spent ten years in the trenches, he gets it!

POUNDS: Why did you decide to join the Nations family?
MATT: When Pounds was purchased by Millman Multimedia in early 2016, Ryan Millman, the CEO of Millman Multimedia and Nations Photo Lab, came down and visited my studio. We hit it off. I was looking at a transition and excited about the Nations family. I reached out to him and flew to Baltimore to interview. I was familiar with Pounds because they were our lab. Pounds is great at being a partner and doing what they say they will do. They always go above and beyond in all facets. That is what I loved from them as a customer. Now I get to return that and carry it forward in my position as the School and Sports Product Manager.

POUNDS: What do you enjoy most about your new position?
MATT: What is exciting for me is being able to work with a lot of different studios, take the knowledge I’ve built up over the past decade on how to take a great school picture, and help those studios. Making schools, parents, and kids feel special, that is the crux of volume photography.

POUNDS: What are the most challenging aspects of volume photography?
MATT: Juggling multiple customers! Not only do you have the student or player that needs to feel special, but you also have a school principal or coach and parents that need to be happy. Each school has their own personality, wants, and needs. It’s essential to be able to think on your feet.

POUNDS: When you were working as a photographer, what attracted you to volume photography?
MATT: I loved the rush of it. My background in college was in restaurant work. I loved the excitement and getting through it. Your timeframe is compressed in volume school photography. At our studio, we had 400 schools to photograph in a 3-month period. It’s the same sort of rush. It’s an accomplishment when you get through it, and very exciting.

POUNDS: What is driving the volume industry right now?
MATT: Sports is a growth segment. Youth league and sports activities are driving the industry right now. We are seeing cool products and services like shooting on a green screen and dropping the player into a great graphic background. The industry is pushing the envelope and creating highly customized products that parents, kids, and coaches are excited about.

POUNDS: What would you like people to know about Pounds?
MATT: Pounds is the lab. It goes back around to the partnership level. There is a relationship that everyone at Pounds strives to build with the client. That attitude of customers not being just a number is what I love about Pounds. Our customer service rep, Vickie Viera, always says, “They are not just customers, they are my friends.” Pounds builds relationships.

New Team Member: Dannette Cornelison

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

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We’d like to introduce the newest member of our Customer Service team, Dannette Cornelison. She joins Vickie and Darren in supporting our clients with information, education, and solutions. A Texas native, Dannette has over 20 years of experience in the photography industry and is a self-proclaimed photo nerd!

POUNDS: How did you get into the industry?
DANNETTE: I love photography. From the first contact sheet I made, I was hooked! I still shoot today. I shoot anything and everything. I call myself a photo nerd! I started working in a camera store in Garland, TX. After that, I worked at two high profile professional photography labs doing custom order entry.

POUNDS: How did you decide to come and work at Pounds?
DANNETTE: Some of my co-workers came to work for Pounds and I heard good things. Because Pounds specializes in the school industry, I knew there was stability and longevity. Pounds has been around a long time, and they are a trusted lab.

POUNDS: What do you enjoy most about your new position?
DANNETTE: I’m enjoying serving our customers and just talking to people, helping them solve challenges and making sure they receive the best information to help them achieve their goals.

POUNDS: Have there been any challenges?
DANNETTE: There is always a learning curve with a signature system, but PROS was very easy. Pounds does specialty prints that I’ve never encountered before, so I’ve had to learn about a lot of new products!

POUNDS: What would you like our customers to know?
DANNETTE: That they should never hesitate to call and if I don’t’ have the answer, I’ll find the answer!

Do you think Graduation is only for Seniors? Think again!

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

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Junior Graduations are one of the most profitable markets in our industry. Kindergarten graduation is the first rite of passage, and parents are eager to capture those memories. Graduation ceremonies are now also common at end of the elementary and middle school years. If you are considering volume photography, Junior Graduations provide an excellent opportunity to break into the market. We can help! Our new Guide to Junior Graduate Photography will help you to understand the basics of cropping and posing young graduates.

READ HERE

Martin Patterson’s Success Story: Volume Photography Is a Game Changer

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

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How would you like to grow your business 400% in one season? Incredible, right? Martin Patterson did just that and is a great example of how volume photography can be a game changer.

If anyone were ever destined for a career in photography, it’s Patterson. His grandfather opened a camera store in 1939. He grew up hanging out there, absorbing a lot along the way. Patterson moved in the most natural direction. He started his own photography business, in Texarkana, Texas with his cousin Mark Patterson, aptly called Patterson’s.

“We did weddings for years and stopped in the mid ‘90s but continued doing family photos, portraits, and commercial work.”

That game changer came about three years ago.

“I went to a Photography Boot Camp in Dallas,” Patterson said. “It was inspirational and motivating. We had done some sports photos for a few schools and dance photos for a dance school, so I thought they might give us a shot at volume work.”

“After I left the boot camp, I cold called every school within an hour from me. I’d find out when their picture day was and I’d call the day after to see how it went, how it could be improved, what they liked and did not like from their present service. Then I set up meetings.”

Those cold calls and meetings paid off. Patterson signed five campuses his first year, and the second year he grew the business to 22 campuses. Patterson’s School Division was born! He has contracts with five more schools for next year and is not slowing down.

Patterson has some advice for anyone who is thinking about volume photography.

“Attend a workshop and get an idea of who to contact, how to actually do the pictures, and what equipment is involved. Find a lab that you can build a relationship with. I did that with Pounds and I could not be happier. They have all been more than helpful, and they can answer any question!”

Patterson continues to learn, experiment and grow.

“I went to SPAC in January,” Patterson said. “It was my first time, and it was extremely worthwhile. I definitely plan to go back. I met some cool people who had been in the business for some time. Everyone was so willing to share information. I know I need to amp up my social media presence, and I plan to get more involved with youth league sports. The school business is very exciting. I like being around the kids, and I’m excited about the potential!”

An Interview with Christy Dodson

Friday, February 26th, 2016

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Christy Dodson keeps it all in the family. Her parents have been integral to her business, so teamwork isn’t just captured on the field, it’s the backbone of Snap 1 Studios. She’s an award winning photographer located in Granbury, Texas. The studio serves Granbury, Weatherford and other areas of Hood and Tarrant counties.

POUNDS: What inspired you to become a photographer and how long have you been in the business?

CHRISTY: I wish I could say I fell in love with photography as a kid but the truth is it wasn’t until I was already in the business that I began to really fall in love with the photographic craft. Like many photographic entrepreneurs, I was first attracted to the self-employment potential. My mother, Pat Uttz, and I started our business venture together 15 years ago.

POUNDS: What attracted you to sports photography?

CHRISTY: Sports photography is what got us started. Mom always had the latest and greatest in camera technology (she’s the one who’s always loved photography) and she and I would take turns getting great action shots at my kids little league baseball games. Prior to this my mother had been self employed as a computer program teacher (she’s smart). She taught me how to use Photoshop which at that time was not really being used by the general public or even very many photographers. One day I was making action “collages” for each child on the team to give to the coach in an album, and since I’m a creative at heart they were starting to look pretty cool. That’s when it dawned on me. “The parents are going to want these. I wonder if I could sell them?” So at the team party I told the parents they could buy their child’s collage for $10 (stop laughing, I hadn’t joined PPA yet and didn’t know what I was doing). Well, before I knew it, I had other teams calling us for action photography and collages. My dad was smart enough to realize we couldn’t make a profit at those prices unless we added value to raise the price, so he decided we had to sell them as framed wall art. The next season we did $14,000.00 worth of what we called “Fusion Designs” in 6 weeks! Sound too good to be true? It was. We worked ourselves to death with shooting all the games, culling all the pictures, and designing works of art. At the time we didn’t want to do traditional T&I work because it seemed boring and lacked creativity. We laugh now at how naïve we were!

POUNDS: “Sportraits” is a great term. Was that term a conscious part of your branding?

CHRISTY: I definitely started using the term “Sportraits” as part of a branding effort but I don’t think I was the first to come up with it. I’ve seen others throughout the industry use it. I think it’s very fitting for professionally lit and posed athlete portraits and I absolutely love creating them!

POUNDS: How do you connect with your subjects to get such great shots?

CHRISTY: Kids can be notoriously difficult and teenagers have strong opinions. I’ve always been a people person and I think that is a big part of being able to connect and capture their inner athlete. Usually they’ve seen my work so they trust my judgment.

POUNDS: What’s the best advice you’ve received regarding photography?

CHRISTY: All of the advice I received during my certification process has been invaluable. The things that have stuck with me the most from that experience are directional lighting, light quality, and that the background matters as much as the subject.

POUNDS: What are some memorable shoots?

CHRISTY: It’s very rewarding and memorable any time we get to photograph a family or a senior who purchased Fusion Designs from us in the early days. I love their loyalty and they love that they were there in the beginning.

POUNDS: What advice would you give to photographers that want to enter the volume sports field?

CHRISTY: Volume photography is exhausting and energizing all at the same time. Speed is the name of the game with team and individual work. Coaches don’t like to wait! As a rule quality and quantity don’t go together but we strive to bridge the gap.

Seventy Six Years Ago

Friday, June 5th, 2015

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Guest blog by Missy Mwac
Seventy Six Years Ago

This is a photo of my dad in 2nd grade.

He is the one on the second row, far left, with a very serious middle part and mischief written all over his face.

It was taken in 1939.

I’m not good at math, but according to my calculations, this image is 76 years old.

76 years old.

There are very few items I possess that are this age or older. A couple pieces of furniture…some jewelry…handkerchiefs from my grandmother. My children never knew my dad; they only know him from photographs. And this photo has hung in our hallway for years.

I don’t know where technology will go; everything is changing and moving and phasing in and out at the blink of an eye. If you had told me five years ago that Apple laptops would no longer come with a CD drive, I would have laughed and asked what you were smoking.

And there’s a big part of me that loves that; a big part of me that is happy to ride the techno wave into the future. After all, I’m able to share this with you all because of technology.

But the only reason I have it to share in the first place is BECAUSE it was printed. And I think forward 50 years, when the most photographed generation on the planet is becoming grandparents themselves.

What will their grandchildren have to remember them by?

A paper photograph…or that digital file that was given to them by their photographer but is now lost in the back of a junk drawer somewhere because they never got around to printing it.

When this school photo was carried home in my dad’s excited little second grade hands, he had no way of knowing that 76 years later, his daughter and grandchildren would consider it one of their most prized possessions.

My dear photographer friends…I don’t believe creating and selling extraordinary prints for our clients to pass down from generation to generation is selfish or old-fashioned or out of date…I believe it’s our job.

xoxo
#‎pixelsareforsharingbutprintsareforpreserving
#‎printwhatyouwantopreserve

Turn Up The Volume!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

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Volume photography is a lucrative business. In the simplest of terms it boils down to photographing a high volume of customers in one location or venue. Think about it. Photographs are taken each year of every single public and private school student for yearbooks and class photos. Parents can always be counted on to order substantial photo packages from school shoots. Add to this the ever growing sports photography field and volume business is definitely a great market.

Participation in high school sports reached almost 7.8 million last year, according to a survey released by The National Federation of State High School Associations, a record high. The Sports and Fitness Industry Association keeps track of how many kids between the ages of 6 and 17 are involved in sports. In 2011 they reported 21.47 million participants. Remember this does not include children that begin sports before age 6 so that number could easily top 30 million.

What does this mean to you? It means business and a lot of it!

High volume photography is a highly sought after service and a great way to increase your revenue. So where do you begin? Right here! Pounds is the industry expert at volume photography. Marion Hughes has been in the trenches and understands the needs of volume photography. Marion and Jim Giunta, our photo-technical advisors, have over 70 years of experience between them. Marion has trained thousands of volume photographers over the last 25 years and lectures on a regular basis for photography associations and franchises. Vickie Viera is not only a fantastic customer service representative, she is the go to expert for information on products and building packages.

Let’s get the low-down from Marion and Vickie on volume photography.

Volume photography is lucrative but can be intimidating and overwhelming for a new photographer contemplating entry into the business. How can Pounds help that photographer penetrate the field?

Marion: We’ve been fortunate to help many studio photographers add profitable school and sports business to their operations. They’ve received assistance that has sped up their workflow and improved the accuracy of their exposure and color. Besides experienced personnel, we have extensive and exclusive documentation on volume and studio operations. Manuals on school day sales and photography techniques, green screen, simplified outdoor shooting, volume family photography, spring school programs and a host of other subjects are all available to our customers.

One of the biggest challenges in breaking into volume photography is the data. Images must be matched to basic school information such as the student’s name, grade, teacher and id number. We’ve simplified this by creating an easy to use software package that does most of the work for you. Ask us about ProMatch.

Vickie: We have staff that will help with sales, marketing, capture and software. At Pounds Labs we become partners with our studios. We provide training in all aspects of volume photography from capture to package delivery. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

Ok I’m a newbie. I’m in the door at my local school. How do I add more schools?

Marion: Pounds customers have access to a wonderful resource book, “School Days Photography – A Sales and Planning Guide.” It outlines the basics of approaching the decision maker and closing the sale. Pounds Labs is also a sponsor of an excellent three-day School Day Boot Camp. This is an intensive training on all aspects of developing a school program.

What products are going to be easy add-ons that will essentially sell themselves?

Vickie: Novelty products are a crucial aspect in volume photography. Not only can they help to increase your profit, but they also generate interest in the order process, helping to drive sales to the profit packages. One of the services we offer is assisting with add-ons. We will discuss the events in your location and suggest products doing well in the area and for the specific event.

Can you help me learn how to “talk the talk”?

Marion: Booking that first school can be scary. Our advisors will help you know what to say and when to shut up!

I now have several schools and I want to add their sports teams into my mix. Am I going to be overwhelmed? How can Pounds help me with sports?

Marion: Don’t worry! We’ve already been there. We’ll show you the most effective method of shooting school sports without having to go to every game.

Vickie: We have easy to use software, training for capture and data entry. We’ll introduce you to order forms, marketing, sales and how to set up the shoot.

I heard you’d meet with me personally? Do I make an appointment? How long do you meet with me?

Marion: Absolutely! We can meet with you at the lab, by phone, on Go To Meeting or even at your location. Call to schedule a time that is right for you.

Vickie: We would LOVE to see you! It is a joy to meet our partners. We love to show off our facility and introduce the people that produce our products. Depending on your needs, such as green screen training, marketing or software usage, a visit can take a few hours or we can arrange multi-day training. Please call me at 469.341.6719 and we will schedule a tour and training.

I’m an old pro at this and know a lot. What can Pounds do for me?

Vickie: Pounds Labs has partnered with studios for 40 years. We can suggest products to increase sales, marketing and volume training. We know the products that work in your area and for your events. We’ll help you train your employees to streamline your workflow.

Marion: How about free software that will speed up your data entry several fold? Then there is the fact we have one of the most completive print prices in the industry and we offer free shipping. Don’t forget our fast turnaround!

Are there any new products that are particularly suited for volume?

Vickie: We recently added new press trader cards. The cards are always favorites with events from sports teams to school clubs.

Well, how do I really know you can help? Do you have proof?

Marion: You bet! Here’s a letter from one of our customers:

From: Greg Lamb
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2015 10:00 AM
To: Pounds Labs
Subject: Praise

Good Morning,

As a professional photographer for over 30 years I had watched as my volume had steadily decreased over the past few years due to the increase of digital and cell phone cameras. I had originally tried school day pictures 30 plus years ago with a split 70. I hated it. It was hard to focus.

As we “tried” to get into school day pictures again, I met Marion from Pounds Labs and was blown away with his knowledge and likability. He has made a couple of trips to my studio to help get us started and he AND the Pounds staff have been on the phone with us as we started this past fall with eight schools. We will double that number this year.

This has been a very profitable decision on our end and could not have been possible without the help of Marion and the staff at Pounds Labs.

Are you ready to get started in volume photography? Give Marion and Vickie a call at 469.341.6719!