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Archive for the ‘schools’ Category

Kick Off 2019 at SPAC!

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

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REGISTER TODAY!

The School and Sports Photographers Annual Conference (SPAC) is held every year in late January. It’s the most important event you can attend whether you are a seasoned professional or just beginning your career in this exciting industry. You will experience an unsurpassed depth and breadth of knowledge at this conference and leave energized and full of new ideas.

It’s also a lot of fun! Not only will you have valuable networking opportunities, but you will also find mentors and make some life-long friends. Once you’ve been to SPAC, you’ll understand why professional photographers make attending a priority every year. There is quite simply nothing else like SPAC.

Take it from those in the know!

“SPAC has a little something for everyone. If you are a seasoned vet, you may not get that much out of the classes, BUT you will be doing yourself a disservice by not attending. In my previous life, as an Operations Manager for a high volume sports and school photography studio, I found fantastic value in networking and sitting down over dinner with other large studios. It’s so valuable to be able to pick up a small tip or a trick for an issue you’ve been dealing with that another studio has found a solution for, that you might not have considered.

And if you are just starting your career in volume photography or aren’t that big, SPAC is a must to attend. There’s the old adage about competing against those that are better than you; it applies to photography as well. The SPAC attendees are so willing to share their experiences. Learning from those that have already been there is invaluable.”

Matthew Scoggin
Future State Champion, Nations Photo Lab + Pounds Photo Lab

“SPAC is the only One-Stop-Shop for everything related to volume photography. Where else can you get great classes on the basics, as well as advanced techniques? Where else can you meet all the important vendors? SPAC is also the perfect place to pick the brains of others who have been where you are!”

Marion Hughes
Volume Photography Support, Pounds Photo Lab

“SPAC is the premier volume photography conference in the US, and now also abroad. In addition to the training offered by qualified mentor level industry insiders, it offers the unique ability to network and develop lasting relationships with peers, which contributes to personal and business growth. That is the most valuable asset in attending each year.”

Jim Giunta
Technical Support Supervisor, Pounds Photo Lab

“I think SPAC is the gold standard for a volume business, whether you are concentrating on sports, school or seniors. SPAC is a good place to get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had!”

Vickie Viera
Business Development, Pounds Photo Lab

“SPAC is the show of the year for the volume school, sports, and events photography industry. Whether you are old school or interested in what it is all about and how you can make more money, SPAC has it from A-Z. Meet other photographers just like you, learn about tried and true methods from masters of the trade, get inspired with some new ideas, get tips on how to get the contracts, and meet the vendors you need to be successful from shoot preparation to delivery.”

Chris Oelker
General Manager, Pounds Photo Lab

Start your year off with a plan to attend SPAC January 23rd-26th and let us hear how SPAC has helped you grow your business!

REGISTER TODAY!

Meet Jim Giunta: Head of Technical Support

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

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According to Dictionary.com a Renaissance Man is “a present-day man who has acquired profound knowledge or proficiency in more than one field.”

That completely defines our own Jim Giunta, Head of Pounds Technical Support. He’s been there and done that. Whether it’s skydiving, scuba diving, flying single-engine planes, shooting competitively, or working on his Harley, he’s all action, all the time. He’s also been a professional magician, which may explain how he makes so much happen here at Pounds!

Jim’s background includes a wide skill set. He worked in photography, missile electronics, and computers during time spent in the military. Then he expanded his knowledge base into video and broadcast journalism. When he was on the East Coast, he was in on the cutting-edge development of green screen technology and capture software.

He’s really done it all.

POUNDS: Tell us a little bit about your background.

JIM: I grew up in Rochester, New York, with seven siblings, one of which is my identical twin. Two of my brothers are magicians. My oldest brother was an electrician, a photographer, and a magician. I got interested in magic and photography through him. That’s how I put myself through college the first time, working as a photographer for schools during the week, weddings on the weekends, and supplementing that with magician gigs.

POUNDS: How long have you been in the photography business?

JIM: I’ve been in the business since 1972 when I was a military photographer. My first hitch was in Frankfurt. I was sent all over Europe because I had a security clearance. The majority of the work I did was classified. When I got out of the service, in Rochester, I worked in still and video, went back to school, and got another degree in broadcast journalism. Then I went back to the military and worked in electronics and computers specifically on the Pershing II ballistic missile.

POUNDS: How did your military career help you in your present job?

JIM: When I got out in ‘90, I had both camera and computer backgrounds. Everything was turning to digital, so it was perfect timing.

POUNDS: How did Pounds find you?

JIM: When I got to my first lab job at PCA, a guy working for them was trying to develop a department for specialty school and events and using green screen on-site. He hired me for the digital division. I stayed, he left. When they got bought out, he was involved in Pounds with a franchise operation and told them about me. He recommended me, and I got hired ‘07.

POUNDS: Tell us a bit about what you do for customers.

JIM: Support for volume photographers is more of a one-on-one service. They have a personal relationship with our people. We’re on call 24/7. We provide a more specialized and customized workflow for their specific business. We find out what type of business model they have, and assess skills, equipment, and resources. If necessary, we suggest equipment, marketing, or business support. We support them when they are up and running or if they are just beginning their volume careers. I also provide the support for customers that want websites and teach them how to use and maintain them.

POUNDS: What’s new and coming up?

JIM: We are expanding the customer support team, and we’re doing a lot of technical development this year. We will be enhancing our customer order submission softwares to give studios more control of the process. We’ll have the full capability of the PhotoLynx suite of software, and the website is offering direct fulfillment now.

POUNDS: What do customers tell you about their experience with Pounds?

JIM: The two points that come up time and time again are the quality of the product and the level of our support because it is one-on-one.

Meet Carolyn Taylor: Supervisor School Division + Order Entry

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

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Once Pounds hired Carolyn Taylor, we just would not let her go. When we bought another lab, a lot of us will tell you it was so we could hang on to her! She has done almost every job at Pounds and now holds the title Supervisor School Division / Order Entry. She also oversees the retouching department and Xerox printing. In other words, she’s still doing it all. It’s primarily due to Carolyn that the Pounds ship sails so smoothly every day!

POUNDS: How did you get started in the industry?

CAROLYN: I started working in the photography industry at Gittings Studios in the early to mid-80s. I was in the production department, and my responsibilities included filing negatives, wedding album and frame assembly, and portrait packaging. This was an awesome experience. The portraits assembled and packaged for presentation to clients were simple, a work of art! In 1987 the company was acquired by Paul Skipworth and became Gittings-Skipworth. I continued working a few years, then decided to apply for employment at Pounds as this was the lab that produced the work for Gittings and Gittings-Skipworth.

POUNDS: It sounds like you were destined to be with Pounds!

CAROLYN: I started working for Pounds in February of 1991. I was hired to work in the proofing department but was quickly moved to “cut neg” to operate the v7 and vp2 film printers. Printing on the v7 was my main job, but I filled in on the vp2 as needed. Back in those days, we kept a daily count of how many exposures the printer made. I hit the all-time high count on the v7. I don’t remember the count or the date that was, but it was a big deal then! In January of 1996, I was hired to work at Meisel.

That didn’t last long because Pounds acquired Meisel seven months later and I have worked here ever since, in almost every department except mounting and shipping. I was in on the ground floor when the transition from negatives to digital took place. My first thought was that we (Pounds) had lost our minds but look at us now!

POUNDS: Tell us a little bit about your family.

CAROLYN: I am a married mother of two children, a boy, and a girl and now grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, two boys, and two girls. My oldest grandson lives with us and has brought much love and joy to our home. Our household has a huge heart for animals. We currently have two dogs and a cat, but we’ve had as many as five dogs at one time! My grandson enjoys school, school activities, and sports. If I leave work at a reasonable hour, it’s because I’m attending a basketball or football game! But don’t worry! I will always show up early the next day if necessary, to catch up on any of our customer’s work that may require my attention.

POUNDS: What’s new at Pounds?

CAROLYN: Our school division has grown by leaps and bounds since it first started. Today we have more than tripled our number of school customers and provide services to many studios across the United States. As always, we are looking to grow even more in this area. This year we have put into place new work-flows and processes to make the school experience here at Pounds more efficient, sustainable and pleasant for our customers.

POUNDS: What do you enjoy most about working with Pounds?

CAROLYN: I have always enjoyed the challenge of working at Pounds. Things are ever-changing, so there is no time to be bored. We are continuously improving and adding new processes and products to accommodate our customers’ needs. Each day is a new and different experience. There is always something to learn. If it can’t currently be done, our challenge is to figure out how it can be done and do it. We have moved many mountains over the years.

We are up to the challenge, so bring it on!

An Interview with Hamilton Photography

Friday, August 10th, 2018

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Christina and Mark Hamilton’s story reads like a movie plot. They met in a camera shop. They were both new to San Francisco and both originally from New Jersey. Of course, they both loved photography, and of course, they fell in love!

Fast forward a few years, and they are living in Annapolis, Maryland, with three children, and a thriving wedding photography business. Recently they decided to diversify their business model and add volume photography. We recently sat down with Christina to find out more about their new venture and how Hamilton Photography partners with Pounds for success!

POUNDS: What prompted you to add volume photography to your business model?

CHRISTINA: Most of our work is events and weddings. We work one on one with corporations and couples. We wanted to expand our business.

POUNDS: How did you find us?

CHRISTINA: On Facebook pages for volume photographers!

POUNDS: When did you branch out?

CHRISTINA: About 18 months ago. My husband is a research guru. Pounds kept coming up, and he said let’s talk to Pounds. I called and got in touch with Vickie Viera and, oh gosh, Pounds customer service is the best ever!

I have been with Nations since Jonathan Weinstock started their business. So, to find out Pounds and Nations were teaming up— it was a done deal. Jonathan had great things to say. He connected me to Randy and Marion. They are all super knowledgeable and they acted like they could spend the entire day talking to me.

POUNDS: How did Pounds help to guide you into the volume business?

CHRISTINA: Well, Vickie is amazing, she has given me so much self-confidence. I did two shoots last year. She helped me get ready and walked me through it. We had no problems, everything was great, and we now have our first full account where we are shooting fall and spring.

POUNDS: Do you have any advice for photographers that are tentative about getting into volume photography?

CHRISTINA: Definitely do your research and your homework. Make sure you can deliver a good product. That comes from me being a client-based photographer and having this background in weddings. I have the same expectation of myself in volume.

Know you can rock it out. For me, I’m taking small jobs, like preschools to make sure I can be ready to take on the bigger jobs. I got my first school by proposing I do graduation cap and gown shots. That led to an invitation to do spring portrait sessions.

POUNDS: What do you like about volume photography?

CHRISTINA: We have children now, and we work a lot of weekends shooting weddings. We have time on our hands during the week and we are trying to create balance in our lives.

Knowing I have a team behind me means I’m not going to be sitting at my computer wondering what to do. Once you get it, it seems easy. When staff, customer service, and photography skills align, you have a successful situation on your hands.

With the help of Pounds, I can see we are going to be successful at volume photography!

VISIT THE HAMILTON PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITE

Future Outlook: Volume School Photography at Pounds

Monday, May 7th, 2018

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What can volume photographers look forward to at Pounds? How can we help your business grow? What products are going to increase your profit margins, and what is new and exciting? How is the merger with Nations and the acquisition of MVP going to benefit photographers?

Let’s talk to the experts, Jon Weinstock, Executive Vice President of Nations Photo Lab, Chris Oelker, Pounds General Manager, and Matthew Scoggins, who we refer to as Future State Champion because he’s one of our most valuable players!

POUNDS: Tell us how the merger is benefitting photographers?

Chris: Pooling the experience and resources from the three organizations is allowing us to further develop and implement new ordering options that will better support volume photographers and provide them with solutions that meet the changing needs of their studio workflows and their customers.

JON: The merger with Nations and the acquisition of MVP means we have a lot more resources to help photographers grow their business or pick a new direction. If they want a new stream of income, for instance, we have experts that can guide them into school and sports photography. We encourage photographers to look into different streams and options for their business. Don’t just stay in your niche. Branch out, approach dance studios and martial arts studios!

POUNDS: Jon, what’s new that you find exciting?

JON: I’m excited about implementing PhotoLynx FLOW and offering all the tools that are available. Our customers are going to save time, be more efficient in the field, and during post-production.

POUNDS: Can you tell us a little more about PhotoLynx?

CHRIS: PhotoLynx services the volume school photography industry. They have stepped it up a notch with FLOW and provided an all-around solution for photographers to create and submit orders. Pounds can serve the photographers who have 400 schools, but also those that have 10-50 schools. That is where FLOW fits in. It’s a great service for the medium and smaller volume school photographer.

MATT: We are in the process of implementing FLOW by PhotoLynx. That program is the industry standard, and one of the most popular volume photography tools. It gives a photographer the tools they need to successfully photograph a school day, match the images to data, then turn-around and produce the exports that are needed for the school, and get the images online for the school. It’s the gold standard in the industry.

POUNDS: What is important for photographers coming into the volume photography market to understand about choosing the right lab?

CHRIS: The school market is really different from most markets. Volume photographers are tied into a lab for a school year, and their workflow is dependent on the workflow of the lab. It can throw a studio’s workflow off if a lab is not consistent. We pride ourselves on consistency.

POUNDS: What has changed in the way customers get their product?

CHRIS: Traditionally we offered a CD or DVD of the student’s images. Now computers don’t have CD drives in them. We started doing digital delivery a few years ago. Now companies like CaptureLife are taking it a step further. They are building an ordering platform and allowing for many more opportunities for the studios to increase profits. A text or email is sent with a link to the student’s image.

POUNDS: Tell us a little more about CaptureLife

MATT: So much is being driven by this digital delivery platform. CaptureLife is an app you download on Android and IOS. When the digital download fires off, you can follow the link. The goal is to keep that client within our ecosystem. They can click on it instantly, and order more prints. It’s about instant gratification. It’s important, and that process is going to be rewarded by more purchases.

POUNDS: What are some other services gaining momentum?

CHRIS: We are taking advantage of the increasing number of third-party vendors offering niche services for school photographers. MorePhotos, for instance, is offering image hosting and they offer a website service. They will build you a site with consumer ordering capability, so the studio’s customers can place an order. It will allow for distribution to additional family members.

POUNDS: What about new designs coming out?

CHRIS: We are always adding new, on trend designs for our volume customers. We recently expanded our picture day essentials offerings. We have created some themes that carry through on your envelopes, posters, flyers, and stickers so you have all the printed material you need for ordering and marketing on picture day!

POUNDS: What’s going on with Green Screen?

CHRIS: We are continuing to build out our green screen support and add different designs and products. We add new green screen backgrounds each season and have options for specialty designer prints.

POUNDS: What about new product development?

MATT: There is a company doing 3-D prints, that is in the early stages. It’s a neat product. Custom hashtags are being used. At a school dance, all the kids text that they are in a group of images. Now the photographer can trace it back to them.

POUNDS: So, what’s the bottom line for photographers?

MATT: The goal is to streamline the workload for photographers and to help them create additional revenue!

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.

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