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Archive for the ‘schools’ Category

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