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Make Your Marketing Move and Increase Sales!

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

It’s not only the start of a new year, but it’s also the beginning of a new decade. So, it’s a perfect time to step back, look at your business, and decide how you want this next decade to unfold.

If you’ve been in business for years, one of the challenges is to be open to new technology, new ideas, new techniques, and to ask for help when you don’t quite understand something.  After all, those internal messages of “I’ve always done it this way” and “I’m a solopreneur, I can figure this out myself” might be your comfort zone, but comfort doesn’t necessarily bring in new business. And If you are just starting in the photography industry, you might be overwhelmed. There is so much to learn, organize, and remember that you can easily find yourself underwater.

Don’t worry!

Pounds is here to help, regardless of your level of expertise. Our customer service team is the best in the industry. Their level of knowledge is unparalleled, and their goal is to help you increase your business.

Pounds has always been positioned in the industry to assist with marketing and has a unique focus and expertise on volume photography. Our year-long promo program creates easy monthly marketing opportunities that allow you to raise your profit margins or pass savings on to clients. There has never been a simpler way to create a consistent marketing program. That monthly marketing helps you sell! We have an extensive product line for every kind of photography, from weddings and graduations to sports and events.

We asked Marion Hughes, or resident expert on, well, everything, his thoughts on how to be successful in 2020 and indeed, this next decade.

Pounds: How do photographers increase profit margins?

Marion: I have two axioms for photographers wanting to raise that bottom line.  Number one is Photoshop is an adult video game.  That’s right. If we get it right in the camera, we spend less time (time=money) in post-production.  Pounds has detailed, but simplified, manuals and videos on a wide variety of photographic techniques and workflows to help you break the RAW habit!

Pounds: What’s the most lucrative market?

Marion: That’s my second axiom!  Parents stop buying when the cute wears off.  Seek markets that include younger subjects.  Studios that do volume sports and school day photography are doing very well. Markets ripe for the picking are league sports, preschools, elementary schools, dance, martial arts, gymnastics, bands, and cheerleading. The secrets are knowing who to sell to and simplifying your workflow. 

Pounds: How does a new photographer break into one of these markets?

Marion: Vickie Viera and I can help with assistance in technique and sales.  I can help you with simplified photography, data collection, and workflow instruction. Vickie is a genius at advising on pricing, package content, and flyers.

As a pioneer in digital photography, we took the arrows, so you don’t have to!

And remember, Marion Hughes is only an email or phone call away if you’d like to discuss your technical or sales needs. You can request training and technical information from Marion Hughes marion@poundslabs.com or call 469.341.6704

Volume Photography: The Pounds Difference

Friday, October 4th, 2019

Pounds is not just a lab. It’s your go-to resource, trusted adviser, reliable partner, and your professional problem solver. Our staff can guide you through any situation, help you with marketing, sales, and your move into volume photography.

One of our best resources is Marion Hughes, who knows more about photography than anyone you’re likely to meet! He’s our answer man for everything and anything to do with volume photography, and he’s dedicated to your success.

Pounds: What makes Pounds such a different lab?

Marion: There are not any labs I know of that have a fulltime professional photographer dedicated to helping customers. We also have more professional photographers in our plant than you can shake a stick at. There is a core group here with backgrounds as working photographers. We understand the product and process of our clients’ daily lives because so many of us are practicing photographers. We’ve been there, and we know your challenges.

Pounds: What unique resources does Pounds offer for photographers?

Marion: We now have an extensive collection of manuals and videos and are continually adding information. I make short videos we place on YouTube. Jon and Matt also create informational videos. HERE

Pounds: What are some of the other unique tools you’ve created to help photographers?

Marion: One of the things I’m proudest of creating is the WBET (White Balance Exposure Tool), to measure exposure. It has improved every photographer’s exposure and color much better than any meter, whiteboard, or gray card. The WBET tool is a device that is a target that makes it possible for the camera to determine the exposure very accurately. So, this tool is very easy to read. You can adjust the exposure within a 10th of a stop, and then you can white balance your camera. We have sold hundreds of them. They are only $25.00 and have been so popular this season we are sold out. We should have more in November! ORDER HERE

Pounds: What is the number one question photographers ask you?

Marion: Almost exclusively, I get called about moving from studio photography to volume. People are rapidly understanding volume photography is where the economic opportunity is.

Pounds: That sounds like a big leap! Where do you begin?

Marion: I begin with whatever they need. Often it’s equipment so I’m always shopping for equipment. Once I understand their specific needs, I’ll research and send direct links to let a customer know this is exactly what they need. As I mentioned, the staff at Pounds has been there and done that, so there is an innate trust factor in that we understand your challenges and help you solve them. And of course, we know volume photography better than anyone in the marketplace. You can always count on Pounds!

Meet Carolyn Taylor: Supervisor School Division + Order Entry

Thursday, September 13th, 2018


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!

Exciting News!

Friday, February 2nd, 2018


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


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.

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

Nick’s Knack

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Nick Tsakiris has a knack for multitasking. He’s a photographer, a husband, a father to three kids (and two dogs!), a teacher and an entrepreneur. He’s also the Lightroom Dude!

Pounds How long h ave you been a photographer?
Nick Although I’ve played around with shooting for years, I shot my first wedding in 2006. I got serious a year later and have been in the business “officially” a little over four years.

Pounds Why did you become a photographer?
Nick I just loved the idea of being able to look at something, freeze that moment in time and take it to another level. Creative freedom is a powerful thing. I fell in love with photography, the sense of excitement it offers and being able to be creative in camera and on screen. I’m also a people person and enjoy meeting people from all walks of life, so it’s a perfect fit.

Pounds Why did you choose wedding photography?
Nick There was so much going on the first time I shot a wedding. I realized I was able to keep up with all of the action and the inherent challenges of a wedding. Never knowing what is really going to happen on the wedding day keeps me on my toes. There is always the unknown element that makes it even more exciting.

Photos by Nick Tsakiris, Protrography

Photos by Nick Tsakiris, Protography Studios

Pounds You’ve taken on another life as “The Lightroom Dude.” How did that come about?
Nick Well, it was not because I walked into a phone booth, took off glasses and put on a colorful outfit! I’ ve been using Lightroom since the first release. I saw the endless possibilities of the software. Attending workshops and seminars, I would hear people talk about how hard it was to use, but I saw the perfect opportunity to ease workflow and creativity. I came to the conclusion that it was just different and sometimes we fear change! Lightroom, to this day, has proven to be the photographer’s friend. I found that you could do more than the help file might show. The unseen possibilities became my incentive to make the program do cool things.

Pounds How did the workshops begin?
Nick Pounds asked me to do a workshop in Houston. I was pretty nervous! The excitement of teaching was awesome. However, the thought that people would be listening to my advice and possibly using it in their business was really nerve wracking! Fortunately, it all turned out great!

Pounds A star was born!
Nick I was asked to speak at SWPPA, then IMAGING USA and we packed the Pounds Booth at both shows. I saw a crowd that stayed and listened and at times would say, “OK, show me that again!” Then more workshops developed across Texas. Now I’ll be speaking at a pretty good number of the Guilds in Texas. I was also invited to speak in Kerrville.

Pounds This sounds like a challenge! How do you handle wearing all the different “hats”?
Nick It has taken off quickly! I had to figure out how to separate the teaching side of the business from the photography side. It was perplexing. Then while I was watching an episode of Photoshop TV, Matt Kloskowski mentioned that you could find him on Facebook under the title of “The Photoshop Guy.” A light bulb turned on above my head in a matter of seconds…”The Lightroom Dude.” So I used the name Lightroom of course and since everyone knows that one of the words I use the most is “Dude” well, it just sounded cool!

Pounds What do you love most about teaching?
Nick This one has a simple answer! I love to show people how to do things that will help them increase their knowledge and their business. It is one of the greatest feelings in the world!

Pounds How often are you able to schedule workshops?
Nick As often as possible. In May alone, I am in Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio and McAllen! I think Lightroom is just now getting the recognition it deserves. We haven’t seen it hit full force yet, so there is a perfect scenario for me to go out and teach. There are users who have stepped away from the program because they feel the learning curve is too much. Lightroom at first glance, can be intimidating. However, once you know how to use it, the possibilities are endless. I am always ready to conduct workshops. If you’re ready, then let me know and I’ll be there!

Pounds Where do you see yourself in five years?
Nick I plan to travel more and teach worldwide. I’ll have a larger studio and I see my photography pushing the limits and being a part of something bigger than just shooting.

Pounds What advice do you have for a photographer entering the business today?
Nick Learn your tools and be yourself! Remember that everything happens for a rea son, so live and learn!

The Competitive Edge

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

You’ve got a terrific website and great SEO. You’re on Linked In, Plaxo Plus and Facebook. You Twitter every day and belong to all of the professional organizations. Is it enough ? Every smart photographer looks for that competitive edge,that something extra that will take their studio to a new level of visibility and recognition. What’s the answer?

What about photography competitions?  It’s a guarantee you’ll get visibility. You don’t even have to win. Entering gives you something to Tweet about, something to post on Facebook, something to blog about. It’s news.

What if you win? Even better. You have a brilliant marketing tool. Create an email with your winning image and blast it out to your clients. Add your new “best in show” or “first place” title on to all of your marketing messages. Winning something usu ally results in an interview for a photography newsletter or industry magazine. If no one contacts you, then contact them! Call your local paper and offer to give them an “exclusive” about your award. Local morning TV shows are another great avenue for publicity. They love winners and are always looking for interesting people to feature.

If you’re just beginning in the business, competitions are a great way to gain immediate recognition. Whether you win, place or show, you’ll be out there meeting your peers and getting a better understanding of how the photo competitions work. If you’re an old hand, then it’s important to stay plugged in and not rest on your laurels. There’s a new kid waiting to take your place every day, so keep you hand in the game!

Not only are photo competitions an excellent marketing opportunity, they’re a great way to renew your artistic spirit.  When you aren’t shooting specifically for a client, you can get back to the reason you picked up a camera in the first place, love of photography! Shooting images purely for your own satisfaction generally takes a back seat when you are scrambling to keep your business healthy.  You have to have a reason to get back to shooting simply for the fun of it. Photographic competitions serve that purpose. If you get on a schedule of entering competitions you’ll actually be fine-tuning your craft on a regular basis. Think about competing like exercise. The more you do it the better you get. You are keeping your talent “in shape” and keeping that competitive edge!

PPA: What’s in it for YOU?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

There are a lot of organizations out there vying for your attention and your money. Local, state, regional, category specific, sub category, the list goes on and on. Why choose the Professional Photographers of America (PPA)? What’s in it for you?

We took our questions to Eric Anundi of Eric John Photography . Eric has been a member of PPA since 1997.

“I remember joining specifically for the Indemnification Malpractice Coverage ,” he said.

This program covers photographers against malpractice lawsuits. Can you imagine losing a digital file from a wedding ? “ If I were to be sued for any reason, PPA would appoint and pay for local attorneys to represent me and pay for all damages awarded to my client,” Anundi said.

PPA has one main focus, to help photographers. It is the largest nonprofit association for professional photographers in the world. PPA is in 54 countries and has been around since 1880. It is the industry’s most powerful organization.

PPA offers a wide variety of services including education, discounts and copyright assistance.

“I love the copyright assistance,” Anundi said. “ In this day and age, copyright questions can be answered with precision by PPA staff.”

“We are a member of Studio Management Services (SMS) which has turned our business around,” he said. SMS gives members of PPA access to financial and business services designed to fit individual studio needs. Business advice from top consultants, bookkeeping services, live and online seminars are all included in SMS. This member benefit alone can get a new business off on the right foot as well as help an established studio that needs a tune up.

Business is largely based on perception. Pr ofessional associations create a level of comfort for clients. “I love the ability to use the PPA logo on my website and brochure which really states that I am a true professional,” Anundi said.

What’s in PPA for you? The answer is clear. Membership in PPA is one of the best investments you can make in your business!

Online Workshops

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Want to keep up to date with changes at Pounds Labs ? Pounds workshops offer a large range of topics including items like, insight on new products, how to speed your ordering in PROS, making your own templates for custom posters, calendars and more. With your feedback you can determine what the topics will be.

Most all meetings are presented with the aid of GoTo Meeting, giving you almost the same experience you would get in a live in person workshop but without leaving your studio or home.

Open line Friday is offered at least once each month. It gives everyone the opportunity to ask questions and kick around new ideas for marketing, website use, online sales, press books and much more. Need help creating and saving sports or school packages in PROS?  —-  or is monitor calibration something you need to worry about? Let’s discuss it and see if we can determine what you need to accomplish your goals.

For a complete month by month view of available workshops, simply go to the Pounds Labs web site and select community at the top and calendar on the left. If the current month is not displayed, you may need to select the correct month at the top of the calendar. If any of the workshops are of interest, make a selection and register. There is no fee and no commitment.

It’s Show Time!

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Why should you go to a tradeshow? If you’re an established photographer you might think,  “been there, done that”. If you’re just enter ing the business the idea of challenging your bottom line with an expensive trip might make you dismiss the thought completely.

Think again. Why do you suppose thousands of photographers make time in their busy schedules each year to attend not just one but several trade shows? Seasoned veterans and newbies alike flock to Imaging USA, WPPI, SPA and countless other shows. Last year WPPI’s 29th annual Convention and Tradeshow drew over 12,000 attendees and 365 exhibitors.

Tradeshows keep growing in popularity. They’re a lot like the mall on Christmas Eve; big, full of excitement and a lot of fun. If you haven’t been in awhile, you’re missing out. If you’ve never been, it’s time to give one a try.

Where else will you find hundreds of vendors gathered under one roof ready to tell you about products that have not yet hit the market? Staying ahead of the curve in a creative industry is essential in today’s economy. Your customers expect you to be up to date and offer the latest products.

Where else will you find workshops and seminars that will help you grow your business?  Head back to your studio with cutting edge knowledge, skills and information that will increase your profitability.

Where else can you network with people from all over the country? Sharing information and exchanging ideas leads to solutions and better ways to move your company forward. Networking in person is a great deal more effective than social networking. Make new friends, new contacts and watch your business expand.

Where else can you listen to industry leaders who can provide insights into trends, market forces and business strategies? We all need inspiration and motivation. Just one insight can change the way you look at your business model and lead you in an exciting new direction.

Tradeshows are a major educational opportunity. They present you with new ideas, stimulate creativity and challenge you to think out of the box.  M ake 2010 the year you
invest in your business by sampling a tradeshow or two!