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Posts Tagged ‘Marion Hughes’

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!

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!

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

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

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!

Imaging USA 2014: A Pounds Perspective

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

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As the palm trees waved under the sunny skies of Phoenix in early January, Imaging USA kicked off another great event. This year over 7,600 people attended, there were more than 100 programs offered, Kenny Rogers received an Honorary Master of Photography degree and shared some of his favorite images and of course we were there! If you weren’t able to attend, here’s a little peek from Chris, Vickie and Carl!

Check out this Imaging USA 2014 Infographic link for some surprising information!

What was your overall impression about Imaging this year?

Chris: “Imaging was high energy this year. There was a constant flow of photographers at our booth until the very last minute of the show!”

Carl: “There were a lot more new photographers attending this year!”

Why do you think Imaging is an important trade show for photographers to attend?

Vickie: “Imaging creates an opportunity for novice and experienced photographers to connect, learn and grow through the information, classes and vendor offerings. Attending Imaging allows them access to help and information, from copyright questions to image capture. Networking and education play key roles in the growth of a photographer’s business.”

Chris: “Photographers of all genres meet, learn, exchange ideas, and grow together. The exposure to hundreds of vendors; from equipment dealers, software providers, frame and prop stores to pro labs and packaging resources provides a unique opportunity for photographers to visit and meet one-on-one and put their hands on the products!”

Carl: “Photographers attending Imaging USA trade show learn from other photographers. They’re able to see and touch the new products offered by various vendors and see demonstrations of new cameras and lenses. You just can’t do this online! Virtual Backgrounds introduced and demonstrated their new digital projection backgrounds which was a big success!”

What about a brand new photographer just opening up a studio, how would Imaging be helpful to them?

Vickie: “Networking, exposure to labs, products and professionals who have a profitable business model!”

Chris: “Imaging USA is the gateway to PPA. Joining PPA allows photographers access to valuable resources that include marketing, legal assistance and insurance services.”

What were the products Pounds offers that generated the most interest?

Carl: “The hot items in the Pounds booth this year were the customized USB Flash Drives and cases. We had samples on hand for the convention as Imaging happened prior to production. Photographers were excited to see them and get pricing. Our Press Books always get attention. People comment on the quality at every show.”

Chris:Metal Prints are still a big hit. The Contour Desktop Panels were a draw and as Carl mentioned, the customized USB Flash Drives and cases.”

Vickie: “Marion Hughes! He’s not a product but he was by far the biggest draw. No one knows school photography like Marion! We had a great deal of interest in Wavy Metal and cell phone cases as well.”

It’s never too early to start thinking about Imaging USA 2015 and being a member of PPA! Pencil in February 1-3, 2015 on your calendar right now then start polishing those boots to kick up your heels in Nashville!

sRGB vs. Adobe RGB

Friday, June 28th, 2013

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The debate over which color space is best to use has been around for several years. Some photo-bloggers are advising photographers to shoot in Adobe RGB color space. For most of us this would be a mistake. Adobe RGB was developed for the publishing industry and represents a broader color range (gamut) than sRGB. However, for all practical purposes the world works in sRGB. Adobe compresses the color range in order to fit the larger pallet into available space. Special software, and care, is required to re-expand the tonality. Even if you succeed in this step; internet displays and photo labs, including Pounds Labs, exclusively use sRGB. Printing from any of the specialty color spaces like Adobe RGB without precise conversion to sRGB will yield duller reds and violets. The end result will still reflect an sRGB gamut, so why not start in the color space that you print, web display and e-mail in. Streamline your workflow, always use sRGB.

This may seem counterintuitive, but don’t take my word for it. Check out Gary Fong’s YouTube discussion on this subject.