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Posts Tagged ‘professional photographers’

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!

Inside Volume Photography with Vickie Viera

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

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

Pounds: What products have been added for sports photographers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pounds: How does SYNC differ from SPAC?

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

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

READ HERE

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

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

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

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

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

That game changer came about three years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

Patterson continues to learn, experiment and grow.

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

Gail Nogle Gets Around

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

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Fearless, curious, energetic and full of boundless enthusiasm, Gail Nogle has been there, done that and in a big way! Think of a place. Mongolia, Africa, Romania, she’s been there. Name a person. George Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Julia Child, she’s photographed them. Awards? Well of course there’s the highest award in the profession, a Fellowship from the American Society of Photographers. The list of accolades would fill a volume! At 8 she was presented with a Brownie Starlight camera and fell in love with photography. Gail has an extraordinary talent for capturing the ordinary and after over four decades behind the camera, she is still in love with photography and is still moving forward at the speed of light. She paused long enough to answer a few questions for us!

POUNDS: You’ve been in business for some time and photographed just about every sort of subject matter. What is your absolute favorite thing to photograph and why?
GAIL: My first love and forte is to photograph children, especially 3-year-old children because they are still animated and take direction well and they are ready to play!

POUNDS: What is your best asset when it comes to photographing a subject?
GAIL: My best asset is that I can read people, make them feel comfortable in a very short time, and get down to the business of making wonderful, exciting, and exceptional portraits of them!

POUNDS: You have been at the forefront of the industry, one of the first women to be taken seriously and you’ve remained competitive. How do you do it?
GAIL: Lots of effort, hard work and attention to detail. I never settle for just good enough and I’ve been entering competitions most of the 40 years I have been in business. I was always, and still am, in competition with myself to become a better photographer. I am driven!

POUNDS: What is the next challenge you are looking forward to?
GAIL: Writing my first book, lecturing, and traveling using the world as my studio.

POUNDS: What are a couple of great photo memories you love to share?
GAIL: Some memorable moments for me have been photographing Princess Diana’s funeral, riding on the back of a motorcycle while taking photographs in the Harley Davidson 100th anniversary parade, and attending the 2013 Kumbh Mela in India (the largest religious, spiritual gathering in the world which happens every 12 years).

POUNDS: When did you start speaking about photography at trade shows and conventions?
GAIL: I first started speaking at the TPPA Convention in Dallas, TX in 1977 with my associate and mentor, Yvonne Bluberg.

POUNDS: What do you enjoy most about speaking on the business of photography?
GAIL: The art of photography and the connection I have with my subjects, seeing beyond what is happening at the moment and making something happen out of nothing. I like to share what I have learned in my 40-year career to inspire other photographers to realize their dreams.

POUNDS: How has Pounds factored in your business?
GAIL: Wow! That’s a great question. Where do I start? Pounds has always been there for me no matter what I needed. They provide great customer service. If I need something made over, no questions asked! They always produce quality prints and offer quality service that I can depend on, which is one less thing for me to worry about. Alleviating worry about my prints, that’s what they do best, so I can focus my time and energy on what I do best!

Check out Gail’s work at www.gailnoglephoto.com

Print What You Want to Preserve

Monday, September 15th, 2014

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Guest blog by Missy MWAC
#whyweprint

[The discussion recently arose on my Facebook wall about giving clients digital files because that’s “what they want,” and I’m glad it did, because it’s an important discussion to have. This is my response to the “digital only” conversation. Warning: I took it waaaay down. So far down, that I became exhausted and had to watch SNL reruns on Netflix to counter the effects...]

I may be out of touch, it’s true. And while I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I really do try to stay on top of what is trending and what is about to trend. It’s kind of my thing.

As you recall, back in the days o’ film, the phone would ring and the caller would ask that question that made many a photographers’ eyes roll: “How much is an 8×10?” If I had a dime for every time, right? And, we knew…just knew… that what they were asking was not really the price of an 8×10 (although I’m sure there was a percentage for whom that was ALL they wanted to know.)

No, they asked “How much is an 8×10?” because it’s all they knew to ask. They wanted to know price, sure, but what that question really meant was:

“Why should I pick YOU?”
“Am I going to love these?” “What if I don’t?”
“Are you right for me?”
“If I pick you, will I be happy with my choice.”
“Tell me why YOU are the right photographer for me.”

Of course, they didn’t come out and say that. Instead, they asked, “How much is an 8×10?”

Now, that question could be answered according to the “what clients want” theory: they WANT the price of an 8×10, so give it to them and be done with the phone call.

Or…we could dig deeper to find out what they REALLY want.

Fast forward to now and the digital age. I happen to love it. I really do. Digital photography has made possible things that have stretched the imagination and broadened the mind. Heck, you and I are talking because of digital communication. And, for many photographers, digital technology has changed their final product.

Why? Why did it change? Were clients banging down the door demanding digital images only…or were we quick to hand them over, stick a fork in it, and say, “I’m done.”

Personally, I think it’s the latter.

Again, why? Well, with digital only, we don’t have to sell. And selling, well, the thought produces tremors in a lot of people. And then, having sold, we have to produce a product. And then, we have to hope the clients like the product. And then, we have to deliver the product.

All that…when you could slap ‘em on a CD, grab a little pocket change and be done? Well, it’s easy to see, at least to me, why that became attractive and “the thing to do.” (Not to mention this was advocated and promoted by those who stood to profit from the shift to digital only. Of course, that’s a whole other conversation.)

But…I submit it is not always what clients want…even when they say it is. Like the 8×10, they think they need to ask: “Can I get the CD?” That’s what their friends did, right? And that’s the offer they are getting everywhere they turn, so they figure it’s “what’s done.” And, having received the CD, or USB drive, or online gallery, the images will be shared for a week or so, and then, the excitement will wane and the disk will be placed in a drawer.

And it will be forgotten.

Sure, a handful might, just might, print them. Will they look how YOU intended them? After all, your name is on them, so you better hope so. I say the odds are doubtful.

The bottom line, at least, to me, is that we have devalued many things in this industry: the work, the final product, the relationships between client and photographer, the way we market…(examples are happily given for all of these upon request) and it’s time we get back to making things MEAN something again.

I believe we do that by creating a print for our client…something that lasts. I might give a social media copy to share online, but I believe my job isn’t done until I place a paper photograph in their hand, because I believe that the ONLY tangible thing we give our clients shouldn’t be a USB drive.

And, I believe their grandkids will one day be grateful.

xoxo