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Posts Tagged ‘school photography’

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!

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

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!