Additional articles

Even more tips, tricks, industry news, and more can all be found right here.

Showing 0 of 100
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Article Header Image
December 27, 2023

Volume Photography Trade Shows: Learn, Network, Grow Your Business

We made it! 2023 is winding down, the busy season is almost over, and your holiday sales are starting to run, generating a big revenue push to close the year strong. Now is a great time to reflect on all the wins your volume photography studio enjoyed over the last 12 months, map out next year’s activities, and consider ways you can take your business to even greater heights in 2024!

As you fill out your calendar for next year, don’t forget about trade shows! If you’ve never been to a trade show, the experience will blow you away. It’s a priceless opportunity to immerse yourself in all things photography while being surrounded by like-minded industry professionals. Getting a glimpse into our profession's current state and future roadmap will motivate you to innovate and grow your business.

Will attending trade shows benefit your studio? We certainly think so! In this blog, we’ll explain what a trade show is, why they’re valuable, and introduce you to the biggest photography shows in the country so you can decide which ones you’re interested in attending. Plus, we’re sharing where you can find the PhotoDay Team—we’re excited to sponsor and participate in multiple shows this season!

What is a Trade Show?

Trade shows have many names, including trade exhibitions, conventions, conferences, expos, and trade fairs. They are huge events where companies and professionals from a specific industry, like photography, gather to network and showcase their products, services, and innovations that will benefit others in the industry. It’s like going to a theme park, but all the attractions are photography-related. Everyone there is as excited about photography as you are, and you get ultimate exposure to the tools, technologies, tips, and trends that will help you grow your volume photography studio.

Companies set up booths to display products, distribute marketing materials, and engage with attendees to help you understand how their equipment, software, workflow, or storage system will save your studio time and money. 

On top of that, there are educational presentations, workshops, and seminars with some of the biggest names in the business who are eager to share their expert insights and knowledge with you.

Taking full advantage of a trade show can improve and expand your studio’s efficiency, creativity, and capability. Plus, you might make some new best friends.

Why Should You Attend Trade Shows?

Trade shows offer a unique environment to explore new opportunities for your business, network, and gain exposure to the latest photography trends. There’s no other setting for you to learn this much in such a short amount of time. 

Here are some of the ways going to a trade show will benefit your studio:

  • Networking Opportunities: Trade shows encourage everyone in the industry to gather in one place by providing numerous formal and casual opportunities to get to know each other and develop crucial contacts. Some trade shows offer specific networking dinners or events. It’s no secret that an extensive network of colleagues and vendors is invaluable! You can share tips, seek advice, and pool knowledge on technologies and trade secrets as you take your studio to new heights.
  • Brand Building: Trade shows present opportunities to grow your brand both in the photography community and with potential clients. The connections you make could lead to future business opportunities and partnerships! Consider using your social media platforms and blog to document all your exciting experiences at the trade show. Your willingness to innovate your studio and service offerings will be very attractive to existing and potential new clients. 
  • Experiencing the Latest Industry Trends: Trade shows are where vendors and industry manufacturers feature the latest technology, software, and equipment. In-depth conversations with creators and hands-on experiences with the newest tools, software, products, and printing technologies could uncover the means you need to level up your studio’s efficiency and image quality.
  • Educational Opportunities: Workshops, seminars, and presentations by industry experts are priceless and will likely provide the most significant return on your investment. Learning new techniques, business strategies, and best practices from established industry veterans will directly impact your studio’s planning, execution, and growth.

The Best and Most Important Trade Shows for Volume Photographers

Attending trade shows can be a significant investment. There are travel and registration costs, and you are eliminating potential picture days from your calendar. Attending the right shows is crucial so you can leave feeling like the benefits were well worth the cost.

If you’re having difficulty deciding which shows are the best fit for you, PhotoDay has you covered! Our experts have compiled everything you need to know about the top trade shows for volume photographers. We have provided the dates, descriptions, and educational opportunities for each, but feel free to visit the shows’ websites to learn more about how to register, what vendors will be in attendance, cost, and more!

If you’re curious about a specific trade show and want input from past attendees, we suggest joining the Team and Volume Photographers Facebook Group. If you’re a PhotoDay user, join our PhotoDay Users Facebook Group. Both groups are full of members with first-hand recommendations who love to help out a fellow photographer by sharing their experiences!


  • Dates: January 24th - January 27th, 2024
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Description: SPAC is the largest annual high-volume school and sports photographer conference! They bring together social events, education, and networking all under one roof.
  • Class Overview: 

Take a sneak peek at some course offerings:

Sports 101 & Sports 202 with Jay & Carinna Boatwright
Additional Registration Required. Limited Space.

One of the challenges facing both veterans and those new to volume sports is picking the best set of ingredients to use in their recipe for success.  Jay and Carinna Boatwright of SmaX Photography and TeamDSP’s Dave Stock and Maris Naegeli will share their choices of software (PhotoDay and Blueprint) and equipment and the logic behind their selection. More importantly, the focus of this session will be how they combine these and other ingredients to match the tastes of their respective target markets: select teams, sports leagues, and middle and high school teams. Main areas of emphasis will include indoor and outdoor lighting setups, the use of both natural backgrounds and greenscreen, and picture day and post-photo shoot workflows. The Boatwrights are sponsored by PhotoDay.

PhotoDay is also hosting a Side Show breakout session.

Take your business—and profits—to the next level with PhotoDay and LVL Up Imaging. Learn how to streamline your next school picture day with Mario and Tom Muñoz (LVL Up Co-Founders) as they showcase their innovative single-light system, which guarantees:

  • Beautiful, soft, and consistently perfect lighting 
  • Improved image quality SOOC
  • Simplified post-processing steps and seamless extractions
  • Compact portability (it even fits in a sedan)
  • Easy 5-minute set up on location

When it comes to image-first selling, outstanding photos = awesome revenue. PhotoDay’s modern online marketplace, time-saving workflows, AI-driven knockouts, and powerful marketing tools make LVL Up and PhotoDay the perfect combination.

Stevie Williams (PhotoDay Customer Success Manager) will demonstrate PhotoDay Capture’s game-changing workflow while attendees receive FREE headshots from these award-winning photographers, plus a LVL Up discount code. Discover how PhotoDay and LVL Up can revolutionize your studio! 

Other course offerings at SPAC 2024:

  • AI Transforming Industry Panel
  • How to Prepare an RFP for School Contract Bids
  • My Secrets and Strategies for Pricing Cheer, Gymnastics, & Dance Photography

Be sure to stop by and say hi to the PhotoDay Team at Booth 401!

Imaging USA 

  • Dates: January 28th - January 30th, 2024
  • Location: Louisville, KY
  • Description: Imaging USA is the premier photography conference! Connect and learn with fellow photographers to help excel your business. Learn skills to grow your business and spark your creativity along the way.
  • Class Overview: 

Take a sneak peek at some course offerings:

Portraits Gone Volume with Jason & Jo Marino

Join Jason and Jo Marino of Strada Studios as they delve into their transformation from successful luxury portrait photographers to creative pioneers in the volume school portrait and sports industry. Discover their key business insights, upscaling techniques, innovative tech and tools, practical takeaways, and inspirational success stories about how to seamlessly blend quality and scale in your business. The Marinos are sponsored by PhotoDay.

Maximizing Sales + Image Quality for Online Volume Sales with Mario Muñoz

Don’t miss the chance to learn from Mario Muñoz of LVL Up Imaging and Muñoz Photography! Acclaimed photographer and co-founder of the innovative LVL Up Studio System, Mario will share how to maximize both revenue and image quality specifically for online volume selling. Mario is sponsored by PhotoDay.

Other course offerings at Imaging USA 2024:

  • Purpose-Driven Photography: Unlocking the Secrets to Building a Purposeful and Profitable Business
  • Great Clients Are Made Not Found
  • Think Like a CEO: Know Thyself and Master Your Business
  • Being Profitable in High Volume Sports – Process, Technique, Tools, Sales, and Marketing
  • Photo-Activism: Photography With Purpose

Be sure to stop by and say hi to the PhotoDay team at Booth 1311!


  • Dates: February 22nd - February 25th, 2024
  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Description: SYNC is the largest High School Senior and Youth Sports photography show on the East Coast! Discover a blend of inspiration, education, and, last but not least, FUN! While at SYNC, you will be able to uncover the latest equipment and technology to help your business grow!
  • Class Overview: 

Take a sneak peek at some course offerings:

Dance: From Start to Finish with Rose Coleman

Want to grow your dance photography business? Learn what it takes to get new recital studios, photograph different age groups, how to sell to clients in 2024, and maximize your backend workflow with technology. PhotoDay Capture has changed the game, and you need to be using it! Take your business to the next level with Rose. This program is jam-packed with volume tips and tricks. Rose is sponsored by PhotoDay.

The Power Inside Your Portrait with Jake Carr

Join us as Jake shares his newfound secret to self-confidence. Learn how to create your own momentum and unlock the mental toughness you need to take your business and personal endeavors to the next level. Key takeaways include techniques to improve self-confidence, the hidden value of the portrait process, and reframing your mindset. Jake is sponsored by PhotoDay. 

Shoot to Thrill: Creating Stunning Volume Sports Portraits with Next Level Lighting Tools with Jason & Jo Marino

Join The Marinos for an exhilarating photography presentation that will revolutionize how you approach volume sports portraits! Learn the tips and tricks Jo and Jason learned as high-end portrait photographers and parlayed into dramatic, engaging volume sports portraits that not only captivate viewers but also sell like crazy. The Marinos understand the importance of efficiency and speed and will share the tools they use to achieve stunning results without sacrificing productivity. Whether you're an aspiring volume sports photographer or a seasoned pro looking to refine your craft, this presentation is for you. Key takeaways include lighting techniques, enhanced composition and posing, efficient workflow strategies with PhotoDay and AI culling and editing, and post-processing for impact. The Marinos are sponsored by PhotoDay.

Youth Sports Photography for the Win with Jay Boatwright

In this program, the discussion will be about strategies and practices that Jay and Carinna Boatwright use for their growing studio in Atlanta, Georgia. Whether your goal is to improve your skills for local high school athletes or you want to run an organized shoot of 100+ teams in a day, Jay will share his strategies for success! The Boatwrights are sponsored by PhotoDay.

Be sure to stop by and say hi to the PhotoDay team at Booth 15/16!


  • Dates: July 30th - August 2nd, 2024
  • Location: Detroit, MI
  • Description: ClickCon is a photography and videography conference highlighting innovation, creation, and collaboration! At the conference, you can attend practical, on-location classes (not in a classroom) hosted by some of the best speakers from all over, as well as visit with the top vendors. Experience the hands-on conference today!
  • Class Overview: 

Take a sneak peek at some course offerings:

  • Indoor Portrait Lightpainting 101
  • Creating an Aligned Business that Feeds Your Soul (and Family)
  • The Evolution of a Dancer & How to Capture Them
  • Creating Drama with Emotion through Light and Motion
  • LVL Up Your Portraits: Mastering the Light
  • Creating the Perfect Session Day Workflow
  • The Art of Sports Photography: Lighting, Shooting, Editing
  • Connecting with Your Client
  • Create or Disintegrate: Infuse Your Dance Photography with Artistry

When planning the next growth phase for your studio in the coming year, consider the wealth of information and opportunities trade shows have to offer. There is no substitute for the top-tier education, exposure to new ideas and technologies, and excitement you’ll feel being surrounded by photography lovers like yourself. The few days you set aside will pay huge dividends for your studio. Attend as many as you can and enjoy the results!

PhotoDay is proud to support many of the photography trade shows crucial to the continuing education and support of photographers like you. We’re excited to attend and hope to meet you there!

Article Header Image
December 4, 2023

The Best Photo Storage Options for Volume Photographers

If you’re a volume photographer, there's a good chance you've experienced the loss of an image at some point in your career. It's probably one of the most gut-wrenching emotions possible in this line of work. You put in those long hours, striving to capture the perfect moments. The thought of losing any images is a nightmare that lives rent-free in every photographer’s mind.

No matter what, it’s only natural to feel worry creep in occasionally, but we’re here to review effective storage approaches and solutions that will put your mind at ease. Now, more backup solutions are available than ever before, with options that fit any budget.

The 3-2-1 rule is the gold standard for backing up any data. You need three copies of your data: two onsite on two different media types and one off-site. Data protection exists in a worst-case scenario world. You already know that mishaps like a hard drive failure or a natural disaster can occur, so building redundancy into your system mitigates the risk of permanent data loss.

The methods and media you use to follow the 3-2-1 rule are entirely your call. In this blog, we will help you understand many popular local and offsite storage options and show you one of our experts’ setups as an example to pattern your own system. 

If you’re new to file storage, this may be a lot to digest, but stick with us! If you’re here because you’ve lost files and are in panic mode, check out this article for recovery options.

Let’s dive in!

Onsite Storage

Onsite storage options come in two main categories: direct attached storage (DAS) and network attached storage (NAS).

  • Direct Attached Storage: A storage or backup device that is physically connected to your computer by a cable is considered DAS.  External hard drives (EHD) fall under this category.  External hard drives come in two types: a mechanical hard drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD). HDDs have many moving parts and higher failure rates, so they have become less common; while they offer more storage space at a lower price, the gap continues to shrink. SSDs have fewer moving parts and transfer data lightning-fast, so most experts give this drive type the edge for its performance and reliability.

    , OWC, and Western Digital are three popular EHD brands. They offer many models, including desktop and portable options. While doing your research, you will need to decide what physical size of drive you want and how much storage space you need. We recommend estimating disk space on the high side because having too much is always better than not having enough.

    Given the heavy volume of files and data volume photographers must store and backup, you may want to consider investing in a RAID (redundant array of independent disks) system instead. RAIDs store data on multiple interconnected drives simultaneously and, in addition to giving you extra storage space, instantly add a layer of redundancy to your data management system. With a RAID, if one drive fails, you can swap it for a new one, and the system will rebuild the data stored on the disk for you. Talk about a win-win! 

    As you might expect, the most popular EHD brands are also popular options for RAIDs, but there are other alternatives like SanDisk. You should evaluate RAID options like external hard drives and all other equipment for your business. Determine your needs and budget, ask your peer group for any recommendations they may have, and then find the gear that suits your studio best. If you’re not already a part of the PhotoDay Users Facebook Group, consider joining! It’s a great place to talk with other volume photographers about these topics.
  • Network Attached Storage: A storage or backup device that is available via your network is called a NAS. Like a RAID, a NAS contains multiple hard drives and uses similar redundant storage techniques. Unlike a RAID, the NAS includes its own CPU and has the computing power to perform functions like file management and backups without using your primary computer’s resources. NAS is also valuable because other computers on the network can access the files stored there.

    Your NAS is the studio’s second layer of redundancy for storage. Since utilizing files over the network is comparatively slower than working with files on your DAS, you would typically store backups and RAW files here while keeping in-progress files and delivered JPEGs on your DAS so you can work with them efficiently.

    The most popular manufacturers in the NAS arena are QNAP, Asustor, and Synology. All three offer excellent solutions for all budgets. If you don’t have a preference yet, check reviews and consult with your professional network to find an ideal fit for your studio.

Offsite (Cloud) Storage

Believe it or not, until recently, the most common offsite storage solution was keeping a hard drive at a friend or relative’s house or in a safe deposit box and swapping it regularly with a more recent backup. While this did ensure you would have most of your files in the event of a catastrophe, it was inconvenient, and your protections only went to your last backup. Not a great plan!

Enter cloud storage. We now have access to the cloud where we can instantaneously backup files and other vital data and know it will always be there if needed. It also has the added benefit of accessing anywhere with a connected device, allowing you to store processed files on the cloud for effortless viewing and sharing. If you remember the old-fashioned storage plan mentioned earlier, imagine how the cloud can relieve you of that clunky burden! 

The other great thing about cloud storage? Its scalability. A basic package will provide a fixed amount of storage at a relatively low price, which you can expand as much as you need with significantly less cost than buying new hardware.

A few of the most popular cloud providers are Google Drive, Amazon S3, CrashPlan, and BackblazeB2. Pricing and functionality vary for each service.

Google Drive offers minimal storage for free, so it is impractical for full backups, but it’s a great place to store finalized images for easy access. Amazon S3 provides numerous storage capabilities and an extremely low cost to host data using a specific service called Glacier, which is considered a ‘deep freeze.’ Deep Freeze or Deep Archive refers to the retrievability of these files. It may take 12 to 48 hours to retrieve your archived content from deep within Amazon’s servers. 

Retrieving data can be expensive, so it is recommended to use Amazon S3 as a backup to your backup if you use it at all. Backblaze B2 is the most popular and versatile service, providing storage for $6 per terabyte per month with no download fees to access your data. If you’re a smaller studio with just a few drives to back up, Backblaze also has a standard plan with unlimited storage for every drive attached to your registered computer for $9 a month. 

Data Management

Having this infrastructure in place is only helpful if you manage it properly. Here’s how we suggest prioritizing your solutions. 

Your first focus should be on digital asset management (DAM), which efficiently catalogs and organizes your image library. This system will provide the basis and structure for storage and backup at all levels of the 3-2-1 model. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is probably the most popular DAM used by photographers, but there are other options including Canto.

Once your digital assets are sorted out, and your storage game is strong, it's time to get creative with your system. Think about adding backup management and monitoring to keep everything in shape.

If your system is up to it, consider doing real-time onsite backups and scheduling cloud backups regularly. The cool part? You can use tools to automate all of this, making your life easier and saving you loads of time.

What Our Experts Use

Now that we’ve discussed the ins and outs of photo storage redundancy and keeping your files safe, we want to provide example setups from a couple of our experts. These samples go beyond hardware and explain each item’s functional and storage purpose. Feel free to use this as a blueprint for your own setup.

For onsite storage, one pro uses an OWC Thunderbolt 4 RAID enclosure for direct attached storage and a Synology NAS. They keep their Lightroom catalog, RAW files, processed JPGs, and design files on the OWC Thunderbolt for easy access and efficient working. The Synology NAS provides a concurrent backup of all files to prevent loss.

On the cloud, this pro syncs finished JPGs to Google Drive so they can easily access them anywhere and takes advantage of AWS Glacier for unlimited storage of RAW files. They use a Glacier plugin on their NAS for automatic backup of these files. This expert does note that it is very cost-effective to “cold store” files on Glacier, but it is costly to restore them if needed, so be sure to closely monitor your local storage solutions to avoid restoring from the cloud unless absolutely necessary.

Another expert utilizes a similar setup to follow the 3-2-1 rule. They use a Thunderbolt solid-state NVME drive as direct attached storage and a working drive. Their Lightroom catalog, RAW files, and design files are regularly backed up to an OWC Thunderbay 6-drive RAID enclosure. Then, they back up everything to Backblaze’s cloud for relatively cheap storage and equally cost-effective access if a restoration from the cloud is required.

Bonus tip: One pro suggests utilizing the Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries built into Photoshop Illustrator and InDesign. For example, you could keep your logos, assets, overlays, and digital backgrounds in folders inside the cloud library, so adding elements to designs is as simple as drag-and-drop! Canva is another tool you can use to this effect.

By now, we hope the 3-2-1 method has really stuck with you and is ingrained into your storage plan. You’re dealing with an extraordinary number of images, so ensuring those are safe should be a top priority. The good news? There are a lot of solutions out there to handle this, each with its own unique capabilities.

Focus on the 3-2-1 rule, and back up your backups onsite and offsite. Once you are confident in your photo storage plan and hardware, you can turn your attention to capturing the next great photo without having to worry about what may happen to it.

Happy capturing (and storing)!

Article Header Image
November 28, 2023

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Photography Lighting

You can’t have a great photo without great lighting. While the camera and subject play crucial roles in achieving stunning photographs, it's often the quality of lighting that can make or break an image.

Getting the lighting right isn’t easy, but with experience and practice, you can develop the skills and acquire the necessary equipment. In this blog, we will discuss traditional lighting details, rigs, and techniques, then share a revolutionary lighting setup that will make your next picture day unbelievably simple and efficient.

Why is Lighting Important?

Controlling and manipulating light directly impacts a photograph's emotion, tone, and color accuracy. These factors ultimately determine the image’s quality.

The way you manage lighting matters from both a practical and artistic perspective.

Keeping lighting consistent from the beginning of picture day to the end keeps your subjects visible and sharp. It also speeds post-processing by delivering repeatable images that provide expected results when you apply your presets and extract your images to use with digital backgrounds. Presenting multiple options to prospective customers ultimately leads to more sales.

Artistically, effective lighting sets the mood of the photograph. It creates texture and depth, which is particularly important when using digital backgrounds. Placement and intensity invoke certain feelings in the viewer, directs their gaze, and contours your subject's features, driving visual appeal.

Focusing on your lighting equipment and techniques will ensure you capture the high-quality, desirable images your buyers want. 

Soft Light Versus Hard Light

The terms soft and hard light refer to the quality of the light illuminating your subject and how it interacts with them. Photographers must consider the quality of light because it dramatically impacts an image's mood, texture, and style.

Soft light is characterized as gentle and flattering and produces smooth transitions from light to shadow. Large, diffused light sources such as a cloudy sky, softbox, or umbrella create soft tones by spreading and scattering light. In soft light, shadows are less defined, and the details in shadowed areas are more visible. Soft light also minimizes skin imperfections and creates a flattering, even-toned appearance, making it popular in portrait photography.

Conversely, hard light is characterized as direct and intense with well-defined shadows. Direct sunlight, focused spotlights, or an undiffused flash are typical sources of hard light. The harsh lighting makes shadows sharp and dramatic, obscuring textures outside the light. The primary effect of hard light is creating visual drama and emphasizing texture, which viewers and creators of fashion and commercial photography tend to favor.

The Kelvin Scale

The Kelvin scale (also called the color temperature scale) is a fundamental concept for photographers, as it directly influences the color temperature of light, which plays a critical role in the visual impact and quality of photos. It is a standardized measurement used in lighting to describe the color appearance of light sources. Users measure light on a scale of 1000K-10,000K to accurately determine the appearance and ambiance of the light.

Lower temperatures (2000K-3000K)  have an orange to yellow hue like the glow of a candle and are considered “warm.” Mid-range temperatures (3100K-4500K) are considered neutral for their white appearance. Light measuring above 4500K will have a bluish tint that mimics daylight and is sometimes classified as “cool.”

The ideal portrait light is in the 5000K-5500K range, equivalent to daylight on the Kelvin scale. You can measure Kelvin using a light meter, but the skin tones of your subjects and the overall quality of your images should indicate if you are staying in the proper range.

Traditional Lighting Setups

Multiple components are necessary to create even, flattering, and consistent lighting at a volume photography location. Good rigs contain three types of lights with different purposes, stands, and equipment for measurement and control. 

Your primary light source is typically a large softbox or umbrella angled slightly to the subject to create soft, even lighting and minimize harsh shadows. Next, you will need a fill light that strobes with your shutter or bounces off a diffuser to reduce any shadows the main light creates.  Finally, you will need a separation light placed behind the subject to add depth and separate your subject from the backdrop.

Light stands are necessary to hold, direct, and adjust the lights as you want them. They should be heavy enough to keep everything safely in place but not so heavy they make your setup more difficult than it needs to be. 

Once you have your lighting in place, you must be able to measure and control its intensity. Using a light meter will help you know how to adjust your camera for properly exposed images. Control equipment like dimmers (usually integrated into your lights) provide an additional control layer.

Before you buy any equipment, check out our gear page. Our partners offer great deals and selection on new and used gear.

Why Light Positioning Matters

Light positioning is an essential component of taking a photograph.

As we’ve discussed, your lighting tremendously impacts the quality of the raw image you are creating. All your light sources must work harmoniously to create texture, shape the subject, and flatter their features and skin tones. 

Just as importantly, perfect lighting in your initial image will significantly reduce the time and effort required in post-processing. Using lighting to create a clear delineation between your subject and your background makes extractions like PhotoDay Knockouts crisp and sharp so you can create stunning images with various digital backgrounds. 

Additionally, lighting skin tones correctly and flattering a subject's features reduces the need for retouching, ultimately producing a more natural-looking finished image.

Indoor and Outdoor Lighting

Lighting principles are the same whether you are shooting indoors or outdoors. However, you have less control when you shoot outdoors, so you must be prepared to compensate for changing environmental factors.

When shooting outdoors, the sun is generally your main light, so you must position your subjects accordingly. Usually, you will want them to face the sun so you can take advantage of the beautiful natural light. Exceptions might occur if you shoot in the hour after dawn or before dusk, known as the “golden hours.” In this case, you could use a beautiful sunrise or sunset as a dramatic background. No matter the time of day, you may still require additional equipment like reflectors and diffusers to control the amount of light and aim it where you want it to be. If the natural light isn’t favorable, a flash or strobe can enhance the portrait’s lighting to create the depth and contrast you are looking for.

Indoors, you have more control and consistency with ambient light. A traditional three-light setup will be sufficient in most cases. Since volume photographers move from location to location, your goal is to find a repeatable setup that consistently yields the images you expect with minimal adjustment. Take note of your light positions and settings at each location so you can refer to past experiences if you have difficulty lighting a particular site.

One-Light Approach to Indoor Lighting

You can guarantee consistently perfect lighting with every picture you take and significantly reduce your setup time with one easy-to-use system from LVL Up Imaging. The LVL Up Studio System comprises one lightweight, collapsible diffuser screen and two reflector screens that are equally easy to carry and set up. With the screens in place, you only need one light to capture beautiful, powerfully lit images.

Renowned photographers Tom and Mario Muñoz developed the LVL Up System to replicate the control and artistry they could achieve in their studio out in the field. 

As Tom explains, “You set this up in literally five minutes, and because your highlight comes from the shadow, you get consistent, three-dimensional lighting without having to change it based on the subject.”

Since actual photographers created and designed the system, it addresses nearly every challenge volume and portrait photographers face.

First, the LVL Up Studio System creates efficiency during setup and teardown. Traditional lighting and backdrops can take an hour or more, but this system goes up in five minutes or less, saving you time and money. 

Second, the system provides consistent, softer lighting. Utilizing one light eliminates misfires from additional strobes that necessitate time-consuming retakes. 

Third, the LVL Up Studio System's intuitive wall design creates a mini-studio vibe that gives the subject privacy while being photographed, naturally leading to more comfort, better interaction, and better pictures. 

Finally, the LVL Up Studio System provides simplicity in the field and during post-processing. From a practical standpoint, it is incredibly simple to learn and use, which minimizes onboarding time for photographers using it for the first time. 

During shooting, LVL Up integrates seamlessly with PhotoDay. Our face recognition capabilities eliminate manual check-ins, enabling photographers to interact with students and develop a relaxed atmosphere, which leads to better pictures.  The consistent lighting provided by the LVL UP Studio System enables consistent Color Corrections and crisp Knockouts so you can streamline your post-processing and offer multiple backgrounds in your galleries to generate more sales. During checkout, customers can add on our AI retouching which softens skins and removes blemishes.

Improving Your Lighting

Getting lighting right requires education, experience, and practice. You must first understand good lighting techniques before you can execute them. Once you apply the basics, you can branch out and experiment until you find the process that works for you.

Feel free to examine your current setup and consider simplifying it with an open mind. Reducing your rig's complexity will minimize set-up time and significantly reduce onsite mishaps, retakes, and adjustments. 

Investing in quality equipment will provide your studio with consistent results and make it easier to scale your business over time. If your team is experiencing difficulty getting repeatable, consistent lighting from location to location, the LVL Up system could be an excellent investment for your studio.

In photography, lighting is everything. For volume photographers, well-controlled light creates efficiencies from picture day through post-processing. It takes a good eye to get it right, but it also requires good equipment and solid technique. If you haven’t quite got it down yet, you will. Start with the basics and keep building your skills. Before you know it, you’ll capture balanced, perfectly lit images every time.

Article Header Image
November 22, 2023

Crucial Components of a Volume Photography Studio Website

Whether your studio already has a website or you’re looking to optimize your existing site to bring in more customers, you’re in the right place.

If you don’t have a website, it’s time to get to work! We recently published an informative article about website builders, backend website strategy, and other techie stuff. If you’re new to the website-building process, that article will help you make some important decisions to get your site up and running, including which webbuilder features to consider and more. 

In this blog, we’ll give you a rundown of the most crucial elements to consider when building a website, specifically, choosing a domain for your volume photography studio website, the must-have elements and pages, creating a positive user experience, converting interactions into sales, optimizing your website for visibility, understanding Google Analytics, and more!

Choosing a Domain

If you already have a website set up, you can skip this section. If not, start here!

A domain is your dedicated website address (or URL) after the “www.” portion of a link. It is the word or words users enter to find your studio on the web. Ideally, your studio name will be up for grabs, and you can use it as your domain. However, there are times when someone else might already have it, so you'll need to get a bit creative. One workaround that often does the trick is adding your city's name or abbreviation to your studio name.

For example, if you own ABC Studio in New York and is already in use, you could try using instead. The most important thing is choosing a domain name that is simple, relevant, and memorable. 

Another option is not using “.com” at all and trying a different suffix like “.biz,” “.org,” or even “.photo.” The advantages of using an alternate suffix are that (if available) you can use your actual business name, differentiate your brand with an unusual web address, and make a natural tie between your website and the industry.

There are some downsides to this approach, too. Users assume “.com,” so if they’re trying to find your website organically, they may end up at the other ABC Studio. Also, users might perceive your website to be less trustworthy since alternative suffixes are still relatively uncommon. Finally, it costs more to be different. Registering alternative suffixes can be double the cost of doing the same with a “.com” domain.

Once you pick a domain, you will need to check its availability, register it, and manage it for as long as you own your website. This sounds like a daunting process, but it’s actually pretty simple.

There are a lot of domain registrars on the web, including GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Squarespace. You can confirm your domain is available on these sites, then follow their registration process. Your contact information is required to register a domain, so be prepared to provide it. These sites have different pricing and provide additional services like hosting and management, so shop for the best rate and combination of services for your studio’s needs. Specifically, check their renewal fees and enable auto-renewal so your domain will be yours for as long as you want.

Domain management is an ongoing responsibility. You must keep your contact information current with your registrar to receive important notifications. These notifications will alert you to any management issues and usually provide the steps you need to follow to correct them.

Must-Haves For Your Studio Website

A portfolio section showing examples of your work is a non-negotiable on your website—after all, clients and organizations want to see samples of your photos before taking the plunge. If you capture multiple different markets, be sure to show sample images for each one. 

If you’re just starting and don’t have sample images with releases to show off, you could consider a “model call” in your community. Providing free photos in exchange for marketing permission is a win-win for your studio and the models. There may be a local model Meet Up group where you can find subjects. Your professional network could have some great pointers on finding people to photograph.

Even with a great portfolio, you’ll need to mix in a few more ingredients to guarantee a seamless customer experience on your site.

  • Contact Page: This one seems like a no-brainer, but there are several ways to approach it. You can set up a contact form, simply list your contact information, offer a customer support chat feature or all of the above. Weigh your options carefully. If you publish a phone number, be aware it could be called anytime, day or night. Requiring a form instead of providing an email address will ensure you get all the information you need to help your client and minimize your studio’s exposure to phishing scams. People love to chat, but if you offer it, ensure someone on your team will be ready to respond quickly. We will talk more about chats in the next section.
  • FAQ Page: Even if your website is well-organized, your users may not always look in multiple places for the answers they want. A FAQ page is a valuable opportunity to share helpful information with your visitors and link to additional information elsewhere on your site. For example, a user may want to know how to book a session. You can explain where they can easily do this on your site and link to your calendar or relevant page. PhotoDay users can get a head start building your FAQ page by using our customer troubleshooting link.
  • Testimonials: Strong testimonials build credibility with potential clients. 88% of consumers surveyed by Big Commerce said they trust online testimonials as much as recommendations from friends and family. Display positive feedback prominently on your webpage so site visitors can anticipate a great experience if they do business with your studio. PhotoDay users can access our Net Promoter Score feature to help gather feedback. For those who don’t have testimonials already, the best way to get them is to ask. Customers who have had a great experience will be excited to help your business grow. You can even consider incentivizing your request for reviews with free photo prints!
  • About Page: Help potential clients get to know your studio personally by telling them about your business. Help them connect with the human side of your business. You can share information about why you do what you do, how you got started, and how you approach picture day with various organizations. The About Page could also be a great place to share an experience you are most proud of, talk about your studio’s community involvement, or even share some information about the equipment and processes you utilize to deliver great photos.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Your website should have a goal of helping people find your business and generate revenue. SEO is the art of using keywords in your content to make your website more visible to search engines like Google, and it’s necessary to help your site appear early (near the top of the query) in a customer’s search. The most impactful keywords focus on your services and geographical area. There are free keyword checkers like this one from Wordstream that will point you in the right direction.
  • Easy Photo Ordering: Ensure you simplify the ordering process by linking to a platform like PhotoDay, where customers can enter their access code and shop your Galleries. PhotoDay handles the entire e-commerce shopping process, from viewing photos to customizing products to checking out and submitting orders. These online orders are your most direct revenue opportunity, so be sure the link and instructions are prominent and descriptive.

Positive User Experiences

When dealing with potential customers in person and online, the key is to keep things consistent. While you might still get face-to-face time with parents and customers on picture day, it’s important to provide an option for virtual communication.

Live chat is a great website feature that visitors appreciate and can remove and solve customer problems, including how to place online orders quickly—which leads to faster conversions and happier customers. But if you include this feature, make sure someone's on the other end responding promptly so customers don't get annoyed. Most apps even let you set your availability, so you don't have to deal with late-night messages.

Each application has different features and pricing. Here are some of our favorites:

  • LiveChat: This popular tool features real-time chat support, widgets that can be customized to match your website, and a user-friendly interface for your team and your customers. LiveChat can also be integrated with your CRM to keep you in contact with customers beyond a chat interaction. Pricing starts at $20 per month for a single user, and the company offers a 14-day free trial so you can test it before you buy it.
  • Zendesk: Zendesk is a complete customer service tool that offers an effective chat solution, service ticketing, and interactive tools like chatbots that can be trained to answer common questions. This tool can also integrate with your CRM or serve as your CRM if you do not have one in place already. Pricing starts at $55 per month, which could be a bargain if your studio is able to utilize the many tools the platform offers. You can also test Zendesk for your studio with a 14-day free trial.
  • LiveAgent: This versatile tool offers a number of features beyond chat, including social media integration and a unified inbox that combines communications from multiple channels for efficient response. On top of its robust toolset, LiveAgent offers attractive monthly pricing starting at $9 per user. Like the other tools, LiveAgent offers a free trial, but only for seven days if you do not have a business email address.
  • Facebook Messenger: A free tool you and your customers are likely already familiar with is the perfect chat agent! Messenger offers reliable chat services and gives your customers peace of mind, knowing they are speaking to a live person, not a bot. Messenger offers little functionality beyond chat, so it will not integrate with your CRM or allow customer communication through any other channel.

Aside from providing answers to questions, there might be visitors to your website who want to know when you're available or even book a photo session. Fortunately, some fantastic free and paid tools can help simplify this process for your customers.

Here are a couple of options:

  • Google Calendar: Google Calendar is free to use, and several plugins make integrating it into your website easy. Other benefits include its ease of use and simple customizations to set working hours, time slots, and event types. Factors that make Google Calendar a less attractive option are limited features compared to specialized scheduling products, limited automation, and strict limits on customization, which could give your scheduling page an incohesive look and create a negative customer interaction.
  • HoneyBook: HoneyBook is more than a calendar. It is a CRM platform that can also handle invoicing, client communication, and many other aspects of your business. Customers who set appointments with HoneyBook will receive automated reminders and other follow-ups. The tool also allows custom branding, so it looks great on your website. Some drawbacks of HoneyBook include its cost, which may be prohibitive for your studio, and a steep learning curve to integrate all of the tool’s features.

Converting Interactions to Sales

Calls to Action (CTAs) are the phrase-filled buttons, pop-ups, and links that compel users to do what you want them to do as they move around your website. These navigational prompts ensure visitors get your studio’s full story and can make an informed decision. If they are coming to order pictures, an “Order Now” or “Find Your Gallery” button will get them there faster. You can also use CTAs to get more information to follow up with them later, to guide them to contact you, or even to schedule a session or consultation.

Your CTAs should be concise and clear. The following examples are all very effective, but feel free to personalize them based on your studio’s personality:

  • Order Photos
  • Find Your Gallery
  • View Portfolio
  • Contact Us
  • Follow on Social

CTAs should be placed in prominent locations so page visitors can easily spot them and do what you want them to do. Place your highest priority CTA near the top of your homepage so it is immediately visible without scrolling. Other logical CTA placements would be a “View Your Gallery” button on your portfolio page or “Ask a Question” or “Chat with Us” buttons on your FAQ and Contact pages.

A good rule of thumb for CTAs per page is one at the top, one below the “fold” (middle of page), and then one at the end of the page. If you have a significantly long page, consider adding a few more.

Strategically guiding users on the path you want them to take through your website can ensure they stay on your site longer, which increases your chances of selling them your services. Thoughtfully consider your CTAs and the customer experience to drive sales, contacts, and appointments through your website. 

Getting Your Website Found

Sure, word of mouth can bring in some business, but if your website is well-optimized for search engines, you can attract even more customers. On top of SEO, you can take other necessary steps to maximize your website's visibility, including linking your website to your studio’s Google Business Profile and asking Google to index your site. 

Adding your website to the contact information in your studio’s Google Business Profile is a necessary first step. Many businesses forget about this, but it’s the first thing customers will see if they Google your company name. You want to make sure there is content for them to view, including contact info, reviews, blogs, photos, etc.

If you haven’t set up a profile, use the link and follow all the steps to create one for free. It’s vital to increase visibility in local searches, share reviews, and control a customer’s first impression of your studio. You must also be registered with Google Business Profile to access other tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Google Search Console is where you ask the search engine to index or “crawl” your site. Indexing is how you get your page to appear in Google search results. To do this, you must submit an XML file called a sitemap in your Google Console. 

You can generate a sitemap by typing in the address bar. That will bring up a list of pages on your site. Next, paste each URL on that list into the Google Console under the index tab and click submit until each one is listed. Google will then process the request, which could take a few hours or days. 

When the request is completed, you will get a confirmation in the Search Console. You can consult this guide if you need help with these steps. It’s a bit technical, but plenty of resources are available to walk you through the process.

Using Google Analytics

So, you’ve set up your website and implemented some of these best practices—good work! But how is your site performing? Google Analytics can tell you. It provides a wealth of information in easy-to-digest formats. You can see what pages users visit, how long they stay, and where they leave. You can also gain insights into how they find your page, including what keywords or search terms helped them find your studio on Google. You can use this data to inform changes to page layouts, content, and SEO optimization.

Click here to create a free Analytics account and get started. Add your website as a Property in your account. This will generate a tracking or “UA” code. Using your Content Management System (CMS), add the UA code to every page you want to track. 

Google Analytics will begin recording data within a few hours, and you will have numerous reporting capabilities and data at your fingertips. Google provides a wealth of training, including this course for beginners, to help you process and utilize this information.

While the thought of building and optimizing a website may seem overwhelming, we promise that establishing your studio’s presence on the web is worth the work! Sharing your beautiful images and studio story online will lead to brand-new growth opportunities. 

As you work through the process, consider the points we have shared in this blog and utilize all your available resources to build the inviting, attractive, user-friendly site your studio deserves. We are rooting for you! 

Article Header Image
October 31, 2023

Driving Incremental Volume Photography Revenue Through Seasonal Strategies

Maximizing revenue from a picture day at a school, youth sports league, or dance studio is vital to growing your volume photography business. Traditionally, these money-making opportunities have been viewed as a one-time, short-term chance to market pictures and products to families and encourage them to purchase as much as possible in one order.

This strategy works well during your busiest times of the season when your calendar is filled with school pictures and sports sessions. But what happens when the shoots spread out a little more, and your usual selling opportunities start slowing down?

It’s time to get creative and look to the seasons for inspiration! 

Take advantage of late-year celebrations to promote holiday gifting, or consider individual or family portrait sessions with Santa to create a whole new revenue stream. Last-minute group photos and the unique keepsake products available through your lab make excellent holiday gifts.

How Can I Use Seasons to Sell More?

The basic idea is to reuse pictures you’ve already taken and update them to give customers a new reason to buy based on the time of year or an upcoming holiday. You can do this in many ways, but three of the most obvious are changing digital background options, offering special promos, and switching up your price sheets and packages to include calendar-specific products. This is also the perfect time and opportunity to upsell products like photo calendars, photo mugs, framed photos, and other relevant products your lab offers.

Seasonal Backgrounds

If you’re already adding digital background options and making multiple graphics available in your galleries, why not utilize holiday-specific graphics to drive sales? The busy season for school pictures usually ends around November—just before prime gift-giving time. 

Update your galleries with winter, Christmas, and Hanukkah backgrounds to give your images a fresh look that offers parents and grandparents another reason to buy. PhotoDay Knockouts combined with holiday graphics can make changing backgrounds a breeze! Since you’ve already knocked out images and uploaded PNGs to your galleries, all you have to do is change the graphic set in your gallery to take advantage of this seasonal opportunity.

Offering Promos

Special promos are a great way to get back in front of customers a second time. Whether they’ve already placed an order or not—why not provide a second chance to buy?

Creating a holiday-specific promotion provides even more motivation for family members to buy. Imagine Mother’s Day is coming up, and you send a text message reminding customers that the holiday is approaching with a link to the spring pictures you took just a few months ago. You have their gift-giving covered without them ever leaving the house!

Show them a new photo product they haven’t seen before and make your promotion time-sensitive to drive buyer urgency. You can offer discounts, but be very careful about undercutting your standard pricing. If buyers notice this pattern, you may inadvertently teach them that they don’t need to purchase pictures in the initial offering because a considerable discount is coming.

PhotoDay provides a turn-key marketing solution to ensure you maximize profits on a special sale through special gallery offers and custom promos. We have pre-built SMS campaigns you can request to send to anyone who opted-in to any gallery you’ve created in the last year. You can also design your own campaign to send through PhotoDay’s built-in email flyers.

Holiday-Specific Products

After you’ve updated your galleries and while planning your holiday promotion, think about photo gifts that make sense for the time of year. Christmas and Hanukkah are the perfect time to promote custom gifts like ornaments, calendars, and canvas prints. Don’t forget stocking stuffers like keychains and photo magnets, too!

The holiday gifting season is an excellent opportunity to review all of the products your print lab offers and see if they fit into the promo you are preparing to run or would be a strong seller in the future.

Getting Organizations Involved

Since you likely have a revenue-sharing agreement with the schools, sports leagues, and dance studios where you photograph, they should all be excited to support your seasonal sales as an additional fundraising opportunity. Build even more enthusiasm by showing them examples of specific products, like a custom Christmas ornament, to help them understand how your holiday promotion differs from a “normal” picture sale.

Be transparent with your organizations about your intent to remarket galleries at specific times during the year and clearly explain how it also benefits them. Ask about in-person opportunities to set up a table displaying photo products at an open house, during recitals, or on a special game day, where you can show some of the unique products your studio offers. Letting customers see the quality of your products could spark the perfect gift idea and encourage additional sales.

Propose New Ideas

Spring pictures are an exciting time to try something fresh and new! Brainstorm ways to evolve spring sessions from your standard picture day flow to create unique images and develop a new revenue stream for your studio and the school.

Why only take class pictures in the fall? Classes change, kids develop new friendships, and some parents may have skipped ordering due to devoting their fall budgets to holiday gifts and back-to-school shopping. Giving them another chance to order is a bonus revenue opportunity for you.

Look for new events or themes to explore. Consider suggesting graduation-style pictures for kindergartners and students in their last year of elementary school or dual photoshoots for siblings or friends if the school allows.  

With alternate spring photo opportunities, you should provide a customized price sheet. Maybe your fall price sheet emphasized gifts due to the approaching holiday season, while your spring price sheet might focus more on packages offering multiple poses, backgrounds, and sizes. 

PhotoDay makes it easy to customize price sheets, share multiple products and options in your galleries, and upsell to maximize revenue. It’s as easy as clicking a button to edit or swap price sheets for a gallery!

Using Mini Sessions to Drive Seasonal Revenue

After the busy season wraps and your studio’s calendar has more space between picture days, it may be an excellent time to set up some seasonal mini sessions.

Mini sessions are themed shoots you set up outside your typical organizational structure, book slots, and then sell pictures and gifts as usual. If your studio doesn’t have a physical location, you could consider renting a studio space or shooting outdoors in a public place if it’s profitable.

With mini sessions, the only limit is your imagination! You could design a fall set with hay bales and pumpkins or hire Santa to sit in for a Christmas session. You could use fun props like beach balls, shovels, and pails for summer. Maybe you could plan a spring shoot with a live bunny. You also have the option to keep it simple and shoot on a plain background and incorporate PhotoDay Custom Backgrounds.

Seasonal mini sessions also offer a new revenue opportunity because you can involve the whole family instead of the individual portraits you usually take with your organizations. Family pictures make great holiday gifts for loved ones. Ensure you allow plenty of time per session and charge appropriately if working outside your normal parameters.

However simple or complex you choose to go with your sessions, you can use PhotoDay’s wealth of available automated marketing tools to encourage participation from your customer base.

Promoting Seasonal Sales Opportunities

You should promote your seasonal offers and mini sessions with the same resources and enthusiasm you use to advertise regular picture days. 

Recent studies show SMS (text) message marketing to be the most effective, and PhotoDay has you covered with free Smart Text Marketing features. From automated reminder series to custom promo requests, PhotoDay is committed to helping you get the word out about picture day, published galleries, and special sales. Custom promos allow you to request pre-made campaigns with your specific gallery and the included offer. Each series is crafted with well-researched timing and frequency allotments as well.

All messages must communicate what is being sold, who is selling it, when it will happen, and why the customer should act. Succinctly sharing this information will improve your conversion percentage—and PhotoDay takes care of this for you! 

Promoting a Seasonal Gallery and Gifts

Promotions should run for a limited time to build urgency and encourage quick decision-making. Here is a sample message for PhotoDay’s “Flash Sale” custom promo campaign:

FLASH SALE: SmileJoy Studios via PhotoDay: Today only! Get free shipping on orders of $35 or more with offer code HAPPYHOLIDAYS. Order now: | STOP to cancel

When requesting a custom promo through PhotoDay’s smart messaging tools, you can customize who will receive the messages. Studios can request that the text message promo be sent only to gallery opt-ins who haven’t placed an order yet or to all gallery opt-ins regardless of whether they have purchased. After ordering, they can receive order confirmation messages and shipping updates.

If you’re publishing a gallery for the first time, our automatic text message campaign is perfect for spreading the word! The reminder campaign automatically sends for all jobs in PhotoDay. Customers subscribed to receive SMS communication receive a notification when the gallery is first published and reminders to order on days 3, 5, 7, 14, and 30; the reminder series stops as soon as a customer purchases.

Promoting a Mini Session

Mini sessions require more planning and advanced notice, making an extended email campaign more appropriate. Ensure customers understand your plan, who you are, what they need to do to participate, and why it will be valuable. 

Offering an incentive like free high-resolution downloads with purchases over a certain amount is a valuable way to generate interest. Everyone wants to share their photos on Instagram or Facebook!

PhotoDay’s integrated marketing kit contains a series of email templates with modifiable text that you can send to gallery contacts who would be most interested in your session. Customers who already have a relationship with you and have seen your great work are much more likely to register for your event.

Include a sample or inspirational image in your email when possible, and be sure to attach your special offer.

To continually grow your volume photography business, you must find creative ways to drive revenue year-round. Picture days at schools, dance studios, and sports leagues will always be your bread and butter, but when these fixed events become sparse on your calendar, seasonal strategies can help you fill in the gaps.

PhotoDay is the ideal partner to help your studio thrive. We’ve loaded our platform with all the tools and features you need to engage customers and sell unique photographs and gifts at any time of the year.

Article Header Image
October 27, 2023

Maximizing Sales in Volume Photography: A Guide to Products, Pricing, and Promotions

When it comes to making sales, what you offer and how you present it can be as important as the products themselves. Creating an appealing mix of packages and a la carte items with strategic pricing strategies has a powerful impact on who orders and what they ultimately purchase. 

It is vital to keep your offerings simple and appropriate for the job. This blog will discuss popular items, strategic bundling, and how to use price sheets and limited-time offers to drive sales for your volume photography studio.

What Products Do Customers Usually Buy?

Even though print labs can produce hundreds of products, knowing which items are most likely to yield multiple sales is essential so you know what to make available to your customers. Using this strategy to price and package items accordingly will make it easier for your customers to find the products they want and ultimately for you to maximize your profits.

The top ten items photographers sell on PhotoDay are:

  1. 5x7 Print
  2. High-Resolution Digital Download
  3. Pack of 4 Wallet Prints
  4. 8x10 Print
  5. 3.5x5 Print
  6. Social Sharing Download
  7. 4x6 Print
  8. 3.5x5 Magnet
  9. Memory Mate Vertical 8x10
  10. 3.5x5 Prints (Set of 2)

As you can see, these are “normal” items that fit standard frame sizes and are easy to display. Remember this when building your packages and price sheets, and offer these more practical items before adding niche products like canvas prints or bag tags.

Consider the types of photos you take, the age of your subjects, and your target market when determining your product mix, and only offer what fits your job. A holiday ornament makes sense for fall picture sales at an elementary school, but it wouldn’t work for a spring baseball league. Likewise, you probably wouldn’t want to offer trader cards on a dance studio job.

Building Price Sheets

PhotoDay enables you to create custom price sheets to build packages, add products, and set pricing. During the building process, you will determine a starting point for your pricing margins by specifying either a percentage-based or dollar-based markup on your cost from the lab.

Multi-pose is your main key to success here, meaning offering multiple shots of the same subject. You should offer at least 4-6 images per subject, but as many as 20 or more depending on the type of event. With online selling, consider the gallery photos as your inventory. Having more options for customers can lead to more significant sales opportunities. Depending on your picture day strategy, these could be different poses and looks from a single pose: full body, half body, headshot, horizontal, smiling, game face for sports, or silly and serious faces for schools. 

The options to boost your digital inventory are endless: combining varied poses, different crops, black and white versions, buddy shots, graphic backgrounds using PhotoDay’s Knockouts, and group photos like teams, classes, or dance groups. Be proactive on picture day to ensure your image inventory will match your price sheet and adjust it accordingly if you cannot capture the number of photographs you need. 

Remember the top ten list and keep your offering concise and straightforward. Stick to what you know your customers want, and keep in mind what is relevant to the type of organization you are servicing.

Be strategic and take advantage of your opportunity to make multiple price sheets. Even though your efforts are generally the same, you should price every market differently for volume photography. With school pictures, for example, you can leverage higher volumes against lower margins to make a substantial profit. With leagues and dance, parents have committed to involve their children in these extracurricular activities so these audiences will view a photograph’s value differently. You should be able to adjust your pricing upward.

General Pricing Strategies

A great way to upsell is to build your packages with bulk savings in mind. Packages offer an instant discount that a parent is more likely to choose over the higher cost of multiple mix and match a la carte items.

How you price your photographs will be a significant factor in determining the number of sales you generate and your profitability. You must build your overhead, costs, and processes into your pricing. Photographing on a natural background will take you less time to process than making composites. If you are adding effort in post-processing or using a paid service like Pixnub to finalize images, do not absorb that cost. Keep in mind that your time is money.

You need to know your market and ensure your prices aren’t below average. Remember, you are selling more than just images and products. The quality of your photography matters. You are selling your studio’s professionalism, service, and experience. Make sure you compensate yourself accordingly.

As with any pricing strategy, ensure you understand your market and customer. Do some research and consult with your professional network to find out what other photographers in your area charge for similar products and services. Avoid the temptation to win jobs by making your studio the lowest-priced option. Higher-end opportunities may interpret a low cost as low quality and look elsewhere.

Once you’ve considered all these factors and set your pricing, you can utilize discounts and limited-time offers to drive ordering.

A “Best Price Expiration” sale is a great example. Let customers know that you are offering your best price for a limited time, and that price won’t be around forever. Tell the customer that money-saving packages will disappear after your best pricing is over. Creating this sense of urgency will naturally create a bump in sales.

General Package Strategy

Now it’s time to have some fun and make some sales!

How you present packages can make all the difference in your sales. While it might be tempting to get creative with package names, we’ve learned that keeping package names as clear and easy to understand as possible increases your chances that a parent will purchase a package over a la carte items.

Rather than using Package A, B, or C, consider naming your packages more along the lines of Large Family Pack, Most Popular Pack, The Perfect Pack, Economy Pack, Basic Pack. Not only do these package names allude to what they include, but they direct your customer to packages that offer a better deal.

Your packages are part of your marketing, so make sure your creativity shines through. Don’t use boring names like Package A, B, and C; have fun and interact with your audience, even use emojis!

Would a sports league parent rather buy Package 1 or the Ultimate Athlete Combo? Dance families would appreciate the En Pointe Print Set. Little Learner Bundle for school pictures or a My-Kid-Is-Too-Cute-Not-To-Order Package could apply almost anywhere. Just make it memorable.

Provide bundle savings of at least 15% and scale the savings with the size of the package. Keep your lowest-priced packages basic and add the most wanted items into the higher tiers to encourage higher sales. Clearly define the savings in the package description and ensure parents fully understand why purchasing a more extensive package is advantageous. 

Drive value further by telling parents they can mix and match poses within a package. Realizing they can choose multiple images will make them more likely to buy more pictures and products. This wasn’t an option in the paper order form days. Parents and grandparents with that experience might not even consider packages if they don’t realize multiple photos are an option.

Finally, be sure to offer digital downloads. They are very popular and deliver high profitability with minimal overhead. Adding them to packages instantly boosts your real value and the customer’s perceived value, which could be the difference between selling or not selling a bundle.

Finding the right product mix and pricing strategy for your studio is a primary driver of sales and profitability. You will get there if you pay attention to what is selling, offer your customers realistic choices, and price appropriately. Shorten the learning curve with PhotoDay's many resources to guide you toward a volume photography business that thrives.

Article Header Image
October 10, 2023

The Best Website Builders For Volume Photographers

A hallmark of virtually every thriving volume photography business is a powerful website where prospective clients can get to know the studio and view a stunning portfolio. According to PEW Research, 79% of consumers shop online and rely on online data to make purchasing decisions. It is safe to assume that parents with children ages 4-14, your target audience, comprise a high percentage of that group.

With that in mind, going online is less of a choice and more of a paramount need for your studio to thrive. If you’re not online yet, you need to get there quickly.

You don’t have to be a professional coder to have a great website, and doing it yourself could save you the expense of hiring a professional. Many tools and builders are available for photographers of all technical skill levels. This blog will examine basic website concepts, discuss some of the tools available for DIYers, and discuss factors to consider when deciding whether to build your own platform to showcase your capabilities, skills, and images or seek the help of a freelancer or professional agency.

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

The foundation of most websites is the content management system or CMS. The CMS is the functionality that allows you to create, manage, and publish your content on the web without extensive technical knowledge. Your chosen CMS provides a user-friendly interface that lets you create, structure, and control the appearance of the contents of your webpage.

A CMS simplifies web development and maintenance by keeping the code and structure of a website separate from the site’s content. A standard CMS allows others to create and manage content while providing fail-safes like version control, backups, and permissions to control access and editing rights.

Standard CMS features include:

Content Creation and Editing: Users can easily create and modify text, image, and video content using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, which lets you lay out your pages visually on screen and then does the coding for you.

If you feel stuck on the specific text or “copy” that should be on your site, you can use an AI tool like ChatGPT to help you word specific sections. You can type something as simple as “What should I say on my volume photography studio website?” or “Write copy for a Contact page on my volume photography website” into the prompt, and it will provide a wealth of information. However, the key to receiving specific information lies in writing very specific prompts. Give the tool as much information as possible and give the tool additional revision requests. Remember, a robot generates the text, so read over it and humanize it where possible before placing it on your page. A tool like Grammarly can help you with tone, grammar, and spelling for AI text or your own copy.

Content Organization and Management: Content Management Systems simplify navigation and searchability by enabling you to categorize and tag your content, which will help your visitors find what they are looking for when visiting your website.

Templates and Themes: CMS platforms often provide pre-designed templates and themes that you can customize to your specifications without any custom coding. There are also online resources where you can search for templates that match your vision. We will tell you more about this option later in this blog.

Publishing and Scheduling: Your CMS gives you control over the timing and visibility of your content by allowing you to publish it immediately or schedule it for publication later. This lets you work on future enhancements, announcements, or blog posts whenever you have free time without publishing the content immediately.

Search Image Optimization (SEO): Most CMS platforms provide tools to help you improve your search engine visibility by simplifying SEO concepts like metadata, URLs, and content tags. It is essential to understand how these tools work so you can attract site visitors and generate more opportunities online.

Plugin and Extension Support: Plugins and extensions expand the capabilities of your CMS and can be helpful for everything from layout to appointment setting. CMS platforms have something similar to an app store where you can download add-ons to help shape your website to your needs. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If you have a problem to solve, there is likely a well-rated plugin for it (and most of them are free). 

Factors to Consider Before Building Your Website

Before you build a website, it is crucial to have a plan for what you want it to accomplish. You are devoting time and resources to this endeavor and must ensure your efforts are rewarded with a beautiful website showcasing everything that makes your studio great.

Using Templates

Templates are a great place to start. These pre-designed pages allow you to arrange content on an approved visual layout that you have chosen as an accurate extension of your brand. Using a template provides a consistent framework for your website, making the creation process more efficient. Templates are also beneficial because they have been tested and proven to ensure your website is well-organized and easy to use.

The designers who create and license templates are up on the latest web design trends and provide customizable pages that will make it easy and enjoyable for visitors to navigate your site and find the information they are looking for.

An additional benefit of templates is the number of built-in customization tools that allow you to use many advanced features without any coding. Sometimes, using these advanced tools can cause site performance issues if the template is built poorly, so be sure to check reviews and do as much testing as you can before making a final selection.

Content management systems usually offer several template options, but there are also vast template marketplaces like Creative Market and Themeforest, where you can browse, review, and purchase templates to build your studio website.

Whether you are using a theme or building your site from scratch, here are several things you should be sure to incorporate on your studio’s website:

Portfolio Showcase: You should be able to easily display your best work prominently and maintain a current, categorized portfolio showing potential customers your volume photography style and skill.

Services and Packages: Clearly outline your services and give examples of your products and packages.

Contact and Booking Information: Ensure all your contact information is easily accessible on your website. You should have a dedicated contact page to simplify booking for clients.

Testimonials: Positive feedback from satisfied clients builds trust and credibility with new clients. Prominently featuring this influential content is invaluable to generating business.

Mobile Optimization: Research shows that over 55% of global internet traffic comes from mobile devices (Howarth, 2023). Therefore, making your website mobile-friendly is crucial to ensure that you effectively reach and engage with more than half of your potential online audience.

Speed and Performance: Fast loading keeps visitors from becoming frustrated and leaving. It can also impact search engine ranking. Compress images, minimize code, and choose a reliable hosting provider. Make sure that your hosting provider specializes in your CMS. For example, WordPress users should consider WpEngine, while Squarespace users will likely use the default hosting offered by Squarespace. 

SEO and Online Visibility: Use the tools provided by your CMS and include words that potential visitors to your website will use to find you. If your studio does most of its work in a specific geographic area, include that information wherever possible.

Social Media Integration: Your CMS will likely have a plugin or tool that helps you share your social channels. Be sure to provide links to the platforms you are most active on and embed social media feeds if you can to showcase real-time updates and engagement.

Adding Pages Easily: If you plan on consistently adding pages and information to your website, ensure there are no technical limitations like limited space from your hosting service or page restrictions from your CMS that will inhibit your ability to do so.

Branding and Visual Consistency: Photography is a visual art, and your website should be as stunning as your pictures. Make sure you create a cohesive, memorable experience for your visitors. Use consistent colors, fonts, and design elements that visually represent your studio.

Getting Started

At this point, you must evaluate your technical skills and the time you want to devote to building your website. Do you have basic skills and want to get your website up quickly without outside assistance? Are you reasonably skilled with resources to help you with anything you cannot do alone? Or do you want to lay out the specifications and hire a freelancer or agency to build your site? 

Here are some options and suggestions based on the answers to those questions.


There are many one-stop basic web-building providers available. These platforms will host your site and provide a CMS, templates, and some elemental functionality and plugins. Platforms like Wix and Squarespace are a great place to start if you don’t have a high level of technical savvy. 

Here is a comparison of the two platforms based on criteria essential to building your volume photography website:

Ease of Use

Wix: The highly intuitive drag-and-drop editor makes creating and customizing websites easy for users. It also provides a high degree of creative freedom and flexibility when designing pages.
: Squarespace’s editor is also user-friendly, but the platform generally takes a more structured approach to design with less room for customization by comparison. 

Templates and Design

Wix: Wix is known for a vast collection of templates aligned with multiple industries and styles. The templates are highly customizable and are suitable for users seeking the flexibility of creative control.
: While customization options are more limited within Squarespace, the platform is generally renowned for beautifully designed, modern templates that achieve users’ aesthetic goals without requiring extensive customization.

Features and Functionality

Wix: The platform’s App Market offers many tools for streamlining e-commerce, customizing functionality, and integrating third-party services like your social media channels.
: Squarespace organically includes features and tools that streamline functions like blogging and appointment scheduling. The absence of an app store may limit some functionality, but it provides a cohesive experience out of the box.

Mobile Optimization

Wix: Wix automatically optimizes sites created on the platform for mobile. It also provides a mobile preview and customization options if something needs to be tweaked. 
Mobile optimization is also a feature of the Squarespace builder. Templates are responsive and designed to provide a great user experience from any device.


Wix: Wix offers monthly plans ranging from $16 to $159. All plans include free, customizable templates, tools to boost online presence, custom domains, and 24/7 customer care.
: Squarespace offers multiple monthly business plans ranging from $33 to $65. All plans include free templates, advanced analytics, mobile optimization, and personalized support.

Both platforms are exceptional choices for quickly publishing a beautiful, effective online site. In general, Wix will provide you with more flexibility for customization, while Squarespace provides feature-rich templates that require less customization. Your best option will ultimately depend on your preferences, skill level, and expectations.

Intermediate to Advanced

If you are confident in your technical abilities, you can bypass all-in-one website builders and move to a fully customizable solution. In this case, you can use a CMS like WordPress and add a builder or customizable template to lay out your pages how you want them. 

What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open-source content management system for creating and managing websites without extensive coding knowledge. The tool’s core functionality provides a solid foundation to build your perfect website. 

The range of features and functionality WordPress provides includes:

Content Management: WordPress provides extensive tools for organizing content, managing media files, and applying formatting options. The tool’s interface is very user-friendly, so you can get comfortable with it quickly.

Themes: WordPress comes loaded with pre-designed themes and templates if you don’t want to purchase one to control your website's overall look and layout but still want unlimited flexibility for customization.

Plugins: The vast number of plugins available within WordPress to extend its functionality sets this CMS apart. You can find excellent plugins in the WordPress app store to simplify SEO, contact forms, page editing, and more.

WordPress is great for setting up critical elements of your website. Once these elements are in place, a builder application within WordPress will allow you to create and customize your pages without coding using tools and widgets in a visual editor. 

What Builder Should I Use?

There are many builders available within WordPress. Some of the most popular are Elementor, WebFlow, WPBakery, and Beaver Builder. As with most technology, there are pros and cons to each plugin. 

Here are some crucial things to consider when deciding which builder you will use for your website:

Ease of Use: Make sure you can use the builder or are confident you can pick it up quickly. The page editor should be easy to understand and provide drag-and-drop functionality for visual editing.

Design Options and Flexibility: Ensure your builder can achieve your creative vision. Look for a tool that provides an array of templates, customizable elements, and styling options.

Responsiveness and Mobile Optimization: Remember that more than half of your visitors will find your website with a mobile device. Choose a builder that supports responsive design and allows you to preview and customize the mobile version of your website.

Integrations and Compatibility: Verify the builder’s compatibility with popular plugins and third-party services like forms, analytics, or CRM integrations you need on your site now or plan to add later. 

Performance and Loading Speed: Your builder should generate optimized code and not frustrate your visitors with high lag and poor performance.

SEO Features: Your builder should simplify complex-sounding features like customizable meta tags, clean code output, and schema markup to increase your website’s search engine visibility.

Support and Documentation: You will need assistance learning a new tool. Look for resources like documentation, tutorials, knowledge bases, and active support channels like forums or live chat.

Pricing and Licensing: Understand the builder’s pricing structure and licensing terms. Some require a one-time purchase or annual fee, while others are free. Ensure the builder's value aligns with your budget to make an informed decision.

User Reviews and Reputation: Carefully research reviews, ratings, and feedback from other WordPress users before making a final decision. You will gain valuable insights into the builder’s reliability, performance, and user satisfaction. 

Hiring a Professional to Build Your Website

Depending on your skill level and available resources, it may be most logical to put your website design in the hands of a professional. Plenty of highly skilled freelance web designers and agencies specialize in website creation. These professionals are adept in the latest technologies and design trends and can work with you to bring your vision of your website to life. 

Choosing this option is a big decision for your business. Seeking agency and designer recommendations within your professional network can offer peace of mind as you move forward. When considering referred designers or vetting new ones, here are some crucial things to consider:

Portfolio and Experience: Review the designer’s overall quality and look for projects that align with your style and the volume photography industry. Determine if they have created work that matches your website's expected complexity.

Client Testimonials and References: Search for reviews from their previous clients. Use this information to get a feel for the designer’s or agency’s professionalism, communication, skills, and reliability level. Speak directly to prior clients, if possible, to learn more.

Project Management and Workflow: Ask about their processes and understand how they plan, execute, and deliver projects. Determine their approach to timelines, milestones, revisions, and feedback. Ensure you and your partner have clear expectations from concept to completion of your website.

Pricing and Budget: Understand the agency or designer’s pricing structure and ensure it aligns with your budget and expectations. Be sure to determine if you have received a fixed project cost quote or one based on an hourly rate. Ask your partner to clearly define all items included in the price and determine if there is a potential for cost overruns.

Support & Maintenance: Your website will require ongoing attention after completing the initial version. Ask the designer you are considering if they will provide support and maintenance after launch. If you intend to avoid handling maintenance, you must ensure they have a strategy that meets your long-term needs.

Contract and Legal Considerations: Carefully review the contract or agreement provided by the designer and ensure it covers the scope, deliverables, payment terms, and other important considerations, like who owns the site’s code and other intellectual property if your relationship with the agency or designer ends. The complexity of the agreement may require you to seek legal counsel to ensure you are protected.

Trust and Compatibility: Before making a final decision, consider whether you feel comfortable and confident working with the individual or agency. Evaluate their understanding of your goals and ensure their enthusiasm for the project matches yours.

Maintaining Your Website

Whether you design your website yourself or hire a creative partner, the site is never “done.”  Your online presence requires regular content updates, security checks, and performance optimizations to remain functional and improve your search engine visibility.

Here are some things you must do regularly to maintain the effectiveness and functionality of your website:

Updates: Your CMS, plugins, and other tools will periodically release security and performance updates that require implementation. Failure to stay current on these patches could break your site’s functionality and create a frustrating user experience. 

Backups: Regularly backing up your website will protect you against data loss and can be invaluable in resolving security issues. You can set backup intervals and criteria in your CMS.

Security and Maintenance Checks: Ensure your website is regularly scanned for vulnerabilities and that security measures like the SSL certificate and firewalls are up to date. Stay aware of new threats to your CMS and plugins and do what is necessary to remain protected.

SEO Maintenance: Continuously optimize your website for search engines by researching keywords, updating meta tags, adding relevant content, and strengthening your internal linking.

Performance Optimization: Minimize file sizes, optimize images, and remove unnecessary plugins to keep your website running efficiently. This tool can help audit your website’s overall health and show you where to improve.

A robust website plays an indispensable role in the success of volume photographers. A powerful online presence goes beyond immediate networks by attracting valuable business opportunities. 

Numerous user-friendly tools and builders are available to photographers at all skill levels. This blog has explored some of these options and provided insights into important factors to consider when selecting a platform to showcase one's capabilities, skills, and images. By utilizing these resources, photographers can establish a compelling online presence that attracts business and propels their success.

Article Header Image
October 4, 2023

The Top Free & Paid Photo Editing Software

Even the best photographs need some editing before they are ready for sale in your online galleries or as standalone pieces. Correcting color, exposure, contrast, and saturation is as much a part of a photographer’s job as setting up and capturing photos in the first place.

Thankfully, in our digital age, several software products and tools are specifically designed to simplify and speed up post-processing. Some options are even free. This blog will discuss the capabilities and specifications you should consider when evaluating photo editing software and some of the most popular choices.

Considerations for Choosing Photo Editing Software

Experienced photographers know that post-processing is part of where the magic happens. Transforming raw images into keepsake masterpieces is an art form.

Volume photographers need photo-editing software to streamline this process on a large scale. Photographers editing individual photos also benefit from freeing up their time to focus on their next session and other aspects of their business.

Every software has varying tools, capabilities, and performance. When selecting the perfect platform for your studio, you must evaluate these things to make the right choice.

Custom Presets

If you find yourself repeatedly adjusting the same settings during post-processing, you will love the capability to create custom presets that repeat the process for you and provide your pictures with a consistent look. Some software will even allow you to import downloaded settings from another creator to adjust to your desired feel. You will be amazed at how much time custom presets can save you. Ensure the software you choose supports this feature in a user-friendly way.

Storage and Performance

Photo editing can be rough on your computer. It takes a lot of resources to post-process a full day of images from a school, sports league, dance studio, or other volume picture day. Before choosing software, you must know your current system can handle its storage requirements. You should also understand how the platform treats your images. Does it save the raw image when outputting an edited file? Can it handle the high volume of files you will be processing without slowing your computer to a crawl? You must answer these questions to ensure a seamless editing experience, especially if working with large image batches. 

Paid vs. Free

In the past, you would virtually always have to utilize a paid product to access all the tools and features needed to perform effective bulk processing of photographs. Today, many options exist, from subscriptions to software like Lightroom or pay-per-image processing like PhotoDay’s color correction and extraction features. Weigh your needs against your budget to determine what bulk editing process best fits your studio.

PC vs. Mac

The “best” operating system debate is always hot. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and comfort. Most photo editing software has one version that will work with either a system or a platform-specific option. If the platform matters for the software you choose, ensure you know the specific version of the operating system you are running to ensure you get the software that will perform best with your computer.

Learning Curve

As a photographer, you will use your editing software often, so choose one that is intuitive and easy to use. Independent product reviews provide great insight into the user-friendliness of the program. The intent of your software is to speed up and simplify the process, not frustrate you. Seamless navigation between tools and functions is a must. Check the company’s website for documentation, videos, and tutorials to help you quickly get up to speed with your software.

Remember, we live in the information age. Due diligence is critical when selecting an editing software you will use daily. Read reviews, participate in online forums, consult your professional network, and attend webinars if they are available. Choosing the right platform from the start and mastering it is more beneficial to your studio than learning and moving on from multiple systems in your quest to find the perfect tool.

Top Options For Editing Individual Images

Some powerful options are available when trying to get one image just right. Most have similar capabilities, but some are easier to use and more budget-friendly than others. Here is an overview of some of the more popular choices.

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop has become synonymous with editing photographs in many ways. The software has been a pioneer in the industry for decades. The application is constantly evolving, so it is no surprise that it remains the photographer’s top choice.

  • Pros: Photoshop’s advanced editing capabilities are unsurpassed. The software provides numerous tools and creative possibilities that can be manually adjusted or preset for time-saving automated output. Due to Photoshop’s popularity, multiple resources are available to help photographers realize the full capability of the software.
  • Cons: Despite these resources, the number of tools available creates a steep learning curve. The software can be so complex that it becomes overkill for basic edits. Many users also find it resource-intensive, so it slows their workflow. Finally, Adobe’s subscription model can make Photoshop pricey, especially if you don’t use it often.

Affinity Photo 2

This robust photo editing software is gaining popularity among hobbyists and professional photographers. Affinity Photo 2 is relatively new compared to Photoshop, but many have found it a more than suitable alternative.

  • Pros: Photo 2 offers extensive editing tools to accomplish most post-processing needs. It supports most file types, including RAW camera files, and offers non-destructive editing that prevents permanent alteration of the original image. Users appreciate the responsiveness of the publisher and the regular updates that Affinity provides. Photographers who use the software also celebrate the one-time licensing fee instead of a monthly subscription charge. 
  • Cons: Though less complex than Photoshop, Photo 2 users may experience the same challenges mastering the software. It can also be resource-intensive—since Photo 2 has a smaller user base and less extensive history, tutorials, and other online resources are less common.


This new, exciting tool harnesses the power of AI to speed your digital editing. Users marvel at how effortlessly and accurately Evoto retouches skin tones, whether processing individual or batch images.

  • Pros: Though cloud-based, the application runs on your PC or Mac, so it is blazing fast compared to other products. The product already has most of the expected features, but the manufacturer continues adding more tools and updating the software regularly.
  • Cons:  Since processing is cloud-based, you must be connected to the internet to use the software. Also, usage is credit-based (as opposed to a subscription or one-time license), so you must pay per picture when using Evoto.

Skylab Technology

Skylab is a digital editing tool that leverages AI to streamline your editing process. Boasting “human quality” at “machine speed,” Skylab has garnered attention for its ability to efficiently retouch skin, extract backgrounds, whiten teeth, color correct, crop, and remove glass glare and braces when processing single images and large batches.

  • Pros: You can use Skylab locally on your PC or Mac or through a web browser. Their range of services fits many volume photographers’ needs and allows you to create “profiles” that act as customizable templates to suit your preferences. 
  • Cons: Rather than a subscription model, Skylab employs a credit-based pricing model, where users pay per picture processed, so be sure to factor this into your editing budget.


This software utilizes AI to speed post-processing as well. AfterShoot primarily focuses on culling your images and finding the best ones in the batch for processing. The AI filter can weed out pictures based on improper exposure or poor focus and can even determine which photo in a group has the best smile.

  • Pros:  Having your system weed through your pictures can save a ton of time. AfterShoot is Mac or PC-compatible and integrates with Adobe Lightroom if you need to do further editing. The software developer has recently added features, too.
  • Cons: The software’s capability is complex, but so is the learning curve for both the user and the AI. Machine learning based on your preferences will be required before achieving the expected results. The main complaint of current users is that the software weeds out images that are intentionally soft-focused or photos where no smile is intentional, like a “game face” sports pose.

Luninar Neo

Devoted users call Luminar Neo the future of photo editing software. Skylum, the application’s developer, has tapped into the power of AI to introduce innovative tools that simplify many post-processing tasks for users.

  • Pros: Luminar Neo offers efficient editing tools and creative filters and effects bundled into a user-friendly interface that makes the software accessible to all skill levels. The AI tools are particularly great for image smoothing and background enhancement. Users looking for quick post-processing and artistic effects without too much complexity will significantly enjoy the product.
  • Cons: Luminar Neo is a relatively new product, and some advanced users have uncovered bugs that the developer is continually patching with updates. Though simple to use out of the box, photographers should expect to devote some time to mastering the advanced features of the software’s AI tools. The lack of online resources may magnify this problem as the application grows its community. Subscription pricing could also be a concern for some users.

If you have post-processing needs for individual images, any of these software options are worth learning more about. If you’re unsure, consult your colleagues and see what they recommend. Their specific experiences could save you time and money trying a platform that doesn’t work for your studio.

Top Bulk Photo Editing Software

Given the demand, it is not surprising that there are many bulk editing software options. All offer similar outcomes but vary in process, usability, and performance. Let’s look at four of the most popular and discuss their pros and cons.

Adobe Lightroom

For advanced tools, settings, and presets, Adobe Lightroom is the biggest name in the bulk editing software space. Adobe has an extensive history on the artistic side of photography, so it is no wonder the software giant has developed such a popular tool.

  • Pros: Lightroom’s full slate of editing tools, like exposure adjustments, color correction, and retouching that can be set and saved as presets, make it a top choice. Users also enjoy an organizational interface that allows tagging and other features that will help you easily store and archive images. Finally, Lightroom’s seamless Photoshop integration is appreciated if more complex edits are required.
  • Cons: Lightroom’s extensive toolset might feel overwhelming for new users to master. Additionally, the application’s monthly subscription cost of $10 (if licensed separately from the Adobe Creative Cloud) can be prohibitive.


Since 2003, the makers of PhotoWorks have been providing software and tools to enhance images of amateur and professional photographers. 2 million users worldwide enjoy this powerful and simple photo editor.

  • Pros: The platform's intuitive, user-friendly interface is users’ favorite feature of PhotoWorks. It is an excellent choice for quick and straightforward editing. The simplicity extends to the AI-laden built-in presets that enable one-click enhancements to batch photos. Finally, in a world of monthly subscriptions, PhotoWorks' pricing stands out. Photographers can purchase the Pro version for an annual licensing fee of $39.20 or pay $79.80 for Ultimate, which contains additional features and a Lifetime license.
  • Cons: PhotoWorks is excellent for quick edits and simplifies everyday tasks like light correction and retouching volume photographers often need. However, more experienced photographers may find the software needing more advanced editing features. 


BatchPhoto has been a popular post-processing software for nearly two decades. Long-time and new users enjoy the platform's simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness in processing up to thousands of photos at a time. Photographers can use the integrated presets or create their own to generate finished images with uniformity in size, orientation, and appearance.

  • Pros: As a software explicitly designed for post-processing high volumes of images, BatchPhoto offers a wide array of editing functions beyond the basics, like watermarking. It also allows your studio to create workflows and automate repetitive tasks to save you a ton of time. The lifetime licensing cost of $59.95 is another positive mark for the application.
  • Cons: BatchPhoto handles basic edits and tasks that photographers need but doesn’t offer the advanced editing capabilities of other software. Additionally, some users who use the platform find the interface less modern and intuitive. The company just released an updated version that attempts to address these issues, so it will be interesting to see if opinions change soon.


PhotoDay is unique to the other platforms on this list because, besides offering exceptional customer-facing editing services and batch post-processing services, it also includes job management, online galleries, e-commerce storefronts, and effective sales and marketing tools tailored specifically for volume photographers.

  • Pros: PhotoDay’s powerful suite of tools operates online, freeing up resources on your computer and eliminating the need for downloading software. The integrated workflow enables volume photography studios to edit and sell on one dedicated platform.
  • Cons: PhotoDay utilizes the latest technology and powerful AI tools to deliver users accurate and beautiful post-processed images. Since these processes are automated, your control is limited compared to other software. PhotoDay users are pleased with the time saved by not having to fine-tune each photo. 

These are just a handful of the many options available! Other photographers in your professional network may have a specific recommendation that suits your needs perfectly. Take advantage of free trials to test the software and investigate its capability. The software you are most comfortable using will be the one that saves you the most time.

Editing is a significant part of every photography session. Making the perfect adjustments to get the images just right demonstrates your studio’s expertise and skill. Don’t let these tasks' redundancy and time-consuming nature take you away from scheduling and photographing more sessions. Instead, let today’s innovative tools automate and streamline post-processing for you. You’ll feel like you’ve hired two new employees.

Article Header Image
September 29, 2023

Free and Paid Photography Backgrounds: Where To Find Them and How To Use Them

If you’re unsure how to start using custom digital backgrounds in your volume photography gallery, you’ve found the perfect article. We will discuss the basics, like why you would use custom graphics, where to find them, how to use them, and how to incorporate them into your galleries to drive orders and increase sales while delighting your customers.

PhotoDay makes several free backgrounds available to users within our volume photography platform. Your chosen print lab will probably have graphics available for free or a small fee that you can mix and match with our collection of backgrounds or even create and use your own custom backgrounds.

Why Use Digital Backgrounds?

Custom background graphics add visual consistency to your images and provide options for your buyers to encourage them to purchase more. With online selling, your photos are your inventory—so the more you can offer, the more you can sell. There is a time-saving benefit on picture day because you can set up one backdrop and add imagery in post-production. With PhotoDay Knockouts, you don’t even need a backdrop! You can quickly extract the background from photos taken against a traditional backdrop or a natural environment.

There are many other benefits, too. Incorporating creative backgrounds demonstrates your studio’s commitment to a thematic approach that adds value and enhances the memories your photos capture.

As you prepare for a photo session, think about how background graphics can enhance the finished product. If you’re photographing a youth sports league, search for or create backgrounds that align with the nature of the game and represent team colors and the spirit of the organization and its athletes. 

You can easily apply this approach to dance studios, as well. Consider the theme of the studio’s upcoming recital and utilize backgrounds that reflect the elegance and power of the dancers within that theme. You could even consider adding visual elements that represent the dancers’ styles.

School pictures create unlimited opportunities for creativity. Beyond school colors and mascots, you have options to include scholarly themes. Be mindful of the seasons as well—offering a fall or holiday theme may get family members thinking of gifts and keepsakes they might not consider if they were buying just another school picture.

A traditional portrait might get framed or posted on social media, but a graphically enhanced image could become a grandparent’s coffee mug, an aunt’s keychain, and a dad’s yearly calendar. There is no limit to your upsell opportunities.

It is also important to consider that nostalgia is huge right now. Remember those laser backgrounds you got with your pictures as a kid? So do today’s parents. They love seeing them and appreciate the old-school twist on school pictures. Don’t ignore whimsy when selecting what backgrounds to offer. Fun things like space cats, taco dinosaurs, and other retro themes can generate surprising sales.

Where to Get Backgrounds

Free Ready-to-Use Backgrounds

PhotoDay offers four customizable background collections you can add to your galleries if you connect to Miller’s Professional Imaging, Reedy Photo, Richmond Pro Lab, or White House Custom Color and have one of their price sheets attached to your job.

Creating Free Custom Backgrounds

Want to show off your creativity by making your own digital backgrounds? You can create and upload your own or even mix and match with a combination of PhotoDay's backgrounds and your own! When you design them, start with a 2400px x 3000px (reverse for horizontal) canvas using an RGB colorspace. Save your completed design as a JPG up to 15MB and 8000px or less in either height or width. Before you start designing, check out this article for valuable tips and tricks.

Using AI: Artificial Intelligence is a buzzy technology, and it will only become increasingly prevalent in the years to come. Multiple AI background generators that create eye-catching designs based on word prompts are already available. Some tools, like Canva, have a free version available that you can try. Note that you will need the Pro version to unlock its full potential.  Fotor is another popular choice. On top of high-quality graphics, you can also prompt for solid backgrounds. Like Canva, Fotor also offers a free and a Pro version.

Paid Backgrounds

Another option is purchasing premade backgrounds. Many websites have huge collections available for download, and there are also several private sellers in online marketplaces like Etsy. Ensure that any graphics you purchase meet PhotoDay’s specifications. Also, be sure that you clearly understand your purchase's licensing and usage rights so you are not subject to legal action in the future.

When searching for backgrounds, remember there is a difference between composite graphics and a more traditional background. Composites are generally more complex graphics and designs combined with your portrait during post-processing and can require manual adjustment to work correctly with your images. Backgrounds are much simpler and have a high concentration of workable space, allowing for proper photo composition with minimal effort in your photo editing software.

Composite graphics are often used in youth sports photography, while traditional backgrounds are more commonly utilized in school pictures.

These partners have provided great results for real PhotoDay users:

Traditional Backgrounds

  • Squijoo: Squijoo offers a wide range of creative and attractive digital backgrounds. Photographers love their customer support team and the availability of unlimited graphic downloads for $10 per month.
  • PERC Photography SchoolPERC offers valuable educational opportunities for photographers and great digital background options. Their variety of color and texture options could provide the ultimate complement to any photo setting.
  • EtsyThis online marketplace provides seemingly unlimited options for backgrounds. Tapping into the creativity of so many different designers is bound to inspire. Enter “digital backgrounds for school pictures” into the search bar and prepare to be amazed at all the options. Ensure your downloads include appropriate licenses and are compatible with your photo editing software.

Composite Graphics

  • 3rd Creative: This Texas photography studio creates versatile Photoshop templates and bundles of compelling background graphics for their local clients and makes them available for purchase so you can impress your customers, too.
  • JHphotodesign: Sports photographers particularly enjoy Joshua Hanna Photography’s collections of designs, layered Photoshop templates, and other editing tools. View his large selection and let your creativity run wild.
  • Pixnub: This site offers templates, digital backgrounds, and excellent tools and plugins for Photoshop, as well as helpful tutorials and resources. 
  • Shirk Designs: Ben Shirk is renowned for his creative imagery and Photoshop skills. Extensive backgrounds are available for youth sports, dance, and more. Most templates also include lighting diagrams and video tutorials.

Consider Your Backgrounds When Photographing and Processing

It’s essential to ensure your subjects look natural against the digital backgrounds you are offering. When photographing, set your lighting to match the designed background lighting so the finished product looks authentic. You should also crop full-body images to avoid floating feet. Softening your background can also help add dimension to the final image. 

How to Use Backgrounds

Now that you have taken your photos and selected or created the perfect backgrounds, how do you get them into your galleries for your customers to use?

It’s as simple as adding your background collections to your PhotoDay account. Studios can upload up to 12 background images into each collection. They can all be custom background images or mixed and matched with PhotoDay’s complimentary backgrounds. If you’re a PhotoDay user, sign into your account and check out our support articles for step-by-step instructions and tips for creating optimal backgrounds.

How Do Backgrounds Work For Your Customer?

Providing customers with multiple background options increases their chances of ordering various products. Many customers will buy the same pose with multiple different backgrounds as prints, digital downloads, and more!

PhotoDay’s intuitive gallery interface puts your customers in control. They can preview their photos on all the backgrounds available in the collection you created for the gallery. With a simple swipe and preview, customers can mix and match poses and backgrounds on various products. They can also rotate, zoom, crop, and choose horizontal and vertical images for ordering.

Once your customers have found their favorite combinations of poses, backgrounds, and products, they can proceed to their shopping cart to complete the order.

Digital backgrounds are a valuable tool for volume photographers. Using graphics improves the photograph's impact, increases your revenue per order, and can simplify your next school, dance, sports, or event picture day.

PhotoDay makes it easy to utilize backgrounds in your online galleries. Whether you want to use the ones we have provided or bring your own, our user-friendly studio tools will empower you to build your customizable galleries and sell your dynamic photos in a flash.

Try PhotoDay today with no strings attached.

It's TOTALLY free & easy to set up.

Sign up to get the party started!