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February 13, 2024

Prep for Success with PhotoDay’s Picture Day Checklist

You booked your next job, the contract is signed, and it’s time to prep for the most exciting part: picture day. If this is your first big volume job, try not to feel overwhelmed—no matter your job count, mastering the game of efficiency is an ongoing work in progress for every business.

In the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." But don’t worry! PhotoDay has your back with a handy interactive picture day checklist. No frills, no fuss—just a step-by-step guide to ensure you nail your next job.

Our downloadable guide starts when you book the job and keeps you on track through publishing and selling. Go ahead and download the checklist, and keep reading to explore each of the nine steps in greater detail!

➡️ Download Picture Day Checklist ⬅️


Step 1: When the Job is Booked

Celebrate the win, and now let’s get you prepped for success. First up: setting up the job in your PhotoDay Studio Panel.

Creating a job in PhotoDay is easy and intuitive, but we also offer a rich inventory of walkthrough guides, support articles, and informative webinars that teach you everything you need to know in just a few clicks.

When setting up your job, you’ll select your gallery type and add important details like the job name, logo (if you have it), and picture day date. You’ll also set up your price sheet, AdvancePay, and any special offers. PhotoDay automates these gallery promotions for you, including header banners when a customer is viewing photos in the gallery.

Building your job is one of the more detail-oriented steps in the process, but with our intuitive platform, you’ll breeze through it in no time! 

Step 2: Four Weeks Before Picture Day

Communication is key when it comes to online selling! Your customers will need to know how to access their gallery before they can order their photos. It’s never too early to prepare your customer communication plan and marketing materials. 

First, decide how you’d like to notify parents and the organization that picture day is approaching, then create the items you’ll need to promote any specials and execute your communication plan.

Consider all the channels your studio will utilize and create materials for each. Here are some ideas for digital and print materials:

  • Email flyers
  • Social media graphics
  • Printed flyers
  • Posters
  • Reminder cards 

Thanks to online selling, the days of paper order forms are in the past, so feel free to get creative with your printed marketing materials. PhotoDay users can take advantage of our integrated marketing kit full of customizable templates for banners, posters, business cards, social media graphics, and more!

Step 3: Three Weeks Before Picture Day

This is the perfect time to gather any data needed for a smooth and successful picture day. 

If you’re using PhotoDay’s public or group galleries, look into gathering your customers’ email addresses for marketing purposes and subject counts for scheduling and staffing purposes. Additional data such as team, group, or class names will also help if you use tags to organize your gallery. 

If you’re using PhotoDay’s private galleries, you’ll need some subject data to match photos with individuals using PhotoDay Capture and FaceFind. At a minimum, you should have each subject’s first and last name, but you could also include up to 3 emails per subject, team, group, or class names, and more. Compile this data into a CSV file and upload it to your job. Feel free to follow one of our step-by-step guides or articles for information on optimizing, uploading, and mapping your subject data CSV file. Once everything is set up, subjects will automatically match with their photos!

Step 4: Two Weeks Before Picture Day

Picture day is getting close, so it's time to get your parents and organization excited!

Distribute and display the materials you created in step two, use the email addresses you gathered to send out marketing flyers, and hang your posters on location so everyone knows picture day is coming soon. You can also start promoting the upcoming picture day on your social channels and ask the organization to do the same.

Step 5: One Week Before Picture Day

It’s almost here! Ensure parents know the different ways they can opt into gallery updates and order pictures and photo gifts when the gallery is published. Encourage them to text their access code to 90738, subscribe to notifications in the gallery, or purchase an AdvancePay Credit to stay in the know. Remember, if you're encouraging parents to purchase an AdvancePay credit, now is the time to switch your gallery status from Draft to AdvancePay!

Send out an email flyer with any last-minute information and updates, including a time-sensitive special offer to drive order urgency.

If the organization didn’t provide you with customer email addresses, ask them to distribute the digital flyers or print flyers on your behalf to ensure everyone knows how to access the photos. Remember, picture day benefits the school, sports league, or dance studio from a fundraising standpoint, so don’t be afraid to ask for help spreading the word.

Step 6: Day Before or Morning of Picture Day

Prepare your staff for a smooth and successful picture day! Communicate the importance of accessing the gallery and subscribing to notifications. With PhotoDay, there are multiple ways to connect to customers:

  • The simplest route is for customers to text their access code to 90738 to sign up for notifications and receive a direct link to the gallery.
  • Customers can also go straight to my.photoday.com on their phone, computer, or tablet.
  • No matter how they get there, my.photoday.com is the final destination where customers can create an account, access the gallery, purchase AdvancePay Credits, and opt-in for transactional text messages.

Gathering text subscriptions is an ideal way to keep in touch! Customers who have opted in to receive SMS notifications will be the first to know when their photos are published and ready to order. PhotoDay also offers pre-built SMS campaigns studios can request to send to anyone who opted-in to a gallery less than a year old. 

Step 7: Picture Day

It’s finally here! Ensure you have all the gear you need (and backups!), plus onsite promotional materials like banners, signs, and reminder cards with the gallery’s access code.

Take advantage of the in-person opportunity to market and sell while photos are still fresh in parents’ minds. For example, you could advertise a “Today Only!” offer for anyone who purchases an AdvancePay Credit onsite.

Get to your location as early as you need to set up your equipment and marketing displays. PhotoDay and Capture make check-in a breeze, giving you and your staff extra time to interact with your subjects, talk up your promotions with parents, and ensure you can answer all their questions about your product offerings.

The most important thing to remember on picture day is to have fun! This is why you started your volume photography studio in the first place, so never lose sight of that.

Step 8: After Picture Day

You had a successful picture day—breathe a sigh of relief and treat yourself to some tacos!

Now it’s time to level up your beautiful photos with post-processing and editing so you can upload them to your galleries and start selling.

PhotoDay has multiple tools to simplify and automate post-processing. You can use Knockouts to extract subjects from backgrounds to use for composites or to add custom backgrounds. Our AI-driven Color Correction service adjusts exposure, contrast, white balance, and gamma faster than ever. These services are available right within your PhotoDay job, making it even easier to upload final photos into the customer gallery. 

Once the photos are published, watch the sales come rolling in! All customers subscribed to the gallery will automatically receive a text message letting them know their photos are ready. You and the organization can also send out emails and post on social channels to make sure you reach everyone.

Step 9: After Publishing

Don’t stop marketing once the images are published! To encourage sales, continue to drive awareness and sales opportunities by re-marketing the gallery at ideal times.

PhotoDay makes continuous promotion of your galleries a breeze with automated text campaigns and manual email marketing flyers. You can use these resources to communicate with your customers about gallery expiration, early bird prices, and flash sale offers, which will help boost sales and AOV! 

PhotoDay also offers unlimited gallery storage, so you can use these same sales techniques to re-market previously expired galleries for seasonal and holiday promotions. Check out the following blogs for more ideas and instructions on creating special offers: Maximizing Sales in Volume Photography: A Guide to Products, Pricing, and Promotions and Driving Incremental Volume Photography Revenue Through Seasonal Strategies.


Picture day is an exciting, important event for the subjects, families, and organizations involved, and adopting a game plan for your studio minimizes stress, de-escalates surprises, and ultimately leads to a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Think of this checklist as a roadmap that you can adapt to the needs of your studio and each specific job. Remember to keep it flexible if the timelines don’t line up perfectly—while our guide starts up to four weeks before picture day, your studio might only have a few weeks’ notice. 

You’ll also discover entirely new ways to build your own efficiencies, like creating your marketing materials when you set up the job in your studio so that you will be prepared to send them out when the time is right. Let this checklist be an adjustable guide rather than a rigid rulebook. 

The intuitiveness of PhotoDay and all the practice you’ll get as you book more and more jobs will make executing these picture day plans comfortable and stress-free!

➡️ Download Picture Day Checklist ⬅️


Join thousands of photographers and studios as they modernize their business with PhotoDay. Create a free account to transform your studio with online galleries, e-commerce shopping, direct-to-door order delivery, sales tax remittance, post-processing services, and much more.

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December 15, 2023

Senior Portrait Tips From the Volume Photography Pros

If you’ve considered diving into the world of senior portrait photography or want to level up your current operation, you’re in the right place!

Photographing seniors is a lot of fun—they exude enthusiasm as they step into a new chapter of life, and their personalities and interests have truly blossomed. While this photography market is enjoyable on its own, it’s also great for business. 

Let’s start by defining the two different senior portrait types. The first is contract senior portraits in a volume setting. The second is individual senior portrait sessions not done in a volume setting. In this blog, we’ll discuss how volume photographers can cross into the world of individual senior portrait sessions.

In our quest to provide you with valuable insights, we've enlisted the wisdom of seasoned professionals who have mastered the art of volume photography and honed their skills specifically in the realm of individual senior portraits. Consider this as your backstage pass to the behind-the-lens world, where we ask the burning questions you've been dying to know.

We asked two talented volume photographers (who are also part of the PhotoDay Team) tons of questions about the art and business of taking great senior portraits. Meet Dan Burgess—photographer and co-founder of D&B Forever Photography and Ohana Sports Photography—and Brian Derenski—owner, photographer, and graphic designer at Brian Derenski Photography.

Keep reading to hear their terrific perspectives on everything from effective communication to ideas for making seniors comfortable during their sessions.

Their shared knowledge reads like a cheat sheet for senior portrait photographers of all skill levels. Here are their answers (some answers have been edited for length and clarity):

Communication

Q: How soon before picture day do you send out communications like what props to bring?

Brian: I consult and book senior portraits at the same time, either over the phone or in a Google Meeting. That allows me to discuss my pricing and process. I let people book up to a year in advance, then send wardrobe and prop reminders and a model release about 30 days prior. My CRM, 17Hats, automates a lot of this for me, which keeps things simple.

Dan: I cover as much information as possible during the consultation, then send reminder emails leading up to the shoot. Email is best for sending contracts and reminders about senior portraits, but on the day of the session, I communicate via text.

Q: How do you get to know the seniors to prepare you and them for their senior portrait day?

Dan: I do as much as I can over the phone. I really like to get to know who I am photographing, so I ask the right questions and really listen to how they answer. A lot of people send questionnaires, and it works well for them. I’ve always found that conversations are a lot more personal for me, and I get more out of them.

Brian: I love conversations, too, but I have a questionnaire I send out for the senior (not the parent) to fill out. It covers things like favorite snack foods, favorite cartoons from when they were a kid, and favorite high school memory. I also like to ask where they would want their session if money were no object. I bring their chosen snacks to the shoot to help them relax. Then, I draw on their other favorites to keep them loose throughout the session.

Locations

Q: What are the benefits of shooting indoors versus outdoors for senior portraits? Do you leave it up to the parents to decide?

Brian: It really depends on what the senior and their family wants. We determine what will work best during the consultation meeting. I need to know if they need access to a special location like a court or field at school. I’m comfortable indoors or outdoors, so I just make sure we can go where they want to. 

Dan: I feel the same way. I am equally comfortable photographing indoors or outdoors, so it 100% depends on the style of the session and what the student wants their senior portraits to look and feel like.

Q: If you photograph outdoors, what is the best time of day?

Dan: Any time can be the best time. We, as photographers, need to know how to control the light. We don’t have to shoot at the golden hour or in the shade. We just have to have the expertise and equipment to work with the light we have.

Brian: That is true. A strobe will help in any lighting conditions, but a bounce card can also do wonders. My only additional suggestion would be to consider the weather. If your senior portrait session is in the middle of the day on a hot summer afternoon, you probably won’t get the results you hope for.

Timing

Q: When is the best time to market senior portraits?

Brian: October through January of a student’s junior year makes the most sense. Send a rep team to the school, if possible, and target any paid ads towards juniors and parents of juniors. Use discounted session fees as an incentive.

Dan: I market senior portraits all year long. There are always early and late people, so I constantly have some kind of marketing going on.

Q: What month is the best for taking senior portraits?

Dan: I like mid-fall for the seasonal colors and spring because everything looks vibrant and photographs nicely.

Brian: I prefer late May to early June. Due to yearbook deadlines, you can’t go later than the end of September.

Senior Portrait Lighting Setups

Q: What lighting do you need to take great senior portraits?

Brian: It’s a mixed bag, depending on the look, wardrobe, location, and time of day. You’ll be able to create a checklist during the consultation, and you may need anything from multiple lights with gels and modifiers to a simple reflector. I like to use an AD300 for portability and a Glow Para Snap 36” softbox for a main light. I also carry 3 AD200s with MagMod Sphere and a gel kit, just in case.

Dan: This question is loaded. It depends on what you have, and you may need to purchase additional lights, modifiers, and scrims to control light and achieve the senior’s want for the session. A traditional three-point lighting setup will work for most indoor shoots, but if your senior wants special effects or something extra, you may need 6-8 lights. Make sure you are clear on the expectations of the student and their parents, then ensure you have the equipment to execute it.

Senior Portrait Poses and Props

Q: What are the most common senior portrait poses?

Brian: There are no “standard” senior portrait poses. You can use triangles to create motion and symmetry. For ladies, the S-curve with a bent knee and toe pointed to the side is flattering for all body types. Expressions are usually much more important than poses, so always keep that in mind.

Dan: I always say to pose to the subject. Try to understand their body language, attitude, limitations, and expectations. This will ensure they are comfortable and look natural. If a pose doesn’t look or feel right, don’t force it. Just throw it away and move to something else.

Q: How many senior portrait poses do you recommend per person?

Dan: As many as you can work into your allotted time slot. You never know when you will get “the one,” so it's best to try as many things as you are physically able to.

Brian: There’s no specific answer. It depends on many factors, including wardrobe and location. As a photographer, your goal is to provide more images than they can buy. You can use different poses to sell while photographing by planting seeds like, “Oh wow! This location and that look would make a perfect canvas print.”

Q: Do you provide props or ask the students to bring their own?

Brian: They should definitely bring their own. The experience has to resonate with them. Uniforms, sports equipment, and instruments are all very personal items, and I like to be able to ask them questions about each prop to capture their emotions during their senior portrait session.

Dan: I have an inventory of props that I will be happy to bring if they want me to, but I definitely encourage them to bring their own because the pictures will mean more to them.

Senior Portrait Outfits

Q: What do you recommend students to wear for their session?

Dan: The two most important things are that they are comfortable and that their outfit represents what they want from their senior pictures. If they are uncomfortable, it will reflect in the photos.

Brian: Their senior portrait outfits should reflect who they are fashion-wise and as a person. It can be as simple as a nice suit or a pretty dress, but I like trying interesting things like adding sports equipment to dress clothes to show the subject's complexities.

Q: What senior portrait outfits should they avoid?

Brian: If the outfits make sense for the session, there are no real rules. I tell everyone to stay off Pinterest and plan their senior portrait outfits based on their story, not someone else’s. 

Dan: They should not wear outfits that make them uncomfortable, interfere with posing, or clash with the style of photographs we are trying to take.

Senior Portrait Trends

Q: Are there any senior portrait trends we should be aware of?

Dan: ProMod lights, tube lights, and smoke are cool if that’s the look someone is going for. It’s okay to experiment a little, but be sure everyone is on the same page about what the finished images will look like.

Brian: A few are out there, but I try to keep it as classic as possible. Parents will be displaying that picture forever. You don’t want the image ever to look dated.

Other Senior Portrait Tips

Q: How can you make students more comfortable during their session?

Brian: Music is always good. Find out what their favorite artists are and play them, or bring a Bluetooth speaker and let them play their Spotify playlist on it.  I always bring their favorite snacks and soft drinks they told me about during consultation. It’s a pleasant surprise and shows the seniors that I care about them, which helps relax the session's atmosphere.

Dan: Talk to them. Get to know them on a genuine level. Think back to your consultation and find things to chat about. Take advantage of the time you have together. The more comfortable they are and the better their mood, the better your images will turn out. Also remember, you could be building a legacy with them. One day, they will likely need a wedding or family photographer, and they will remember this positive experience.


Senior portraits are a fun and exciting opportunity to add a new revenue stream for your studio. Combine Brian Derenski and Dan Burgess’ advice with your skill, creativity, and photographic passion, and start promoting your studio to rising seniors today!

Let their enthusiasm and personality shine! You will capture images and create keepsakes they and their families will cherish forever.

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December 1, 2023

APS Lab Joins PhotoDay as Newest Lab Partner

We're thrilled to announce a new partnership with the well-established APS Lab (Advanced Photographic Solutions). As we continue to elevate the PhotoDay platform and enhance your experience, we're excited about this collaboration that will bring a myriad of benefits to both photographers and customers by ensuring a seamless and exceptional photo ordering process through PhotoDay with the high-quality prints and products of APS Lab.

Starting 12/4/23, PhotoDay Users can add APS Lab to their accounts and choose them for any or all of their jobs! If you don’t have a PhotoDay account yet, you can select them during sign-up!

Why APS Lab?

APS Lab is a renowned name in the world of professional photo printing and fulfillment. As one of the largest wholesale photo finishing labs in the country, their commitment to high-quality products, efficient fulfillment, and reliable customer service aligns perfectly with our own dedication to providing photographers with the best products and tools available. 

With over 40 years of industry experience, APS Lab has earned an excellent reputation, making them an ideal partner. Providing services covering multiple photo categories, including underclass, sports, senior, and general volume photography markets, APS has been a stalwart lab for many volume photography studios across the country from its offices in Cleveland, TN.

What Can You Expect from This Partnership?

Streamlined Order Fulfillment

APS boasts a 100,000+ sq/ft facility with over 200 dedicated professionals, proficiently capable of delivering an impressive output of 18,000 units per hour. Their capacity allows them to stay on time even during peak periods. With a focus on speed and accuracy, APS has an average of less than 3 days of in-house production time and over 98% accuracy.

As with all of PhotoDay’s lab partners, order fulfillment is a breeze. If you’re currently using APS Lab, consider signing up for a free PhotoDay account to test out the seamless integration. In PhotoDay, the entire process—from publishing the gallery to customers placing their orders to shipping directly to your clients—will be efficient and hands-off for you, the studio. What you do with your new free time is up to you!

Exceptional Print Quality

We understand the importance of delivering high-quality prints to your clients, and APS Lab shares this commitment to excellence! They utilize state-of-the-art printing technology and premium materials to produce stunning representations of your work that your customers will love.

Quality Product Offering

Through our collaboration with APS Lab, you can look forward to an excellent range of products to offer your schools, organizations, and customers. From standard prints to premium photo products to personalized gifts, you can expect high-quality offerings to thrill your customer base and boost your revenue potential.

How to Add APS Lab to Your PhotoDay Account

If you're already a PhotoDay User, this partnership will only enhance your experience. You'll have the option to add APS Lab into your workflow with just the click of a button. As always, you can have as many of our lab partners added to your account as you’d like. Just follow these simple instructions, then create a new price sheet with APS Lab.

If you’re not a PhotoDay User yet, this is the perfect opportunity to take us for a test drive this winter ❄️ Forget the paper order forms and move your galleries online for higher sales and happier customers! 

It’s completely free to get started. The best way to experience PhotoDay is to create an account and have a look around with no strings attached. You can select APS as your lab during sign-up!

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November 27, 2023

Streamline Picture Day with LVL Up & PhotoDay

Exceptional photos start with great lighting! While stunning photographs are comprised of multiple elements, the quality of lighting often makes or breaks an image. Mastering this aspect takes practice, but you can get there with some experience and the right equipment! 

Thankfully, there’s a fast-track option—the LVL Up Studio System is a revolutionary lighting setup that will streamline your next picture day and boost sales. With it, you can guarantee consistently perfect lighting with every picture you take while significantly reducing your set-up and breakdown time. 

Acclaimed photographers Tom and Mario Muñoz of LVL Up Imaging and Muñoz Photography wanted to create a solution that maximizes efficiency without sacrificing quality. Sounds like every volume photographer’s dream, right? This dream became a reality when they developed the LVL Up Studio System to replicate the control and artistry achieved in their studio, on location in volume settings. Tom and Mario know the value of simplifying their workflow, so they’re also proud PhotoDay partners!

Keep reading to learn more about how LVL Up and PhotoDay can transform your volume photography business like never before.

How important is lighting, really?

If you’re wondering why having a stellar lighting setup is so critical, to put it plainly, lighting is the most important part of any photograph. It sets the mood of the images and affects how the subject looks more than any other factor. Good quality lighting also makes the entire process easier and more efficient—from your own post-production workflow to increasing sales.

You may already have a lighting setup you love but want to simplify your equipment before scaling your business. Perhaps you’re new to photography and want to learn everything you can as fast as possible. Or maybe you’re a seasoned portrait photographer interested in expanding into the volume school market. 

Regardless of where you are on your journey, LVL Up can help you achieve your goals through their inventive lighting solution.

What makes LVL Up’s lighting system unique?

The LVL Up lighting system, pictured with diffuser and reflector screens.

To understand why Tom and Mario’s invention is so ground-breaking, let’s explain what a traditional lighting rig might look like. An ideal lighting setup needs three main components: 

  1. A large soft light source for the main light
  2. A large soft fill either from a strobe or bounced light
  3. A separation or hair light to add dimension

Instead of having three separate lights, diffusers, stands, and variable spacing, The LVL Up Studio System comprises one lightweight, collapsible diffuser screen and two reflector screens. With the screens in place, you only need one light to capture beautiful, powerfully lit images. Plus, the entire setup is easy to carry and can be assembled at lightning speed.

"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.” - Tom Muñoz

An Innovative Solution for Volume Photography

Tom Muñoz sets up the LVL Up system for picture day.

The LVL Up System is remarkable because it solves multiple common issues volume photographers face, particularly on school picture days. 

Save Time & Money

Time is money! LVL Up users save precious time and money by decreasing their setup and breakdown time to under 5 minutes. Traditional lighting and backdrops can take an hour or more. Not only does LVL Up make picture day easier, but it means you and your team can arrive later and leave earlier—so you can focus on that prized work-life harmony. 

Additionally, you can work efficiently with a smaller staff since you’ll only need one system per photographer. Get ready to save money in every aspect of your business.

Consistency is Key

The system creates consistent lighting with its one-strobe solution. Utilizing one light eliminates misfires from additional strobes, which can interrupt your picture day flow. You can say farewell to the days of time-consuming retakes. 

Consistent images also make for easy, streamlined editing. You’ll save time and reduce headaches during post-processing.

Level Up Your Image Quality

Due to its consistent, bounced lighting, the LVL Up System will improve your image quality by providing a significantly softer look to the subject’s skin. It also practically eliminates troublesome eyeglass glare. While you can also spend time fixing these things in post, why not solve the problem when you press the shutter? 

With online selling, impeccable image quality automatically means increased sales. The better your subjects look in the photos, the more likely they will buy them! 

Private & Efficient

The intuitive wall design helps create a private mini-studio vibe for each subject while they’re being photographed. Whether you’re using just one station or have five stations lined up in a row, your subjects will feel comfortable, naturally leading to more relaxed interactions and better poses and expressions.

Easy to Use

Last but not least, the LVL Up System is so simple to use that onboarding new staff becomes a total breeze. You’ll be able to teach almost anyone how to take a high-quality picture with it in seconds.

Creating exceptional quality with less space and equipment, the LVL Up System is perfect for school photographers who want to improve their quality and scale their business.

LVL Up & PhotoDay: A Powerful Match

During picture days, LVL Up integrates seamlessly with PhotoDay. Our Capture app’s facial recognition capabilities eliminate manual check-in and tedious data matching, enabling photographers to interact with students and focus on creating a relaxed atmosphere from start to finish. 

The beautiful, consistent lighting provided by the LVL UP Studio System enables foolproof Color Corrections and crisp Knockouts to streamline your post-processing with PhotoDay. 

Our backgrounds feature also allows you to offer multiple digital backgrounds for your customers to view and choose from so you can generate even more sales. 

During checkout, customers can add on PhotoDay’s AI retouching service, which magically softens and smooths skin, removes acne blemishes, and evens skin tone without affecting permanent scars or freckles—all with the click of a button.

“[Using PhotoDay Capture] allows the photographer to spend less time checking in data…and more time to engage with the actual student to create the photography experience we need to get that expression and emotion so we can quickly get on to the next student and let them get back to class.” - Tom Muñoz

The First Step to Refine Your Lighting Process

For volume photographers and studios wanting to improve the overall quality of their work, the first thing to do is invest in lighting and education. The LVL Up Lighting System is the most versatile system available to date. It replaces virtually all light modifiers with one simple and easy-to-use solution. 

If you’re an established studio looking to scale your business, consider simplifying your current lighting setup. Reducing your rig's complexity will minimize set-up time and significantly minimize 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 the perfect investment for your studio.

In all types of photography, lighting is everything. For volume photographers, well-controlled light creates efficiencies that will impact every facet of your business. 


Are you ready to make your next picture day unbelievably simple and efficient while capturing balanced, perfectly lit images with every click? You can explore all of LVL Up Imaging’s products at www.lvlupimaging.com. Learn more about Tom, Mario, and Muñoz Photography at www.munozphotography.com.

If you’re new to lighting, check out A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Photography Lighting on our blog to learn more about the basics.

Join thousands of photographers and studios as they modernize their business with PhotoDay. Create a free account to transform your studio with online galleries, e-commerce shopping, direct-to-door order delivery, sales tax remittance, post-processing services, and much more. We promise work will start to feel less like work and more like what you love. 

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November 17, 2023

ShootAssist: Managing Your Clients with Andrew Vernon

As a volume photography studio, it’s safe to assume that expanding your client base is a crucial part of your business strategy. However, as you gain more business and your studio grows, so do the tasks you must juggle to manage and retain those clients.

Even with a single client, there’s plenty to manage: contact information, important dates, payment tracking, and lots and lots of communication—among a whole host of other items. Multiply that by ten clients, and it quickly becomes overwhelming. Multiply that by potentially several dozen, and you will have to adopt tools that manage these relationships efficiently.

Thankfully, these tools already exist and are used everywhere in the business world—from small mom-and-pop shops to the big-name corporations you’re exposed to daily. They’re called Customer Relationship Management platforms (more commonly referred to as CRMs) and are highly necessary to all kinds of businesses. 

However, did you know that a CRM was developed specifically for the needs of volume photographers? Meet ShootAssist: a CRM created for volume photographers by Andrew Vernon, a volume photographer himself!

What is a CRM?

First, let’s establish what exactly a Customer Relationship Management tool is and how it can help you as a photography studio owner. CRMs usually present themselves as software applications that organize the individual moving parts of a business relationship on a grand scale. They can blur the line between customer management and customer service by allowing you, as a business owner, to iron out requests and potential issues that may arise during day-to-day operations. 

ShootAssist is a highly specialized CRM that tracks every element of information about a studio's various clients, schedules, and workflows and automates pre- and post-picture day communications.

The main client dashboard.

The Genesis of ShootAssist

Photography runs in Andrew Vernon’s DNA, creator of ShootAssist. His family owns and operates Vernon Photography, a volume-specialized studio based in Tampa Bay, FL. From a young age, Andrew has always been interested in technology and how it can be utilized to make things easier. 

“I've always been fascinated by technology and specifically how it can make you more productive, efficient, or both. One of the things we identified as our business was growing was that it was getting harder and harder to stay on top of all the little details.”

When it came time to try and help Vernon Photography manage their ever-growing client base, he found that no tool fit every one of their needs that also helped them provide the same level of service for which they were known.

“Most of the photography-specific CRMs were geared towards wedding and portrait photographers, which tend to have pretty different workflows and client types.”

This motivated Andrew to put his tech know-how to use and take matters into his own hands. Armed with his software development experience, he laid the foundations for what would evolve into ShootAssist. The goal? To create a highly specialized CRM that accommodates all of a volume photographer’s unique needs—one that tracks every element of information about a studio’s various clients, schedules, and varying job milestones, as well as automating pre- and post-picture day communications without losing the personal touch of a small studio. 

Automated communications dashboard.

ShootAssist does just that by meticulously tracking every step of a volume job, ensuring photographers don’t miss a critical point in job management, which can happen when juggling a large volume of clients.

Providing Value

Along with creating a management tool for volume photographers, Andrew wanted to make one accessible for anyone to use without an intense learning curve. In fact, one particular person notably acted as an inspiration during the development of ShootAssist.

“The original concept of ShootAssist was built with my mom in mind. Easy to learn, easy to explore were both goals of mine.”

What eventually arose was a highly customizable CRM, something very adaptable to a studio’s existing and sometimes unique workflows. Andrew does warn that, as with all customizable software like this, putting in the initial work to get things just so will pay off in the end. “This is an area where you'll really reap what you sow in terms of tailoring the system to your specific needs,” he adds. 

And studio owners aren’t alone when it comes to this setup process. Andrew makes himself available to assist personally when setting up ShootAssist or with any other troubleshooting needs. “I'm happy to help along the way. I can import existing data, consult on setup questions along the way”.

However, the question remains—at what point should a studio adopt a CRM? Is it a tool that should be used right from the get-go, or is it only truly useful once a studio has a specific number of clients in their roster? According to Andrew, a wide range of studios use ShootAssist, from photographers with only ten or twenty clients to much larger ventures servicing hundreds of accounts. So, while there isn’t an exact science behind when a studio should adopt a CRM like ShootAssist, Andrew believes the earlier you can adopt a CRM, the better.

“In general, if you figure you may need a CRM at some point, it's better to jump in sooner because it'll mean more of your historical data is centralized in one place, and the system can grow as your business grows. The hardest transition is to try to jump into a new system only after you're overwhelmed.”

The Future

Though ShootAssist is still a relative newcomer on the market, it has already made impressive waves within the volume photography community. By cornering such a specialized section of the industry, ShootAssist has secured itself staying power that will last for years to come. As he looks to the future, Andrew is constantly brainstorming innovative ways to make his platform even more effective for photographers and studios.

“My goal has always been to make ShootAssist as helpful as possible to volume photographers, and I have quite a few ideas of how to continue pushing in that direction. Integrations with other tools and AI both feel like opportunities worth exploring. And, as I've created more apps for volume photographers, I'm thinking strategically about how they could integrate to provide even more value to my users.”


In conclusion, managing a growing volume photography studio can be overwhelming, whether you have a client base of 2 or 200! Fortunately, ShootAssist solves the problem by intelligently meeting the needs of volume photographers with its highly customizable functions and adaptable workflows. 

Want to learn more about ShootAssist or even jump right in? Visit www.shootassist.com to get started!

And if you haven't already, create a free PhotoDay account to join thousands of photographers and studios as they modernize their business with online galleries, e-commerce shopping, direct-to-door order delivery, sales tax remittance, post-processing services, and much more. So work feels less like work and more like what you love. 

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October 31, 2023

Creating Powerful Composites with PhotoDay and Pixnub

Designing composites in volume photography opens a whole new world of creative possibilities to show off your craft and artistry. If your studio isn’t offering composites, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to stand out from your competition! Learn how to elevate your images with custom graphics for more exciting photo galleries and enticing products.

As a studio, you can explore creating individual subject and team composites to save time during picture day, easily add absent subjects into a group photo, and ultimately deliver creative images that can’t be captured with a parent’s iPhone over your shoulder.

The PhotoDay tools you already know and love for school photography, like Private Galleries and the PhotoDay Capture app, can also be powerful components of a composite building workflow when combined with a third-party program like Pixnub Sport Photo Automation (SPA) or using a service like Rebooku.

In this blog, we’ll cover what a composite is, common challenges, and how to use software to automate workflows and save countless hours of post-processing time.

What is a Composite?

Simply put, a composite combines two or more images to create one new image. In the world of volume photography, one image would be a subject photographed against a green screen or similar background that can be easily removed digitally (PhotoDay Knockouts make this a breeze). The second image would be a specifically designed piece of artwork, usually with custom graphics and possibly text, on which you place your extracted subject. Some photographers refer to the second image as a backplate. You can place an individual image on the backplate or arrange multiple people to create a composite team or group photo.

The result is a flashy, eye-catching product that takes your original images to the next level. It’s exciting for your customers as they scroll through your galleries, encouraging them to order!

Composite Challenges

Historically, creating composites has been a complicated process. Developing the technical skills to utilize composites effectively can take time and practice. Your photography lighting must match the backplate design, as should the perspective and angles. You must also align your color balance so subjects look natural against the digital background. It’s best to consider your backplate before setting up on location to ensure smooth compatibility between your real subjects and the digital enhancement you will use in the finished product.

Post-processing images to prepare them for compositing is a time-consuming process. If done manually, it could require days of intricate background removal and design work to create images that work together to achieve your desired result. Slowing down your workflow to this degree will result in dissatisfied customers and lost sales.

Publishing your galleries quickly with consistent, high-quality photos available for purchase is critical. Heavily investing your time also decreases your profitability—never forget how valuable your time is! If you spend too much precious time creating sellable images, it’s virtually impossible to price them appropriately, considering both your margins and affordability for your customers. Thankfully, we have incredible time-saving solutions to share. 

Composite Solutions

Third-party software has developed and evolved to be a photographer’s best friend in countless ways—especially when making composites. Using software to automate many of the most cumbersome steps of combining images is a huge win for studios. Minimizing the time commitments of composite photography creates an excellent customer experience, adds to your profitability, and saves your sanity. It also opens up a world of possibilities for photographers previously uninterested in the labor-intensive composite process.

Pixnub is the most comprehensive problem-solving platform on the market for photographers. It is a subscription-based series of plugins for Photoshop that perform many functions, including batch removal of green screens, cropping, and group photo building. Pixnub allows you to set specific parameters and then automates the most cumbersome portions of your workflow. 

The best part: Pixnub and PhotoDay complement one another perfectly. Let us show you how.

Combining the Power of Pixnub and PhotoDay

Effectively utilizing Pixnub relies on leveraging PhotoDay’s Capture App, Private Galleries, and Exports features.

PhotoDay Capture is a free companion app for mobile devices that automatically matches and pairs photos based on the subject data you provide for each job. Capture works alongside Private Galleries to create a safe and secure private shopping experience for each individual subject (as opposed to Group or Public Gallery options). 

PhotoDay’s Exports feature packages the Private Galleries data into a spreadsheet with customizable subject information, like names, team, jersey numbers, and corresponding file names that Pixnub then translates into your final composites.

If this sounds a little complicated, don’t worry! We’ve broken down the process into a few easy-to-follow steps. 

Composite Workflow Utilizing PhotoDay and Pixnub

1. Upload, match, and feature photos in your private gallery job.

  • Export your green screen photos from your photo editor as small JPG files, then upload them to your private gallery. 
  • Once PhotoDay’s FaceFind feature has matched those photos to the previously uploaded subject data, specify the image you want to composite for each subject by selecting them as featured photos.

2. Export from PhotoDay

  • From within your private gallery job, create a new Compositing Data export—a specially formatted CSV file created by PhotoDay precisely for compositing automation.
  • Download the completed export to your computer.

3. Create a SPA-Ready CSV

  • Using Pixnub’s Sports Photo Automator (or SPA), you’ll need to create a CSV that’s specifically readable by the plugin.
  • Within SPA, create a template CSV by specifying what text fields you wish to utilize, and then export that CSV.
  • Next, use the data from the previously PhotoDay-exported CSV to copy and paste the relevant data into this new SPA-formatted file.
  • Then, save and export as a whole new CSV!

4. Set up your Templates with the correct layer names for this data

  • Create the template for your batch composite. Ensure all your layer names correspond to the newly exported CSV column headers.
  • Import your newly exported CSV into the SPA Batch Panel in Sports Photo Automator and run a batch.
  • From there, SPA will go through the batch of photos specified in that CSV, automatically load text and images into your templated layers, and export the finished composites to a new folder.

This combo workflow reduces your compositing timeline from hours upon hours to just a few minutes. The only limit is the processing power of your computer!

A More In-Depth Guide

  • Visit this guide with helpful videos for a more detailed walkthrough of this process, hosted by PhotoDay’s very own Brian Derenski.

Since their first appearance decades ago, composite photos have grown in popularity, and many parents buying school, sports, and dance photos have begun to expect them. Integrating composites into your product lineup can rapidly boost your studio's sales. Due to time constraints and a steep learning curve, these images were formerly only offered by the biggest, most technologically advanced studios. Thanks to the evolution of user-friendly software and powerful tools, these limitations no longer restrict you!

It’s time to take your photos and customer experience to the next level by leveraging the power of PhotoDay and the intuition of Pixnub to create composite photographs your customers will be unable to resist. So what are you waiting for? The sooner you start, the sooner you can start growing your studio’s business.

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October 27, 2023

How To Staff Your Growing Photography Studio

Your volume photography studio is thriving. That’s great news!

As you take on more photo sessions, you’ll inevitably have to take the big leap to expand your team to support your growing business. Maybe you have done everything yourself or had close friends who’ve been helping out, but now, it’s time to look beyond and bring in some fresh faces. That can be scary, but it’s a necessary step in taking your business to the next level.

We’re here to help! In this blog, we will cover the anatomy of a well-written job description, where and how to post it, and even share a few sample job descriptions that cover many studio roles.

Let’s get started!

Writing Compelling Job Descriptions

Sure, it's essential to include the nitty-gritty technical job requirements in your description, but remember to sprinkle in a bit of your studio's personality and culture. After all, skills can be learned, but you can't teach someone a whole new personality. Think about it: you're going to spend those long hours with these folks, so making sure they're a good fit from a cultural standpoint is key.

Here are some things to consider when writing your job descriptions.

  1. Start with a Compelling Job Title: This is the first thing potential candidates see, so ensure it is enticing and accurate. “Photographer” is a perfectly descriptive title, but doesn’t “School Photography Specialist” sound much more enticing? Make the title specific and creative to stand out.
  2. Define Clear Responsibilities and Expectations: Ensure applicants precisely understand the role. Describe the skills and qualifications you expect, such as experience, post-processing efficiency, style, knowledge, and customer service.
  3. Highlight Studio Culture and Values: Represent your studio’s culture and values to attract candidates that align with your vision. For example, if your studio focuses on being eco-friendly or active in the community, share that passion.
  4. Showcase Growth Opportunities: Advancement is a powerful incentive for top talent. Emphasize opportunities for personal and professional growth in your studio, including working on exciting projects, gaining exposure, or taking on leadership roles.
  5. Offer Competitive Compensation: You may not have to include salary details in your job description, but transparency could make a difference. Consult with your professional network and ensure you understand the cost of photography labor in your market. If you offer benefits like health insurance, bonuses, or PTO, ensure job-seekers know that.
  6. Highlight Technology and Equipment: If your studio utilizes specialized equipment or software, mention these tools in your job description. This will appeal to candidates with the experience you need and shorten the onboarding process.
  7. Be Transparent About Work Conditions: Be upfront about the unique requirements of working for your studio. Travel to photo sessions, long picture days, and managing equipment on location will all be required, so ensure a good fit by ensuring candidates know what they are signing up for.
  8. Encourage a Personal Touch: Ask candidates to include a brief introduction and a link to their portfolio (if it’s a photographer position) with their application. These elements will provide insight into essential photography traits like personality and creativity.
  9. Use an Engaging Tone: Treat applicants like customers. Write your job description conversationally and avoid a lot of jargon or terms that candidates may find intimidating. Sure, you're seeking skilled individuals for the role, but at the end of the day, you're essentially "selling" them on the idea of joining your team. 

A well-crafted job description does more than just catch people's attention; it sets the stage for a great working partnership. Be transparent as possible, and don’t forget to add that personal touch. 

Time to dig into the good stuff! Let’s jump into some sample job descriptions you can use as a base and add your own flare. 

Sample Job Titles, Roles, and Descriptions

As your studio grows, you will uncover staffing needs that you must fill to streamline picture days, cover days with multiple shooting locations, process photos, or even manage the administrative tasks of your business. Typical studio roles include poser/assistant, check-in table associate, photographer, office manager, and production specialist. 

For small studios, it’s pretty common for one person to wear multiple hats, which isn’t a bad thing. It allows individuals to broaden their skill sets and learn a ton in a short span. If this is the case for your studio, you can create hybrid positions. Just be super clear about what you expect from your team in the “responsibilities” section of your job description. That way, applicants know exactly what’s on their plate from the get-go, and you avoid any tough conversations post-hire.

Starting with a blank slate can be challenging. Here’s a tip: scout for similar job listings and then tweak your favorites to suit your studio’s vibe. You can also use AI tools like ChatGPT to whip up a draft and then add your own flare. Cheers to technology! 

Before you try those options, take a look at our templated job descriptions. These are only suggestions. At a minimum, you will need to provide basic studio information and elaborate on some of the more general text, like the “Responsibilities” section. Some posting platforms may have fields others don’t that are required to fill in to post a job. Be sure to scope that out before writing.

We suggest a double-proofing process: review them yourself first, then have another team member review them for tone, accuracy, and grammar.

View Job Descriptions Here

Posting Your Jobs

Okay, so you’ve written your job description (virtual high-five) - time to make it public! 

Indeed and LinkedIn are two of the most popular for their reach and relatively low costs. You also have no-cost options you should definitely take advantage of. Other platforms you may have heard of, like ZipRecruiter or Glassdoor, require monthly subscriptions that run hundreds of dollars to post jobs. 

Here’s the rundown on Indeed and LinkedIn.

Indeed

Indeed is a big name in the world of job hunting. It’s one of the most widely recognized job search platforms with an extensive user base. Indeed casts a very wide net, which can have pros, like ensuring many people view your job, and cons, like receiving applications from unqualified candidates.

  • Pricing: You can post for free or opt for paid options like “Sponsored Jobs” to increase visibility. Sponsored postings are priced on a pay-per-click basis and can vary from $0.10 per click to $5 depending on location and competition. View their Employer Guide to learn more.
  • Tips: Use relevant keywords in your job title and description. Take advantage of Indeed’s screening questions to filter out unsuitable candidates faster, and utilize the resume database to search for potential hires proactively. 
  • Reviews: Scrolling through Trustpilot reviews will yield mostly positive feedback like, “Indeed was easy to use, and we had qualified applicants very quickly.” However, there are some negatives to consider as well. One review said, “The billing is hard to understand,” and another called the platform “good” but did state that “the functionality could be better.”

LinkedIn

This is probably the first platform that’s crossed your mind. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform designed to connect employers with candidates possessing specific skills and industry experience. Just to give you an idea of the crowd, there are almost 200 million registered users in the United States alone. So, posting your job here means there's a solid chance the perfect candidates will spot it.

  • Pricing: LinkedIn allows you to post a job for free and then charges if you post additional positions concurrently. The platform also provides paid promotional opportunities to increase the visibility of your posting. You can find further information here.
  • Tips: Use LinkedIn’s powerful search filters to target candidates with the qualifications and connections you seek. Also, remember to leverage your network for referrals and encourage everyone to share your job posting with their network.
  • Reviews: The reviews on posting jobs on LinkedIn are mixed. You hear about subpar customer service and unexpectedly high costs among the common gripes in the negative reviews. One thorough, positive review on GetApp stated that LinkedIn is “A place where you can get the best candidate without much effort” and “jobs are so easy to post.”

With so many employers posting jobs and employees seeking employment, it is no wonder there would be many varied experiences with each platform. Treat this process like any other major business decision if you are considering online job posting. Do your research, ask your colleagues where they have found success, give it a try, and don’t be afraid to pivot quickly if you are not receiving the results you expect. Adapt and thrive!

Free Resources

Don't forget there's a treasure trove of free resources at your disposal. Some of the tools you're already using to expand your business can also be handy for building your dream team. And who knows, there might be a few hidden gems in places you haven't explored yet.

Studio Website: You should always post job openings on your website. This helps candidates already interested in your studio’s work easily find opportunities.

Social Media: Share your job postings on your social media channels for the same reason. Followers can also share your job post to help you reach a broader audience. Tip: frequently make “culture” posts on your social platforms to help attract candidates. Did someone film a funny moment on picture day? Share it!

Local Educational Institutions: Reach out to the career services centers at local colleges and universities. They are a great resource to fill entry-level positions with talented people seeking experience.

Professional Network: Ask other photographers you know for referrals, join industry-specific forums and associations, and attend network events to connect with potential candidates.

Employee Referrals: If you have employees, see if they have any friends or associates who would be an excellent fit for your studio and offer some sort of incentive for successful hires.

We’re so excited that your studio is growing! It’s an amazing accomplishment that should be celebrated. Once you’ve popped the bubbly and you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, we hope this article helps kickstart your team expansion journey.

Spend some time thinking about the culture you want to foster at your studio - that’s the foundation for a happy boss and employee relationship. Then, take a pass at reworking one of our job descriptions to match your studio's personality. 

Remember, your job description really counts. So does where you post your job and how you promote it. Make the most of all the resources available to you and lean on your professional network and your team for support.

Keep up the great work, and here’s to successfully growing your team!

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September 29, 2023

CRM Software: The Next Step for Volume Photographers

You probably became a photographer because you’re passionate about capturing life’s most beautiful and memorable moments—not because you love the administrative work that comes with running your own business. Tracking marketing activities, appointments, sales, and scheduling picture days can be a chore. You need a powerful software tool that simplifies and organizes these tasks in one place.

That software is called a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. 

What is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system?

A CRM is a comprehensive client management tool. It empowers you to effectively monitor vital details like client contact information, service history, associated costs, product preferences or wish lists, and a record of their latest interactions and current activities with your studio.

Simply put, it’s a powerful software designed to make your life easier by handling tedious admin work so you can focus on the aspect of your business you actually love: taking photos!

CRMs have been around for a long time, but photography studios haven’t used them heavily until recently. Initial CRMs were far too complicated to make sense for small businesses of any kind. Fortunately, today’s systems have become much more user-friendly and intuitive. 

Several options are now available specifically for photography studios. Finding the perfect match can be overwhelming since every CRM for volume photographers is built with different features and volume levels in mind. 

Even with a great CRM, running your business takes effort and dedication. You want to ensure the mix of software you use works together to make your processes as simple as possible. When researching providers, it’s important to choose which parts of your business you’d like to automate. 

When deciding which platforms are right for you, here are some factors you should consider.

What Features Do I Need?

In the dynamic realm of volume photography, where capturing and managing a multitude of moments is the norm, finding the right tools to streamline your workflow is paramount.

As you navigate the diverse landscape of CRM options, you must identify the features that will truly make a difference in your photography business. From automated communication to intuitive order tracking, we'll explore the must-have features that define the best CRM solutions available to your studio. 

Let’s delve into the essential functionalities that can elevate your volume photography business, ensuring a seamless experience for you and your clients.

Lead and Contact Management

Lead and contact management is the primary purpose of a CRM. You probably started searching for a solution because you are tired of all the sticky notes, text messages, phone memos, and buried emails you currently use to try and keep things organized. 

Look for software that offers user-friendly tools to effortlessly create, import, and manage contact records. Additionally, features like contact tags, the ability to send emails to multiple contacts at once, and automated reminders prove invaluable in maintaining your studio’s organization and keeping client interactions well-managed.

Finding a CRM that streamlines capturing lead information is essential. Every CRM will allow you to input contact information for clients and leads manually, but having automated capture is valuable. Some software will create a contact record by simply scanning a business card.

Marketing Automation and Workflows

This may be one of the most valuable CRM features outside of contact management. Imagine the time you will save automating reminders for crucial marketing efforts like updating your social profiles and website, reminding your clients and customers that picture day is coming, and providing helpful marketing tips so the school or league can assist with your revenue-generating efforts.

Look for a CRM system that offers email templates for multiple use cases and an option to include them in automated workflows. 

Workflows are designed to guide tasks and processes, ensuring no crucial steps are missed. From lead generation to post-picture day follow-ups, CRM workflows automate repetitive actions, sending reminders and triggering actions at specific points.

If you have an upcoming photo session at a school, you can set up a workflow to send reminder emails to your clients so they can prepare the students and their families.

Another great use for workflows is for lead capture and onboarding. When a new lead inquiry arrives through the website form, the CRM springs into action, sending a welcome email, letting them know someone is taking care of their request. Not only does this welcome email save you time, but it also ensures the client feels confident that you will address their request promptly.

The option to manage social media campaigns in the CRM platform is another great feature. Many CRM systems enable you to post on your social platforms automatically and even view reporting. Each platform has its quirks, so be sure to compare each feature. 

If you want to learn more about how to market your volume photography business, check out our course here.

Invoice Management, Proposals, and Payments

Invoicing and payables can get highly complicated for volume photographers. CRMs play a pivotal role in streamlining invoice and payment management. Even though many of your sessions involve returning commissions to your client, there are specific cases where you would need to send an invoice. For example, you might photograph an event and provide all your images for a set fee, or you could handle the printing of banners, yard signs, window clings, and other materials for a league. Your CRM will let you record those costs and generate an invoice for the client.

Additionally, CRMs often allow for easy tracking of payment statuses, sending automated reminders for overdue payments, and even enabling secure online payment options. This ensures a smoother financial workflow and maintains a professional and organized approach to handling transactions.

Some systems even provide invoice templates for you to customize with your studio’s branding.

Having professional and itemized proposals can dramatically increase your close rate. These proposals ensure you and the client are communicating expectations clearly and can open important conversations early in the process. This may not be a make-or-break feature for you, but it’s something to consider. 

Scheduling and Appointment Management

Calendar management is a vital component of CRM software. Top-notch solutions offer features like online booking, automatic appointment reminders, and adaptable scheduling choices. 

Look for a CRM with calendar sync so that when you receive a booking, it automatically gets added to your Google or iCalendar. This helps prevent double booking and is very convenient when you’re on the go.

You should prioritize a CRM system equipped with robust reporting functions. By grasping the analytics, you can gain insights into time allocation and effectively monitor crucial client details, including appointment history, attendance trends, and payment records.

Contract and Questionnaire Templates

When you’re ready to scale your volume photography business, you may already have tried and true contract templates, but if you’re looking to switch things up or you’re just starting out, it is wise to find a CRM with templates. It will give you a solid place to start; just make sure they’re easily customizable. 

When you’re ready to adjust the templates but lack confidence in term structuring and other contract-related language, check out our Foolproof Guide to Contracts and Commissions course.

Another feature to consider is questionnaire templates you can use to gather all the information you need from new clients during onboarding. You can refer to this information for marketing insights and opportunities throughout your relationship with the client. 

Integrations

The best-case scenario is that your chosen CRM integrates with as many platforms as you are already using as possible. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a perfect match, so focus more on streamlining lead capture, contact management, invoicing, and other high-level business functions that would benefit you most if you automate them. Carefully review the capabilities of each CRM or contact their technical support to see if the system works with a tool you are already using or has the potential to replace it. This can simplify your business and save you money.

The Top CRM for Volume Photographers

We went through the top CRMs for volume photography and compiled their features and prices to give you a head start in your search. While this list may equip you with the information you need to create your shortlist of platforms, we recommend signing up for free trials and testing them yourself.

HoneyBook 

HoneyBook ranges from $12.50-$52.80/mo and bills annually. They describe their platform as an “all-in-one clientflow platform.” The starter account offers unlimited clients and projects, invoices and payments, proposals and contacts, calendars, professional templates, a client portal, and basic reports. The upgraded accounts boast features like QuickBooks integrations and dedicated account managers. Regardless of your package, you’ll have access to support 7 days a week with a live chat feature on the site. 

This platform is perfect for someone who wants a high level of organization and automation. With the ability to set up workflows that automatically update clients and triggers that remind you to complete tasks, it’s perfect for ensuring you don’t miss a beat. If you’re a sticky note and list creator, this might be the platform for you to keep all of your to-dos in line. If your whole day can be thrown off when someone turns on a fan and your notes go flying, it might be time for a CRM that handles task management, workflow automations, and calendar integrations.

What Others Are Saying

While HoneyBook has a lot to offer, current customers mention system blackouts, difficulty navigating the platform, and slow communication from support. Some reviews boast the ease of organizing contacts and contracts. With 43 reviews on Google, they rank at 3.8 out of 5 stars.

Dubsado 

Dubsado packages start at $200/yr and go up to $400/yr with the premier subscription offering scheduling, automated workflows, and a Zapier integration to simplify all your automation needs. Billing can be done annually or monthly, with the annual option being the cheaper of the two. Dubsado claims to be a volume photography CRM that has everything in one place. Their main features include customizable client forms, simple online invoicing, personable automation, interactive client portals, and built-in scheduling. Like HoneyBook, Dubsado offers unlimited clients and projects in their basic package. 

Dubsado is a great CRM for volume photographers who want to focus on their client experience. Every step of the process is customizable to make your client feel heard and long-term relationship-building with your customers much more effortless. If you connect with the phrase, “look good, feel good,” Dubsado might be the solution for you.  Each customer will have a professional and personalized experience. 

What Others Are Saying

Dubsado doesn’t have many Google reviews, but a quick search on G2 shows 4.3 out of 5 stars with 65 reviews. Reviewers are saying the platform is best for freelance-style businesses, with the flexibility of the auto-billing feature being particularly troublesome for recurring invoicing. Many reviews agree this platform is excellent for creatives working with project-based billing cycles. 

Bloom

Bloom has a free and paid version of their platform. The paid version is $29/mo billed annually or $37/mo billed monthly. The free plan includes up to three active projects, proposals and invoices, lead capture and management, one workflow, client image galleries, contract templates, deposits and retainers, one instant booking, client portal, various platform integrations, one automation, 500GB of storage, and ACH and alternative payments. The paid version of the platform allows for unlimited projects, bookings, workflows, and automations. The paid version of Bloom’s CRM for volume photography also upgrades the storage to 1T. Both versions of this CRM allow you access to live chat on their website and email support. 

Between the vast number of integrations and flexibility of the platform, you can easily make Bloom work for you. If you are not satisfied with the number of tools you have to use to get your work done, this is the CRM for you. 

What Others Are Saying

Bloom doesn’t seem to have a Google profile set up, but we found reviews from a G2 profile. With 14 reviews, the company comes in at 4.7 out of 5 stars. One review that stood out was from a long-time customer who’s been with them from the beginning, saying they’ve worked diligently over the years to add features to the platform that have addressed all of their issues. The most common feature reviewers ask for is more templated website options and SMS messaging. Several reviews are asking for email marketing in the platform, but Bloom has responded to those reviews, saying they are focused on the CRM and make it easy to plug into other email marketing platforms. 

PhotoDay includes a wealth of marketing automation tools and many other benefits, making it a perfect complement to Bloom if you like everything else about this particular CRM.

17 Hats

17 Hats has three package options, starting at $15/month. Their Essentials Package offers standard CRM functions like contact storage and project details, online invoices, quotes, contracts, questionaries, email and document templates, online payments, online scheduling, and more. That’s a pretty robust offering for $15/month. You must upgrade to the Standard Package for $30/month to use more advanced features like workflows and bookkeeping. The Premier Package offers a branded client portal, advanced workflows, recurring billing, and Zapier integrations. 

If you want to give 17 Hats a try with no commitment, you can start a 7-day free trial for any of the three packages. They also offer multiple date options for live demos and workshops at no cost. This makes the research process very hands-on. 

What Others Are Saying

17 Hats has 194 reviews on Google and a 5-star rating. Overwhelmingly, the reviews rave about their responsive and supportive customer service. Streamline client management is another frequent mention in their reviews. Some reviewers on G2 mention struggles with syncing email and bank accounts and the need for a more aesthetically pleasing dashboard design.

How Can I Get Started?

The best way to learn about CRM systems is by watching demos, signing up for free trials, and researching. Your professional network and the online forums you regularly visit are also powerful information sources. Deciding which platform is best for you is a significant choice you should make carefully. This guide and other resources will reduce your worry and help you navigate the key considerations efficiently and confidently.

Cancellation

Be sure to look into the cancellation policy. If you sign up for a platform, use it for a few months, and decide it isn’t for you, you want the ability to cancel with minimal to no penalty. Most options don’t lock you into yearly contracts and allow you to downgrade if you decide the platform isn’t right for you.

Support

Regardless of the CRM you choose, make sure you utilize their support. It’s easy to feel like sending in a support ticket means you’ll end up in a sea of emails the company will never respond to, but that’s typically not the case. Most CRM software platforms truly want their clients to be happy and have a great user experience. This means they’re open to feedback and willing to build highly requested features. Don’t overlook the live chat features and support ticket functions. 

Take a look at the platform’s reviews before committing. You’ll typically see a lot of complaints if customer service isn’t up to par. 

Juggling marketing efforts, appointment scheduling, sales tracking, and organizing picture days can quickly become overwhelming. By seamlessly consolidating and streamlining these essential tasks into a single, user-friendly platform, a CRM system empowers you to focus on what truly matters—taking amazing photos for your customers. 

With the ability to efficiently manage client interactions, streamline processes, and enhance overall business organization, a CRM system becomes an indispensable tool for turning the passion for photography into a thriving and efficient business.

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August 17, 2023

Sell More with New Digital Download Bundles

Summer PhotoDay Fest 2023 continues with our new Digital Download Bundles feature! SPF ‘23 is our series of summer feature releases and updates—we have so many that we created a whole fun-in-the-sun campaign to keep track of them.

As you know, the PhotoDay Team is always hard at work refining and expanding our platform’s features, and significant updates to price sheets are on the way! We’ll share more soon about everything this transition to Price Sheets 2.0 entails, but the first part of this rollout is Digital Download Bundles.

You already know that downloads are popular, high-profit products. In fact, our own data shows that download sales are on the rise - with 43% of studios' gross revenue coming from download sales alone this past spring.

Percentage of total sales that come from download products.

And it's not just customers who are placing mixed orders of prints and downloads. The percentage of orders that are comprised only of download products is steadily increasing as well - meaning as you capture more photo variety and have more inventory to sell, these downloads will become one of your most profitable and desired products.

Percentage of total orders that contain download products (blue) versus orders that are comprised of only download products (red).

What does all this mean? Well now it’s even easier to sell more of them! Digital Download Bundles are a complete revamp of how volume photography studios can sell download products in PhotoDay by making it simpler to sell multiple downloads all while offering your customers better deals.

What’s New?

Currently, PhotoDay users can add a single download to a price sheet as an a la carte product with a set retail price, as a part of a package, or both. This process is the same for prints, specialty items, and other products in PhotoDay.

Now, in addition to the current process described above, you can also create bundle pricing for High-Res Downloads. This is a new way to sell multiple download products together to give your customers enticing deals. Additionally, we’ve designed these Digital Download Bundles to create unique upselling opportunities in both the storefront and in the cart.

Simply put: you can sell more, and your customers can still save money.

We’ve created two unique bundle structures so you can customize your price sheets and customer storefront: Tiered Pricing Bundles and Max Price Bundles.

Buy More, Save More with Tiered Pricing

Let’s start with Tiered Pricing for Digital Download Bundles which allow you to offer automatic discounts to customers based on the number of photos that they would like to purchase as High-Res Downloads. Tiered pricing bundles are ideal for upselling in the storefront and in the cart, promoting discounts based on a "Buy More, Save More" approach. If you currently offer multiple packages with varying quantities of High-Res Downloads, tiered pricing bundles can replace all of these!

Tiered pricing allows you to set up to 5 different tiers of photo counts with increasing discounts for each range—giving your customers plenty of options to save. The discounts can be based on setting a decreasing price per photo (PPP) or by an increasing percentage discount off the a la carte retail price. Manipulating one column will update the other automatically.

Here’s how it looks from the photographer’s perspective when setting it up in the studio panel:

Here’s how it looks from the customer’s perspective in the gallery storefront. When a customer buys more photos, the price-per-photo decreases, increasing total savings based on the tiers set by the studio.

You Set the Limit with Max Price

The second bundle structure is Max Price—you can define a maximum number of downloads that can be purchased for a fixed, discounted price. With this structure, customers will only pay the max retail price if (selected quantity of downloads) x (retail price per download) is greater than the max retail price. Up until they reach this breakpoint, they will pay the a la carte retail price per download. Once they reach the breakpoint, they will essentially get the extra downloads for “free.”

Here’s how it looks from the photographer’s perspective when setting it up in the studio panel:

In this example, the a la carte price per High-Res Download is $20, the Max Retail Price is set to $100, and the Max Allowed Digitals is set to 10. Customers purchasing 5-10 downloads will pay the bundled Max Retail Price because it’s the better deal—essentially, the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th downloads added to the bundle would be free! Customers purchasing only 1-4 downloads will still pay the retail price of $20 per download to not overcharge them. 

From the customer’s perspective, in this example, they will see the option to need exact wording from the storefront window. Take a look at how Max Price bundles look in the storefront:

Easy and Responsive for Everyone

The best part? It’s totally automatic! You won’t have to make a custom download package ever again. We can hear the cheering from here!

You set up the bundles when you create your price sheets, and PhotoDay calculates the rest—both for you in the studio panel and for the customer in the storefront. And just like every other aspect of price sheets in PhotoDay, you can modify the bundles and pricing at any point, and the changes will automatically update live in the storefront.

You might be wondering: “How are Digital Download Bundles different from creating a download package?” We’re glad you asked. When shopping packages, contents and pricing are static and can’t be adjusted by the customer during the shopping experience. With these new Digital Download Bundles, you can now set up your own discount tiering to allow your customers to choose as many or as few downloads as they’d like. We’re all about making things simple—easy to set up, easy to maintain, and easy to sell more than ever.

Flexible Customer Shopping Experience

Once your Digital Download Bundles are set up, your customers can take control. Let’s walk through the customer experience: 

  • No matter which type of bundle you have selected (Tiered Pricing or Max Price), your customers will see a banner enticing them to buy more to save more. 
  • When they select a High-Res Download product, they will see the option to specify how many photos they want to purchase.
  • Depending on how many photos they add, customers will see responsive pricing and discounts reflected.
  • They can select their photos, choose more favorites, and even add more photos to their bundle all from right within the product customizer window.
  • The Digital Download Bundle is then displayed in the customer’s cart with each product listed (similar to packages). Don’t worry, we made sure they can even add more photos to the bundle from here, too—just like grabbing a candy bar at the register.

We’re excited to have streamlined yet another facet of selling volume photography photos online. We heard your requests for a less manual way to sell downloads and hope you and your customers love these enhanced capabilities!

Want to see Digital Download Bundles in action? Get the full customer experience by checking out one of our sample galleries. Click this gallery link or text LMDEMO23 to 90738 to experience our text message marketing and receive a link.

Digital Download Bundles are live and available now! Sign up for a free PhotoDay account and create your first job today. Onboarding is always free and fast—our incredible Customer Success team will have you set up and selling in no time!

If you’re a current PhotoDay User, check out this support article with even more details to get started with Digital Download Bundles. Make sure you’re signed into your PhotoDay account to view the article.

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