At PhotoDay, we use innovative technology to modernize and simplify your workflow. This makes running a volume photography business easier and more lucrative—it also provides the opportunity to improve your quality of life while offering high-quality images and products to more customers.With PhotoDay streamlining and automating your mundane daily tasks, you get to choose how to spend your newly saved time: pursue education in the form of workshops and conventions, hone your craft, and expand your client base! We also know it’s not all about work; that precious time can be spent with your family and doing the (non-photography-related) things you love. Photographers Jim and April Alsup of LDS Photography decided to do all of the above and are seeing stellar results! In Part 1 of this series, we learned how Jay and Carinna Boatwright (founders and owners of smaX Photography and Boatwright Bootcamp) use PhotoDay to book more business than ever. Now it’s time to hear how workflow simplification, improved image quality, and unprecedented flexibility have changed the Alsups’ entire lives!
Building a Business
Based in Indiana, Jim and April Alsup have been married for almost 20 years and have been photographing for even longer. When they met, Jim’s photography studio focused on a range of subjects (weddings, babies, sports, etc.), and April saw the potential to take on a much larger volume. So they joined forces and jumped into the volume world. They had already started with YMCA programs when a school they were doing sports for asked them to take over their school portraits. The rest was history as they became the largest family-owned volume photography company in their area.
However, by 2021, they were burnt out and ready to quit the business. April says, “I was done. We couldn’t find good staff to man the office. We printed everything in-house. We basically did everything ourselves [from booking, shooting, printing, packaging, mailing]...and it was no longer good for our mental health.” They visited a few labs with the hopes of outsourcing just the printing side of their business, but couldn’t find a match. Jim had already been talking to Lisa, “so I told him we’d give PhotoDay a go. I was ready to try anything. And it just worked. Our whole world has changed 100%...I’m not sure we’d still be doing this if we hadn’t found PhotoDay.”
Learning from the Boatwrights
The Alsups’ transformative journey began at a mini version of Boatwright Bootcamp. Jim learned all about the photography side of things from Jay, while April learned how to apply everything on the business side from Carinna, as well as Stevie from PhotoDay.The experience helped them branch outside of what they were already doing. “Everything we learned there made us say oooookay, we’ll just chuck everything we’ve done and start over because if the parent is going to see it before they buy it, it better be good.” They said farewell to flat, boring pictures and hello to well-lit, dynamically edited, multi-pose images. “We can take pictures that really look good and don’t take that much more time—and it’s really changed things.”
Adjusting Their Approach
Change can be difficult, but Jim and April welcomed the challenge. After going to Bootcamp, they bought new equipment and photographed one of their point-of-contact’s son as a free sample of their new quality, approach, and platform. Once he saw the pictures, he instantly secured them a field and the deal. April says, “We’ve had tons of positive feedback.” It was tricky to figure out their new pricing structure—before PhotoDay, they took one picture of every kid and could breeze through a school or league of 1000+ kids easily in a couple of hours. “But with PhotoDay, we are going the content route rather than one-pic-and-go. Our theory is with one picture, that’s the only thing we can sell. If we do two or three poses, not only will they buy one pose, but they might buy all three. It’s been really cool being able to add that content because, without PhotoDay, there’s no way to sell that second or third picture.”More inventory means more sales opportunities—but will the customers really purchase more? April says, “Our numbers are already up from 2019 (pre-COVID)...We’ve had some people say ‘Oh both my wife and I bought an AdvancePay credit, so we need to get one refunded’—but I hadn’t even loaded the photos up yet, so I’d say, ‘Just let me post the pictures, and if you see them and still want your money back, I’ll be happy to refund it to you.’” And they changed their minds!While the struggle to connect with customers is still present, April believes consistency is key. They communicate via email, text marketing, and by creating personalized marketing videos (check out Creating Marketing Videos to Engage Customers to learn more and watch one of Jay’s example videos).
Soaring to New Levels
The ease and presentation of PhotoDay have also enabled them to start expanding into nearby cities and dipping into whole new markets. “We’re so proud of this new way to show [our work] that we’ve started calling on dance schools” which is a new adventure for them. While prospecting, they have organizations text the access code of their demo gallery to 90738 and see their quality of work and the customer experience right from the start. “It’s been a really good sales tool.”For sports, they used to only take on the job if it was for the entire league or the entire school’s program. “But now we’ll go do a team here and a team there” since it doesn’t require so much work—they no longer have to drop off order forms, go back to take pictures, then pick up the order forms, deal with a parent who lost their order form, etc. "I feel like PhotoDay has given us the confidence and the cause of action to go talk to people we wouldn't have otherwise spoken to." Before PhotoDay, we were basically doing what [our competitors] were doing, but with customer service. Now, teachers/administrators/schools are so excited to not have to deal with camera cards, orders, and money. It’s made us really relevant for our schools. Before with sports, parents usually have a kid hanging off their leg, someone forgot a jersey and is driving back to get it, someone’s crying, etc., and I’m telling them they have to fill out an order form or they’re not getting pictures. Not doing that anymore is a big deal.” Now parents can view the photos before they buy their favorites—which will probably be all of them!
Feeling Refreshed and Supported
We asked April what the biggest game-changer has been since joining PhotoDay. She didn’t hesitate: going paperless. They sold their 1,200 square-foot space full of desks, printers, packaging, and more; now they use a spare bedroom with a few desks and a small printer as their office, and they can actually park in their garage. She said partnering with Reedy Photo has been such a pleasant change: “I’ve always been the one taking care of things!” but now, they’re being taken care of. “I don’t have to file paperwork or go through order forms when there’s an issue.”Getting started with a new platform always comes with a learning curve, but “the support of the Bubble has been incredible. They’re always so helpful, upbeat, and never make me feel like a pain.” From the Customer Success team to every PhotoDay user: no question is ever too silly! We’re dedicated to supporting, troubleshooting, educating, and overall helping our studios succeed in every way possible.
Quality of Life Above All Else
The Alsups strongly believe in the importance of their quality of life and mental health. “If it’s not good for us and our mental health, we’re not doing it. Period.” They had always wanted some of their four daughters to step into the business at some point, but none of them were interested after seeing the stress and long hours that their parents were going through. However, now that they’re using PhotoDay, one of their daughters has already started working with them full-time and wants to be a part of the business. "We look at each other at night and say, ‘Can you believe it? We don’t hate our job! We actually like it again!’" The flexibility PhotoDay has introduced into their lives is priceless. “The best thing is that I can take my laptop anywhere, visit my mom in Florida, go on vacation, and I can still deal with whatever needs to be dealt with. 30 minutes in the morning to take care of everything, and I’m done for the day.” Which is a drastic difference from the days of self-fulfillment and paper order forms. April says that while they aren’t particularly artsy people, “We are incredibly proud of the work we’re putting out.” In the past, “We’ve been efficient, really good at customer service, and our images have always been okay. But before, we’d never show people the back of the camera—and now, it’s like ‘Look at this!’ and you just know they’re going to buy it.” Of course, the boosted sales are rewarding, too!
“It’s changed everything—I can’t scream how great it is loud enough.”
With tangible results, a revived sense of pride, and the flexibility to spend more time with their loved ones and building their client base, Jim and April Alsup recommend PhotoDay and Boatwright Bootcamp to everyone they can. "We heard that when we went [to Bootcamp and signed up for PhotoDay] our lives were getting ready to change…But it’s true. Our life changed. It’s a big deal." If the idea of streamlining your business practices, improving the quality of your work, and booking more business while working less appeals to you, create a free account with PhotoDay! Our customer success team is here to walk you through every step. Learn more about PhotoDay’s life-changing features by exploring our website. Be sure to read Part 1 of this series to learn all about how Jay and Carinna Boatwright streamlined their workflow, leveled up their work and sales through image-first selling, and now book more business by working smarter.