Every photographer knows that the real work begins well before and extends long after picture day. From booking the job and preparing the subject roster list to following up with parents and ordering prints, it’s a grind that can drain the life and fun out of your business.
Volume photography software eliminates the difficulties associated with manual photography workflows. Families receive access to online galleries that allow them to see the photos available and provide upsell opportunities before capturing your revenue and sending orders for processing. Removing this burden from you frees you up to focus on other things, like pursuing additional business for your studio and spending time with your family.
There’s no question that you need volume photography software to automate your business. The only question is which one is best for you. In this blog, we will discuss the features, benefits, and limitations of various options to help you make the right decision for your volume photography business.
What Features and Benefits Does Your Business Need?
There is a range of volume photography software options available; some are very broad in their offerings, and some are pretty niche. Understanding your business's current and future goals will help you land on the software that meets your needs.
Do you prefer to print your images in-house, or would it be best to have them printed and shipped through a third party? Do you already have a software subscription that isn’t conducive to scaling your business? We could go on and on, but instead, we’ll expedite things and give you the most common volume photography software features to consider.
One of the most time-consuming (and stressful) aspects of volume photography is sorting and organizing images. You need to know which image files are associated with each individual, for example, which can be a picture day and post-shoot nightmare if not managed correctly.
The good news is that volume photography software can offer pretty advanced capture features to ease this frustration and save you valuable time. While some software uses QR codes or barcode scanning that sorts the images into individual galleries, PhotoDay offers a facial clustering technology called FaceFind to simplify finding, matching, and grouping images. It serves as a user-friendly search feature in the galleries, allowing customers to locate desired photos quickly. FaceFind also works alongside the Capture App, eliminating the need for manual data matching. The best part? This feature is free for all PhotoDay users.
This kind of technology is a major game changer for volume photographers and should be a big factor in your software considerations.
One important decision to make is whether you prefer to handle image printing in-house or if outsourcing makes more sense. Depending on your business model, each option has its benefits. If you choose to print in-house, look for software that seamlessly integrates your printing equipment.
On the other hand, if outsourcing is more suitable, select software that offers photo lab integrations or supports easy image transfer and collaboration with external print vendors. For instance, PhotoDay has established partnerships with leading print labs such as Bay Photo, Millers Professional Imaging, Reedy Photo, Richmond Professional Lab, and WHCC. When a customer places an order through their gallery’s online storefront, the lab prepares, fulfills, and ships it. It’s a seamless process that removes the hassle from your post-picture day workflow.
The key to gaining incremental and consistent revenue in the volume photography world is marketing your business and communicating well with existing customers. These steps are often not taken due to their time-consuming efforts. Most believe they can’t do what they love, take amazing photos, while marketing their business. The truth? You can do both of these things if you choose the right platform.
Not all volume photography software companies provide automated marketing features, and some may require an additional fee for automation capabilities. PhotoDay includes free marketing automation options to streamline your promotional efforts and maximize your business's reach. Automation features can include email marketing campaigns and text marketing.
Nurturing automation like text and email will help you engage with your clients and inform them about special promotions, pre-pay options, and expiring galleries.
Consistent communication will improve your online sales and increase your average order value.
Photo retouching, color corrections, and knockouts can be time-consuming, especially when dealing with a large volume of images. Efficiently managing these editing tasks becomes crucial to ensure productivity and timely delivery of high-quality results.
Having built-in editing capabilities streamlines your workflow and saves valuable time by eliminating the need to switch between different software or applications. PhotoDay’s post-processing services have remarkably fast turnaround times at a very low incremental cost. You can expect to spend about 10 cents per photo to get the finished image in minutes, not days.
Our Color Correction service goes beyond the basics by intelligently adjusting exposure, contrast, white balance, saturation, and even gamma to deliver a professional look for every image. This is AI-driven editing that keeps your photos looking good consistently.
Do You Need Additional Equipment?
Depending on the methods of photo organization and sorting, your software may require you to have a smartphone, laptop, or other equipment on picture day. Some platforms operate solely on the use of QR codes on forms or cards, while others require the use of an app to capture the day of data needed to sort images on the back end.
In some cases, other platforms may necessitate the use of Opticon scanners and barcode readers. This information should be available on the company’s website or resource pages.
When customers order their images online, they’re likely not attentive to the technology owner. They are associating your photography studio with their ordering process, so it’s important that the volume photography software you choose allows for a seamless customer experience.
Given that more than half of all internet users currently browse on their smartphones, and this number is expected to continue growing, prioritizing a mobile-friendly customer experience should be a primary focus. Doing so will help you meet your customer expectations while future-proofing your business.
It is important to note that older software solutions were initially developed with a desktop-first approach, often neglecting the mobile experience. This oversight can significantly impact sales and customer satisfaction, so be sure to test the software on your mobile device to guarantee your customers will have a positive mobile shopping experience.
When comparing e-commerce shopping carts, you should also consider whether they let you customize your product offerings, like custom text, crops, themes, backgrounds, and more. If you’re a youth sports photographer, maybe you’d want to give parents the option of ordering custom memory mates, trading cards, statuettes, and more.
PhotoDay, for example, offers a range of customization options for both you and your customers, including custom background options and custom themes for memory mates tailored to the specific organization you are photographing. You can design your own or use one of the provided templates.
If you have an existing website, there are software options that offer the ability to create a custom subdomain, seamlessly integrating your galleries as a natural extension of your site. Others, including PhotoDay, allow custom branding on their own online gallery sites with varying levels of secure access and privacy options.
When evaluating pricing structures of volume photography software, several factors should be considered. The first thing we recommend uncovering is whether the software is free to try. Adopting software that will change how your business operates is a big decision to make. Before considering the cost, determine if the platform aligns with your business goals and meets your needs.
There are three basic types of pricing structures for volume photography software.
- Freemium / Commission-Based Pricing: This means there are no fees unless your business makes a sale. PhotoDay has no subscription fees and only charges a small transaction fee and credit card processing fee. No credit card, subscriptions, or contracts are required, so you can use PhotoDay with no strings attached!
- Subscription Fee Pricing: This is the most common pricing structure that simply charges a fee each month to use the software.
- Subscription Fee + Commission: Charges a monthly or annual usage fee, along with a commission fee. This combination is usually offered for software with tiered pricing structures. The more premium you go, the more you pay per month.
You should feel like the software you use is priced in a way that supports the growth of your business.
Is Onboarding Required, And Is It Free?
Onboarding is a crucial aspect of volume photography software that sets the stage for a smooth and successful experience. The onboarding process involves getting acquainted with the software, understanding its features and functionalities, and setting up your account to align with your business needs.
Unlike most companies, PhotoDay allows you to create an account and explore the full software at no cost. No onboarding is required, but if you do encounter questions, you can reach out to our outstanding Customer Success team (The Bubble) at any point in your PhotoDay journey. Our live support calls and chats are always free.
Most volume photography software companies will require you to meet with a representative to get everything in order, which may appeal to some but almost always is an upsell conversation. Some require a one-time onboarding fee to help you create your account.
Before you make the jump to begin using a new workflow management software, make sure you have all of the resources you need to be successful, be wary of sales calls, and try to use the software as much as you can.
The importance of good customer support cannot be overstated. This should be, arguably, the most important factor in your considerations. Whether you’re on the job site or loading images into the software after a session, you’re working on a timeline and can’t afford to wait hours to receive help.
A good indicator of solid customer service is reading customer reviews. If people are upset about response times or any other customer support failure, you can guarantee they’ll talk about it.
The other important piece of information to consider is customer service availability. Take a look at the hours of operation on their website. Do they offer support on the weekends? What about busy seasons; do they have extended hours? Are there multiple contact options? You may prefer to talk to someone on the phone versus a live website chat.
Beyond live response times, customer support also includes resources that will help educate you on the software and provide valuable guidance to ensure your success. PhotoDay offers many support articles, guides, and resources to educate users, including an academy for continued education.
Prioritizing volume photography software companies with a reputation for excellent customer support should be at the top of your list.
How Easy Is It For You To Get Paid?
While the joy of being in the volume photography business may be a driving force for you, the financial aspect cannot be overlooked. When comparing different software options, a crucial consideration revolves around how you receive payment.
One standard payment option is integration with popular payment gateways, such as PayPal or Stripe, allowing photographers to accept online client payments securely. PhotoDay utilizes this popular payment method. It allows customers to conveniently make payments through credit cards, debit cards, or other supported payment methods. Platforms like Stripe also offer robust reporting capabilities so you can keep important information.
Additionally, some software platforms offer built-in invoicing features, enabling photographers to generate professional invoices and send them directly to clients for payment. While invoicing is a bit more of a manual approach, this can streamline the billing process and ensure that the software accurately tracks and records payments.
Certain volume photography software solutions including PhotoDay also offer direct deposit or bank transfer capabilities, allowing photographers to receive payments directly into their bank accounts. These flexible payment options simplify the financial aspect of the photography business and provide a seamless and professional experience for both photographers and clients.
Selecting the best volume photography software is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of your photography business. Considering these key factors, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your needs and goals.
Whether you prioritize outsourced printing, bulk editing, or marketing automation, a software solution is tailored to meet your requirements. Take the time to evaluate your options, explore demos, and seek recommendations from fellow photographers to ensure you invest in volume photography software that empowers you to capture, manage, and deliver exceptional images to your clients while maximizing your efficiency and profitability.
PhotoDay is free to use, and you only pay when you sell, so there are no expensive licensing fees, contracts, subscriptions, or credit cards on file. The setup process is quick and easy—we’ll even walk you through it with a complimentary one-on-one demo! If you’re interested in learning more, get started for free here.