One Year (and some change) Later: Catching Up with Jason & Jo Marino

Written by
Emiley Jones
May 14, 2024

It's Been a Journey

It’s been a wild few years for Jason and Jo Marino, owners and operators of Strada Studios, based in Kingman, AZ. Already wedding industry veterans, they first dipped their toes into the volume world in 2016 during a pivot to school portraits. Almost immediately finding success, they quickly realized they needed a better way to balance the on-the-go nature of their work and the family life they refused to miss.

This search for balance eventually led them to PhotoDay, where they quickly began adopting the platform for their school jobs. The results didn’t take long to reveal themselves—not only did the Marinos see a vast reduction in their back-end work, but they noticed their AOVs doubling. In addition, they began to feel the pressure of running a business melt away and felt the drive to focus on what they do best—creating visually stunning photos. 

This was only the beginning of their PhotoDay journey! Now, fifteen months after our first interview with them, we caught up with Strada Studios (on camera this time!) at ImagingUSA 2024 in Louisville, KY, where they filled us in on how things have grown and changed since they started using PhotoDay.

We encourage you to watch the videos, but if you're just here for the highlights, we included a few key quotes for each section.

Over a Year Into PhotoDay

Jo: We had no idea that we could even grow in the space we were in because we were maxed out on our personal labor and what we could put into it.
Jason: So suddenly, not only did we have more free time, but we can actually grow the business instead of just being stagnant right where we were at.

Creating Additional Time

Jason: I’m a huge tech person. I love technology, and anything that we can incorporate into our business that gives us our time back and gives us autonomy is a huge thing to us. Autonomy is my favorite word…I’m constantly looking at ways to incorporate technology to basically take all the work we don’t want to have to do away from us. 
Jason: We didn’t have a way to market before except for going around sticking posters up at a school, and now we actually have proper marketing—[PhotoDay] writes the content for it and makes it look good. You know when to send it, you know when to send reminders, and we’re just watching television…and we’re just making money.

Parental Feedback

Jason: With us being photo-forward (PhotoDay is very much the same way) it’s all about great photos. So for us, it’s an easy transition—we put up great photos, and they are going to sell themselves. People have a hard time picking the best photos, and that really leads to increased sales. We doubled our average [order value] from photo packets.
Jason: Every encounter we get…they’re like, “I love the way you guys do the photos now. It’s so fun, and I have such a good time picking pictures, but I also am mad at you guys because I can never decide what pictures I want because there are so many good ones.” …And that’s just like the best compliment where people can’t make a decision, so they just buy all of it. 

Focusing on Craft

Jo: It’s been a tremendous difference. We spent [10-12 hours a day] working when we were doing everything ourselves. To now, it’s 10-12 hours a week.
Jason: It’s really fun being able just to play with some of our free time instead of grinding and entering credit cards or cashing checks or calling people saying their checks bounced. It’s a non-issue. It never happens.

The Next Three Years

Jo: I’m going to retire.
Jason: The company went from mom-and-pop to within a year of being with PhotoDay…this company is getting ready to explode. We started getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of big schools, and the word’s just spreading like wildfire because of the level of service we’re able to provide. With all the projections and everything, the company’s going to keep growing like 40% year over year for the next five years…the sky’s the limit. 
Jason: We repeatedly say to ourselves, man, if it wasn’t for PhotoDay, we would never be able to even contemplate getting any bigger than we were because we simply wouldn’t have the time or the tools to do it. So PhotoDay covered like 80% of everything we were doing manually, and now it’s just done for us without having to think about it. That’s huge.
Jo: Before PhotoDay, I had a problem with control. You know, you have your business, and that’s your baby, and nobody else can run it like you. And it took a lot for me to let go of some of that control and just say, “Okay, PhotoDay is going to handle all of these little issues we have.” And now that we’ve experienced it, now that we’ve seen the possibilities, the growth—I would never go back to the way we were doing it.


Jo: I think it’s important that people know balance. I mean, in everything in life, there’s balance, and to be able to have your work life and your personal life have a healthy balance is so important. 
Jason: A lot of people want to keep control of everything…And it’s like, you know, you could just have someone do this for you, and you’d actually be able to spend more time with your kids and spend more time just taking good care of your clients and perfecting your craft if you would just learn to be okay and not try to keep control of every aspect of your business. Because you really can’t run a complex business all by yourself. Every successful business out there has a team of people running it… 
Jason: So getting a team together of outside businesses who can provide services to you to alleviate the pain, it’s worth every penny to do that. And you ultimately find out that the little bit of money you’re spending on partners to take away some of your labor and take away some of the things that you don’t want to have to do pays off far more than you’d ever put out for it, because it now allows you to be better at what you’re doing, go out and gain more business, or continue to provide a better level of service to people.
Jo: What good are you to your business if you have burnout? When that happens, your quality that you’re offering your clients definitely drops. 

Parting Words

No matter where you are in your volume photography journey—only considering getting started or already well-established in the industry—we hope you find Jason and Jo Marino’s journey an inspiring one! 

Their search for time-saving balance eventually led them to PhotoDay, which helped them reduce back-end work, double their AOVs, and focus on creating visually stunning photos. As they continue to grow and expand Strada Studios, we’re honored that PhotoDay has played a significant role in their success.

If you’re a photographer looking to streamline your work processes and increase your revenue, what are you waiting for? Just listen to Jason: “If anybody is thinking about it…don’t think about it, you just have to do it—and watch things change for you.”

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