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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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July 5, 2023

Summer PhotoDay Fest 23: Meet Galleries 4

Welcome to Summer PhotoDay Fest 2023—SPF 23, for short. The PhotoDay Team is releasing exciting developments over the next few months, so we wanted to create a new way to celebrate and share all of the summer fun. First up: our brand new customer gallery!

Introducing Galleries 4!

We are thrilled to announce the release of Galleries 4—our latest and greatest version of PhotoDay Galleries. The team has been working hard to research, implement, and innovate the entire Galleries experience while carefully listening to and incorporating feedback from volume photography studios using PhotoDay—and it’s now officially released into the wild!

After significant development efforts across all departments, we’re ready to share the exciting details about our new, innovative gallery and shopping experience. It’s now easier than ever for your customers to find, customize, and order their photos. But, the developments don’t stop there! Did we mention we’re also expanding your studio branding options? We have a lot to cover!

Keep reading to learn more about how Galleries 4 provides enhanced speed and security, upgraded customer experience, customizable branding, and more.

Mobile-Friendly & Lightning Fast 

Galleries 4 adjusts to any device size seamlessly.

Through our research, we determined that a whopping 88% of all PhotoDay orders were placed on mobile devices. This means that the large majority of our active shoppers are accessing their galleries and placing orders through their phone’s web browser. For this reason, Galleries 4 is thoughtfully designed to be mobile-first, but still computer-friendly, of course, because everyone deserves a top-notch experience.

One of the biggest and most exciting changes is that Galleries 4 is now a Progressive Web Application—PWA for short. PWAs deliver a refined app-like experience without needing to download an actual app. It can be viewed right in your mobile or desktop web browser and automatically adjusts for any device’s screen size. The result? Galleries 4 is highly responsive, 4x faster than the typical e-commerce portal, and even more secure than HTTPS.

With this foundation, the entire customer gallery experience was rebuilt from the ground up to maximize customer engagement and increase conversions and overall sales. This brings us to the marketing updates!

Direct, Hassle-Free Access

With Galleries 4, all three gallery types can now be shared and accessed through deep links. Deep links are a type of link that sends users directly to specific locations. To put it simply, PhotoDay’s deep links provide a frictionless way for parents already subscribed to the gallery to access their photos—without getting lost in the process of re-entering an access code. 

The direct, deep links are shared through all of PhotoDay’s built-in communications, including smart text marketing, manual flyers, and automatic email campaigns. Studios can also use the gallery deep link in their own marketing outside of the PhotoDay platform. By clicking the link shared in those communications, your opted-in customers can enter their galleries without entering their access code and without sacrificing security, making it a win-win for everyone!

While this capability is already available for public galleries in PhotoDay, we’re ecstatic to introduce it to group and private gallery types! This direct linking system significantly improves the user experience by enabling customers to access their galleries twice as fast. Additionally, when a studio changes a gallery’s status from AdvancePay to Published, accessing the correct gallery will be easier than ever.

Gallery deep links will be shared with customers through PhotoDay’s text (SMS) marketing, manual flyers, and automatic email campaigns. We hope you’re ready for fewer “I lost my access code” messages!

Secure & Seamless Customer Onboarding

The new account creation screen.

Now you can know exactly who is viewing their galleries! To enter a gallery and view their photos, all customers must first create an account, meaning they will no longer have the option to checkout as an anonymous guest. Having each customer create an individual account not only bolsters security but also paves the way for robust future updates and marketing developments. 

Additionally, studios using private galleries have the ability to send targeted marketing emails to subjects who have either viewed or not viewed their gallery, as well as those who have not purchased photos from their gallery—even if they have viewed it.

When creating their accounts, customers can opt-in to further communications—such as text and email campaigns—to be compliant with TCPA and CAN-SPAM. This flow is not only respectful to your customers but safer, too, by allowing each subject to be associated with a parent/guardian/responsible party. 

Overall, we’re excited about how much this customer onboarding step will improve opt-in rates—making communication with your customers that much easier. If you haven’t caught on already, that’s what PhotoDay is all about: creating simplified, elevated experiences for you and your customers.

Showcase Your Studio Branding

New studio branding, paired with a job logo.

Keep your unique studio branding front and center in Galleries 4! As highly requested by PhotoDay users, studio names are now included in the gallery’s header. Along with the studio name, any uploaded job logos will also be displayed in the header of each gallery. Studios can choose to make the job logo their own business logo to level up their brand awareness.

This fresh design not only solidifies your studio’s identity and builds brand recognition for your customers, but it also differentiates studio galleries from one another. Rest assured that if another photographer is also using PhotoDay, you can feel confident that your galleries will be visually distinct to the end-shopper. You worked hard on that logo, so why not let it shine?

Filter & Search Intentionally

Searching for tags.

As you photograph the same schools, leagues, events, etc. season after season, you’re bound to have wonderful repeat customers. With Galleries 4, those customers can easily sort the gallery list to view their most recent photos first. 

If a customer has opted into multiple galleries, they are now listed chronologically from the most recently published. This is a dream for those repeat clients and customers! We also added sorting options so galleries can be filtered alphabetically and by publish date, making it effortless to access older galleries (and encouraging passive income).

We also streamlined the tag search process. Tags in PhotoDay are an easy way for studios to add structure and organization to their group and public photo galleries. Using tags (e.g. team name, age group, picture day date, etc.) allows customers to filter their searches and find their photos quickly. We enhanced this process, so customers can now search for tags without needing to scroll through a list. Tags can also be selected and stacked to further optimize their search efforts! Because life is way sweeter without aimless scrolling.

The All-New Favoriting Workflow

We completely revamped the way customers select their favorite photos to purchase—making the customization and checkout process faster and more intuitive than ever. It’s a total game-changer for the gallery experience.

To get started, customers will tap to favorite their photos in the gallery before moving on to the rest of the shopping experience (where they can select products and print sizes, choose themes, customize text, etc.). Customers can also “Favorite All” to make proceeding to the shopping cart a breeze. In group or public galleries, customers can favorite all once they’ve narrowed down their search through tags or FaceFind; in private galleries, customers can favorite all photos in their gallery with one click. 

Choosing their favorite photos at the beginning of the shopping experience prevents customers from needing to return to the main gallery to search for other favorite poses. And if Instagram has taught us anything, it’s that everyone loves tapping hearts. ❤️ 

A Transformed Storefront Experience

Newly organized products.

Last but not least, the Galleries 4 storefront has been transformed to be more user-friendly, organized, customizable, and all-around streamlined. And we might be biased, but it’s also quite pretty. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Package descriptions are now displayed clearly, and in a new pop-up, customers can get a quick view of the package contents. This alleviates having to open the package fully, then go back to compare it with the rest of the package offerings.
  • Products are organized into fully searchable categories, allowing for efficient picking without scrolling.
  • The customization process for both individual images and packages has been intuitively refined. After selecting a package or an à la carte product, the all-new Product Customizer appears, allowing customers to quickly adjust their photo choice, custom text, and graphic themes on their products.
  • The Product Customizer especially shines when customizing products included in a package.
  • Retouching is available right from within the customizer, as well, making it more visible and accessible than ever before.
  • The checkout section has also been revised for optimal efficiency. If a customer wants to, they can make final adjustments and edit their products right from within the shopping cart.

But don’t just take our word for it! We’d love for you to take a look around one of our sample galleries to get the full customer experience. This new gallery experience exists at my.photoday.com, so we recommend updating your marketing materials to reflect the updated address!

Text LMDEMO23 to 90738 to experience our text message marketing and receive a link to see the new Galleries 4 in action.

Prefer not to text? Just go to https://my.photoday.com/ and enter LMDEMO23 or click this direct link.



The release of Galleries 4 is an exciting and significant step forward in PhotoDay's mission to provide the best experience possible for our studios and their customers. Not only does Galleries 4 make for a quicker and easier shopping experience, but it also provides valuable tools to promote your studio's brand and improve your overall sales and engagement.

Galleries 4 is out now! Sign up for a free PhotoDay account and create your first job today. If you’d like some help getting started, our Customer Success team is ready to guide you through the process. Onboarding is always free and fast—we’ll have you set up and selling in no time!

For current PhotoDay users, all galleries published or in AdvancePay mode before 7/5/23 will not be affected at this time and will remain on galleries.photoday.io. Starting 7/5/23, all new jobs and galleries in PhotoDay can be accessed on my.photoday.com.

Stay tuned to learn what other exciting releases we have in store for SPF 23!

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June 5, 2023

On the Road with PhotoDay: Summer 2023 Events

At PhotoDay, we believe that investing in continuing education is essential for expanding your volume photography business. By attending conferences and workshops, you can improve your photography skills, get inspired creatively, learn from industry-leading professionals, and so much more. 

The PhotoDay Team is excited to sponsor and attend many fantastic events throughout each year, and we want to share some of our upcoming dates with you! Whether you’re still considering ditching paper order forms or have already jumped into the world of online selling, further education is a great way to keep your business moving forward. 

Kick off the summer season at the workshop or conference of your choice—or join us in attending them all. Participating in live education is a fantastic way to network and learn—plus, we can’t wait to meet you!

Boatwright Bootcamp

June 5-7, 2023
Canton, GA

At Smax Photography’s Boatwright Bootcamp, you will learn shooting, editing, and sales methods that are proven by Jay Boatwright and his team to turn quality photography into profits. Being a successful photographer is more than just taking exceptional photos. You must also learn how to present your products to your customers in order to maximize sales.

Attendees receive “all day, hands-on training, in the field for volume sports photography.  Badass photography, on the field of play, straight out of the camera! No matter the subject, location, or time of day.”

PhotoDay is honored again to be sponsoring and attending another Boatwright Bootcamp! Learn more on their site or in this local news feature. Currently sold out, but be sure to sign up for notifications so you can register for the next one!

Do It Different Workshop

June 23-24, 2023
Oklahoma City, OK

This summer, PhotoDay is excited to sponsor Emily Hart Davis and Rose Coleman’s Do It Different Workshop! Join these amazingly talented and successful photographers for a two-day photography and business workshop that will take you to the next level.

At this workshop, attendees will learn how to…

  • Set Specific Goals & Make A Plan To Achieve Them
  • Advance Your Lighting Techniques
  • Learn How To Scale & Build Your Team
  • Solidify Your Posing Flow
  • Gain Confidence In Direct Prospecting New Clients

Learn more — Only one ticket remaining! Please reach out to Rose and Emily to claim it. In addition to sponsoring this workshop, part of the PhotoDay Customer Success Team will also be attending and speaking!

School Photographers of America

July 10-13, 2023
Greenville, SC

The School Photographers of America Conference is a place to connect with other studios and “industry suppliers from across the nation (and sometimes from across the world!) as we celebrate the best that our field has to offer and explore the ways we can grow both as individual companies and as an industry.” Don’t miss out on this opportunity for education, networking, exhibits, workshops, and more! 

PhotoDay will be exhibiting in Booths 48 and 49, so be sure to come by and meet the team! Learn more and register

IncredibleU Workshop

July 14-16, 2023
Charlotte, NC

Cane Sampson of CL Photoz is launching his new IncredibleU Workshop this summer! Attendees will get a hands-on approach to learn all about…

  • Live lighting setups and demonstrations
  • How to land more business (proven to work)
  • Tips for video creation, graphic design, and branding that will “wow” your clients
  • Building confidence
  • And more!

PhotoDay is thrilled to be sponsoring IncredibleU! Learn more and register to attend. 

Pas de Deux

July 21-23, 2023
Chicago, IL

If you're not already familiar, Pas de Deux is a premiere conference for dance photographers known for its enriching hands-on learning with top photographers working in dance photography. Attendees can participate in classroom presentations, photo walks, demonstrations and studio setup classrooms, trade show exhibits, social events, and more. 

PhotoDay will be exhibiting, so come by and meet the team! Use the code PD100 for $100 off your 3-day conference ticket (valid through 6/15/23). Learn more and register.

Virtual Events

If traveling or in-person events aren’t in the cards for you this summer, don’t worry! We have some amazing virtual events coming up. Keep an eye on our webinars page for all of the details!

PhotoDay is also hard at work creating a whole new online education series for volume photographers. Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

We hope to see you at some of these incredible photography workshops and conferences this summer!

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April 21, 2023

Bulk Shipping Made Easy with PhotoDay

If you’re a volume photographer, you know that snapping pictures of students and athletes is only a small facet of the overall job. What happens after the picture day is over, the photos are edited, the gallery is published, and the customers have ordered their prints and products? Shipping! PhotoDay’s e-commerce shopping options include direct-to-consumer drop shipping for all gallery types. Additionally, studios using Miller’s Professional Imaging and private galleries can also offer free bulk shipping to their customers. Bulk shipping allows studios to specify one shipping destination for all orders tied to a job to be shipped together—completely free and overnight. This feature will not only save you time and money, but it will delight your customers and organizations!

Why choose bulk shipping?

Long have photographers batched orders together and delivered them back to the schools, leagues, and other organizations. The free bulk shipping option for private galleries using Miller's to fulfill their orders reduces this process to the mere click of a button. Here are five reasons why bulk shipping is an ideal choice:

           
  1. Shipping is completely free—for you the studio and your customers!
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  3. Overnight shipping once processed.
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  5. Low bulk unit pricing with a minimum lab cost of $15 for the entire bulk order.
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  7. Offer both bulk and drop shipping—if you’re torn between the two options, let each customer decide!
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  9. Keep selling with drop shipping once the bulk order deadline has passed.

When to use bulk shipping?

Why choose bulk shipping instead of direct-to-customer shipping? Here are a few scenarios where choosing bulk over drop shipping might make sense for your studio:

           
  • If one of your organizations is a school requesting a gallery of class photos to be shipped to their location so they can be manually handed out to students and parents.
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  • You want to offer your customers free shipping but don’t want to absorb the cost of offering a discount code.
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  • If you prefer to pass out fulfilled orders manually, you can use your studio or home address as the bulk shipment destination.

How it works—it’s easy!

Publishing a gallery with bulk shipping in PhotoDay is a quick and seamless process. With our easy-to-use platform, you can set it up yourself using our guide as a reference or book a one-on-one demo with our Customer Success Team for a walk-through. How to get started:

           
  1. Create a free PhotoDay account.
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  3. Create a Miller’s price sheet with bulk shipping selected.
  4.        
  5. Publish your private gallery and watch the sales roll in thanks to automatic email and text campaigns.
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  7. As customers order, you can easily view and track them in the PhotoDay studio panel (more on that in the next section).
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  9. When the deadline date passes, the bulk order processes automatically and ships overnight from Miller’s directly to the address you chose!

How does tracking work for bulk shipments?

Just because these orders are batched, doesn’t mean you lose any of the valuable insights PhotoDay offers! You can view all the details about your processed bulk shipments, as well as a list of every order included in each bulk shipment—all directly in the PhotoDay studio panel. Additionally, you can see every order’s associated sales information, shipping status, and tracking information.PhotoDay’s Reports section provides even further insight with detailed monthly reporting of your overall sales, orders, and products. You can view, compare, and export all for free.

Ready to try bulk shipping?

At this time, bulk shipping in PhotoDay is available exclusively for private gallery types with Miller’s. We know you’re going to love the combination of image-first online selling in our modern galleries and Miller’s quality products and swift turnaround time.PhotoDay allows you to say goodbye to additional work and equipment—this workflow is entirely free of QR codes, barcodes, and tethering. Explore all of our game-changing features including the magic of FaceFind and our Capture app. PhotoDay is free to use and you only pay when you sell, so 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!

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February 24, 2023

Introducing Post-Processing Services in PhotoDay

Every professional photographer knows the importance of post-processing. Taking pictures is only part of the job; next comes color correction, extractions, cropping, retouching, composites, and more. To help simplify your process, PhotoDay is excited to announce new and improved Post-Processing Services that will revolutionize your workflow!

Our long-standing Knockouts feature has been completely revamped and upgraded—Knockouts are now 40% cheaper and the turnaround time has gone from days to mere minutes! We also added an intuitive, time-saving Color Correction service to polish your photos effortlessly.

These features will streamline your after-picture-day workflow so you can post galleries (and start selling) faster than ever. With prompt turnaround times for quality color correction and knockouts from most background types, get ready to save valuable time and money.


What are Knockouts, exactly?

PhotoDay’s updated background extraction feature is called Knockouts. By definition, Knockouts extract the subject from a solid background for the purpose of adding a custom background behind the subject. In the past, when photographers wanted to do background extractions, they had to photograph on a blank background (green, blue, gray, white, etc. screens). Next, they used editing software to manually and meticulously remove the backgrounds or they outsourced to third-party companies—all of which can be costly and hard to keep track of as they juggle platforms and software.

With PhotoDay Knockouts, photographers can upload photos, remove backgrounds, and start selling all in one place—without ever leaving the PhotoDay Studio Panel!

PhotoDay Knockouts will remove all background types—so you can shoot with natural backgrounds or against any traditional backdrop, and still offer digital backgrounds for your customers. In the world of online selling, your photos are your inventory, so the more you have to offer, the more you can make!

How PhotoDay Knockouts Have Improved

PhotoDay’s Knockouts services prior to February 2023 were much more limited. We can’t wait for you to see how much faster, affordable, and versatile this service is now! Let’s break down some of the exciting changes:

  • The turnaround time used to be 48 hours, but now it’s a matter of minutes.
  • The approval process is automated, so you can get started right away. Previously, our Customer Success team had to manually approve the process to ensure your photos were optimized for quality Knockouts.
  • Now, a subject can be extracted from any background, not just the previous green or blue screen. So whether you photograph on white, gray, black, or even a natural setting without any backdrops—we can extract it!
  • The cost of Knockouts has been drastically reduced. Knockouts now cost only $0.20 per photo compared to the previous $0.35 per photo.

What is Color Correction? (Hint: It’s not just color correction)

PhotoDay’s brand new Color Correction service intelligently edits your photos so you don’t have to! Color correction is defined as the process of editing a digital image to match how overall color, hues, and tones appear in the natural world.

PhotoDay’s 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.

Just like Knockouts, our Color Correction service is a one-stop shop, so you can upload, edit, and sell all in one platform. You won’t have to adjust sliders or modify any individual parameters, because PhotoDay’s Color Correction is an intuitive, AI-driven solution.

All Post-Processing jobs process in a matter of minutes, so your workflow can keep rolling smoothly. You’ll save precious time that can be spent doing absolutely anything other than applying presets in Lightroom—take a vacation, start a new hobby, cook more dinners…the options are endless!

It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

The process for both of our Post-Processing Services (Knockouts and Color Correction) is incredibly simple and fast. Here’s how it works:

  • Create a Post-Processing job in PhotoDay
  • Just go to Job > Services > Post-Processing
  • Select the services you’d like: Knockouts, Color Correction, or both.
  • Upload your photos
  • Purchase PhotoDay Credits to pay for the services. (more on that below!)
  • Receive an email when the job is done processing—which is usually in minutes.
  • You can download the edited images, move them to the corresponding PhotoDay job—or both!

We told you it was easy! Thanks to improvements in AI editing technology, your Post-Processing jobs will be ready at lightning speed and for a fraction of the cost.

What about those credits you mentioned?

PhotoDay Credits are the currency we use in PhotoDay! You can purchase these credits right within the PhotoDay Studio Panel to use in exchange for Post-Processing services.

Credits are now only $0.10 per credit, down from the previous $0.35 per credit. All credits purchased before this release have been converted to the new credit value—so 1 old credit = 3.5 new credits. Knockouts jobs cost 2 credits per photo. Color Correction jobs cost 1 credit per photo.

Ready to simplify your post-picture day process?

Are you ready to save time, streamline your process, and delight your customers more than ever? If so, give PhotoDay’s Post-Processing Services a try! We’re confident that automating your post-processing can help improve your work-life harmony.

If you’re already a PhotoDay User, just sign in to try it out. You can start by running a sample job with just a few test photos. This support article will walk you through it.

If you’re not a PhotoDay User yet, create a free account to get started. Since you can download your extracted and/or edited photos to your own computer, you don’t have to sell your photos on PhotoDay to use these services!

P.S. Our Customer Success Team is here to help you every step of the way. When you’re signed into PhotoDay, just click the orange bubble in the bottom right corner of your screen to start a live chat or schedule a one-on-one call.

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January 25, 2023

Boost Your AOV with AdvancePay

Moving picture day online is a thrilling step into a world of possibilities. By taking your volume photography business online, you will not only save countless hours of tedious paperwork but also provide a whole new, elevated experience for your customers. All while increasing your sales.

Our goal at PhotoDay is to help streamline your workflow so you can focus more on what you love. One of our most popular features is AdvancePay—which gives photographers the benefit of getting paid before picture day without limiting sales after picture day. We’ve also found that it significantly boosts your Average Order Value (AOV).

Simply put: our AdvancePay feature will help you work less and make more.

AdvancePay, Explained

AdvancePay is PhotoDay’s answer to traditional pre-pay. It gives your customers the opportunity to purchase credits before picture day that they can apply to their photo order after pictures are published.

We didn’t think it made much sense to ask customers to order a package before seeing all of the amazing images captured and created by studios. Our team brainstormed how to modernize pre-pay for the digital world without capping overall sales. So we took a risk, brought something new to the photography industry, and we now have plenty of data to back up our claims.

The AdvancePay Workflow

Here’s how it works.

           
  • The studio sets up AdvancePay credits and special offers that make purchasing an AdvancePay credit simply irresistible.
           
  • Customers can opt-in to the gallery and purchase an AdvancePay credit to use when the photos are published.
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  • When a customer purchases an AdvancePay credit, the studio gets paid half of the credit amount minus the PhotoDay fee and the Stripe fee. The remaining half is held on reserve until the customer applies their credit to a purchase.
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  • When the photos are uploaded and the gallery is published, the opted-in customer receives a notification that it’s time to redeem their credit and take advantage of their special offer.
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  • The customer enters the gallery, views their photos, and orders their products. During checkout, their AdvancePay credit is applied to the purchase. After the customer purchases their products, the remaining reserved AdvancePay studio funds go toward lab costs, taxes, and/or fees. Then the studio receives the balance.
  •        
  • Customers have 14 months to use their AdvancePay credits. If they don’t use the whole balance in the gallery for which they purchased, they can use the credit on any of your other galleries. Any leftover, unused credit balances will automatically go to the studio after the reminder series has ended and the expiration date has passed.
Our revenue per person practically doubled.— Jason Marino, Strada StudiosShifting Focus & Saving Time with Jason Marino

Spend Now, Save Later

AdvancePay both qualifies potential buyers and incentivizes them to spend more, sooner. The function of AdvancePay + the simplified versatility of PhotoDay’s text & email marketing = a winning combination.

The first step in setting up a successful picture day using AdvancePay is to determine your messaging to the customer. Are you requiring a pre-payment prior to taking photos and the editing process? Are you photographing everyone and speculating that they will buy later? Are you using AdvancePay as a session fee that the customer can apply toward prints & products? All of these methods are effective ways to sell and market photography services online. Once you decide on the method, it’s time to sell your AdvancePay credits.

Replacing Pre-Pay with AdvancePay

If this is your first time using AdvancePay in PhotoDay, keep things as simple as possible.

First, determine or estimate your average order value for the type of event you’re photographing. Then set that amount as your AdvancePay credit purchase amount. In this example, we’ll make one credit available for $35.

Second, create an AdvancePay Marketing Flyer right within PhotoDay. This flyer has all the information customers need to know. Customers are able to purchase credits as long as the gallery is in AdvancePay status.

Once picture day is over and the gallery is published, AdvancePay sales stop automatically and text marketing takes over to help convert views to sales. No need to set this up—it’s completely automatic with PhotoDay!

AdvancePay with Speculation

If you’re photographing every subject at a picture day and want to dangle a carrot to start sales early, you can encourage your customers to purchase an AdvancePay credit prior to publishing the gallery by creating an AdvancePay offer. Every time a customer texts their unique access code to 90738 or enters the gallery via mobile or desktop web browser, they are prompted to purchase a credit to receive their special offer.

AdvancePay as a Session Fee

From dance costume changes to senior portraits to mini-sessions and everything in between, AdvancePay can be utilized to connect your customer to a gallery and cover your time and expenses—all while giving them the flexibility to redeem their credit amount for anything in your online store. You control the price sheet and the required credit purchase amount while PhotoDay does the rest.

My first year of doing PhotoDay, my AOV for a particular dance studio was $101. This year, for that same studio and about the same number of people photographed, my AOV is $138.— Meghan Goering, Meghan Goering PhotographyDiving Into Digital Volume Sales with Meghan Goering

Incentivizing AdvancePay

Qualifying your potential buyer and integrating offers into your overall strategy are more important than ever. AdvancePay with an offer is a powerful method to help accomplish this goal. Only you know what will work best for your organizations and customers, but we’ve collected data from PhotoDay to help guide you through this decision.

Another important benefit of AdvancePay is the data! These valuable insights give you a glimpse into the future of a job’s performance. Since AdvancePay sales happen prior to publishing, you’ll have a good idea of where your sales will end up shortly after going live. If you’re new to online, this can provide a level of comfort since the online sales cycle can take approximately 30 days.

Communication is Key

When it comes to online selling, communication with your customers is essential. Before they can order photos, they must know how to access their gallery—making gallery opt-ins one of the most important aspects of boosting your gallery sales.

While PhotoDay’s combination of automated and manual marketing methods is available for all users, the AdvancePay workflow helps ensure that each customer who purchases a credit is subscribed to the gallery and receives timely notifications when the photos are ready to be viewed and products ordered.

All of PhotoDay’s features are designed to work together beautifully and easily. From the simple versatility of our text and email communication to the ease of creating offers and selling AdvancePay credits. It’s a game-changing combination that results in more sales, higher AOVs, and less time tied to your desk.

If you’re ready to dive in and see what PhotoDay can do for you, check out all of our features and create a free account to get started!

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December 9, 2022

Embracing Technology: An Interview with Jake Carr

Managing a volume photography business can often feel like a balancing act—juggling clients, gear, editing, employees, orders, sales, etc. while also trying to grow, foster creativity, and maintain daily sanity. PhotoDay is here to help photographers modernize and simplify their workflows so they can focus more on what makes them happiest.

In this interview, photographer Jake Carr shares how he got into photography, started J7 Images with his wife Jill, and how PhotoDay’s technology has helped grow their volume photography business. Based in Illinois, Jake and Jill specialize in sports photography and have expanded into the school market thanks to the time-saving tools of PhotoDay including Capture, FaceFind, online galleries, and direct shipping.

Keep reading to learn more about Jake and his advice to other photography studios!


PhotoDay: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business. How did you get started in the world of volume photography?

Jake: I grew up in a photography studio household; my dad was a part-time photographer, and every science project I did was about film and ISO. But I really didn’t catch the photography bug until I was in my 30s.

I was a sports guy and wanted to work in sports. My dad gave me a DSLR when I was about 32, and I took it to a basketball game where I suddenly figured out that I could put sports and photography together—all the things he had taught me for a bunch of years started to click.

So I started taking pictures, posting them on Facebook, and the next thing you know you get the, “Hey can you take my family pictures? Senior pictures?” We started out as generalists for a while.

I used to referee the youth football league, and my buddies knew I was starting to take pictures, [so when their photographer bailed on a Saturday, they asked me to capture it.]  I called up Miller’s, figured out how to use their ordering software, did my first football league…and made more money than in all of the shoots that we’d done up to that point combined.

We figured there was something there, so that’s where our volume sports photography business started. Over the past 10 years, we’ve grown and gotten to where all we do is volume photography.

I met Lisa and the PhotoDay crew this past March at the SYNC conference, where I had a chance to speak. We found PhotoDay, realized they work with Miller’s (which was fantastic, because we love them), and it’s been absolutely amazing. We just finished a “September to remember”—we started doing some school pictures, and we couldn’t do it without PhotoDay. We don’t have a large staff or a big crew, but it’s been amazing.

PhotoDay: So you primarily do sports, and you just started getting into the school market this past year. Do you cover any other markets?

Jake: It’s pretty much an 80:20 ratio of sports to seniors. We’re getting into senior season now, and with the sports work that we do, we get a lot of family inquiries. It feels like every time a family orders pictures around here, they’re getting on PhotoDay and ordering from J7. So we look for ways to give back—if they want family pictures, too, we’re more than happy to take care of our good customers.

For the most part, we love doing football leagues, baseball leagues, high school sports, and banners. We produce banners for the seniors, but then we take those banner images and put them on PhotoDay so they can order them as 8x10s, metal prints, buttons, etc. so we can get residual sales from it.

PhotoDay: What volume do you typically photograph annually with all of your different jobs combined?

Jake: (laughs) I’m not a very good data guy, and that’s what I love about PhotoDay; I can start comparing things year over year. We were using paper order forms—there are boxes of paper order forms in my basement from 10 years of doing this. Typically, our sales are in the six figures, and we’re on track to have a record year—I finally feel like we bounced back after COVID.

It’s hard for me to put a number on, but I think with the data we get from PhotoDay we’ll be able to get a better look at year-over-year and month-over-month. PhotoDay is definitely helping us grow. The technology has helped us create awareness for our leagues and allowed us to say yes to leagues that maybe we wouldn’t have in the past, just because we can do everything online and send it right to their homes. The only time we have to travel is the day we do the shoot; we don’t have to work back and forth to deliver things.

PhotoDay: That’s great. PhotoDay really does take care of keeping track of the hard numbers for you and allows you to let go. Moving onto PhotoDay itself, how did the transition go for you? Was it a smooth switch from paper to digital or was it more of a learning process?

Jake: [A big draw to what PhotoDay] allows us to do is the sale after the fact. All the time we get compliments on our pictures, “Oh those are so great”—but with paper order forms, you limit yourself to basically that initial order, and it’s really hard for parents to go back and order more.

So what if grandma wants a picture or they really want another magnet or button? When we do deliver a bulk shipment, we put a label on there with the PhotoDay code saying, “Hey if you want to order more, go here.” And it really helps— I mean we’re getting sales that we were always missing out on before because people love what we do, they love those pictures, and they want to order more. That’s one way that PhotoDay has completely complimented us.

We do all of our school pictures through PhotoDay. [The private galleries] where each person has a personal code and is only seeing their images are amazing. Last year when I did my first school, I used a different platform and had to create each gallery individually without the Capture app [and all of the PhotoDay tools], so it was really labor intensive. We would not be doing school if we didn’t have the technology of PhotoDay and Capture.

PhotoDay: How has your experience been with Capture? We’re very excited about the work we’re doing to make it even better and more efficient.

Jake:I absolutely love the Capture app. It is a savior for schools. And now we’re working on our workflow to figure out how we can use it for sports. We’re getting rosters for sports, creating memory mates, and [want to explore how we can streamline and improve the process using some of Brian Derenski’s composite workflows]. I can count on one hand out of hundreds of kids the times that the facial recognition didn’t match correctly—it even matches up twins. It’s been a lifesaver. And all of the export tools for yearbook files and student IDs are such a time-saver.

PhotoDay: We love to hear that. Brian has some wonderful workflows that he’s devised, and we introduced a whole new feature based on it. For your own marketing, how do you communicate the PhotoDay process to your customers?

Jake: We use a QR code generator to create codes that we display at the event. That QR code pulls up the short code and access code in a text message so that all they have to do is hit “send” to subscribe. We try to get everyone subscribed to the gallery through text which has worked really well. For schools, we try to get their email addresses, as well.

Everyone’s familiar with QR codes and really embraces that technology. We have a handful of people that still want to do paper envelopes for schools and we’ll make accommodations, but out of 500 people maybe 10 of them want to do something on paper versus the computer or their phone.

PhotoDay: That’s wonderful to know that the vast majority of people are open to the process. Going into your daily life, how has the PhotoDay workflow saved you time? And what are you doing with that extra time?

Jake: It’s amazing. J7 Images is still a side hustle for me (that’s really a full-time job). The way we have grown this year, I never would have been able to do that without PhotoDay. Typically we hire a lot of part-time staff to help with ordering, but we’ve been able to spend less time, money, and resources on that. The errors and customer service end of things are also less now that everything goes through PhotoDay. We pre-make and put a lot of our memory mates on PhotoDay, and if there’s something wrong like a spelling error or an unmatched team, people will catch that before they place their order now which saves us a lot of time and energy.

For school pictures, being able to have those orders come in as people want to is amazing. We no longer have to wait for all of the orders to come in, then deliver them in a bulk shipment. Everyone has the freedom to order when they want.

Over time as you keep adding galleries, it creates a steady income for your business—which we never saw before. It’s a nice bonus, and I think we’re getting sales that we totally would have missed out on.

PhotoDay: Regarding getting into photography, if you had to start over again, what would you do differently?

Jake: I probably would have done it a lot sooner! I would have gotten into volume a lot quicker than we did, too. I love my sports stuff. I love being out there with the kids, and we have a ton of fun. One of the things we’ll talk about at PhotoDay Experience is how PhotoDay takes a lot of the personal experience out of it by making it convenient for parents by being online. So what you do at the session, what you do to set the stage, and the images you create become much more important now because once you take and publish the images, all of the interaction happens in PhotoDay. So you do the work on the front end and set the image and approach on picture day, so they know the photos are going to be good before they ever see them just by the way you interacted with people. That’s the part that I love about sports. From the payday standpoint: school pictures. There’s nothing that beats going into a school and spending 5 hours trying to get kids to smile (that maybe don’t want to smile), but if you have fun with it and make a good day of it, it’s going to pay off—especially through PhotoDay, with minimal effort on your side once you get the images edited and uploaded.

PhotoDay: Do you have any specific advice for those who are on the fence about using PhotoDay?

Jake: (laughing) What are you waiting for? Don’t be scared. The customer service and onboarding are amazing. Yes, there are things you need to learn. It is a change. My markets are relatively small in north-central Illinois, but the parents embrace this technology. People are blown away by FaceFind when they learn about it.

It improves the image of your brand and allows you to do so much more with your time. You can focus on your images, you can focus on editing, you can focus on creating new looks and items. There’s no reason to wait. I was a little nervous at first, as well, and eased into it. But it’s definitely the way to go.


Thank you for sharing your story and motivating us to continue growing and exploring, Jake! You can connect with J7 Images on Instagram and Facebook. If you’re headed to The PhotoDay Experience, don’t miss his session all about booking more business.

Are you ready to take Jake’s advice and take the next step? See what PhotoDay can do for you by learning more about our features and tools and sign up to get started for free! Our customer success team will help you every step of the way.
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October 31, 2022

How to Balance Work, Life, & Everything In-Between with Rose & Tim Coleman

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Rose and Tim Coleman of Center Stage Photos are known for their high-quality cheer and dance portraits. Based in Oklahoma, the Colemans travel around the U.S. photographing sports teams and clubs. They've also spoken at SPAC, SYNC, and Pas de Deux.

We sat down with Rose and Tim to discuss how they balance running their successful studio, making time for family, traveling, and taking care of their cows, chickens, and goats.

While the search for the perfect balance between working hard and enjoying life can feel like a never-ending journey, the Colemans are proof that it’s not impossible!

In this video interview, you’ll get to know them, hear their stories, and hopefully feel inspired to seek your own work-life balance.

The History of Center Stage

Rose and Tim discuss how they got started in 2016—broke, raising kids, and photographing one All-Star Cheer account. With weddings and seniors being the biggest categories in the industry (and thus the most saturated), the Colemans knew they wanted to do something different. High-quality volume photography was still “an untapped territory” in their area of Oklahoma.  

Rose says, “We knew that we could make something beautiful. We could take what we knew with the portrait world and join that into a volume sports world—and be able to work from home and have more flexibility and time and not have the overhead of that kind of building and staff and all the requirements that went along with it. So we were like…we're gonna go volume.”

In their first year of business, one of the gym owners promoted the Colemans on Facebook, and in the next week, they had booked seven out-of-state accounts and became a national company.

Tim says, “And that was the beginning of what we now have—over 70 All-Star Cheer accounts, roughly 25 local dance accounts that we work with; we were able to create something that we both work full time without any assistance from…other side jobs or anything like that. And we've been able to raise three kids, buy a twelve-acre ranch, and pretend to be farmers—and love on the baby goats.”[divider line_type="No Line"]

Getting Online with PhotoDay

At that time, Rose and Tim weren’t selling online, but they used a “shoot and show” technique that allowed customers to view and choose their photos on-site on an iPad. Multiple poses and image-first selling were always a part of their strategy. “We wanted parents to get to see the image, choose what they want, and then check out at the end.”

They knew moving online was inevitable, but they wanted to find the best solution for their business. They learned about PhotoDay at SYNC, met co-founder and SVP Lisa Mallis, and admired the fun PhotoDay brand—including our team baseball tees. COVID was another factor that pushed them to make the transition from paper order forms to online selling. Tim says, “It was a scary transition, but I had faith in the transition.”

How PhotoDay Has Changed Their Workflow

PhotoDay has always strived to be more than just software—we are a community dedicated to bringing picture day into the hands of today’s parents, influencing and improving creativity, and leveraging technology every step of the way.

Tim says, “Being a part of the community has been super beneficial. Getting to meet just really great, authentic people within the industry is wonderful. That has nothing to do with the amazing software” and all the time it has saved. All of those hours of manually inputting orders, deciphering handwriting, whittling away at stacks of paper…It’s all taken care of now.

“Honestly, [PhotoDay] gave us the hope to scale. It gave us the opportunity and ability to do a lot more.” Now they can photograph four accounts over a weekend in a different state and post the galleries as quickly as humanly possible. That means one day (or two for compositing groups). With their competition sitting on images for two weeks or more, they were able to leverage the power of PhotoDay’s time-saving technology to improve their turnaround time.

“It's part of our strategy: beautiful images, dynamic lighting, get to them as fast as possible, and make it convenient for parents.”

Let’s Talk About Capture

Rose starts with, “Let’s talk about Capture. It’s my favorite thing. Part of our strategy is taking a large amount of friend photos (we call them buddy shots), and we encourage it.” Once a subject has gotten their six to eight individual photos, Rose and Tim ask if they want to take a picture with a buddy—and the answer is always yes.

In the realm of paper order forms, buddy photos can be difficult and time-consuming. Enter: the Capture app. With Capture, all you have to do is upload subject data before or at picture day, snap reference photos directly in the app on picture day, and watch FaceFind sync the reference photos and data to your professional images upon upload.

What might take a typical photographer a whole weekend to photograph takes the Colemans around three hours—without compromising any quality or creativity.

“That's why we love the Capture app. That has been my absolute favorite thing about PhotoDay. Being able to take reference photos of them and not have to touch that later. And so when we upload images after we process things out, they immediately get sorted into the correct places.”

Rose and Tim exclusively use private galleries in PhotoDay, so they use Capture to “keep the photo shoot going” smoothly with their allotted one-minute per athlete average. “They get their own individual access just to their files only. We’ve found that the best way to sell to them and it's the best way that works with our system.”

Rose shares that she was getting to a point with their previous system where she didn't want to do buddy shots anymore due to how time-consuming they were on the back end. “So I would say that was probably the biggest thing of change was working with the Capture app on the workflow side of things…It’s magical. It's Disney magic."

Making Marketing Easy

The Colemans agree that PhotoDay helped ease their marketing woes. From automatic email and text communication to flash sales to targeted holiday promos—“It made it easy…We brought in so much more money.

“I don't blast emails…I want to only talk to the people that haven't made a purchase, and that option is available now. And I love that.”

Work-Life Balance

Rose and Tim have three children: twelve, ten, and soon to be eight. “It's so crazy. We have such a different lifestyle than most of our friends that, you know, go in at eight, they come home at five” and struggle to juggle pick-ups, drop-offs, practices, making dinner, etc. “But we get all of those opportunities, for the most part, unless we're traveling, and then we bring them with us.”

“We have so much more free time for a lifestyle that we love…We kind of like create/mold to whatever we actually want to do.” Whether that’s vacationing or buying more cows and chickens.

Accomplishing Goals with PhotoDay

“I just love that we're able to accomplish our short-term goals so quickly. I think that literally, we've been able to accomplish every single goal that we've set out for. [Rose chimes in: “You're bragging”]. And we're in the stage of figuring out what our long-term does look like.”

“Financial freedom has been our biggest goal ever,” Rose says, which can feel unattainable for a lot of people in the photography industry. “Most people feel like it's just a part-time gig or part-time job…but with the back end of what PhotoDay offers, you really can make a great living off it. And I just didn't think that that was possible five years ago.

“A lot of the workflow has been able to allow us to position ourselves in a pattern of growth in order to be able to do more because the workflow things of our lives have been simplified.”

“If you're not up to your head in workflow, and you have automated things on the backend that help reduce that workflow—you can dream about things. You have the moments and the opportunity to actually create or ideate about something that's bigger than just taking a photo.”

Having PhotoDay as a workflow and marketing solution allows photographers to focus on their work to the best of their ability. “And then at like midnight, you hear that cha-ching.”

Thank you, Rose and Tim, for sharing your fantastic success story! You can connect with Center Stage Photos on Facebook and Instagram.

Rose and Tim recently hosted a webinar with us all about staying balanced—check out the replay.

If you’re interested in simplifying your workflow and transforming your work-life balance like the Colemans, explore our features and sign up for a free PhotoDay account to get started!

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