High-volume photography has been a rewarding business in many ways. Not only have I felt gratified every time I’ve captured a photo for a child and their family that will last them for years to come, but it has been a profitable area of growth for our studio.
To be successful in the business of high-volume photography it is important to have consistent high-quality images, make it as easy as possible to purchase, and have a professional looking setup. Achieving these three things has helped us land new accounts, keep them coming back and increase orders…and tethering helped me get there!
Creating Consistent High Quality Images
One of the biggest priorities for us was to create consistent images every year for every kid. To achieve this, we created “magic carpets”. These are customer vinyl banners similar to what sports teams have hanging on the wall, but we tape them to the floor for each station. They have markings for exactly where the camera, tethered workstation, lighting and background should be placed. It also includes notes on what settings the camera should be on and how high the light should be.
The first step in our process when we go in to set up any school or sports shoot is to lay out the “magic carpet”. This ensures the setup is consistent and crazy quick — even if you’ve never worked for me you can just follow the road map. Then, every year each photo for every child is exactly the same lighting, pose, and the like, creating a consistent look.
The tethered workstation that is part of our setup has allowed us to view images on a larger display at high resolution to make sure we’re not missing the finer details you can’t see on the back of a small camera LCD monitor – things like focus, composition, exposure and color. Now that we can see them on a larger display, we can make the necessary adjustments during the shoot to improve the image quality. This provides clients with a better image and helps our bottom line by avoiding time consuming editing and reshoots.
Now clients know exactly what high quality images to expect and keep using us year after year.
Making it Easy to Purchase
For 80 years, how school photography worked was parents ordered in advance by putting money in an envelope which the student turned in on picture day. When the pictures were delivered, if the client didn’t like them they’d return the prints and have retakes, starting the process over again. That was just how it worked.
One of the things that we have done differently in our business is that we push a “view first” option where we take 3-7 photos of each kid and all of those photos get emailed in a password-protected gallery to the parents where they can view and pick the images that they actually want. Where it’s been a game-changer for us is that we now offer multiple pose options when selling to parents and so our price per order has gone up because parents have more variety. We’re also saving money by not printing orders that end up being returned and destroyed.
Tethering has helped bring this option to life by allowing us to immediately transfer image files into a watch folder that can then be automatically imported into a platform such as GotPhoto if you’re providing a “view first” option. For our clients who don’t use “view first”, tethering has also improved our process since the images can be automatically imported into Flow by PhotoLynx.
Your Setup Presentation Does Make a Difference
Our workstations are each made up of the Tether Tools High Volume Tethering Kit which allows us to adjust the height of the camera for each subject without moving the rest of the workstation. Image transfer speeds are instantaneous and with the capture utility, Smart Shooter, we are able to scan student barcodes or QR codes, and all images captured after each barcode or QR code scan are matched to that student’s ID until a new bar code or QR code is scanned. This technology has helped us tremendously in speeding up workflow and maintaining accurate data management with so many subjects and their image files. Being able to showcase a high level of data management and privacy is a high priority for our high-volume clients.
The Tether Tools High Volume Tethering Kit setup is also a very professional look for our high-volume photography business. I constantly get comments on how uniform and professional everything looks. It’s impressive to a school when they walk in and see a nice professional setup, that it doesn’t look like it was slapped together, and then to have that duplicated six times is pretty awesome.
Take Your High-Volume Photography to the Next Level
Getting into the business of high-volume photography can already be a difficult task but with the right knowledge and the fast workflow solution that tethered shooting offers to produce consistent, high-quality images, it doesn’t have to be. Learn more about how tethering can help take your high-volume photography business to the next level by downloading our free guide: The High-Volume Photographer’s Guide to Tethering.