What I Learned From My First Dance School

Volume photography was not something I intentionally set out to pursue. I was roughly 5 years removed from volume when Scott and I were asked to photograph a dance school. We got the opportunity to interview for the job thanks to a friend who worked the front counter at a dance school. The school had just fired their photographer and my friend raved about us to the owner.  We had a great first meeting and by some miracle, they chose us! At this point, regardless of all my previous experience in volume photography, I still had no clue how to photograph dance. To learn, Scott and I headed to a convention in Las Vegas with eyes on one lecture where we hoped to learn volume from the pros.  As luck…

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How to Be More Successful in School Sports

SPOILER ALERT: It’s not just about the photos! Having a successful sports picture day involves more than knowing how to take good group and individual photos. Call me crazy, but I like to be financially rewarded for our hard work. And for that to happen, it is important to plan ahead and make it easy for parents to buy our photos. The problem is that it's really hard to get the coaches, players and parents all organized for school sports photos. And this can equate to us not getting the sales we need to justify the time spent photographing their sports. We have systems in place for all the other photo opportunities throughout the year. These systems  successfully convert parents into buyers, it just happens to be tougher with school…

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How to Make More in the Off-Season

Man, I wish spring baseball season would last all year long! Every sports photographer has had to come to grips with the seasonal rollercoaster of cash flow throughout the year. The down time between sports seasons brings so many questions. How am I going to keep my seasonal staff? How am I going to sustain a constant income for my business and family? Does any of this sound familiar? This is where we were as a business several years ago. As a volume sports and school studio we have huge peaks and valleys. That is until we realized we can have busy year-round business if we want it. We just have to take that same or similar business model that was born in sports and transpose that into other volume…

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3 Things You Should Know Before You Photograph Your First Hockey Team

Photographing your first hockey team soon? Are you freaking out about the posing and lighting and not slipping on the ice and looking like a fool? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. Manning Photography was established in 2006 as a wedding and portrait photography studio. We eventually expanded and evolved into an almost exclusive volume studio.  We do some seniors and will do a wedding if our arm is twisted but our passion is in volume. Of all the sports we do, Ice hockey is my personal favorite. I love the sport from a spectator standpoint. Go Penguins! And from a business perspective, hockey can be very lucrative. We average $45 per individual we photograph. But it’s not all fun and games—there are a few things you need to know…

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Which Volume Photography Workflow Should I Choose?

Workflow. This 8 letter word terrifies some and makes others look like rockstars. When it comes to volume school and sports photography one of the biggest hurdles is matching images to data for thousands and managing the mountain of orders that ensue. Wondering what’s the best way for you to get the right data matched to the right image? At H&H we don’t limit you to only one option. There are several good choices. The right one will depend on a few factors. The most important one is what you have in hand before picture day. But you need more than just knowing what your best option is. You need a reliable checklist that will help you make sure every time you place an order, no detail is missed. One…

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2 H’s + 1 Mission = Celebrating 50 Years

H&H began in the basement of Wayne and Shirley Haub's residence in a sleepy suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, in 1970. Wayne and his brother, Ted Haub, owned a portrait studio that had just landed its first high school senior contract. With a background in and love for color printing, Wayne chose to install his own color processing equipment in the basement of his home to process film and to print the black and white and color photographs that were demanded by the senior market of that generation. Other photographers began asking Wayne to print their work; business increased; and so did the need for additional employees. What began with one person (Wayne) doing all the processing, printing, invoicing, telephone, purchasing, maintenance, etc., now took five people! The small-home business…

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Why Do You Want Employees In Sports Photography?

Soapbox time! First of all you don’t need them if you don’t want to scale your business and you want to work REALLY, REALLY hard - FOREVER!! Ok, now that I have your attention, let’s talk. Where do you want to be in 5, 10 or even 15 years? No, don’t check out yet. Give me 60 seconds. Dream with me for 1 minute. It’s OK, I won’t tell anyone you took 1 minute to yourself to work on your business. Ready? Go… That wasn’t so scary. Kinda cool, actually. You didn’t do it, did you? OK, fine. Let’s move on. Now ask yourself the next question… How will you get there? Combined, we have been managing employees for over 30 years. So yes, it’s a bit easier for us.…

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8 Questions Every Photographer Should Ask About Social Media and Company Brand

Having a social media presence for your business is,—depending on how you see it, a necessary evil OR a fun, easy way to help you build your brand in the community in which you operate. Our idea of the payoff in social media is not as direct (do this, get this return) as you might be looking for. But we’ve found asking ourselves these questions helpful to promoting the effectiveness of our social media.  Who are we selling to? The institutions who are our clients. The individuals (largely parents) who populate the communities within those institutions. Of all the activities related to getting invited into a school, at the core is the effort to have our company stand out. Everyone says, “we’re the greatest.” Our brand is focused on reinforcing…

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Do I Need to Sell Image Downloads in Sports Photography?

Right now there is a lot of chatter in our industry based on companies that have provided a way to deliver image files. We all have heard of studios that are increasing sales with the addition of image downloads. And at the same time many of us have seen or experienced how offering downloads can cost us thousands of dollars in losses. If you are reading this, then you are likely a business owner. Or, perhaps you call yourself an entrepreneur. Maybe this is just a side hustle for you. Call it what you will. You are reading this article because you want to know how to stay competitive and grow your business. There are companies who are making sales presentations promoting you to push image downloads in order to…

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The Christmas Reveal

At Mac Brown Photographers Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year. While Christmas mini sessions have been a huge hit at the studio, our July Christmas reveal was the biggest game changer to our Christmas marketing program. WHAT’S THE MAGIC BEHIND YOUR CHRISTMAS MARKETING PROGRAM? On the last Friday in July we open the phone lines at 9:00 a.m. to start booking Christmas appointments.  In the weeks leading up to this, we are sending out reminders and a countdown calendar on social media.  We release just the titles and descriptions of the sets with a reminder that we will post “sneak peaks” of some of the sets in August and September to help with clothing selections.  Our clients are all sitting ready for 9:00 a.m. Our phone…

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