How to Break Into Competition Sports With Banners

Whether you are starting out in the volume business or are a seasoned professional, if you are not focusing on the travel team market and don’t have a plan to market to this segment of customers, you’re missing out. Statistics show typical youth sports leagues in the US are declining in number of participants. In our area, the total number of kids in the league on photo day is declining year after year. Or, some of our leagues are merging with others or folding all together. While the rec leagues are declining, they are making way for more and more travel and elite programs with the number of athletes participating in these programs skyrocketing. My son started playing travel baseball at 8 years old. Not because he was a great…

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Do I Need to Sell Sports Photos Online Like Shutterfly?

There is no arguing that we, as a society, have moved toward using our mobile devices in many aspects of our lives, including online e-commerce. I have been selling both online pre-pay and proof programs in schools and sports for years. It has increased my sales. It saves time and labor. But I've had to learn some lessons along the way. Here are some questions I've been asked or had to figure out on my own. Do I need to sell image downloads or packages first? The choice is up to you. I have found best practices are to sell packages first, then offer image downloads second. Remember once the customer has the digital file they can use it wherever they want and whenever they want. You lose control over…

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5 Ways I Screwed Up School Photography

I tried school photography, and failed. Spring of 2017 I was approached by a friend and told, “you should try school photography”. After some thought, and convincing words from my friend, I decided to give it a go. But let’s back up. I started my portrait photography business in January of 2010. I struggled through with some failure then, too. But with persistence and education, I managed to figure out the portrait business. And eventually, created a successful studio with a strong profit margin. School photography was my next step because now I’m thinking about my future. Let’s be candid….few people sell a portrait business. I needed something to sell so I can retire when I’m 95. So. Schools it is. With the help of my friends who had a…

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Sales Averages Will Go Up When Parents Proof Their Images Online First

The classical music is playing, and it sounds like a perfect documentary is in progress, but, WRONG. Data shows that total sales go down 30-40% when offering online proofing only. Why? Fewer buyers. What good is a higher sales average if the number of buyers goes down 40%? A studio reported an event with 95% of parents viewing their online images. The event was shot over several hours and had 1,400 images posted. If you are looking for this to be a happy ending it’s not going to be. Total sales were, wait for it, $295.This was disastrous for the studio and really drove the point home that this model of online proofing first does not work. This is just one case; there are countless more who have realized the…

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It Is More Convenient for Mom to Order Through a Smartphone App

Have you ever tried ordering pictures through an app for the first time? After the 16+ steps required to download the app, install it, create an account, find the images, and order, you are just left wondering “was this really easier?” Compare that to a well-designed prepay form and a mobile-optimized online store – the results are staggering. Recently, a Midwest studio learned this the hard way. They switched to an app-only model and sales went down $4k! The kicker? They had a higher sales average, but a significantly lower participation rate. The fact is, allowing clients to buy post-event and adding more steps to the sales process creates a higher barrier to entry. This results in lower sales. Any marketing or sales person who knows what they are doing…

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Parents Will Buy Prints After They Have the Digital Files

Parents will buy prints after they have the digital files in hand. Who in the world is propagating this madness?!?! Sure they will buy prints, just not from you. They will purchase from Walmart, Shutterfly, and the like. So, let me get this straight, you are ok doing all of the hard work and letting these other companies profit from it? Come on! This is either a nightmare or a bad joke (the jury is still out on which one). Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. FACT: Once parents purchase only the digital files, they will only come back and buy physical product 7% of the time. Bottom line, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR SHIRT HERE. You cannot build a sustainable business this way; it…

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Parents Only Want Digital Files

It has been a dark time for the wedding and portrait industry over the last ten years. A time where "digital only" became a thing; a “thing” so pervasive that it changed the face of the industry forever. Today, studios and customers alike are still recovering from this fad. We call it a fad because the market is realizing that “digital only” is not now (and never should have been) a “thing”. We’re using a lot of finger quotes right now because we need to really drive the point home. The schools and sports industry can avoid the same fate as the wedding and portrait industry. Learn from the history and mistakes of the past, or we are destined to repeat. Are we advocating a world where no digital files…

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Facial Recognition Technology in Professional Photography

The future is here! Are you ready for it? If you can imagine it or you have seen it in a sci-fi movie, there is a good chance someone is actively working on it. Computer vision, computational photography, facial recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence are technologies that have been excitedly discussed for the past decade and have finally come to fruition. Artificial Intelligence (AI if you want to be hip with the lingo) is entering the world of volume sports photography with a bang. Recently, companies, including H&H, have embraced and demonstrated or released facial recognition and other AI capability software services to improve the quality of our service offering to professional photographers and their customers. "Innovate or die" is the battle cry, but this begs the question. When is technology for the sake of technology…

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The Elephant in the Room

In recent months, there has been a lot of misleading and contextually inaccurate information being put into the universe about the buying habits of parents in the world of volume school and sports photography. While it is great that this conversation is happening, at H&H Total Schools and Sports, we believe knowledge is power. Without proper context, one might be led to believe that the sky is falling and scramble to make, what we believe, catastrophic changes to both your business and our beloved industry. Today, digital file delivery is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. According to companies like Capturelife and PhotoDay, parents only want mobile apps and online proofing. And a false conclusion that photographers are taking from photo industry SaaS companies’ education, is that parents only want…

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