15 years ago we had a beautiful daughter. She was our first child and I got suckered into the Sears baby plan. That’s right, every month I was at the Sears portrait studio getting our daughter’s picture made. It was about ‘month 9’ when I purchased the $600.00 package! That’s when Rodney decided that it would be cheaper for him to go buy a camera. So that is what he did. He started photographing anything and everything. We photographed seniors, weddings, babies, families, and an occasional ball team. The cool thing was he was really good at it. We opened our studio around Abby’s first birthday. Our plan was to grow this little photography business as a retirement plan.
During the first couple years of our business, we found it difficult to really grow. We live in central Ohio and there were several really talented portrait studios right in our backyard. Running out of ideas, Rodney signed us up for a Sports Jumpstart class sponsored by H&H Color Lab. We really did not know anything about volume sports. That decision, 12 years ago, was game changing. It was the first time that I got really excited about the business. No one was doing volume sports locally. We took what we learned in the Jumpstart and quickly became the premier sports photographers in our area.
As our little business got bigger and bigger, we ran into workflow problems. It finally reached the point that we had to make some choices. We were either going to lose business, hire more staff, or get divorced (just kidding). Seriously though, we needed to streamline! For every hour in the evening we spent photographing teams, we had the same amount of time during the day with data entry. That is not even the time we spent sorting, packaging, labeling, and getting ready for the next shoot. We went back to the company that got this whole thing started, H&H Color Lab.
Why HH? They offered so many things that saved time. For starters we used to package, sort, and label all our packages ourselves. That was crazy! Not only did they take over all of those things for us, the most exciting thing was their ordering system. With the data I got from my organizations, I could download it into hhschools and barcode EVERYTHING. Instantly I got HOURS of my life back. ZERO data entry. I could come back to the studio and cull, crop, and send everything to the lab. They took care of everything else. That is not all. It kept getting better and better.
Who loves sitting in front of their computer for HOURS creating custom memory mates? Who LOVES Photoshop or InDesign? The answer is NO ONE! Seriously, as we grew we realized we needed to outsource designing. Again, we looked to our lab partner. They offer a vast collection of print-ready templates. Templates of every sport and school day item you would ever need. Recently they have released KO sports. What is KO sports you ask? H&H takes my jpeg pictures and extracts the subject from any background and creates custom products. Yep you heard me right—no more Photoshop, no more InDesign. This was the biggest game changer.
Now that we have conquered the world of volume sports and schools…what’s next? “We’re Going to Disney World!” Actually yes… but seriously, we have used everything we learned over the past 15 years to help others. We love meeting new and veteran photographers breaking into the volume world of photography. Rodney and I have taught at SPAC, SYNC, SYNC Sports, and several state conferences. Along with large platform teaching, we love helping people one-on-one. Helping people start and grow their businesses has been one of the best things about this crazy ride.
Partnering with H&H Color Lab has changed our lives in ways we never could have ever imagined. They have been by our side for a long time; they are family. Congrats to 50 years! Here’s to 50 more!