Which Volume Photography Workflow Should I Choose?


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 of the services we offer is Order Entry Services (OES). Every fall this team coordinates with studios on entering orders for thousands of schools and leagues with hundreds of thousands of images and data for each person photographed. The secret to our success is checklists. Every order has a set of instructions to make sure no detail is missed. The beauty of partnering with H&H is you have access to the same project management and ordering software as OES. And now you have access to use the same checklists they use. When you’re ready, take the quiz to learn which checklist is best for you.

Need a little more info first? That’s OK. Read below to see the different options available and recommendations when to use each one. Then take the quiz to get your free checklist.

The first thing we need to talk about is data. Can you get it before picture day or not?

If you don’t have data:

With no data collected prior to picture day, this workflow is going to be your best option. For smaller projects, and those getting started in the volume workflow, this is an effective method. The great news is you don’t have to worry about buying any scanners or print out barcodes before picture day.

But, what data should I collect? The minimum recommended information to be collected is first name and last name. We recommend getting the team name or teacher while you’re at it. For students that have a student ID, it is important to collect that as well. And, if you are preselling, packages ordered at this point are also good to collect here. The simplest way to do this is to keep a shoot list in order of subjects photographed.

In order to match the collected data to the images, import the images, then type the info from the shoot list into the project under each image.

If you’re an excel nerd (#spreadsheetlove) you can put all that info in a .csv file. Just be sure to include a column for image name. Import this .csv when you create the hhschools project. Later, when you import the images, hhschools will use the image filenames to match the data to the images.

If you do have data:

This is where we really shine! hhschools offers several methods for a streamlined way to match the data you get before picture day to the images you take. All of these methods let you import the student and player data into hhschools when creating the project. Then it will format and generate reports so you can print either camera cards, shoot lists or ID labels—each one with a unique barcode for each person. You can either disregard these barcodes and use the report to match the data to each imported image in our Match Data Wizard. Or you can use these barcodes with a scanner using one of the following methods:

Post-Shoot Scan

Why should I choose a post-shoot scan workflow?

This method does not require scanning at picture day. Pick this option if you get data ahead of time, and want to save time on your data entry, but feel like adding scanning to the rest of the picture day chaos is one more thing you’ll mess up. We recommend this option if you have 1-5 schools or leagues and get the data before picture day. Think this is the best option for you?

How post-shoot scan works

Simply pass out the camera cards or labels as each person lines up to be photographed. Then the photographer collects them, and keeps them in the order photographed. Or if you are using a shootlist, record a jpg name or sequence number next to each person you photograph. Once you’re back at the computer after the photoshoot, import the images for each camera into hhschools. Then open the match data screen and use a USB scanner to scan the Subject ID barcode to match that person’s data to each image. You don’t need to buy this scanner from us. There are several models of handheld scanners, which can be purchased online or at your favorite office supply, that will work. If you would like some suggestions, give us a call.

Time-Sync Match

Why should I choose a time-sync match workflow?

No, this is not a tethered scanner. This scanning on-site option is faster than your traditional tethered shooting model. Use this option if you get data before picture day and need the fastest, scalable workflow in volume school and sports photography. This method requires a specially programed Opticon scanner at each camera station (and a backup just in case).We recommend this option if you have 5+ schools or leagues and get the data before picture day. Think this is the best option for you?

How time-sync match works

Because this scanner must be specially programmed, you will need to purchase from H&H Color Lab. Click here to order an opticon scanner. This scanner is not tethered to the camera or a laptop. This wireless scanner is synced using a sync barcode scan and a sync image at the beginning of the photo shoot. Watch this short video to see how. Once synced, the scanning process is as simple as scanning the barcode on the subject’s camera card, label or shoot list, then photographing that subject. You can take as many images as needed to get a good pose or expression. The scanner will match them all to that barcode until you scan the next one. Then when you’re back at the studio, connect the scanner to the computer and import the scanner data when you import the images from the camera. Watch the magic happen as all the scanner data is matched to each image.

But what about the packages and backgrounds from all the prepays? Well you have 2 options to enter this data:

  1. You can add that information back at the studio after you import the images. The images in the project can be resequenced into any sort to match the stack of prepays you’ll enter from.
  2. For greater time-savings, scan the package and background barcodes after you scan the camera card before you take the picture. Then all that scanned data is imported into the project with the images.

Which should I choose?

Still not sure which workflow is best for you? Take the quiz to find out now.

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