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Increase net profits in your School Photography business with consistency!

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

One of the most challenging aspects of school photography guessed it...consistency.

Firstly, why should companies aim for consistency?

A streamlined workflow is essential in high volume photography, anything that puts 'sand in the cogs' of the machine (business workflow) slows down the process, costing time and money, through retouching, cutomer service, retakes and potentially loss of clients, just to name a few.

As the digital age has progressed, photographers have become complacent on location resullting in accountability issues in the high volume photography the underlying belief is that 'someone else will fix the problem' , or 'I will fix that later' and don't realise how much time and resouces are used in doing so.

It's my belief that the photographer has one of the most important roles in the company - to ensure great consistent quality images -

When this is achieved, it not only saves an enormous amount of time and money but increases the order value, however, if there is 'sand in the cogs' you can be in a world of pain, forever trying to put a bandaid on a problem that should be fixed at the root cause - Photography -

After working with many companies, its become evidant that there are common internal issues that are not identified or addressed at the root of the issue and in many cases ignored as the thought of change makes CEO's/owners of enterprise level organisations tremble in their boots. However fortune favours the brave that embrace change.

There are commonly two aspects to the challenge of consistency:

1. Technical & Equipment

2. Human element - Photographer & subject

Lets break each of these down and start with the technical & equipment side of the challenge. When working with companies on consistency I always start with the equipment. It's impossible to achive consistency when a company has 3 portrait stations at a job, each with different lights, umbrella size, umbrella age with staining, cameras, tripods and so on.

Each portrait stations (kit) equipment should be absolutly identical, this not only is the first step to consistency, but also assists photographers to be confident using the same equipment regardless of which kit they take on the day.

Yes it is an investment to purchase new equipment...but... how much are you spending on putting a bandaid on the problem every year?

Once your photography kits are identical, each portrait station set up is also required to be identical, right down to the millimeter. The only way to achieve this for each potrait station every time is to have a set up manual that photographers are meticulously trained to follow. I have included a sample of what you could impliment in your company - simple two light set up example manual for you to use as you wish below.

Following a portrait station set-up manual/cheetsheet is achievable during most photographer training sessions, as it inherantly has limited variations, with the exception of indoor/outdoor settings.

Having strict guidlines as to the exact settings is crucial, photographers should not use any other settings than what the company dictates.

The photographer should only be changing the light power to achieve the correct exposure.

Taking it one step further, it is also possible to save photographers from themselves when it comes to camera settings, using the Netlife platform, camera settings can be locked when tethered to Netlife Photolink with photographers unable to take a photograph with out the correct settings that have been set by the company, therefore avoiding bumped settings or rogue photographers.

How much time and money could you save from incorrect camera settings on a job?

Lets now investigate the 'photographer' part of the challenge - The human aspect to consistency.

Getting the photographer to take great looking portraits of each subject that parents want to purchase comes with its own set of challenges. As photographers interact with subjects, the situation can have many unknown variables.

Formulatting poses, set shots and specific guide lines that are age appropriate will be key to the success of great looking images under the time contraints that photographers face. The plan of the image/pose sequence must be trained and engrained into the photographers muscle memory by advanced training and repitition. Here is an example below that can be achieved in 30-45 seconds per student:

Once this level of education is achieved with both techinal aspects and posing directions, the photographer is then able to take photographs that parents can not resist and with the power of emotion to drive order values higher with upsale and after sale strategies.

Together with strict photographer routines, training and support, consistency in your workflow is achievable, even for enterprise level companies that area able to embrace change.

The outcomes are measureable on two levels when consistency streamlines your high volume photography workflow.

  • Increased net profit with the reduction in fixed costs related to manual labor

  • Increased net profit with the increase of order values

Itsy Bitsy Disclaimer:

This article has been condenced down to achieve a quick read. Indepth investigations, planning and change developement must be taken into account to achieve this level of consistency for enterprise level organisations.

Please reach out if you feel your company is ready for change.

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