5 Tips for Creating a Youth Sports Envelope

Try These Proven Tips to Improve Your Envelopes

Not a week goes by that I don’t have an envelope from a photographer come across my desk that is so bloated and so confusing it’s no wonder their order averages are suffering. The problems on the envelopes are all across the board, but range from poor packaging creation (low margins), poor layout and design, etc.… The one from last week which prompted this post was on a No. 10 envelope, imprinted on one side with the information for the parents to fill out. Please STOP doing this! You are killing your sales.

Rant over. Now let me give you 5 tips for creating an effective youth sports envelope.

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5 Ideas That Can Have a Big Impact on Your Bottom Line

Most photographers spend the majority of their time and energy focused on trying to book new business, at the cost of missing out on the plethora of sales opportunities right under their nose. In todays post I wanted to give you five strategies that can have a big impact on your sales without booking any new business.

1. Create An Offer that Your Customers Can’t Resist

Over the years we’ve used a number of different techniques too entice customer to purchase a larger package. The key to a success is to make the offer so irresistible that it’s almost impossible to say for the customer to say no. People will take action if the perceived value of the offer it seems higher than the risk.

For example, this season we have an offer for our dance schools that seems to be working great this season. Here’s the deal… last year we ran a $90 average order with dance schools orders, but wanted to try and increase the average this year.

First, we introduced a new 5×10 framed portrait with a retail price of $29. While this product has a high perceived value, it actually cost the studio less than $4 to produce. Since this product has such a high perceived value, we used it as a free bonus item for parents who placed an order of one $125 or more. For this to work, make please make sure you have samples on hand for the parents to see. This promotion has been so successful this year we are about to order another five cases of frames.

We have an exciting new offer we are finalizing now for Fall that looks like it’s going to be a real winner.. Stay tuned.

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Dance School Photography WOW Products!!

Hi Gang

It’s that time of year again in the studio and we are in the process of getting ready for another dance school photography season. One of the easiest ways I’ve found to separate yourself from the competition is by always having great products and new designs.

For example, in most areas the photographers are just offering standard prints and aren’t really catering to the specific needs of the dance schools. We have designed complete product lines just for dance schools. From the traditional Memory Mate to specialized products such as art series, dance composites, custom posters, pano’s, gallery wraps etc… we also offer custom dance mouse pads, coffee mugs, buttons, shirts and more… much like we have done for the youth sports photography market. These products and designs are updated every year… they always want and expect “something new”.

Join us at DDLab on Feb 9th  and 10th to learn from some of the best in the business how to double your sports business this year! Two full days of sales, marketing & how-to knowledge from industry leading experts.

Event: Double Your Youth Sports Business in 2015!
Sponsor: DD Lab
904-398-9330
Venue: DD Lab
904-398-9330
Location: 2916 University Blvd. West
Jacksonville, Fl 32217
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Xtreme Teams – Digital Team Composites

Hi Gang,

We started shooting high school football again today and I wanted to share with you some of our Xtreme Team (digital team composites) we created last year – I will post an update of some of the cool stuff we are doing this year in a couple weeks. If you aren’t familiar with them, it is an excellent alternative to the traditional team or group shot. We photograph everyone individually on the green screen background and assemble the group digitally. Anyone that has done any large group photography understands the challenges of this type of photography. Here are some of my thoughts after doing over 75+ digital composites during last year.

Pros

1. It’s a real WOW product and will separate you from your competition, allowing you to book a lot more teams.

2. In the past when photographing 50 or 60 football players with 20+ cheerleaders it would become quite a production and would take some time to get everyone properly posed and photographed. Look at the college team below, with players, cheerleaders and coaches well over 125 people. Trying to orchestrate that as a traditionally photograph was a real pain in the backside – this whole shoot including each players individual pose was done in about 1 hour.

Also, the coaches love it because they are usually at the front of the line and after their 30 seconds in front of the camera they are done.

3. No risers. In the past when photographing groups this large, you typically working on the football field and have to get there 1 1/2 to 2 hours before the shoot just to set up the risers, lights etc.. No risers required (my back really appreciate this).

4. We now get to shoot in the gym where – where the AC is. Did I mention we now get to shoot in the AC

5. No more bad lighting situations. Since most of the coaches typically want to do the team shot taken immediately after school gets out and before practice starts, you find yourself doing most between 2pm to 3pm in the afternoon. Not the ideal time for best lighting conditions. We even did a couple in the gym with it pouring down rain outside… no more rescheduled shoots.

6. No more missing kids or kids who ended up getting cut in the team picture. Since most of the football shots are taken in August to meet the program deadline… many of the schools have not made final cuts. Most coaches do not want kids in the team shot that end up getting cut from the team. Although everybody is photographed individually for the program, the composite isn’t assembled until the coach makes his final cuts.

7. It also makes it very easy to create the specialty groups. For example, a group shot of all seniors, or all linebackers etc.…

Cons

1. If you are doing any type of serious volume, you could potentially get backed up in production.

2. Most of these jobs are shot on green screen to make the production as easy as possible. If the green screen is not lit properly and it becomes a manual process to extract each one of the players in Photoshop you are going to see a lot of sleepless nights.
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The graphics used to create these composites came from our friends over at Spotlight Photographics.

Here’s a couple sample team composites. What are your thoughts? Leave your feedback below, I love to hear what you think of these new digital team composites.

 

Xtreme Team -Digital Team Compsoite

 

Xtreme Team -Digital Team Compsoite

Butterfly Lighting Pattern

Hi guys,

Hope everyone is having a good day. I just finished editing this image for a new training video I am working on about Mastering Studio Lighting. This shot was taken during a set-up where I was demonstrating a butterfly lighting pattern.

Butterfly lighting is frequently used in creating fashion and glamour head shots. This style of lighting is very glamourous and has the effect of eliminating any shadows or wrinkles or lines in the face.

The light source comes from directly above the camera and is in front of the subject. Butterfly lighting is so named due to the butterfly shaped shadow under the nose.

Steps for achieving the perfect Butterfly Lighting pattern

1. Position light approx 5 ft. in from of the subject and directly above the face so the shadow is under the nose. The shadow should not touch the lip.

2. Adjust the light to proper height by moving it up or down watching the catchlights in the eyes. When the light is in the proper position, your catchlight should be at 12 o’clock.

3. Position reflector about waist level below the subject to help fill in the shadows under her chin caused from the overhead light..

Technical Stuff:

Main light: f9.0
Background light: f8
Edge lights: f5.6
Fill: Silver reflector
Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 85mm
1/100 sec @ f9
ISO 100

Tip: The main light metered at f11.3, by exposing at f9 she was technically slightly overexposed.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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The Set-Up
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