During Sync Sports 2019 we sat down with PhotoDay trailblazer Haley Hamaker to catch up on how she’s been using PhotoDay, the results she’s getting and her thoughts on how others can start to incorporate our platform. The complete video interview is at the bottom of this post.

One of our earliest adopters, Haley Hamaker is an entrepreneur, innovator, and educator in our field. She started out studying information technology in high school, and her interest in the latest tech and automation has stayed with her to this day. When she graduated from high school she began using her technology skills to develop, build and maintain websites for clients. Around the same time she shadowed a local sports photographer and a local beach photographer – that’s when she caught the photo bug. Her interests converged when she started her own photography business SB Photos in 2009. She shot her first team in 2012 and her first league in 2014. 

Today, Haley’s biggest league has over 900 athletes – and her business now includes league and school sports, schools and daycare centers, senior portraits and family beach sessions. 

She’s a woman to watch! Haley has become a sought-after speaker at our industry’s leading events and conferences. Much of her success can be attributed to her marketing savvy and focus on efficiency – all with the goal of giving her customers the smoothest picture day experience. 

Pre-Game

Even before PhotoDay came along, Haley was constantly looking for ways to streamline her business. She knew order forms were a business killer, costing her money and causing clients stress. She developed what she calls the “Chick-fil-A” process. Haley created a big banner listing the packages, then set up a table with registers, cashiers, and computers in front of the banner. Parents came up to the table, ordered off the banner and then Haley’s staff would enter the orders into a Google Doc and take payment – just like at Chick-fil-A!

PhotoDay has helped her take her business to a whole different level. Haley estimates that a picture day with 800 kids used to result in a minimum of 20 problems with orders. Each of those problems took at least 15 minutes to solve. All of that disappeared with PhotoDay. In addition to time, Haley saves money with PhotoDay. Previously, Haley might spend $200-$300 on order forms, now she spends about $15 on rack cards that include the PhotoDay gallery access information. On top of that, she has reduced her picture day staff significantly, depending on the job – on league days she’s eliminated at least 3 out of 9 staff members.

And, with PhotoDay, it takes her 2 days to get photos online for parents to view and orders ship right away, direct to home, instead of 5 days to the lab for a 5-day turnaround and 10-14 days in the mail system…with no tracking. 

Increased Order Values

Haley’s order values have also increased with PhotoDay. She typically offers free shipping with a $20 AdvancePay purchase and finds that most of her AdvancePay orders turn into at least a $49 package. Her former package average was $20. Haley thinks much of the increase is due to multi-pose. With PhotoDay she can offer multiple expressions for each child. “A serious 4-year-old photo is the best, parents can’t resist,” says Haley. 

Haley typically does not require AdvancePay for her shoots because, she says, “you never know what a parent’s financial circumstances are at the moment.” She receives orders for photos 30 days or more after a shoot and wants to keep that possibility open. In fact, for those interested in checking out PhotoDay, but not yet ready to change over their business model, she says a great way to start is with late orders that are always a problem to deal with. She also recommends starting by putting past jobs on PhotoDay, and letting the leagues and parents know that they can view photos and order.

Results

Haley shared results from not just one but TWO recent shoots with us. The first is a Military Ball that she’s shot for the past couple of years. She offered customers a $25 AdvancePay credit  – and in return, they received free shipping on their orders of $25 or more. Last year, her total sales for the same military ball was $4,402. This year the Military Ball attendance was about the same size, but her total sales neared $6,000 – a 35%+ increase!

MILITARY BALL

2019
Subject opt-ins 210
Orders 119
Buy Rate 57%
AdvancePay sales $1,850
Order sales $4,118
Total sales $5,968
Average Order Value $50.15
Payout to Studio (includes taxes) $4,223

The second job was for a little league that she’s shot for the past couple of years. She offered 4 AdvancePay credit options: $20, $50, $75, $100 and in return for being an early bird, parents received free shipping on orders of $20 or more.  Last year, sales for the same little league was $10,019, but this year with PhotoDay, total sales were close to $13,000 – a 28% increase!

LITTLE LEAGUE

2019
Subject opt-ins 337
Orders 230
Buy Rate 68%
AdvancePay sales $1,780
Order sales $11,004
Total sales $12,784
Average Order Value $55.58
Payout to Studio (includes taxes) $8,352

Haley’s Advice

We asked Haley what she thinks other photographers need to know as they get started with PhotoDay:

  • “Educate your staff, as well as coaches, parents, and school admins.”
  • “Have a lot of easy-to-read handouts with instructions, especially for those first few jobs.”
  • “Go into every job with an education mindset – and then once parents get used to it, they’ll be teaching each other.”

Haley is incredibly generous with her willingness to educate photographers on what’s been working for her. She leads an active Facebook community called Haley Hamaker’s Huddle where she posts lots of live videos and golden nuggets of info. 

The Future

Haley has always been a one-person business, but PhotoDay has freed up so much of her time that she recently hired someone to help her with business development. Instead of relying on word of mouth, she now plans to actively pursue new jobs and doubling, or even tripling, the number of subjects she shoots in a year…because now she can!

Innovators, game-changers, movers, shakers… trailblazers. Meet more trailblazing photographers who have tried PhotoDay and are seeing results.

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