In the world of volume photography, it’s easy to get swept up in the daily details of running a business. While embracing an online system will certainly streamline your workflow, it will also help you focus on the quality of your work. Now that the photos you take are your inventory, why not make them outstanding?
With PhotoDay taking care of the mundane tasks—goodbye order forms, data matching, manual marketing, and so much more—you can spend that time you save by honing your craft, expanding your client base, and enjoying time with the people dearest to you.
We interviewed two photographer duos seeing great success with this approach! Part 1 of this series is with Jay and Carinna Boatwright: Owners of smaX Photography, Creators of Boatwright Bootcamp, and some of the original PhotoDay Trailblazers. Keep reading to learn how the Boatwrights streamlined their workflow, leveled up their work and sales through image-first selling, and now book more business by working smarter. (Read Part 2 of this series with Jim and April Alsup of LDS Photography)
The Long and Winding Road
Jay and Carinna Boatwright have been in the photography business for 14 years. It wasn’t a smooth road to get smaX to where it is now. After their first 3 years, they were feeling stretched thin and considering giving up photography as a whole, but they decided to jump into the volume world full time and with full force. “We put everything on the line — we had 3 little kids, and we quit our jobs and put it all on the line.” Through persistence, dedication, and consistently trying new methods, products, approaches, and workflows over the years…their risk paid off.
Trying Something New
PhotoDay played an influential role in their pivot and ability to grow — read more about their story here. For many years pre-PhotoDay, they’d been doing full service through a lab, but 70% of their time was still spent doing paperwork. Carinna first heard Lisa present the idea of PhotoDay at a convention and was eager to give it a try. Jay and Carinna became one of the first studios to try out the system. “We tried it out on a small league — and it worked. Then we tried it out on a big league — and it worked!” And that was their turning point.
Image Quality Above All Else
To compete with other photographers’ marketing of huge rebate fundraising and different filler products from varying labs, the Boatwrights decided to compete with their superior image quality — which perfectly aligned with PhotoDay’s image-first selling method. “The only way you’re going to sell is if you have good images,” so it was a natural next step for them.
“You can have mediocre photography and try to scale the business quickly or you can have really nice photography and grow a lot slower with a lot of thought put into the art of the photography. It’s a lot harder of a road…but it’s no fun taking [subpar] photos.”
Starting Boatwright Bootcamp
Finally, with a system and method that works, it was time to share with others in the industry. Enter: Boatwright Bootcamp, a traveling workshop for photographers. What began as an impromptu idea with its own share of obstacles has now developed into eight (and counting) hands-on workshops full of valuable teachings and priceless engagement with other photographers.
“I think Bootcamp has been successful because once people hear our story, they realize we’re authentic, and that we’ve lived what we’re teaching. It’s nothing more than that — it’s exactly what we’ve experienced.”
While business tactics, marketing methods, workflow, and more are discussed, the focus of Boatwright Bootcamp is leveling up your photography game. “Bootcampers will tell you—they spend money on Bootcamp, but they spend way more money on gear afterward. Because if you’re going to be efficient and fast, there are some things you just have to have.”
Advice for Booking More Clients
When asked if they had any tips for PhotoDay users looking to book more business, Jay and Carinna said, “Social media presence is our biggest driver.” They encourage utilizing word-of-mouth references, being active on social media, and prioritizing organic reach over paid reach.
“Up your photography game and have a huge social media presence. Ask parents if they can re-post and tag the parents [in your posts]…We’re now at the point where we have a new program or team reach out almost every week.” This emphasis on word of mouth is a great approach, especially considering how loyal most leagues and parents are to particular photographers.
The next piece of advice they gave is to always have your sales hat on and always look for the decision-makers. “Constantly be selling and networking. Social media is important, but there are so many other ways we’ve gotten business — we’re always looking for it.”
Their final tip was to focus on the relationships. “Being a master of relationships is the thing that will set you apart…If you’re already good at the relationship part and your photography is great, then the photography is like job security.”
How PhotoDay Boosted Business
Next, we asked how PhotoDay has played a role in their overall success and growth as a business. “It saved our marriage,” Jay laughs. Carinna expands on how life-changing it has been to remove all of the post picture day office work and stress of double (sometimes triple and quadruple) checking every single order. “We were handling information, and now it’s in the hands of the parents. PhotoDay has made it so that now all I’m doing is wrangling images and the schedules.”
Another reason switching to an online workflow helps the Boatwrights book more business is being able to “take on leagues even at the end of their season because it gets shipped to the customer. Before, we would have to cram everything into the beginning of the season, try to get everything turned around as fast as possible, and if it was the end of the season, we’d have to say ‘we can’t even get it to you before the season ends.’” Thanks to online galleries and direct-to-customer shipping, booking a league late in the season is no longer an issue.
They added that smaX never would have been able to expand out of Georgia and into Florida without the PhotoDay workflow. With a smaller staff, no paper order forms, and less office work, they can travel and book more than ever before. “PhotoDay changes the way you shoot, changes the gear that you use, allows you to shoot deeper into the season, and allows you to go out of town [without juggling and losing any cash and paper order forms].”
“The only thing that stinks right now is all of the editing. That’s it!”
More picture days naturally lead to more photos to edit, but with images as your inventory, those edits will be more than worth it! If you’re interested in simplifying your workflow and honing your image quality while boosting sales through image-first selling, consider creating a totally free account with PhotoDay. You’re sure to book more of the business you desire!
To learn more about PhotoDay’s time-saving features, browse our website.
To connect with the Boatwrights, follow them on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to check out Boatwright Bootcamp.