High-Volume Photography Workflow: Why Image Size Matters

In 1913, Henry Ford installed the first moving assembly line for the mass production of an entire automobile. His innovation reduced the time it took to build a car from more than 12 hours to two hours and 30 minutes.

Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System and is a systematic method for eliminating waste within a manufacturing system. Lean also takes into account waste created through overburden and waste created through unevenness in workloads. Lean manufacturing makes obvious what adds value, by reducing everything else which does not.

The law of diminishing returns is an economic principle stating that as an investment in a particular area increases, the rate of profit from that investment, after a certain point, cannot continue to increase if other variables stay at a constant. As the investment continues past that point, the return diminishes progressively.

How, and why, should these principles matter to your business? First, at its core, your high-volume photography business is an assembly line. So, let’s look at one aspect of your assembly line to apply these principles. The size of your image files.

Of course, everyone knows that larger image files produce higher quality prints. However, if the largest print size you’ll be delivering is an 8×10, why output files at any higher resolution than needed to produce the quality that meets the standards you’ve established? Are you just shooting RAW and exporting high-quality JPEGS without much thought about the impact that size will have on your productivity? Just how much thought do you give to the size of your files as they travel through your workflow?

Why should you care about this?

Ask yourself, how well would Ford’s assembly line have functioned if any aspect of it was not standardized or was left to chance? We’re using file size for this example, but you should routinely scrutinize all aspects of your business using a systematic method for eliminating waste to optimize the output of your factory — your Engine of Growth.

Let’s do some math. We’ll start with a Project that has 4,000 images. Each with an average size of 18MB each for a total size of 72GB (4,000 x 18MB = 72,000MB = 72GB).

Fast connection speeds are often touted by internet providers, but most people don’t realize that upload and download speeds can vary greatly — with upload speeds being many times slower than download. Running your own speed test will show just how much that difference is for you. A speed test on the example internet connection revealed a download speed of 34 Megabits per second (Mbps) and an upload speed of 10 Mbps. A Megabit is 1/8 as big as a Megabyte, meaning that to download a 1MB file in 1 second you would need an 8Mbps connection.  Mb = megabits and MB = megabytes.

Using this handy online calculator reveals that at 10 Mbps, it will take almost 17.5 hours to upload. But it doesn’t end there. Larger files will also take longer to index, sort, and transfer to your connected platform. Not to mention all the other times you move your image files before and after Snapizzi in your workflow. However, for the sake of this example, we’ll just focus on the single metric of your upload time to Snapizzi.

Let’s say that after testing, you’ve concluded that the smallest size image file to produce a quality print of the largest size you offer is 6MB. The new total project size is now 24GB. You’ve reduced your file size by 66% and shaved 11.5 hours off of your upload time as these images would now take just 6 hours to upload! An improvement of nearly 200% in your efficiency!

Process management is critical to your Project management. If the photography business used in this example is generating 100k images per year — this little change alone will save almost 12 days of uploading time annually!

Still think file size doesn’t matter much?

Are you seeking out waste and inefficiencies in your business to reclaim your precious time and make more money?

If not — it begs the question — why not?


SnapizziLogo.png

Software built to automate the workflow for high-volume photographers.

Build Your Engine of Growth

Let’s face it, most photographers didn’t get an MBA and decide that they wanted to open a photography business. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We know little to nothing about business, but we forge ahead by attending the latest photography seminars, buying the newest gear, and continually trying to stay ahead of the curve in the photography world. However, thinking that improving photography skills alone will automatically improve your business is a fallacy.success

School and sports portraits have long been a tradition, and high-volume photographers are fortunate to have a baked-in market where the demand stays fairly stable. A well-run, high-volume photography business has much more staying power than a traditional portrait studio. It’s much easier to skip on the family portrait during tough times, and contrary to what one would think, that makes the parents more inclined to purchase the more affordable school or sports portraits of their children.

Whether you’re looking to expand your current high-volume business or thinking of entering this very lucrative segment of the photography industry, you must ensure that you have processes, principles, and practices in place that optimize every part of your high-volume business.

You cannot build a great company on a flawed foundation. And if you’re losing a penny on every transaction, you can’t make it up with more volume.

Here is an excerpt from our Launch Announcement that exemplifies this approach:

“Our recent study revealed that it takes the average photographer 12 hours of labor to post an event for online sales that had 1,000 subjects, and resulted in 4,000 images to connect to their customers. The study also revealed the average photographer valued an hour of their time at $45. Resulting in a cost of $540 of post-production expenses.

How long would Snapizzi take to process and post the same amount of images? About 20 minutes! And the cost to use Snapizzi? Just $39 per month — a savings of $500 and 12 hours for just this one Project.”

The average Snapizzi user reclaims 25 hours per month.

Without Snapizzi, high-volume photographers are faced with hours of tedious work that include:

  • Manual process of recording image numbers
  • Renaming image files
  • Creating subject galleries
  • Adding class photos to subject galleries
  • Setting passwords for each gallery
  • Getting login information to parents
  • Manually assembling images and data for school service items
  • Plus many other tasks depending on the photographer’s workflow

You’re doing a disservice to your business if you only look at the bottom line number and don’t have a deep understanding of how you arrived there. Think of your business as a race car, and your mission is to make it faster by shaving every possible thousandth of a second off of each lap. Focusing solely on your photography skills is like having a race car and only paying attention to the paint job. It may have a world-class paint job, but you’ll never win a race with the engine leaking oil and bald tires.

enginex

Using the results of the survey, we can calculate that the post-processing cost per image before using Snapizzi was $0.135 per image ($540/4000). Using Snapizzi reduced the cost per image to $0.001 per image ($39/4000). A staggering improvement of 13,400%!

“Validated learning” is a term widely used in the Startup community, but it can — and should be — applied to every business. Validated learning is simply the act of making decisions about your business based on data that you collect. By consistently monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in all areas of your business, you’ll be able to make informed decisions and accurately measure the impact of all the changes you make. These metrics will allow you to identify inefficiencies in your business — and fix them. It’s a Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop that allows you to continually improve. If you can measure it, you can improve it.

Do you know what your average sale price is per customer? Per league, school or sport? Do you know your profit margins? What about staffing costs? What is the most profitable product you sell? The least? Do you know where your customers are coming from? Do you know open rates on your marketing e-mails?

Decide what KPIs are important to you and start tracking your performance.

The most important thing to know is what is driving the numbers you see when you assess the health of your business. We use Geckoboard to aggregate all of our data into one dashboard that allows us to constantly monitor our growth and performance. You can even start with just a simple spreadsheet — but the point is to start!

Nothing illustrates this principle better than the documentary, Hitting the Apex. Narrated by Brad Pitt, it’s a remarkable look into the world of MotoGP racing. A world which you don’t need to be a part of to appreciate — and to be inspired by — the relentless pursuit of winning that these teams and riders possess. The relentless pursuit to be the BEST!

Grand Prix motorcycles are purpose-built racing machines. Races are won, and records fall, by thousandths of a second! Everything matters.

How great do you want your business to be?


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Software built to automate the workflow for high-volume photographers.

8 Online Tools to Grow Your Photography Business

Our founding ethos to improve the lives of photographers extends beyond just the building of our product. Although we’re certainly passionate about building a solution that our users love, we’re equally as passionate about making Snapizzi — the company — one they love too.

A profound shift occurs when your focus becomes not on what you do, but why you do it. 

Our vision at Snapizzi is to create a real-time global community with resources for photographers to share ideas, learn from one another, and discover new ways to grow their businesses. And themselves.

In the world of photography, it’s very easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re making your business better because you’ve just invested in the latest piece of shiny black gear, or you just attended the latest lighting or posing class. The reality is that you could be the most talented photographer in your market, but none of that matters to the success of your business as much as having the tools, infrastructure, and systems in place to help you build and sustain a thriving business built around your body of work. 

A mediocre photographer with excellent business skills will fare much better than the incredibly talented photographer with poor business skills.

How you run your business matters.

Snapizzi is just one of the tools that should be used to fine-tune the engine of growth that is your photography business. Below are some others we think you’re gonna love!

Like Snapizzi, these tools are purpose-built to improve your life by preserving your most precious resource — time.

Enjoy!


Groove makes it easy to deliver awesome, personal support to every customer. It looks and feels just like regular email to your customers, but comes with collaboration tools let you assign support requests to members of your team, add private notes to tickets and always see who’s responding to what.

Plus, Groove has automation features to make you more productive, and customer support metrics to help you track, set goals and improve.

Pricing: $15 per month/per user


slack

Slack is an internal company communication app that’s out to kill email. Slack brings all your communication together in one place with persistent chat rooms organized by topic, as well as private groups and direct messaging. All content inside Slack is searchable, including files, conversations, and people. You’ll never miss anything important ever again!

Since Slack is the tool our team uses for all of our communication, it’s a no-brainer to use the Groove/Slack integration so we can always see incoming tickets in real time and stay on top of our support tickets. Slack will save your team tons of time by being able to communicate with ease! 

Pricing: $8 per month/per user

BONUS: Get $100 credit on your new Slack account from Snapizzi


calendly.png

Say goodbye to email tag for scheduling appointments, interviews, calls, demos and much more.

Calendly is a cloud-based service which allows your customers to schedule appointments and make bookings with you using your online calendar.

Pricing: $10 per month


Typeform

Typeform is reinventing the way users create and respond to surveys and other types of forms, by making the process more user-friendly and engaging for both creators and end users.

Typeform lets you create beautiful, next-generation online forms that makes asking questions easy & human on any device.

Pricing: $20 per month


OnePageCRM

Customer Relationship Management plays a crucial role in the success of your business. OnePageCRM lets you focus on your Next Action to easily convert leads into customers and grow your business. 

OnePageCRM will enable you to easily build relationships with prospects and customers, nurture leads, close more sales.

Pricing: $12 per month/per user


Evernote

Evernote is an award-winning app that lets you remember and recall anything that happens in your life. Easily gather everything that matters. Clip web articles, capture handwritten notes, and snap photos to keep the physical and digital details of your life with you at all times.

If you’re not using Evernote to organize your life, you’re really missing out.

Pricing: $45 per year


mailchimp

MailChimp simplifies sending beautiful emails to your customers. And it’s fun! It’s the kind of service that makes you want to sign up. MailChimp enables users to easily design, send and share marketing emails. They also integrate with Google Analytics so that you can monitor the performance of your newsletters.

MailChimp’s collaboration options, like multi-user accounts and comments inside the editor, will speed up the design process and fit right into your workflow.

Pricing: FREE for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month


Trello

Trello is a project management tool that is like having your own virtual corkboard. Trello is simple on the surface, but cards have everything you need to get stuff done. Post comments for instant feedback. Upload files and add checklists, labels, due dates, and more.

Notifications ensure you always know when important stuff happens. 

Pricing: FREE


SnapizziLogo.png

Software built to automate the workflow for high-volume photographers.

The Story Behind Snapizzi

Hello! My name is Randy dela Fuente, Founder of Snapizzi. I first discovered Snapizzi in 2010 as a user of the first iteration of their software. Snapizzi eventually ended up powering the workflow for my high-volume photography business — one of the largest in Washington state.

At the time, I was working on developing our own proprietary barcode scanning system to help automate our production workflow, which involved the management of tens of thousands of images per year.

I quickly abandoned the project after trying Snapizzi’s powerful software shortly after they launched in late 2009. Snapizzi offered my photography business an end-to-end, photo-hosting solution familiar to photographers today. And I soon came to rely on Snapizzi to automate my workflow.

In 2011, I learned Snapizzi would soon be shutting down for reasons unrelated to the efficacy of the software they created. I panicked at the thought of going back to the “old” methods I had used. Fortunately, I was Staffable to negotiate an agreement allowing me the sole use of Snapizzi with the option to re-launch it as monthly subscription service for photographers in the future.

Ecstatic at the resolution, I continued to use Snapizzi to power my event photography business for the next two years. Snapizzi’s platform and underlying source code hadn’t been maintained or significantly updated since it was built. It would have been an enormous undertaking and expense to try and re-launch it as a business in its original state.

However, in 2013, I learned that many of today’s leading photo-hosting sites allowed third-party developer access to their platforms. This meant that rather than competing with them for users, we could essentially “plug-in” Snapizzi to existing platforms. It was then, after spending nearly 25 years in high-volume photography, that I decided to close my business and began to focus on rebuilding Snapizzi from the ground up.

The quest to revive Snapizzi had begun.

After plunging headfirst into the startup space and two years of development, Snapizzi officially launched on January 1, 2015, on the Award-Winning platform, Zenfolio. The first of many to come. 

I have a special passion for Snapizzi because of the incredible journey of discovery it has led me on in both my personal and professional lives. Throughout it all, I have come to realize that my best work comes when the focus of my efforts is on helping others — and that is the foundation that Snapizzi is built on.

On behalf of the dedicated team here at Snapizzi, I sincerely thank you for the opportunity to share with you what we have built.

With gratitude,

Randy

The Fastest Way to Post Images…Guaranteed.

Snapizzi is all about saving you time and making you more money. Using just a business card, and powered by patented barcode and tagging technology, Snapizzi enables event photographers to quickly, and automatically, match customers to their photos.

Snapizzi Intro

Rather than the time consuming methods that you are currently using, Snapizzi is fully automated. All you have to do is simply photograph a specially coded business card before taking the photographs of your subjects and then give them the card. Afterward, just upload your images to your Zenfolio account and Snapizzi does the rest.

All your customers have to do to quickly find, and order, their images is enter the number from the card they Snapizzi_Testiomonialwere given on your beautifully designed and branded Zenfolio website.

Event photographers are constantly faced with the challenge of managing hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of images that can result from a single event. The continuous advancements in digital imaging technology only serve to increase the quality, and output, of today’s modern photographer.

As a result, it has become more challenging to keep up with the sheer number of images that a high-volume event photography business can produce. In addition to the costly hours of labor spent matching photos to customers, the workload bottleneck also results in lost sales due to the hours, or days, it now takes to make images available for purchase by your customers.

So, we set out to build a solution that solved these problems. Snapizzi_cardWe have been working on Snapizzi for the past year and have been testing it with a small group of photographers for the last couple of months. And today, we’re excited to share it with the world.

Our recent study revealed that it takes the average photographer 12 hours of labor to post an event for online sales that had 1,000 subjects, and resulted in 4,000 images to connect to their customers. The study also revealed the average photographer valued an hour of their time at $45. Resulting in a cost of $540 for post-production expenses.

How long would Snapizzi take to process the same amount of images? About 20 minutes.

And the cost to use Snapizzi? Just $39 — an average savings of $500!
 
Snapizzi eliminates the need for time-consuming manual matching and all that other not-so-fun post-production stuff. Snapizzi gives you back the time to focus on the other tasks that are important to the continued growth of your business.

If you value your time, Snapizzi is for you.

Core benefits of using Snapizzi:

  • Reclaim hundreds of hours of labor per year.
  • Reduced post production expenses.
  • Increased sales due to the faster posting of images.
  • Business cards market your company to all event participants.
  • Unmatched dedication to your success by our team of Customer Happiness Officers.
     

We think you’re going to love it! Give it a shot and let us know what you think.