Scaling Your Photography Business in 2019March 26th, 2019
Having sales flood in can be a great feeling for any photographers, but the path to growing your photography business comes with it’s growing pains. The more sales you get, the more complex your system and workflow gets. Our job is to help streamline your workflow so that as your photography business grows, you can focus on shooting beautiful photos. With our easy to use photo selling tools, you can easily power up your sales engine. We reached out to one of our Zenfolio customers, Mike Oliver of Oliver Photography, to pick his brain on how using Zenfolio helped scale his photography business from $5K to $80,000 in one year!
Tell us about your business.
Our studio, Oliver Photography, has been in business since 1996. We’re located in Louisville, Colorado, and specialize in school, sports, and portrait photography. We photograph more than 150 clients per year, and our year-over-year sales were outstanding. We went from generating $2k – $5k in sales pre-2016 to $80,000 in 2017—a 1500% increase!
How did you achieve this growth?
We’ve been using Zenfolio for our client proofing and e-commerce for years, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2016 that we eliminated paper order forms and took our school and sports business completely online.
Using paper order forms was a clunky, painful process. We would bring the forms to the school office. Next, the office took them to the homeroom teachers, and the teachers passed them out to students. Then the students gave the forms to their parents who filled them out and gave them back to the students. Finally, the students brought the completed forms back to school where we would collect them. A lot can get lost in that process.
With online ordering, we don’t have to worry about late forms or bounced checks. Plus, it’s a great convenience for our clients. If a customer calls, we can easily see who has placed an order and what specific package and products they purchased.
Any challenges along the way?
Our biggest issues involved the backend work with teams and schools. It was overwhelming to manage that many schools, students, teams, and images. Since using Zenfolio we’ve been able to continually streamline our process, creating less work and saving us time.
Do you have an example of how Zenfolio saved you time?
We recently photographed an Army ROTC event and used zero offline processes. The only data we collected was each attendee’s email address. That same night we were able to post all the images to Zenfolio and email a gallery link to each person. The email template in Zenfolio is customizable, so we were able to communicate that they had 24 hours to place an order. It was just brainless getting the word out. Once folks could see their photos it was easy for them to choose products and check out.
We were amazed to see that our sales from that event tripled from the previous year. I think the immediate availability of the photos, plus the limited time to order created a lot of excitement and made a huge difference to our sales.