SPAC 2024 Recap

We’ve just returned from the Super “SPAC” Bowl in Las Vegas; let me tell you, it was the best one yet! Our 23-strong team brought the thunder from Down Under to the desert city, leaving an Aussie-infused imprint on the conference.

Our mission was to champion our trinity of awesomeness: features, support, and customer marketing. We demonstrated this across two booths, our data-driven talk, photo opportunities, and, of course, our closing party on Saturday night. We had so much fun meeting new people and reuniting with old friends; it was a symphony of success stories!

Demo Booth Delight and Showcase Shenanigans

Our main demo booth was packed! Drawing in curious minds who wanted to learn more about our standout features, dedicated support, and strategic customer marketing. Our team enjoyed demonstrating our products and connecting with all who came to visit. And that yearbook booth? It was a success as attendees stunned us with their professional headshot skills and sporting celebration prowess!

Win Back the Non-Buyer

On Thursday, amongst all the other amazing education sessions, enter James Anderson and Tearah Fox, our dynamic duo of data-fueled strategy. Their presentation was nothing short of magical, turning numbers into narratives and offering actionable strategies for business success. As the cheers echoed through Sonoma (for both the data and James’ hair), attendees were left armed with knowledge and ready to execute their playbook in the business world.

Winners and Touchdown Poses

But the fun didn’t stop there! We threw a ripper of an Aussie-themed wrap-up suite party. The highlight? Our cash prize winners! The celebration was off the charts as we toasted success, and everyone’s touchdown poses were as legendary as a Steve Irwin adventure.

Adding New Players to the Roster

To top it off, we proudly showcased our team jerseys not just as a symbol of unity but as a declaration that teamwork makes the dream work! Joining our new mates from ImageQuix, Photolynx, and Skylab in the huddle, our squad was stronger than ever. The synergy was palpable, and the jerseys weren’t just fabric; they were a testament to the collaborative spirit that defines our new journey.

And so, as the SPAC curtain falls, we bask in the afterglow of success, a cocktail of Aussie flair and unwavering teamwork. Until next time, keep it SPAC-tacular, and remember, in the league of conferences, SPAC is the MVP.

Did you miss out on asking your burning questions? Want to know more about winning back the non-buyers? Or did you even miss out on registering for your SPAC photo gallery? Let us know! Click below to contact us or book a demo!

SPAC 2024

Buckle up; SPAC 2024 is right around the corner. Bring on the long nights, long days, and chapped desert lips. 

This SPAC, we’re on a mission to help you grow. Our fully automated workflow is geared to streamline operations, engage customers, and boost your revenue. Whether you want end-to-end automation or to fill in the missing parts of your workflow, we’ll meet your unique needs. 

This blog will take you through what we’ll be up to this SPAC. Let’s jump into the exciting talks, unforgettable parties, and new friends that await you.

Win Back the Non-Buyer

Join us on Thursday, January 25th, at 2:00pm for a talk that delves into the world of abandoned carts. Speakers James Anderson and Anne Badalamenti will share data and insights from multiple industries, unveiling proven strategies to win back the elusive non-buyer. Say goodbye to abandoned carts and hello to paid-in-full ones!

Let’s Party

After soaking up knowledge, it’s time to let your hair down on Saturday, January 27th, at 4:30pm. Dive into an AUS sports-themed party, where you can compete for cash prizes. Strike your best touchdown pose after getting your yearbook photo taken in the foyer. The competition winners will be announced at the Fotomerchant party. Let the games begin.

Fotomerchant, Where Studios Come to Grow

With many great solutions in the industry, choosing the best option is hard. Let us make it simple for you; with Fotomerchant, you’ll grow in these three ways:

With Fotomerchant, you’ll have more control. Automate to your heart’s content or retain control over specific workflow aspects – it’s your choice. With a refined API connection, tried and tested for reliability and security, Fotomerchant’s automated workflow is the key to your studio’s growth.

“We captured a lot more automation on Fotomerchant that made it so we could set our seasons up and set up our galleries with less people and handle our uploads with less people.” – Brendan Collopy

Fotomerchant covers all the bases, from automated face cropping to smart knockouts and intelligent pose technology. Our integration with Perfectly Clear and Skylab ensures automatic image enhancements for that perfect shot. Choose from a vast range of backgrounds to customize your studio’s look.

We don’t just send you to a knowledge base and say goodbye, we’ll help you navigate where you want to go. Providing ongoing support even after onboarding, we’re always around for a chat. We’re cool like that. 

“The people, you just can’t not like your crew. It’s real people. If you look at the group you’re working with; everything else falls in place.” – Matt Steckley

Our revamped onboarding process ensures a guided and supported journey for your studio. Partner with Fotomerchant, and you’ll have a dedicated support team, proactive in addressing pain points and working towards maximizing your studio’s potential.

Leverage data to grow your business with Fotomerchant. Win new school clients and convert non-buyers with our data-backed marketing. Our School Photography Industry Report provides insights to navigate industry changes. Encrypted and secure, your data is in safe hands with routine risk assessments to safeguard information.

Implement abandoned cart emails that work with Fotomerchant’s rigorous split testing. Our data-backed marketing, including seasonal and promotional campaigns, is constantly evolving.

The Future Is Bright: Fotomerchant x ImageQuix Partnership

Fotomerchant is teaming up with ImageQuix to bring you enhanced capabilities and stay at the forefront of innovation. This is not just a partnership; it’s a game-changer. More brains, better solutions – you get the drift.

What does this mean for you? Along with enhanced capabilities, you’ll be ahead of the curve. Together, Fotomerchant and ImageQuix are on a mission to keep things fresh and cutting-edge. Your evolving needs? Consider them met with the best solutions in the industry. Period. 

See You There!

That’s just scratching the surface of what we have in stall for you this SPAC. We can’t wait to catch up in person to reflect, plan, and, of course, joke around. 

Go on, come find us at SPAC 2024, and let’s grow together.

How We Work

Totally Remote. Totally Awesome.

The Fotomerchant team is all about good vibes. We are people who like people, and it’s important to us that we all respect each other and get along. We gravitate towards hiring people with these traits because we have a clear idea of who we are and who we want to be, not only with one another but with our customers and within the broader industry. 

Everyone in the Fotomerchant team works remotely, which means that we don’t have any shared office space; the majority of our team works from their homes. We love working this way because it allows us to have the best people possible without geographical restrictions. It also means that we can connect with our customers across a broad spectrum of time zones, an invaluable asset to our industry-leading support model.

But how do we manage this? There are some very specific challenges that a remote team has to navigate, and we have learned some important lessons along the way so that we continue to be better and faster, day by day.

Reach Out

We encourage our team to have as many video calls as they need. Struggling to work out a problem? Why not run through it with another team member? It’s everyone’s responsibility to fight against feeling isolated, though we understand this can be a tricky balance to navigate.

“Water cooler chatter” has an important place in an in-person office; fun small talk is crucial to developing a sense of community and connection. We have dedicated Slack channels for music & books, pets, and one dedicated to random silliness. Getting to know and share with the team is at everyone’s fingertips.

Use Good Tools

Slack

Communication is key. It is vital that we have a great way to connect to both the Fotomerchant team and our customers. Slack is a fantastic platform we use to organize, plan, connect, joke, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Sure, we’ll have Zoom meetings throughout the week, but Slack is the team’s central communication hub. There are full-staff, team-specific, project, and customer channels.

Venue

Venue is a terrific platform where we run our full-team Town Halls. There is an excellent range of interaction tools: polls, Q&A’s, breakout rooms, and randomized 1-1’s. This is only something we introduced to the team earlier this year, and we are still developing ways to maximize all the fun new toys it comes with; their support has been really helpful, and they are constantly adding new features. Definitely worth checking out!

Asana

Being a team that is so spread out means we have to collaborate proactively. Asana is a task management solution that works exceptionally well for our support, marketing, and Capture teams. Large multi-tiered projects and small support tasks: Asana helps us manage it all.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips for remote work from a staff handbook we are developing. It’s not yet been released, so this is a sneak peek just for you!

  • Don’t be afraid to take a break. Not one where you’re still checking your phone…a real one!
  • Get outside and move around. Sun is good (so is sunblock)! It helps the body and the mind; some Vitamin D works wonders! Plenty of seemingly immovable work problems have been solved during a walk around the block.
  • It can be nice to switch up your working environment occasionally, even if it’s still at home. This can look like a simple desk re-arrangement, making your workspace tidy or pleasant to be around, plants are proven to be particularly beneficial, or simply moving to a different part of your home.
Here are some of our own team’s setups.
 
  • Some basic routines to start your day and establish your workspace can go a long way. Some team suggestions include:
    – Enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee
    – Having a particular scented diffuser/candle for your office area
    – Listening to a certain playlist or genre during ‘heads down’ work sessions
  • Some of our team regularly use the Pomodoro method, especially when they have a full workload. This site is recommended.
  • InsightTimer has an extensive range of free guided and unguided meditations, reflections, and exercises. A healthy mind and a healthy body make for a healthy life.

So that’s a tiny glimpse of life with Fotomerchant; along with developing the best workflow solutions available on the market, we are committed to developing the best fully remote team experience worldwide. It’s an exciting goal and something I am thrilled to be part of helping build.

Don’t be a stranger; follow us on socials to stay in the Fotomerchant loop!

Season Wrap-Up

Wrapping Up the Season

As the season comes to a close, your Christmas gifts aren’t the only thing that needs wrapping up. Whether you’ve had an amazing season or faced unexpected challenges, we’d love your feedback. Here at Fotomerchant, we believe in embracing the power of reflection and data analysis to help you succeed. So, let’s dive into the end-of-season wrap-up and explore how we can help you excel in the coming seasons.

Reflect, Analyze, and Plan Ahead

First things first, we encourage you to take a step back and reflect on your goals and expectations for the past season. Did you set specific targets or aspirations? Maybe you aimed to increase your customer base, explore new promotional plans, or improve your client relationship. Whatever it was, now is the time to ask yourself: Have you exceeded your expectations, or perhaps you’ve faced some unforeseen challenges?

We understand that every season is a unique adventure, and sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. But that’s okay! Reflecting on your experiences is a crucial step in your studio’s journey. It allows you to learn and grow, helping you make better-informed decisions moving forward.

Unleash the Power of Data

Here at Fotomerchant, we’re all about data. That’s right! We believe that data can be a game-changer for your studio. We aim to turn your data into actionable insights, helping you make informed decisions that drive your business forward. So, let’s talk about one of the most powerful tools we offer: reports. 

Our powerful reporting area provides you with a wealth of information that can help you understand your business better than ever before. Here’s a taste of what it has to offer:

Most Popular Packages: 

Find out which photography packages were ordered the most during the season. This information can help you tailor your offerings to meet the demands of your clients.

Year-on-Year Comparisons: 

Worked with the same school for a while? Our reports can show you how your business has evolved over the years. This can help you identify trends and plan for future growth.

Digital vs. Print: 

Is your business more digital or print-oriented? Our reports can break down your sales by format, helping you make strategic decisions about your product offerings.

If you find anything interesting or surprising in your data, please let us know. We love hearing about your discoveries and are here to help you make the most of your insights. The possibilities are endless!

Now that you’re winding down for the season, why not curl up in front of the fire with a delightful blog? We’ve got the perfect one for you! Check out our blog detailing how to best use our reporting area. In it, we provide a deeper dive into the world of data analysis and how it can supercharge your business. 

Explore Our Knowledge Base

We encourage you to explore our Knowledge Base for even more information and guidance. It is a treasure trove of resources that can help you navigate the world of Fotomerchant. Whether you’re looking for tips on post-processing techniques or mastering the use of our platform, the Knowledge Base has you covered.

To embark on a tour of our Knowledge Base, please visit click here.

Onwards and Upwards

We take support seriously and always look for ways to improve. We will be reaching out to all of our customers with a survey so they have the opportunity to provide feedback. We want to hear about your future goals and the challenges of the season and have a general catch-up. Your favorite recipe from the Fall? Yum, let us know. 

Now, to get all soppy. As one season comes to a close, another one opens up with endless possibilities. It’s time to reflect, analyze, and plan ahead, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Let’s make the upcoming season even better and faster than ever before.

Onboarding with Fotomerchant

Welcome, Fotomerchants-in-Training

We know you’re itching to get started with our amazing platform, and today, we’re going to give you a sneak peek into the wonderful world of onboarding. 

We’ve been busy streamlining our onboarding to ensure you feel supported and productive throughout the whole process. Each year, we’ve been making improvements to our onboarding. Why? Because we want to make sure you have the smoothest journey possible. After all, we’re all in this together!

Onboarding: A Two-Way Street

Yep, onboarding is a bit like a tango; it takes two to make it work! We want to know all about you and your studio. The more we know, the better we can support you. We’ll leave no stone unturned to understand your needs, expectations, and quirks.

In case you haven’t noticed, we love a good laugh and camaraderie. Working with us is a hoot! So buckle up and get ready for some fun as we embark on this Fotomerchant adventure together.

We’re Your Partners

Fotomerchant is all about being your partner in crime. We don’t just hand you a ‘get started with Fotomerchant’ box and disappear. We’re here to guide you through the process and ensure you’re fulfilling solo confidently when the time comes. And guess what? The onboarding is just the beginning of our partnership!

Unraveling the Mysteries of Onboarding

Let’s dive into the onboarding guide, shall we? You’ll have your logo and our side by side because this is a partnership, my friends! Throughout the onboarding, you’ll be introduced to our stellar team and wowed by the wonders of our industry-leading conversational support model. Ever used Slack before? You’re in for a treat!

Our onboarding area includes many handy links for you to stay across all elements of your set-up, including extra information such as webinars, blogs, and case studies. Our knowledge base area is also easily accessible here, so you can read up on implementing some of our cool features. From here, you can easily navigate through the Fotomerchant universe!

With us, you can sleep easily. We’ve got your timeline covered, and you’ll have a clear understanding of your onboarding arc. We separate each component via product lines/genres in our new and improved onboarding process. No workflow is the same, so each onboard setup must differ. So, we split your onboarding into different genres or product lines. This allows us to accommodate for any nuances in each of your genre setups. We’re flexible like that!

We believe in transparency all the way! You’ll always know exactly what’s happening, who’s doing what, and when it’ll all be ready. You’ll be able to track our progress, see due dates, and where the roadblocks are. Some of these due dates will be for us, others for you. Nevertheless, you can rest assured you will always feel in the loop of your onboarding journey.

Ask Away

If you have any questions or suggestions after this blog, just message us. We’re all ears and eager to make this process even better for you! To experience a more in-depth guide to this new onboarding system, take a look at our recent webinar. Peter Koop and Tearah Fox will show you the ropes alongside some classic Australian/Canadian banter. 

Well, that’s all for now. Until next time!

SPOA 2023 Recap

What a Ride!

We’re back from the SPOA conference, and boy, was it a blast! This was the second SPOA conference ever, and it did not disappoint! Held in the beautiful – but oh so humid – Greenville, South Carolina, our team traveled from around the world to gather and see old friends and make new ones. Follow this blog to learn more about the SPOA organization and our partnership.

Now, sit back and relax as we dive into this exciting recap.

Training Session: Picture Day to Sale in Minutes with Fotomerchant

Our training session on July 11th was a big hit! Peter Koop, our friendly Canadian expert, took center stage and showed everyone how Fotomerchant can take you from picture day to sale in mere minutes. The room was buzzing with excitement as attendees learned handy tips to streamline their workflow. This friendly Canadian really knows his stuff!

Parent and School Findings Talks

On July 12th, James Anderson and Luke Calo took to the stage and dropped some serious data-informed knowledge bombs during their talks on the Industry Report. With one discussion focused on the parent data and the other on schools, no stone was left unturned. They revealed fascinating data on parent buying habits and educator opinions. We hope you all enjoyed seeing behind the curtain with us!

General Report Talk: The Scoop on the 2023 Industry Report

Hold onto your hats, folks, because the general report talk on July 13th was a whirlwind of information! James Anderson and Luke Calo gave us a high-level overview of the 2023 industry report and explained how data can revolutionize your studio. Plus, they spilled the beans on how we’re updating the report in the future. 

Welcome Party: Southern-Style Fun

Now, let’s talk about the highlight of the conference, the Welcome Party! It was a Southern-style extravaganza in Studio 220 @ NOMA. With ice-cold drinks and a bluegrass band that had everyone’s toes tapping, the atmosphere was electric! We couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off the conference. A massive shoutout to our partners, SPOA, for helping us host this unforgettable soirée!

The Better than Half Price Sale

Oh, you thought the fun was over? Not a chance! Our Better-Than-Half-Price Sale on Portal had everyone rushing to get their hands on this incredible deal. Existing customers could snag a Portal license per school for only $49 (usually priced at $99). Click here to learn more about Portal.

Missed out? I have great news; this promotion is available until the end of July. You don’t have much time left, so get in contact now to claim this offer!

Our Tools to Revolutionize Your Workflow

During the conference, we showcased some of our top-notch products that’ll transform your workflow for the better:

Capture

Our Capture product, with its lightning-fast transfer speeds and data security, had everyone swooning.

Say goodbye to uploading woes and hello to stress-free photo management!

Template Builder

We aren’t stopping there! Our new Template Builder product stole the show with its flexibility and versatility. 

From ID cards to proof sheets, all your design needs are covered. It’s like having a personal design genie at your fingertips!

Portal

Let’s not forget about our new Portal solution. It’s the gateway to your schools, granting them the freedom to manage, search, and report on their students. 

Happy school, happy studio, right?

Lab Bridge

Last but not least, our Lab Bridge (DP2 connection) makes integrations with labs a breeze. 

No extra workflow steps, no headaches. Your labs will be thanking you for choosing Fotomerchant!

Wrapping Up

Well, folks, that’s a wrap on our SPOA ’23 conference recap! We hope you enjoyed our SPOA journey. We want to give a big shoutout to everyone who attended, our fantastic speakers, and of course, the team at SPOA for putting on a stellar event.

Until we meet again, keep capturing those special moments!

SPOA 2023 Teaser

SPOA 2023 is almost here, and we’re getting giddy. Dotting all our i’s and crossing all our t’s, we’ve been preparing a SPOA filled with Fotomerchant awe and excitement. Take a look through this blog to learn more about what to expect and the significance of the conference. Keep an eye out for our emails and social content we’re pushing out over this period to stay up to date.

What is SPOA?

SPOA, also known as the School Photographers of America, is an organization established to educate, advocate, and preserve the great traditions of school photography.

Although this conference is relatively new, the SPOA organization is steeped in industry history. Created in the 1950s as an organization called AASP, the American Association of Professional School Photographers, SPOA, has become an integral part of the industry. In March 2020, SPOA was officially formed during the COVID-19 pandemic when most of the US closed down schools. Since then, SPOA has continually worked towards creating supportive legislation for the industry in each state, aiming to ensure this industry is here for generations.

This is where Fotomerchant and SPOA unite, as we both work to preserve and innovate the school photography industry.

Fotomerchant and SPOA

We’re proud to say we’re strategic partners with this great bunch of people. Our relationship, although new, is already changing the shape of the industry for the better. One of our first collaborations involved the creation of the school photography industry report that many of you are already aware of. Our 2022 report was a smashing success as we set an excellent baseline for future reporting on this industry. I’ll go into more detail about this report further down this blog.

In a nutshell, we work well together. With help from SPOA regarding insights on current industry issues and pain points, we can help you grow through a workflow solution that works for your specific needs. We understand not one size fits all. Use us in an end-to-end capacity, or slot us into the missing parts of your workflow. Your workflow should do the work for you, not vice versa.

The SPOA Conference 

After coming together last year for the first inaugural SPOA conference in Houston, TX, we’re pumped for round two. This year’s SPOA conference is set in thriving Greenville, SC. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, sit back, and learn how to streamline your business while taking in breathtaking views. Tempting right? This conference will be a delight for all the senses! Attendance has tripled since last year, so this SPOA will be busier than ever.

What separates SPOA from other conferences? The quality of talks, expert speakers, and opportunities to network are genuinely industry-leading. This cream-of-the-crop conference is associated with great events to sink your teeth into. Bigger and better than ever, this year, SPOA will occupy a whole hotel. No matter where you are or who you chat with in the elevator, everyone will have a connection to the industry. Amazing!

Where will we be? We’ll be spread across the conference, but if you want to pin us down, you can find our booth across from the presentation rooms. Or book a private demo with our team if you want to escape the hustle and bustle. We have a great demo suite where we can provide end-to-end demos fitted to your studio workflow. We’re flexible that way!

Welcome Party

So here’s what I learned…Australians know how to party.” – David Crandall

Well, you heard him. This isn’t a party to be missed. We’re co-hosting the SPOA Welcome Party on July 11th from 7:00-10:00pm. Find us in Studio 220 at NOMA. This welcome reception is open to absolutely everyone, that means you! This is an excellent opportunity for us to come together and celebrate the start of the second SPOA conference in style.

This year’s party will be paying homage to our new home for the duration of the conference. We’ll celebrate in southern style, tapping our foot to Charleston’s bluegrass band, New Ghost Town. Come on down to grab a drink and make some valuable new connections. We’ll see you there!

Fotomerchant Talks

Our collaboration with SPOA for this illuminating report is making waves in the industry. We have some juicy new data bits for you to digest this year. Data nerds James Anderson and Luke Calo are excited to show you what we’ve discovered. As a data-driven organization, our School Photography Industry Report is here to help grow your studio. We believe that you can only make educated and informed decisions by understanding your customers and clients through data. Always wondered what parents and schools want? Here’s your chance to find out.

With the addition of yearbooks and new questions, our report is even better this year. Let us fill you in on some of our discoveries.

July 12th

On Wednesday, we’ll host two parent and school insights talks. This year’s report captured a lot of data surrounding parents and schools. In these talks, we’ll unpack what parents and schools are looking for in terms of quality, price, and product type. See how your studio fits within this data and address areas you may need to re-align your strategy.

Industry Report: Parent Findings
10:30-11:30am
Location: Redbud Room

Industry Report: School Findings
1:30-2:30pm
Location: Redbud Room

July 13th

On Thursday, we’ll do a high-level explanation of our SPOA partnership and how the 2023 School Photography Industry Report improved since last year. We’ll reveal super exciting insights that we uncovered and plans for the future. This won’t be one to be missed!

Industry Report Review
1:50-2:10pm
Location: Regency Ballroom (Exhibit Hall)

Onwards and Upwards, the Future of SPOA

From this year forward, SPOA will always be the last week of June. Some years you may see this conference pop up in Las Vegas, and other years in New Orleans, Nashville, or Louisville. This gives people across the country different opportunities to save money in the years the conference is closer to your neck of the woods. Where will the 2024 SPOA be hosted, you may ask? Well, you’ll have to attend SPOA 2023 to find that out.

To hear more about the upcoming conference from SPOA’s very own David Crandall, tune into our webinar hosted by Peter Koop and James Anderson. Click here to register for this webinar.

It’s getting close, pack your bags and join us for a week of stimulating talks, transformative workflow revelations, and, of course, lots of laughter. We’ll see y’all very soon!

Before I go, I’ll leave you with some out-of-this-world pictures from last year. Enjoy.

2022 Recap

As the world returned to normality, business began again as usual… but we didn’t. Committed to pushing forward through innovation, our 2022 was a year like no other. As our team grew, we churned out new features, upped our marketing presence, and finessed our support model. Our commitment to being thought leaders in the industry also came to fruition this year with our School Photography Industry Report. This year was full of new beginnings, from new conferences to illuminating webinars. So let’s take a look at Fotomerchant’s 2022.

Team Expansion

Our relatively small team grew exponentially this year. After two company acquisitions (in 2021) and many hires later, we have over doubled in size. The more, the merrier, we say! With a more significant presence and more products than ever before, we are looking to expand further to keep up. The two companies we acquired were Simplephoto and Elementice. Many of the original teams from these companies are still with us, so this year the main focus was pulling together to build one united Fotomerchant team. We are pretty chuffed with how it has gone. As 2022 comes to a close, I can confidently say that we are all working towards the same goal, and it feels amazing.

We have all bonded over our love for pranks. We especially love pranks that make the CEO confused as to why everyone else is upside down. :wink:

Leadership Summit

2022 marked a year of putting plans into action for us. We have always had big dreams, and this year many came to fruition mainly because of our team size expansion. More hands on deck always make a difference.

The first-ever leadership summit occurred this year. Leaders from all departments: sales, development, customer support, marketing, etc., gathered in sunny Byron Bay. We had some of our US team leaders fly over as well, which was exciting. Each team leader presented past achievements, past failures (we’re all human, after all), and future direction plans. This was hugely successful as many new connections between problems were found through inter-departmental solutions. After the leadership summit, the rest of the team was presented with the findings of the summit and the new direction that developed. This meeting of minds kick-started our current approach, which we feel super clear in.

New Features That Excite Us

Choosing just a handful of features to highlight in this recap was more challenging than expected. Why? There were so many dang good ones! The developers sure were busy this year. Below I’ve linked a few crowd favorites. Click the header to view our knowledge base documentation on the feature.

Bulk Subject Editing

This is a new feature in Studio that packs a punch. All your data correction dreams have come true with this release. You can now edit all the subject data for a session in bulk; no more individual subject editing. Say hello to a streamlined workflow. While bulk editing, you can perform various actions to update or manipulate the data.

Auto Cropping Orders to Direct Fulfillment Labs

For those using a direct fulfillment lab, you can turn on auto-cropping. This allows Studios to opt-in for images to be automatically cropped by the system to match the aspect ratio of the ordered product. Automation is the way of the future, so jump on board and optimize your workflow.

Paper Order Imports

Need a solution for fulfilling paper orders? We heard you. You can now upload a data file to Studio and have it send the orders directly to your integrated lab with your online orders. There is a small wholesale charge for using this feature, so contact your support team on Slack for more information.

Conferences We Attended

With our team size growing this year, we had more opportunities to spread our wings and attend new conferences.

SPAC 2022

The usual suspect, SPAC 2022, was a great success. With our presence being the largest yet, we made a splash. We had a new look this year, our marketing team had been hard at work, and it sure paid off. We looked amazing!

Our end-to-end workflow solution was our main talking point this year. We wanted to demonstrate how you can use us in an end-to-end capacity or slot us into the missing parts of your workflow.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Backgrounds Masterclass with 36Pix

  • School Photography Industry Report 2022 – Interim Results

  • Growing as a Volume Studio with Strawbridge

  • Live Case Study with Prime Sports

  • Australia Day Party

Oh, and how could I forget! The winner of our trip to Australia competition. Congratulations, Greg Chatmon. We can’t wait to see you down under in 2023!

SPOA 2022

This was a new conference for us, and boy oh boy, was it great! SPOA, aka School Photographers of America, was held in Houston, Texas. A small but mighty team attended this conference. This was a successful trip for us, and we can’t wait to see how the same event turns out next year.

As you can see from the images below, our out-of-this-world space party was a smashing success.

School Photography Industry Report

We’re all self-proclaimed data nerds, so the School Photography Industry Report was a significant achievement for us this year. This report was a joint initiative between Fotomerchant and School Photographers of America (SPOA). We believe that if we can progress the industry with knowledge, we all grow together. Our big focus is providing studios with data they can use to make educated decisions. Why don’t you take a look for yourself? Download the report and prepare to have your mind blown.

Want some more information about the report? Read this blog to learn more.

Webinars

We rolled out our webinars with full force this year. Providing content for the industry of value is paramount to us; you also got to see some of our very handsome/beautiful faces. Now that’s what I call a win-win. Here are some of your favorite webinars:

Our very own Christian Perry gave us a wonderful webinar this year. Filled with Texan charm and illuminating industry knowledge, we recommend you give this one a listen. On-ground knowledge is something we take very seriously here at Fotomerchant. Christian allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of what matters and the pressing issues in the industry. By knowing what works and what needs improvement, we can streamline your workflow with precision and evidence.

After partnering with the good folk at 36Pix, we celebrated with a webinar. Some people celebrate with champagne, while others opt for an invigorating webinar, know your poison, I guess? Our industry report results illuminated the importance of backgrounds. Your customers want good, premium backgrounds! The people at 36 Pix understand this, so we decided to chat about it. We caught up with Robert Ste-Marie, founder & president of 36Pix, to discuss some of the challenges studios have faced when using backgrounds and how we can alleviate some of these issues. Give this webinar a listen to peep into the future of background use in shopping carts.

We are committed to providing an end-to-end solution that you can easily slot into your workflow. Preorder automation was a missing piece of the puzzle we are delighted to have resolved. No more preorder handling via other systems if you use one of our direct fulfillment labs. Preorders can now utilize subject matching for smart-automated image populations and direct fulfillment to our integrated labs. This webinar will run you through the advanced auto-order population system. We have you covered, from automated identification of pose selections to tag rules like sibling or buddy photos.

Blogs

We ramped up our blog post-production on our mission to provide great value content. Here are some of our popular 2022 blogs, go on, take a look!

This was one of our most outstanding achievements this year for our business and the industry in general. We see data worth much of its weight in gold, and we think you should too. Our industry report provided brilliant data that both surprised and reaffirmed our guesses. This blog introduced some results we pulled out of the survey, but I recommend you also take a look at the final report I linked above.

Make marketing pain-free with templated session templates. Rest easy with our new capabilities to trigger marketing campaigns via stages in your sessions. Take a look at this blog to learn how to set up marketing at the start of the season and alleviate promotional stress.

This feature made a splash in 2022. Allowing customers to opt into your marketing so you don’t need to rely on clients to provide emails is essential. Our opt-in feature collects information in a user-friendly form that will help you match your images to customers and, in turn, collect those sweet customer emails. Sound interesting? Read through this blog and reach out to your friendly Fotomerchant human to learn how to implement this feature.

Awww

We want to end on a sentimental note. Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout the past year; you know who you are. We hold all the industry relationships we have established close to our hearts and love the space we work in. Y’all are a good bunch. Speaking of good eggs, I’d like to express how lovely this team is to be a part of. We work in an amazing community that becomes strengthened by the day.

SPAC: Looking Back

As SPAC 2023 looms, we are feeling nostalgic. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and look at SPAC times gone by.

SPAC History Lesson

SPAC? If you haven’t had the privilege of attending this event, let me run you through it. SPAC, otherwise known as School and Sports Photographers Association of California, is a nonprofit volunteer organization that annually holds a conference in Las Vegas. I’m not just telling you this information for trivia night points; SPAC and Fotomerchant have an intertwined past. We honestly would not be where we are without SPAC.

In 1956, SPAC began with a small group of photographers from California meeting in Vegas to network and socialize. Since these humble beginnings, SPAC now welcomes photographers, studios, eCommerce providers, printing labs, and many more. SPAC currently serves as the acronym for School Photographers Annual Conference. This shows that SPAC now serves the needs of all school photographers in the US, not just California. Traveling from all corners of the country to gather, SPAC has genuinely become something with intangible value.

Fotomerchant & SPAC’s History

2016

We go way back. It all started in January 2016. We were doing some market research and became interested in the high-volume industry. On a reconnaissance mission, we tried to gather as much information as possible from this event. Turning up to this event as attendees, our CTO Derek Clapham and lead developer Gabriel Moreira had their eyes opened to the potential for innovation and growth in the school photography industry. 

It was truly illuminating. That’s not all that happened this year; more importantly, new friendships were forged that laid the foundation for many SPACs to come.

2017

Fast forward to 2017, and we were rocking up with our very first booth. Well, almost a booth. More like a trestle table. We all have to start somewhere. A small yet successful affair, we learned a lot from this year. You would have seen an early version of commerce if you had caught us at SPAC during this time. We also picked up our first large customer, so it was a successful mission all around.

This year also marked the first of Derek’s talks. The room was packed with around 220 people.

2018

This was the year things began to pick up for us. We had our very own booth with a snazzy backdrop to match. Four of us attended, pumped to show off our commerce solution with new expanded functionality.

2019

In 2019 we were given the opportunity to occupy a double booth set up. Our presence was growing, and with this, our Australia day party was born. With almost double the team members from 2018 now here to help out, we got to work providing a fantastic party in one of the hotel suites.

2020

This year marked a turning point for us. Our team had gained in size and had an impressive new booth set up. With a large-scale backdrop, we were making a statement, and it worked. Attracting many new faces, we spent most of our conference giving demo, after demo, after demo.

Derek gave a presentation to a room packed like sardines. The buzz generated in this room was electric as people stood outside the door to get a glimpse of our new capture device. We were making some serious innovative movements with a new hardware workflow solution.

This was the second Australia day party we hosted. In the suite, the party was a raging success. Party-goers posed for photos and had their backgrounds knocked out.

2021

You might be thinking 2021? I don’t remember that SPAC. Well, there is a good reason for that. This was the first ever virtual SPAC conference, meaning two things for us. One, we saved a lot of money on airfares, and two, very late nights. We transformed our Sydney office space into a demo recording studio and got to work.

Our usual Australia day party also became virtual. Hosted in our CEO’s house, we gathered for a day of BBQ’ing, pie making, and poorly timed jokes due to zoom lags.

We also held our first-ever competition this year. The mission? Provide us with the most creative use of our background knockout feature. The prize? Win a trip down under! We had some amazing entries come through, and then we had a challenging task ahead of choosing a winner.

The winner ended up being Dennis Vargas! Enjoy his entry. We know we did.

2022

Our presence this year was the largest yet. Joining forces with the Simplephoto team, we had quite a large crew. Last year we also rocked up to SPAC with our new branding. Our booth has never looked better, thanks to the hard efforts of the new marketing team. We have come a long way since our 2017 setup of a trestle table and two laptops!

We presented our end-to-end workflow solution this year. We wanted to show attendees we have you covered, right from snapping the photograph to a customer placing their order. This mission remains unchanged; use us in an end-to-end capacity or slot us into the missing parts of your workflow. We work the way you work!

We had some invigorating conversations during our presentations in 2022. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Backgrounds Masterclass with 36Pix

  • School Photography Industry Report 2022 – Interim Results

  • Growing as a Volume Studio with Strawbridge

  • Live Case Study with Prime Sports

Our Australia day party was also a smashing success. With a bunch of new team members, this was an excellent way to get to know each other.

As we did the preceding year, we hosted our Win a Trip to Australia competition again. This year’s competition involved attendees creating their boarding passes and answering a simple question; how would you make a kangaroo better and faster? A simple but complex question, we received some very interesting answers.

Greg Chatmon from Southern Images reigned supreme in 2022 as he won the trip. Here was his entry…Looking forward to seeing you soon, Greg!

Bring On 2023

We can’t wait to see what this upcoming SPAC brings us. As usual, we suspect long nights and lots of amazing new friendships.

We want to round up this blog with a message to SPAC.  Thank you.

Thank you for all you have done for us over these years. Since our first 2016 SPAC experience, we have felt immensely supported by the great people who make up the SPAC committee. As we strive to innovate the industry, problem-solving with the newest technology available, SPAC has been there. Always providing fantastic feedback and support, we couldn’t imagine this industry without you guys and gals!

Now that we have felt all the feels, I have a message for you, reader. 2023. SPAC. Be there or be square. 

Our team will attempt to get all the shut-eye we can on our flights in preparation for any burning questions you have. So come ready. We know we are. 

See you real soon!