Blueprint Migration: Real Talk

Real stories from real users

As our unified team pools our efforts to build a bigger and better Blueprint, we’re migrating Fotomerchant and Simplephoto users over to the new platform. Whether you are a customer migrating to Blueprint or not, this blog has something for you.

Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with Megan Schain, co-owner of Cohen and Park Studios in Newport, Oregon, about her journey from migrating from Fotomerchant to ImageQuix. From embracing change to constantly optimizing your workflow, Megan had some great insights for us.

"I'm so happy you're coming together because there are so many features I love about both...I'm really excited."

To watch the full interview, click here. For now, sit back and enjoy a quick overview of Megan’s conversation with Lucy Richards, our Product Marketing Manager.

Embracing Change

Megan’s digital journey began years ago with PhotoLynx, and since then, she’s experienced several platform changes, from Simplephoto to Fotomerchant and now Blueprint. Reflecting on her journey, she shared, “I’ve kind of made this big circle back to the CamLynx [PhotoLynx] people, and I’m really excited about all the new stuff that’s happening.”

Navigating these changes hasn’t always been easy, but Megan has learned to embrace them. “My mantra has been embracing change,” she said. “I just learn more and more about myself and what other people are doing for me each time I do this.”

Benefits of Platform Transitions

Moving across platforms has significantly benefited Megan, especially in understanding the relationship between images and data. “As long as that information is the same, then everything will work,” she noted.

This understanding deepened during the pandemic as Megan began to take over ownership of this process from her lab. 

“So I figured it out. And now going into Blueprint, I have a way better understanding of how it all works and a real clear picture of what I need to do and the steps I need to do.”

Like any transition, moving platforms presented challenges. “Learning anything new, especially when you’re a bit older, is somewhat daunting,” Megan admitted. However, her determination to embrace change and the support of the ImageQuix/Fotomerchant team has always pushed her forward. “I love the fact that you’re always there to help us. There’s no way I could have ever survived my transition without the support of your team.”


Exciting New Features with Blueprint

One of the features Megan is most excited about with Blueprint is the ability for customers to place orders from different schools or sports in one transaction. “That’s been my biggest pain point the last three and a half years,” she explained. “I think it’ll increase my sales because I really want to push that point.”

She also mentioned the intuitive and user-friendly shopping cart functionality, which she believes will benefit her customers. “It’s very user-friendly and easy to navigate,” she said. “I think that’ll be good for my customers too.”

We’re here to help

Throughout her conversation with Lucy, Megan emphasized the importance of collaboration and support. “The support team is your best friend,” she stated. “They are the ones you can count on when your blood pressure gets high, and they’ll say, ‘Let’s calm down, and we’ll get it worked out.’”

Meeting other photographers and collaborating with them has also been invaluable for Megan. “We can collaborate on what helped and what didn’t, and we all want success for each other,” she said. “It’s really refreshing to see that in our industry.”

Looking Forward

As Megan continues her journey with Blueprint, she’s optimistic about the future. “I’m looking forward to this new season,” she shared. “Change is good. It’s kept everything fresh, allowed me to collaborate, learn new things, and increase my business.”

We’re incredibly grateful for Megan’s insights and her willingness to share her journey. If you’re considering migrating to Blueprint, remember that change brings growth and new opportunities. As Megan’s experience shows, with the right support and a positive mindset, you can navigate any transition successfully.

Ready to make a change for the better? Reach out to our team at


MVP: Your go-to place for industry knowledge.

Join us this June 17th—19th

If you haven’t heard the exciting news, Fotomerchant has recently been acquired by ImageQuix. This partnership opens up a world of opportunities for Fotomerchant users. But that’s not all—we’ve got even more excitement in store for you. 

Get ready to mark your calendars because the MVP conference is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever!

The Best Deal in Vegas

Clear your schedules because we’re heading to none other than the iconic Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV!

Go all in and purchase your MVP tickets + three nights’ accommodation for only $300. Act now; this offer ends on May 17th.

Make sure to book your stay for June 16th – June 20th, 2024. Accommodation is limited, so you’ll want to act fast to secure your spot.

Easily reserve your room by clicking here and entering the code: GSMVP24

Now you’ve booked your hotel, it’s time to get your tickets. 

What Exactly is MVP, Anyway?

For those who might be new to the event, let’s break it down. The Mastering Volume Photography (MVP) conference has been the go-to industry education and innovation event for the past 16 years. It’s where photography studios come together to learn about the latest trends, technologies, and strategies shaping the future of high volume photography.

From insightful panel discussions to hands-on workshops, MVP offers a treasure trove of valuable content that will grow your studio. 

Why Should I Go to MVP?

In light of the recent announcement of the platform decision to move to Blueprint, we understand you’ll have a bunch of questions. We hear you.

How can Blueprint accommodate my workflow? Blueprint won’t just accommodate your current workflow, with the influx of new features from Simplephoto and Fotomerchant, Blueprint is geared to greatly improve your workflow. That’s why MVP is a great place to learn how to best leverage the new workflow features you can now access. 

The beauty of MVP is that it’s open to everyone. Whether you’re a Fotomerchant customer excited about new feature opportunities Blueprint brings, or wanting to gauge emerging industry trends, there’s something for everyone at MVP. 

What's on the Agenda at MVP?

With so much to see at MVP, you’ll have plenty to soak in. Here are some sessions/panels we are especially looking forward to:

Blueprint: The Future of High Volume

Join us for an exclusive panel discussion hosted by industry experts Tim McCain, Christopher Marks, and more as they unveil exciting developments on the horizon. If you’re eager to glimpse what’s coming up in Blueprint’s future, this session is not to be missed.

Here’s How to Leverage AI

Curious about the power of AI in studio workflows? Take advantage of this session featuring Skylab’s TJ Rak, who will share invaluable insights into the world of machine learning and how it’s revolutionizing the industry. 

We Take Your Data Security Seriously

In an era when data security is more important than ever, join ImageQuix’s Christopher Marks as he discusses the latest security procedures and strategies to keep your studio safe from breaches. From S0C2 regulations to federal mandates, this session covers it all.

Why You Need to Offer Yearbooks

Still on the fence about offering yearbooks to your schools? Let us convince you otherwise. 

Join us as we reveal the secrets to becoming your school’s go-to yearbook provider, with powerful features and capabilities in Blueprint that make it easier than ever to access this lucrative market.


That’s just scratching the surface of what MVP has prepared. To see a more in-depth look at the agenda, click here

Secure Your Spot at MVP Today.

We’ll see ya’ll in Vegas!

Don’t wait—secure your spot at MVP today and take advantage of our early bird pricing before it’s too late! Click the button below to buy your tickets now.

Winning Back the Non-Buyer

How consumers purchase is shifting on a global scale. Although the high-volume industry is steeped in tradition, it’s undeniable that the tide is also changing here. How can you keep up?

Understanding and leveraging data is the key to thriving in today’s market. Strategic decision-making driven by insightful data analysis is crucial to stay competitive and be dynamic. In this blog, we’ll explore various aspects of data utilization, from industry insights to abandoned cart campaigns, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to elevate your studio to new heights.

Ready to soar? Let’s go.

Knowledge sharing is where it's at

The first step in harnessing the power of data is tapping into industry insights. As studio owners, you’re fortunate to be part of a vibrant community that offers invaluable resources and opportunities for learning. Use these connections. Platforms like Facebook host numerous groups tailored for studio owners, where discussions abound on industry trends, challenges, and best practices. Engaging in these communities fosters a culture of collaboration, enabling you to gain insights from peers, share experiences, and stay on top of the latest developments.

You expand your knowledge and contribute to the industry’s collective growth by actively participating in these forums. Sharing is caring.

Industry insights

Shameless plug incoming: If you’re not already, you should really be utilizing our School Photography Industry Report (made in conjunction with SPOA). Our industry report provides insights into market trends, consumer preferences, and emerging opportunities. By leveraging industry insights, you can better understand your target audience, refine your offerings, and pivot your studio for success in a rapidly evolving landscape. How’s that for a step up?

Here are some key takeaways from last year's report:

1. Price, quality, and variety are still trending as important factors in meeting customer expectations.

2. Customization and convenience are pivotal factors in customer satisfaction and increasing perceived value.

3. Alternate payment methods are becoming expected by customers.

To see some of the data that backs up those takeaways, view the report here.

What are they thinking?

The age-old question is: What do customers really want? Consumer behavior is constantly evolving, driven by technological advancements and shifting expectations. Today’s consumers crave convenience, immediacy, and personalized experiences. As studio owners, it’s up to you to adapt to these changing preferences and embrace new engagement methods.

Take the evolution of purchasing patterns, for example: once customers were content to wait days for delivery, they now expect expedited shipping and seamless transactions. Put short, they want it yesterday. The rise of e-commerce giants like Amazon has accustomed us to instant gratification, with same-day or next-day delivery becoming the norm. This expectation shift has permeated other aspects of our lives, including the products and services customers purchase from photography studios.

Optimizing abandoned cart campaigns

One area where data can yield significant returns is in the humble yet powerful abandoned cart campaigns. With the right approach, abandoned cart campaigns can become a cornerstone of your studio’s marketing strategy.

An abandoned cart represents a missed opportunity but also a chance to reengage and convert hesitant customers. By leveraging data analytics, you can gain insights into the reasons behind cart abandonment and tailor your strategies accordingly. For example, if price sensitivity emerges as a common deterrent, offering targeted discounts or incentives may help recapture lost sales.

What have we discovered? Great question. Through A/B testing, we found that implementing a multi-stage email sequence can further nurture leads and drive conversions. By following up on an initial abandoned cart email with three carefully timed reminder emails, we found customers were more likely to convert.

Data is your compass

Navigate the complexities of the modern marketplace with data. By tapping into industry insights, embracing evolving consumer behavior, and leveraging technology to optimize campaigns, you can unlock new avenues for growth. As you embark on this journey, remember that the data is your compass, guiding you toward a future brimming with possibility.

That’s just skimming the surface of how data can transform your studio. Watch this webinar to hear James Anderson and Lucy Richards unpack this further.

Happy data hunting

Put Your Emails to Work

We'll Revolutionize Your Marketing Strategy

You know how it goes, seasons come and seasons go, but one thing remains the same, parents cherish their children. Now, that’s sweet, isn’t it? Seasons bring unique opportunities for photography studios, but tapping into them effectively requires strategic marketing.

Woah woah. Before we continue any further, you should read part one of the email marketing series. Bradford Cook is the brains behind Fotomerchant’s slick visual identity. In part 1 of this blog series, he gives you golden tips on email design. Click here to read that first.

So, you’ve nailed down the art of email design thanks to Brad, we can continue. Let’s dive deeper into how you can leverage our seasonal marketing to grow your studio’s revenue. Ready, set… grow!

Our Tailored Approach

At Fotomerchant, we recognize that one size does not fit all when it comes to seasonal marketing. That’s why our approach is all about customization and optimization. We’re not just talking about sending out pretty emails (though we’re pretty good at that too). We’re talking about delving into the intricacies – the type of promotional holiday, the offerings, the subject lines – to ensure your campaigns resonate with your target audience.

Marketing Made Easy

Through meticulous testing and carefully curated campaigns, we continue to uncover winning formulas to drive sales. Our data-informed strategies are sure to create a surge in customer engagement and conversions, propelling your studio to new heights. 

The best part of this? You don’t have to lift a finger. Our customer success team will reach out to you pre-season to lock in which campaigns you’re opting into. Then, before the email is sent, we’ll reach out again to confirm. All in-cart offers and coupons will be set up ahead of time so all you need to do is sit back and relax. 

Our Findings

We’re all about data-backed strategies that grab those fence-sitters and turn them into loyal customers. How? Through regular split tests and meticulous analysis, we’ve uncovered some fascinating insights from our 2024 seasonal campaign data that can supercharge your marketing strategy.

First off, let’s talk about everyone’s favorite word: free. Customers prefer free shipping or a free item over a percentage discount. Surprising, right? But when you think about it, it makes sense. The concept of free shipping not only reduces friction in the purchasing process but also can strengthen your brand image. After all, businesses that don’t charge for delivery demonstrate an understanding of their customers’ pain points and a willingness to address them.

Here’s another eye-opener, the most common cause of cart abandonment is extra charges at checkout, particularly shipping costs. By offering free shipping or a free item, you’re not only delighting your customers but also mitigating the risk of abandoned carts. Now that’s a win-win.

Want to scoop up extra sales with a promotional offer? You first need to get customers to open the email. Here’s where the importance of subject lines comes in. They say to not judge a book by its cover, but in the case of email marketing, your customers most definitely do. Here are some things we’ve noticed. Personalization matters. Adding a customer or subject name in the subject line can grab their attention and increase the chance of opened emails. We also ensure to keep the subject lines short and snappy, so recipients can see the entire subject line.

And let’s not forget about the powerhouses of seasonal marketing: Cyber Monday, Halloween, and New Year’s campaigns. These occasions consistently emerge as the most successful in driving engagement and conversions.

But hey, we’re not high-fiving and calling it a day. We run regular split tests to ensure our seasonal and promotional marketing is always up to date with industry standards

Ready to Grow?

Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to data-driven marketing that delivers real results. Let’s make this season one to remember! To revolutionize your marketing strategy, reach out to your friendly Fotomerchant team in Slack to chat more about our seasonal marketing. 

Email Marketing Design and You

Let me share a secret with you: good email design isn’t rocket science, but you do need fuel. Fuel to grab attention, keep interest, and direct users to that shiny CTA (call to action) button. A punchy headline, concise/intentional copy, appropriate colors, vibrant images, and a thoughtful CTA are the players that differentiate well-designed emails from ineffective ones.

That’s why the keen minds here at Fotomerchant want you to know what makes for good design and, equally important, to understand what designs work in your favor.

More on that later.

Getting good at good design

"Where do I start?"

Email service platforms have email templates with essential sections (header, footer, etc) already in place. Take advantage of these as a starting point, and fill in with your genius ideas. Paying close attention to the individual sections of your email design is pivotal to its effectiveness. So let’s talk about that.

Keep subject lines in line

You want to compel readers, but avoid using all caps, exclamation marks, or overly salesy language because people DON’T LIKE BEING YELLED AT, nor feeling they’re being sold to. And that approach pushes nice emails to the spam folder. Instead, opt for a more personal, conversational approach with your subject line. Be authentic.

Hierarchy and headers

Keep the most essential info at the top, with headers that are larger/bolder than the body copy. Subheaders and bullet points make your email more easily scannable and the information less daunting. Your important messaging cannot resonate with an audience that hasn’t read it, so keeping the eye moving is key.

Keep it clean

White space, sometimes called negative space, is your friend. Too little white space between elements can make your design look crowded, busy, and unprofessional. Color choices should be informed primarily by your brand and have good contrast with the background. Avoid garish colors or choosing one just because you’re “in a purple mood!”

Most important to clean design are fonts that are easily legible. While getting creative with fonts is tempting, limit the flare (if you must) to a single headline. Please do not use Comic Sans or Papyrus for your body copy. That’s no good for anyone.

We all love buttons

It’s true, but if your design repelled or missed the call to action, your reader will move on without following through. A good CTA button uses action verbs to compel, legible text, has breathing room (‘oh, negative space!’), and contrasting colors for visibility. If your entire design is deep green, using a green button will make it hard to find. 

Be consistent

Once your template is polished, save a copy for future use. Make rules and have whoever is creating emails follow them. Consistency of brand assets (e.g., logo size, color, fonts) communicates an organized, trustworthy brand, and we all like that. 

The stellar design choices you’re now primed to make will keep readers interested and more likely to open the next email. Over time, you can implement the design choices that most effectively engage your target audience.

“Yes, but how can I know which design choices will help do that?”

That’s a great question; I’m glad you asked.

Track your design's impact

We love data

If you’re familiar with Fotomerchant, you know that already; we’re established industry leaders. Did you read The School Photography Industry Report?

Data is crucial, and making data-informed marketing decisions is transformational. If you don’t know which designs are working and which aren’t, you can’t adapt, and you can all but forget increasing engagement. We can track data to understand what promotions worked best, what day of the week to send (in 2023, Fotomerchant customers had the best conversion rates on Sundays), or what seasonal campaigns reaped the most rewards.

Split-test like a pro

You can optimize email performance over time by split-testing minor changes’ effectiveness and adjusting accordingly. You might track how a particular subject line performs, which promotion gets more clicks and orders, or it could be as simple as testing two differently colored CTA buttons. For instance, a recent breakdown of Abandoned Cart data revealed how a simple change in tone of voice led to 14% more clicks and conversions for one of our biggest studios. Small changes can be big!

Season carefully

Seasonal holidays provide important windows to market, but knowing which ones you don’t want to miss and which might underwhelm can be overwhelming! Instead, track your designs and unique promos over time (last year, Fotomerchant customers saw the most conversions with New Year’s and Halloween emails). You might discover that customers in your region respond better to Mother’s Day emails than Black Friday ones or that free shipping offers lead to more clicks than percentage-off discounts do!

We're always learning

And we love to share

Whether it’s data-fueled insights or how to optimize your workflow best, the Fotomerchant team wants to learn more, improve more, and help your business get Better and Faster. It’s not just a tagline and a great reason to use Fotomerchant.

If you’re a current customer looking to discuss split-testing or seasonal marketing campaigns, reach out to us on Slack. If you’re not yet on board, you should absolutely click the ‘book a demo’ button below to learn more. We won’t bite. Well, Peter might, he’s a part-time pirate.

Stay tuned for more on tracking data

Keep an eye out for Claudia’s informative follow-up to this blog. She’ll be taking a closer look at how Fotomerchant tests the frequency and timing of email delivery and how this testing can translate into more opens, clicks, and conversions for your studio.

Well, I don’t want to miss that! I’m going to sign up for the newsletter right now.”

Hey, that’s a great idea. Scroll down to subscribe

Spring Kick Off

Can you hear that? It’s the sound of birds chirping, flowers blooming, and photographers setting up their tripods. As spring approaches, it’s time for you to gear up for the upcoming season. At Fotomerchant, we know preparation is key, so we’ve compiled a handy guide to help you make this season your best one yet. Let’s do this.

Prep for the New Season in Commerce

Whether you’re shaking things up or sticking to what has worked in the past, starting the season on the right foot is crucial. Create a new season in your account to keep your marketing, reports, and Portal organized. This simple step makes gathering data as pleasant as a spring breeze.

Increasing prices? Please make us aware. Communicating these changes is essential so we’re all on the same page. The same also goes for changes to your product offerings. Fresh offerings can add excitement and attract more sales, so if you plan on incorporating new products, let us know!

Start fresh. Duplicate your session template, adjusting settings as needed for the upcoming season. Don’t forget catalogs and packages—review and make necessary changes. Future you will thank you for these clearly defined, season-specific frameworks, making informed decisions for the following seasons straightforward.

Update Your Backgrounds

Spring is a time of renewal, and your background offerings should reflect that. Fotomerchant provides studios access to a diverse library of backgrounds suitable for any season. Take this opportunity to review and refresh your background options. Contact your customer success team to add a cost associated with new backgrounds.

Review Your Client List

Take advantage of the calm before the storm to review your client list in Commerce. Check for duplicates, ensuring accurate client information. If you are using Portal, remember that charges are per client, so eliminating duplicates can save you from sneaky added costs.

Stay Informed

Our team is always working on new releases and improvements. Stay in the loop with webinars offering insight into upcoming features, releases, or features you may not be utilizing to their fullest potential. Check out our blogs for additional information, ideas, or customer stories because who knows what your workflow might be missing?

Lock In Your Marketing Plan

Do your future self a favor and ensure your marketing plan is in place. Take advantage of our data-informed approach to marketing to make your next season better and faster than ever. Learn more about that in this blog here.

With the right preparation and our support, this season is bound to be a blooming success. Keep an eye out for upcoming webinars we’ve got coming your way. As you prep for spring, keep up to date with ways you can further streamline your workflow. We’ve got your back; let’s make this season unforgettable together.

Reach out to get started with us or learn more.

Abandoned Cart Makeover

Unlock the Power of Abandoned Carts

Who doesn’t love a good makeover? Today, we’ve got a behind-the-scenes look at the glow-up we’ve given to our abandoned cart campaigns. In this blog, we will reveal why abandoned carts are a big deal. We’ll highlight the juicy customer data that fueled our decisions and the changes we’ve made to amp up your customer’s shopping journey and ultimately lead to more conversions. 

The Revenue Boost You Didn't See Coming

We took a deep dive into our customers’ email marketing performance this year, and what caught our attention were those abandoned carts – baskets of potential revenue left stranded in the digital aisles. We saw an opportunity to turn things around and decided to make data-backed changes that could bring these abandoned carts back to life.

Abandoned carts aren’t just missed transactions; they are a goldmine of insights into your shopping habits. Want to learn more about what an Abandoned cart email campaign is? Lucky you, we’ve got a whole blog on the topic. Click here to view.

The Mission

Our mission became clear: to optimize our abandoned cart campaigns based on real data. We believed that if we could align our studio’s campaigns with industry standards for design and workflow, we could not only recover lost revenue but create a shopping experience that truly resonates with your customers.

We’ve now also instated split testing into our abandoned cart rollout. Things change so it’s important to have a dynamic response to customer shopping behavior. With this in mind, we’ll constantly be theorizing, testing, and improving the abandoned cart emails.

The Data Is In

We compared customer conversion data between August 1st, 2022 – October 15th, 2022, and August 1st, 2023 – October 15th, 2023. Looking at the same period year over year ensured we took into account the seasonal nature of the industry. So what did we find? Our updates to the campaigns worked! For 2022, the average viewed conversion rate from opening an abandoned cart email was 21%; in 2023, this rose to 24%. 

What do we mean by conversion rate? For the data outlined in this blog, we looked at customers who received the abandoned cart email and made a purchase shortly after. 

This data took into account a range of different studios that use Fotomerchant. With the demographics of the studio customer base undeniably impacting the data, some studios saw more of a change than others. For example, one of our studios saw a 9.11% increase in abandoned cart conversions between 2022 (14.19%) and 2023 (23.30%). Whereas another studio in a different part of the country only saw a 2% increase in conversion from the updated campaign. Progress is still progress! As we continue to track and update these campaigns, we’re interested in digging deeper into the demographic influence on abandoned cart email conversions. 

The Data-Driven Evolution

What exactly have we changed? Everything from the timing of our emails to the design elements – it’s all been meticulously crafted to scoop up those extra sales. Let’s break it down:

Initial Email: Now sent a mere hour after customers have shown interest in those must-have items. We’re striking in the moment.

First Reminder: A friendly nudge 23 hours later for those moments when life gets in the way.

Second Reminder: If they’re still contemplating, there’s another reminder three days after the first.

But here’s the exciting part – our changes aren’t static. Oh no, we’re running a split test. The Control group gets personalized copy, while Variation A showcases subtle design tweaks. Why? Because we want to know what resonates with your customers the most.

Data-Informed Customer Marketing

What sets our approach apart is the magic of data-informed customer marketing. We’re not shooting into the dark; we’re using your data to hit the bullseye. By understanding your customer’s behaviors, preferences, and even hesitations, we’re crafting an email that leads to conversions. It’s just that simple.

To learn more about how you can supercharge your revenue with the use of abandoned cart emails, book a demo using the button below:

Get the Most Out of Your Data

With the right approach, data can be transformative. In the following blog, we’ve unpacked our methods of collecting, sorting, and analyzing data. From our insights into our epic School Photography Industry report to general data collection tips and tricks, it’s a true behind-the-scenes glimpse. So go forth, read, and learn how to get the most out of your data! 

The School Photography Report

As a collaboration with SPOA, we’ve created the School Photography Industry Report to aid the understanding of the dynamics of the school photography industry.  Over the past two years, we’ve surveyed over 74,000 parents in every state of the USA and reached 2,500 educators. Through our survey, we strive to promote industry growth and innovation by equipping photography companies with readily available data and usable insights. It’s an annual report to provide insights into the industry because, without data, we are only guessing. Want to view the report? Click here.

Use these insights to evaluate your business and the potential untapped opportunities in our industry. 

Key takeaways from this year’s report:

  • Price, quality, and variety are still trending as crucial factors in meeting customer expectations
  • Customization and convenience are emerging as pivotal factors in achieving customer satisfaction and increasing perceived value
  • Ease, digital products, alternate payment methods, and an excellent shopping cart user experience are highly desired by customers

New this year

Let me tell you, the latest addition to this year’s insights report, titled ‘New Data, New Insights,’ is an absolute game-changer. It’s a direct result of incorporating invaluable feedback from our previous report and leveraging the freshest data available for this year. 

What’s truly exciting is the emergence of new focus areas that demand our attention; in a world where choice, customization, and convenience reign supreme, these elements have taken center stage like never before. They’re not just important; they’re vital.

We’ve got our finger on the pulse of this dynamic industry, and this year’s insights report is here to show you the underlying patterns and key drivers that shape our industry. What makes it even more exciting is that you can harness these insights as a powerful tool to dissect your business and uncover the treasure trove of uncharted opportunities waiting to be seized.

While we’re here, check out these insights!


  • 62% of photography companies provide custom background options
  • 74% of parents want to create their own package
  • Our findings reveal that 71% of parents favor basic color backgrounds, 57% appreciate textured backgrounds, and 40% lean towards themed backgrounds


  • A staggering 53% of parents now seek to utilize their child’s school photos as digital products
  • Almost half of parents want a digital product included in a package
  • 55% of parents want to include custom backgrounds when purchasing digital products


  • Teachers surveyed believe that 31% of parents prepay with paper order forms, while only 9% of parents did
  • Parents want to “ship to school for free,” whereas Teachers want to “ship to home for a small fee”
  • Parents and Teachers are not on the same page when it comes to knowing how much parents are actually spending on school photos

With this wealth of knowledge, your school photography company can now better meet the needs and expectations of parents and schools through making data-informed decisions. However, these are not strategies. So, see how these insights can work for your company with the nuances of your own business in mind.

Next year’s report

The School Photography Industry Report will be back in 2024 and is set to be our biggest year yet! We’ll strive to understand what motivates non-buyers and focus on educator decision-makers. Increasing the survey time frame to 12 months, from January 2024 to December 2024, we aim to capture seasonal information while facilitating growth in overall participation.

But how can I use this data to inform my decision for Fall 2024!? Don’t worry; we have you covered! An interim report will be produced in July 2024, delivered at SPOA 2024, and sent to Fotomerchant customers and SPOA members. This will provide a snapshot of the data and an overview of the emerging stand-out trends.

There you have it! The School Photography Industry Report is a crucial guide for businesses in the dynamic school photo and yearbook industry. Surveying thousands of parents and educators, the report unveils current trends and provides detailed insights. The rise of customization and the increasing demand for digital products underscore the evolving landscape of customer preferences and expectations. It goes beyond industry understanding, acting as a powerful tool to discover untapped opportunities within your business.

Advocating for a ‘data-informed’ approach, the report recognizes the synergy of data and human experience for optimal results, fostering a culture of data collaboration and strategic decision-making. It’s not merely a snapshot of the industry; it’s a dynamic tool empowering your business to navigate change, seize opportunities, and align decisions with the evolving needs of parents, educators, and the industry.

Data-Driven vs Data-Informed

Chances are, you’re familiar with the term ‘data-driven,’ a methodology where data, devoid of human presumptions or external influences, exclusively guide decisions. While this approach has its merits, it may not be optimal for every business. 

In our journey, we’ve found that embracing a ‘data-informed’ approach resonates more with our ethos. This nuanced strategy allows us to leverage data as a valuable tool, incorporating it into our decision-making process while keeping sight of the valuable insights that human experience and intuition bring to the table.

In essence, the implementation of a data-informed approach has not only optimized our operational efficiency but has also reinforced a culture that is built on data collaboration and strategic decision-making across our organization.

Data “Rule of Thumb” 

Now, you might wonder, how can I transform my studio into a data-informed business? Let’s pull back the curtain and explore our approach to data. Follow along to gather valuable tips for integrating data-informed decision-making into your repertoire.

  • When diving into data analysis and whipping up a report, stick to the basics for a great result. Set crystal-clear goals, so you’re not just spinning your wheels. Keep your data honest – check sources and don’t let any sneaky errors slip through.
  • When it’s showtime, pick visuals that are as spot-on as your grandma’s apple pie. Keep it simple, though – no need for brain-busting complexity. Explain why your data matters – give it some context. And don’t forget to shine a spotlight on the real stars of the show – those key insights that make your data sing.
  • Uniformity is your sidekick, so stick to a consistent style. Make it easy on the eyes with clear labels and jargon-free zones. Craft a story from your data; take your reader on a journey from the beginning to the lightbulb moments. And when you wrap it up, serve some actionable advice on a silver platter.

 So, next time you’re crunching numbers, follow these tips and get the most out of your data!

That’s all for now, folks! 

Ready to embark on your data journey? Unpack the treasure trove of tools we’ve shared in this blog. Combine your discoveries with insights from our report to make your studio an unstoppable force. For a deeper dive, check out our “Generating and Analyzing Reports” blog; your passport to unlocking the full potential of our Commerce reporting hub. Armed with savvy decisions, let the excitement of discovery fuel your path. Every click counts, and every report tells a tale.

This journey is possible because of YOU. Thank you! Eager to contribute? Get in touch with our legendary team about becoming a survey distributor or question creator. Together, let’s chart a course toward a future where data-informed decision-making steers our industry and propels it to new heights of success.

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.

Template Designer

Elevate Your Design Game

Welcome back! We’re thrilled to introduce you to a game-changing tool that will take your design skills to the next level: the Template Designer. No need for any drum rolls, just a reliable and cloud-based solution that will empower your creativity. With the Template Designer, you can easily create and share templates for various purposes, from ID cards to certificates. By offering schools additional design options for their in-house services, impress and retain new business like never before.

This blog is just a taster of what this bad boy can do. Watch the webinar linked below to see a deep dive into the functionality.

Unleash Your Creative Flexibility

Getting started is a breeze. Access Template Designer right from Studio and step into your very own creative haven, where templates are just a click away. They’re automatically linked to your Studio session, eliminating the need to juggle between different tools.

The Template Designer is all about flexibility. You can work with a single template and fine-tune it to your needs or effortlessly create variations. If you need to make adjustments, just duplicate a template and customize it to suit your project. Simple!

Discover the Key Features

Let’s dive into the exciting features that Template Designer offers. Easily create headers, sub-headers, and body text, acting as placeholders for client labels, addresses, cities, states, names, and more.

With these placeholders, populate the relevant subject data from Commerce/Studio. By configuring advanced rules, you can make specific lines transparent if you are supplied incomplete data. This ensures only available information is visible. Brilliant right? Remember, it’s always best to export a small sample to test!

You can add image placeholders, choose between original or JPEG images, and seamlessly remove backgrounds. Want to populate a cropped image from your session? We’ve got you. Customize your design to pull precisely the image you’d like to populate.

With Template Designer, utilize a vast library of backgrounds, allowing you to craft truly unique ID cards. You’ve got options! You can link your own background folders through Commerce (which is also linked to 36Pix) and even import your own images straight into Template Designer. You can also access an additional background area that pulls from the vast library of stock images from Unsplash. The template designer is your oyster!

Say you are using one set color as your background; with advanced rules, you can configure the background to change color depending on the grade or any other parameter you desire.

Need to add a special addition for students on a set bus route or a specific cafeteria option? With Template Designer, you can! Green for Option A, Blue for Option B, etc. It sure is a clever bit of kit! 

You have a wide array of media elements at your disposal, making image uploads a thing of the past. Just drag and drop your graphics and watch your designs come to life.

Seamless Integration with Portal

Templates designed with Template Designer are seamlessly linked to Portal, making it easy for schools to locate students and print replacements. It’s all about streamlining your processes. Every time schools print or render using Template Designer in Portal, behind the scenes, you can watch the magic happen in real-time. 

We’re constantly innovating the template design area and have exciting additions planned for the coming year. Think Memory Mate, Teammate, or Sports Mate; the choice is yours. Watch this space; these are coming very soon!

Whatcha waiting for? It’s time to elevate your design game with the Template Designer. Take inspiration from existing school designs and add your own flair, transforming them into something better and faster.

Want to read more about Template Designer? We’ve got a ton of information in our knowledge base areaIf you ever have questions or need guidance, we’re here to assist you every step of the way. Reach out to us anytime through Slack.