Lab Bridge

We are thrilled to introduce our brand-new Lab Bridge integration, a powerful addition to the Fotomerchant suite. The Fotomerchant Lab Bridge, designed specifically for Windows, will make your lab’s integration with Fotomerchant smoother and more efficient than ever before.

The primary role of the Fotomerchant Lab Bridge system is to add Fotomerchant orders to DP2. The Lab Bridge populates Fotomerchant orders in DP2 with Fotomerchant’s sophisticated cropping systems translated cleanly to crop data in DP2.

Fotomerchant has worked closely with the DP2 team when building the Lab Bridge to ensure that the system integrates with DP2 in the best way possible. Lab Bridge can send orders directly to DP2 or using DP2 command files.  

So, how is Fotomerchant’s Lab Bridge better and faster?


  • Better green screen product population! Subject images and backgrounds are added to different layers in the DP2 layout, so image adjustments don’t affect the background.
  • Single and multi-node products


  • New lab setup to first test order in DP2 in as little as one hour.
  • Import DP2 products into Fotomerchant’s Lab Portal, either in the lab or studio catalogs.
  • Populate image retouching in DP2: KPARS, Retouch flag, and Retouch Instructions.
  • When images have completed retouching in DP2, Fotomerchant Lab Bridge can automatically upload retouched images back to Fotomerchant. 

Impressive right? Let’s unpack that further.

Efficiency Meets Simplicity

With Lab Bridge, process single drop ship orders as individual DP2 orders or send a batch of orders as a single DP2 order batch to your lab. It also combines multi-child orders into a single DP2 order, allowing your lab to handle them efficiently. 

Lab Bridge can populate DP2 Subject Info using subject data stored in the Fotomerchant platform. It’s flexible! Product personalization can be populated through customer text entry in the Fotomerchant shopping cart or via DP2 macros using DP2 Subject Info.

Seamless Integration with DP2

We are able to import DP2 Remote Catalog exports to ease the process of getting your lab’s products into our Portal platform. Lab Bridge can also facilitate updating order ship dates and tracking information from DP2 to Fotomerchant and automatically upload retouched images in DP2 back to Fotomerchant. 

Customization Made Easy

There are little to no custom scripting or integration software projects required for most DP2 labs. The Fotomerchant Lab Bridge offers a high degree of customization to facilitate common lab workflows. Labs requiring custom functionality can use the Lab Bridge system with the powerful Fotomerchant API.

Unlike other online sales platforms, Fotomerchant’s Lab Bridge system correctly populates products with Green Screen background selections.  Instead of the subject image and the background being flattened, subject images and backgrounds are added to different layers in the DP2 layout. This is an important feature, so subject image adjustments don’t affect the coloring of the background.

Effortless Asset Delivery

The Fotomerchant Lab Bridge system also facilitates the delivery of several different types of assets from the Fotomerchant platform to your lab. XML billing data that is compatible with the LabWorks billing system can be routed to any folder on your lab’s network. Customer PDF receipts and detailed supplier HTML receipts can be saved for each order.

Discover a better way to handle your orders, and let the Lab Bridge transform your lab workflow for the better! Hold on, we aren’t done yet. Lab Bridge is continuously updated to make your lab’s workflows for processing Fotomerchant orders more efficient. 

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.

The Data on Digitals

Here at Fotomerchant, we’re fueled by data. Always hungry to learn more about parent buying habits, we believe that without data, you’re only guessing. With digital products’ popularity increasing, we turned our inquisitive eye towards this trend. In today’s digital age, including digital photos in your product offerings is no longer optional; it’s necessary. If you don’t do it, your competitors will, and we can’t let that happen, can we?

This blog is the second installment of our two-part series uncovering the potential of digital products. Before we begin, we’d like to clarify that when we say ‘digital product,’ we mean image or video files captured digitally and distributed electronically. Click here to learn more about what makes our digital delivery particularly powerful.

Now, let’s dive head first into the digital delivery data. The following data was captured in our School Photography Industry Report. Over the past two years, we’ve surveyed over 74,000 parents. Through our survey, we’ve noticed the digital shift reshaping the school photography industry. Here’s what we’ve learned.

How Do Parents Use Their School Photos?

The data speaks loud and clear. Parents want digital photos. A staggering 53% of parents now want to see their child’s school photos as digital products. Yep, that’s over half of all parents!

Why? 33% of parents want digital images to share on social media. They’re not just collecting dust; these images are used to share with friends and family digitally. It’s the new norm, people!

What Parents Want in a Package

What do parents want in their school photo packages? Well, 46% of parents want digital photos included. Adding digital products to your catalog increases the overall perceived value of your other physical offerings. It’s a no-brainer!

But it’s not just about throwing in some pixels; it’s about customization. Custom backgrounds are all the rage, with 55% of parents wanting the option to choose backgrounds that resonate with them. Customization is key to making parents happy, whether it’s solid colors, textured backgrounds, or themed settings.

The data doesn’t lie; providing various options can be a game-changer. About 71% prefer solid colors, 57% love a bit of texture, and there’s a strong demand for themed backgrounds that reflect holidays, sports, and school environments.

This is a great way to increase your revenue, upsell by offering customization options, such as custom backgrounds, and watch your sales soar.

Another exciting opportunity to supercharge your offerings is through creating digital bundles. Release them at different times throughout the year to keep your customers engaged and excited about ordering more photos. 

Offer new themes, backgrounds, or exclusive deals to entice parents to come back for more.

How Much Are Digital Products Worth?

Now, the big question: How much are digital products worth? The data reveals that 40% of parents believe digital photos are equally or more valuable than physical prints. Whereas 47% value digital prints as less than a digital photo. The pricing strategy here is crucial. We recommend experimenting with different price points and packaging to find what resonates with your customer base.

Give ’em freebies! We’ve uncovered some interesting data around the value of “free items.” By including a free digital item in select packages or bundles, you can enhance their perceived value. This strategy can attract customers to your best-selling offerings and boost sales for packages that may have previously underperformed. 

So there you have it, folks! The digital wave is here, and it’s time to ride it to boost your revenue and cater to your customers’ evolving preferences. Have any follow-up questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support. Thanks for joining us, and until next time, keep capturing those memories!

Let’s Get Digital

It’s undeniable. Digital products are here to stay. How can we say this with such confidence? Well, we asked. Both our 2022 and 2023 School Photography Industry Reports revealed a steady increase in popularity of digital products. 

Hold your horses! Before we dive into the data, let’s look at what digital products actually are.

Fotomerchant’s Digital Images

What are digital images? Well, they’re the future of photography. Instead of physical prints, you deliver high-quality digital files to your clients. It’s convenient, modern, and oh-so-trendy. Gone are the days of paper slips, USB sticks, and CDs; we’ve streamlined digital products to a simple click.

Woah, hang on. These aren’t just any old digital products. Our automated digital delivery is truly something special. With Fotomerchant’s digital images, delivery is a breeze as parents are sent their images via email or SMS. Easily downloaded alongside a license file, the images go straight to the parents without requiring extra steps. Easy.

Set It and Forget It

Oh, and did I mention this is all automated? Yep. The beauty of this process is that you can let it run in the background once it’s set up. Even pre-order digital delivery can be automated! It’s like having your own little digital assistant taking care of everything while you sip your coffee. Ah, the sweet taste of automation. 

If you are in a scenario where you do not want the digital images to go automatically, you can hold the digitals so that you can release them when you’re ready. We’re all about flexibility here at Fotomerchant! This option is configurable at every stage so that you can fit this into your workflow.  

The Customer Experience

Let’s step into your customer’s shoes for a moment. After they place their order, they’ll receive a confirmation email. But wait, there’s more!

They also get an email (and SMS if you’d like) when their digital files are ready for download. They can choose individual images or a zip file for quick and easy access. How’s that for customer service?!

Another handy feature is the ability to quickly re-send the digital downloads if a parent requests it. While in commerce, you’ll be able to review whether the digital product has been downloaded and easily re-send. 

Unpacking Digital Bundles and Galleries

Now we’re going to talk about digital bundles, and who doesn’t love a good bundle? Get ready to supercharge your digital offerings!

Create bundles to offer parents a single image on various backgrounds. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure for digital backgrounds! You can offer seasonal and special occasion bundles. The possibilities are endless. As the 2023 School Photography Industry Report data showed, parents love having options, especially when it comes to preserving precious memories.

Oh, let’s not forget about digital galleries. These are perfect for when you’ve captured multiple images of the same subject with one background. It’s like a little treasure trove of memories all in one place.

Think about it. Parents get all their child’s photos beautifully presented on a single background. It’s like flipping through a digital yearbook, and who doesn’t love reminiscing about the good ol’ school days?

The Power of Variety

Give your customers the variety they crave. You can offer seasonal backgrounds or mix and match to keep things exciting. You can even create multiple bundles, each with its unique charm. So, why limit yourself to one when you can offer parents an array of choices? Maybe even throw in some Christmas and Halloween backgrounds for good measure!

That’s all for now! Good on you for taking the time to read this blog and dip your toe into the digital realm. So, what are you waiting for? Embrace the digital revolution, and watch your studio thrive like never before.

Want to learn more about this digital revolution? You can learn how to set up and manage digital products here. Watch our recent webinar, where Tearah and Mark will expand on what was covered in this blog. Oh, and get excited for the second blog in this series. We’ll be looking at the data surrounding digital products. It’ll be a hoot. 

Studio 101

Unveiling the Magic of Studio 101

Grab your cameras and buckle up. We’re about to take you on a thrilling adventure through the world of Studio. Whether you’re a total newbie or a seasoned pro, this blog guides you through the basics and shares some of the exciting hidden gems that Studio has to offer. This will be a very high-level look at Studio. To see a more in-depth demonstration, watch the webinar by clicking the button below.

Ready to make your workflow better and faster than ever before? Let’s dive in.

Studio’s Exciting Updates

Hold onto your hats, folks. We’ve been hard at work adding some seriously cool new features. There’s recently been a flurry of wonderful additions that are about to make your Studio experience even better. 

Don’t get us started on the fresh look of the interface; it’s got everyone talking! Whether you’re excited about the new facelift or just eager to explore new functionalities, there’s something in store for everyone. Click here to view the down-low on all Studio’s recent updates.

Exploring the Basics

As you step into Studio, you’ll find yourself faced with sessions. Think of these as folders that neatly hold your individual photography jobs, complete with subject data and their images. The best part? No fumbling around with buttons; you can jump straight into a session just by clicking anywhere on it.

Once you’re inside a session, this is where the real magic happens. Here, you can see images, subjects, and groups. Once in the subject area, sort through your images with our clever layered filters. You’ll feel like a digital wizard with filters that let you sort images based on smiles, open or closed eyes, and poses. 

But hold on, because there’s a trick up our sleeve! Our multi-select magic lets you swiftly glide through multiple images with a single click and easily cull images with eyes closed, etc. Say goodbye to tedious clicks; say hello to efficiency.

Facial Recognition and Group Organization – The Dream Team

Let’s talk about facial recognition. It’s about to make your group organization game so much stronger. Have you ever imagined effortlessly matching faces to names without battling typos and data messes? Dream no more. With facial recognition, dealing with groups is now a breeze. You can give rows names, assign positions, and witness Studio efficiently organize chaos. We know the data schools provide isn’t always top-notch, so let Studio help you understand it! 

And guess what? Every change you make within Studio will automatically occur across the whole Fotomerchant ecosystem. Yep, this includes both Commerce and Portal. Brilliant right?  No need to do the whole import/export dance! We’ve got you covered. 

Template Editor – Unlock Your Inner Artist

Prepare to have your mind blown by the template editor. This is where you can craft stunning ID cards, memory mates, certificates, and more, all with your unique touch. But wait, there’s more! Advanced rules that put you in control: dynamic logos, color shifts, and text transformations. This is the place where your artistic vision and Studio’s tech prowess come together in harmony. 

Mastering Shortcuts 

If you’re all about efficiency, you’ll love Studio’s keyboard shortcuts. Zip through subjects, choose poses and perform bulk actions with just a few clever key presses. Watch our recent webinar to learn how you can access this holy grail of Studio shortcuts. Oh, and don’t worry, we’ve accounted for both Apple and Windows users! 

And there you have it. Your crash course in Studio 101! From mastering image management to becoming a group organization maestro or even creating unique templates, Studio’s got your back. 

That’s just scratching the surface of what Studio can do. Watch our webinar hosted by Christian Perry and Tearah Fox to see a more in-depth Studio deep dive.

Facial Recognition and Face Collation

Welcome back to the third part of our thrilling facial recognition deep dive. Can you believe we’ve made it this far? Time flies when you’re having fun. And speaking of time, today we’re going to explore a treasure trove of memories and revenue potential that you might not even know you possess! Let’s tug at those parents’ heartstrings!

Discover the Gold Mine

What if I told you that you were sitting on an archival gold mine? If you have worked with the same school for multiple years, you have the potential to generate timeline or journey products. By using facial recognition to create a timeline product, you can create beautiful, nostalgic photo collections that showcase the growth and development of children over time.

It’s like a visual journey through their lives, and parents absolutely love it!

Yeah, we know. Manually sorting through your back catalog of images is tedious. Thanks to the magic of facial recognition, you can now find each child’s previous images taken by your studio in seconds. Timeline products have never been easier!

What is Face Collation, and How Does it Work?

Say hello to the game-changer: Face Collation!  This fantastic feature takes facial indexing and matching to a whole new level. It allows you to identify a single photo that references each subject in your back catalog. No more sifting through years of photographs!

So, how does it work? Simple! You need one set of data and images, preferably the most recent year, to create the subject information with one identifying photo indexed and associated with the subject record. Then, you upload all the remaining years’ photos into an unknown gallery, ensuring all faces are indexed. Now comes the magic moment: unleash our Face Collation AI and watch it find all the photos belonging to each subject from over the years. Voilà!

That’s just a brief overview. Want to see the nitty gritty? Click here to see our knowledge base document on the feature.

Making Memories Last a Lifetime

The timeline products are just the beginning of the potential goldmine of revenue. Think about re-targeting at the end of the school year. How powerful would it be to remind parents of all the wonderful memories you’ve captured throughout their child’s year? With face collation, you can make that happen effortlessly.

Unlocking the Past

If you’ve acquired a new business and inherited a massive backlog of photos, fret not! Facial recognition and face collation are here to save you once again. Just run those old photos through the system and let the AI work its magic to match subjects and create delightful galleries to promote and sell. With this technology, you can offer personalized products that hold immense sentimental value for your customers. What’s not to love?

If we reflect on the data from our 2023 Annual School Photography report, it’s clear that the main purchasing driver for parents is to capture a moment in time. The data doesn’t lie. Start utilizing face collation to provide parents with products they really want.

So, let’s embrace the power of facial recognition and face collation. It’s the key to unlocking your archives and new opportunities to create products that touch people’s hearts and bring smiles to their faces.

To view the other blogs we have on harnessing the power of facial recognition, click here and here.

Until next time, keep capturing those precious moments!

Pre-Season Checklist

As the next season approaches, plenty must be done to ensure you’re prepared for the new challenges, goals, and growth the next season has to offer. 

While you may have your laundry list of to-do’s already planned, we’ve compiled a few key items for you to take the guesswork out of pre-season planning. Use our guide below to make your next season with Fotomerchant better and faster than ever (you should’ve seen that coming).

Lock In Your Marketing Plan

At Fotomerchant, we provide a tailored marketing plan based on your customer demographic, your business goals for the season, and industry insights gathered from our team. We take a data-informed approach to marketing, analyzing the performance of past campaigns and finding what works best for you and your clients! By confirming your marketing plan, you ensure that you and your customer success team are all on the same page and can prepare for the season accordingly. 

Want to learn more about the marketing we offer? Sink your teeth into this blog looking at marketing linked to stage types.

Prep for the New Season in Commerce

Whether you’re making big changes to your upcoming season or utilizing what has worked in the past, it’s important to start on the right foot or season in Commerce. Create a new Season in your account so that your marketing, reports, and Portal platform can be clearly organized and any data from the season can be gathered with ease. 

Once your new season is created, duplicate your session template and adjust the settings as needed for the upcoming season. You can also duplicate catalogs and packages, reviewing what you have in place and making any necessary changes.

Future you will be glad to have these clearly defined, season-specific frameworks. You’ll be able to pull data (using our handy “review usage” feature) that accurately reflects this season’s performance, allowing you to make informed decisions for the following seasons.

Review Your Client List

While things are relatively quiet, take a moment to review your client list in Commerce to make sure you don’t have any duplicates of schools, leagues, etc., and that the client information is correct. If you plan to use Portal, note that Portal charges per client, so those duplicates could cost you! Nobody likes sneaky added costs.

Update Your Backgrounds

We provide our studios with access to a diverse library of backgrounds fit for any season through partnerships with Cloud CT and 36Pix. Use this time to review the backgrounds you currently offer and add or replace backgrounds to give your customers new and exciting options for the next season. You can also contact your customer success team to add a cost associated with the new backgrounds; a great upsell opportunity! Read this blog to learn more about how you can best leverage backgrounds.

Keep an Eye on New Releases and Webinars

Our team constantly works on new releases and improvements to our wide range of Fotomerchant products and services. Webinars are an excellent way for you to gain insight on upcoming, newly released, or even existing features that you may not be utilizing to their fullest potential.

We also publish blogs (just like this one!), giving you more information, ideas, or customer stories about our features and workflows. You may not even realize what your workflow is missing! Plus, you get the added benefit of seeing the smiling faces of your fellow Fotomerchant team members, a win-win!

Has all this talk made you excited for your upcoming season? We hope so! You have the tools to make this season the best one yet, and we want to help you every step of the way. If you’re an existing customer, be on the lookout for a customized pre-season checklist that breaks down each task above into manageable steps with helpful videos and guides from our team. Yeah, we’re just that prepared. Now it’s your turn (with our help, of course). 

Meet Portal: Leveraging the Gateway to Your Schools

Meet Portal, the gateway your schools have been begging for! Schools now not only need but want a platform where they have access to manage, export, and sort their students. Stay ahead of the curve with our very own Portal. For this blog, we’ll dig a bit deeper into what Portal is and all the handy tricks it has up its sleeve. You won’t be disappointed.

Before we jump in, let’s quickly recap what Portal is. Portal empowers schools with the autonomy to sort, manage, and generate reports on their students. It also provides customizable visibility settings that allow you to maintain overall control and oversight. Streamlining your workflow by relieving your studio of mundane tasks, Portal hands back some of the workload to schools.

Utilizing cloud-based accessibility, Portal allows schools to print replacement ID cards, certificates, or any other design templates you decide to provide. These life-saving features are bundled into one platform, fully connected to the rest of the Fotomerchant ecosystem. This blog focus on Portal’s yearbook capabilities and how Portal links to the rest of Fotomerchant. To learn more about Portal in general, click here.

Let’s Talk Yearbooks

Don’t shudder at the thought of yearbooks anymore. Portal has made organizing and executing yearbooks a piece of cake. This historically challenging item for schools, often leads to studios bearing the brunt. No more! Schools can select, sort, and export all related yearbook data and images with Portal.

So how does it work? Seamlessly connecting to our other platforms, turn on the commerce setting so parents or kids can select their own yearbook image(s) in the shopping cart. Once picked, schools can quickly sort through subject data to view who has or hasn’t picked their images.

For any of the not-so-organized parents, yearbook administrators can swoop in and select students who have yet to do so. Schools can easily sort and flick through all the students without yearbook selection, choosing and amending incorrect selections. We’ve heard lots of studio feedback on the experience of yearbooks, usually taking a lot of back and forth to sort out a simple selection. Now with Portal, schools have a central gateway to manage selections themselves. Yearbooks are simplified for both schools and studios. Awesome.

Easy Peasy Exports 

The second factor in yearbooks, after selecting, is extracting the images. With Portal, give schools access to export the data themselves. No more “help, I’ve lost the link you sent.” Now, schools can generate exports as many times as their heart desires. 

To export data, schools will go to subjects and choose which yearbook export they’d like. Let’s say the schools don’t know precisely what they need, but know they need, at least, a student id, last name and first name, and a small JPEG. Here comes Portal’s compounding filter section to the rescue. The yearbook administrator can add these selections, group via either teacher or grade, and BOOM, export is done.

No need to twiddle their thumbs; they can either wait a short period or close the window and continue generating exports. The data will be sent to their email when generated. This process is so pleasant and easy to use; your schools will thank you. It’s a win-win for everyone.

We’ve Re-Thought Licences

We hear you. There are other similar products on the market, so why Fotomerchant’s Portal? One key difference is when you purchase a Portal license, it’s for the entire school. This includes all events occurring in the school per year. 

From our understanding, the other alternate portal solutions on the market are event-based licenses. We decided to try something new. Our portal licenses are charged per school per year. We believe this creates a better use case for all involved. Schools won’t need a new license assigned for each event, so switching between events or licenses is unnecessary. With Portal, you can configure each staff member to see what’s associated with their school for the whole year. You can even go down to a more granular level and customize which event or sessions each individual can see.

Real-Time, Saves Time 

Another distinguishing factor between our competition is the option to utilize Portal amongst our other hosts of products. This is where you can really see the beauty of our real-time ecosystem. What do I mean by that? Imagine this scenario; the yearbook administrator is sitting down the hall, watching images come straight into their screen through Portal as they hear cameras snapping in a few rooms down the hall within a matter of SECONDS. 

Yep, no more export and import shenanigans. Once our capture device sees the image taken, it’s transferred to the cloud in real time through our system, assigned to a subject, automatically cropped, color corrected, and sent straight into your school’s Portal. Their jaws will be on the floor; we promise you that. That’s the benefit of using our cloud-based Portal; you’ll be plugging into the innovative Fotomerchant ecosystem. What’s not to love? 

One-Time Offer

It gets better! We’re offering an introductory offer for Portal. This promotion will be revealed on the 1st of July, so you’ll only have to wait a few more days to find out what we’ve got in store for you. What I will say is that this offer is a one-time occurrence. You won’t see a price like this for Portal again. Keep your eyes peeled! 

Still hungry for more Portal content? Luckily, we’ve had the sassy duo Peter and Christian back in the webinar studio, recording a tour of the Portal platform for you. They go into more detail on what I’ve covered above, so check it out. 

So what are you waiting for? Elevate your day-to-day studio workflow and sign up for Portal.

Understanding the Gateway to Your Schools

Portal is the new gateway to your schools. Grant schools the freedom to manage, search, and report on their students and configure visibility options so you can retain overall control and oversight. Let Portal simplify your workflow as you hand back some of the more menial tasks to schools. Happy school, happy studio.

With cloud-based access, Portal gives schools the ability to print replacement ID cards, certificates, or whatever is required. With everything your school needs in one place, they can manage yearbook selections from their end, export student data, and feel happy with your service. Go you.


Surprises are especially unwelcome when it comes to hidden fees. That’s why the Portal pricing is purchased as one license per school per year. Simple. At $99 per license, what’s not to love? We’re running a one-time offer on our Portal licenses for existing customers only. See the end of this blog post to learn more about this promotion.

Why you need Portal

Let’s face it; most schools are already familiar with similar systems to Portal. They are not only familiar with these systems; they love using them. Not providing your school with a system that grants them access to manage their student’s photographs now puts you at a disadvantage. Give your studio a competitive edge by looking at our very own Portal solution. It’s a total game changer to the space.

We like to call this a win-win situation, the school is happy to avoid back-and-forth emails to achieve a simple ID card re-print, and you are happy to hand over some more menial tasks. Your staff is going to love this!

With advanced permission settings, you can configure exactly what you’d like the school to see. This level of visibility can even be tailored down to an individual level. With this permission hierarchy, you can grant certain individuals more access than others. For example, if you have a yearbook advisor who works across multiple schools within a district, they only need single access to log in and complete their work.

This necessary tool in your toolbox is easily accessed via a web browser, so schools do not need to bog down their local systems. Additionally, being cloud-based, all actions made by the studio are updated live. Awesome right?

Since Portal is integrated into Fotomerchant, switching between different platforms is unnecessary, further streamlining your studio workflow, that’s what it’s all about, after all! If that’s not enough, our conversational, industry-leading support model will be there to answer any questions you may have.

Tour of Portal

Let’s show you around. When you enter Portal, you’ll see the list of subjects associated with each school. Schools can quickly search for specific students here. Prefer light mode over dark mode? We’ve got you covered. Easily switch between dark and light modes to find what works for you.

Managing, Filtering, and Sorting

Here’s where the magic happens. Schools have a range of filtering options to choose from when searching for types of students. Don’t have a specific student in mind? No worries. Filters can be layered so schools can find particular types of students. For example, say the school needs to see all students without yearbook selections from grade nine. Easy. Schools can quickly sort through their student data using our additive filters.

Printing Replacements

Now this is where you can really start to streamline your studio workflow. Using your pre-loaded templates, give schools permission to populate their student data to handle their own print replacements. Wave goodbye to this time-consuming task! This can include ID cards, certificates, awards, and any other design templates you desire.

Our template area is pretty slick. With advanced formatting options, configure the backgrounds of ID cards to change color depending on the student data removing the need for multiple templates of the same color.

Yearbook Selections

Yearbook selections can often cause unnecessary back and forth between studios and schools. Stress no more! Thanks to Portal, schools can easily filter for students without yearbook selections and flick through the students, selecting yearbook poses with speedy precision. Once the school picks the yearbook image, you can instantly see this information on your end as Portal updates live.


With Portal, exports are a snap! Schools can sort their export via any data point they’d like (ex, last name) and group students in a way that works for them (ex, grade). Once the sort of the export is determined, they can preview the data before exporting. No need to hang around waiting while the export generates; they can close the window and continue to produce exports or utilize other parts of Portal. The data will be sent to the school’s email in a short time. Better, Faster? Yep.

Introductory Offer

Congrats, you’ve made it to the carrot I dangled at the beginning of this blog. Yes, oh yes, we are offering the promotion of a lifetime beginning July 1st. You won’t see a price for Portal like this again. Usually priced at $99 per license, for existing customers only, purchase each school’s license for more than half off. I’ll say it louder for the people in the back, with the discount, that’s $49 per school per year! Who doesn’t love a good bargain?

As I said above, this introductory price is only available to existing customers beginning July 1st. Not an existing customer? Reach out to change that.

Hold your horses!

If you already use a platform similar to Portal, why not pause for a moment and reconsider before committing to another year? Check out what Portal can do for you. We’ve taken a lot of time and consideration when building this product, ensuring it has everything your school needs while exceeding their expectations. Full of handy features, Portal sure does pack a punch, but we won’t stop here. The Portal functionality will continue to expand.

Hungry for more Portal content? You’re in luck. Our recent webinar, hosted by the sassy duo Peter and Christian, will run you through everything I outlined above.


Jump into our Portal to the future. Here at Fotomerchant, we have made it our mission to streamline your workflow and rid your studio of wasted time. Say hello to Portal, the gateway to your schools. Hand over some of the work back to schools and let them manage, search and report on their students.

What is Portal?

This versatile platform lets you put some of the more menial tasks into the school’s hands. How much of a studio’s precious time is spent re-printing missing ID cards, certificates, or memory mates? Wave goodbye to this time waster. Schools will be able to populate and print their own replacements using your own design templates. They’ll also be able to view, manage, sort, and export student data. Customized with your branding, Portal is the middleman you never knew you needed. So let’s hand over the reins to schools, so you can get back to doing what you do best, power-standing behind the camera.

Viewing Data

Let’s get into the nuts and bolts of your student data. Being able to filter and categorize your subject data is not only a game changer for you but will also allow your schools to locate the information they are looking for easily. With a similar navigation to Studio, you can sort based on name, season, categories, and more.

These different filter options are set up within commerce. This powerful data viewing tool allows schools to sort the data via descending/ascending, via names, or view only subjects with/without images. You can also sort by who has/hasn’t made a yearbook selection. The school administrators won’t believe their eyes! You can also click on a specific subject and view more information within this area. This is especially useful if the schools need contact information.

The versatility of this data sorting tool allows schools to observe data in a usable commodity, encouraging them to problem-solve their questions and concerns. Can you hear that? It’s your future self sighing with relief as schools answer their own questions.

Yearbook Selections

I briefly mentioned the filtering of yearbook selections above, and I knew that would get your attention! Allowing schools to have visibility of their students’ yearbook selections will remove some of your workload. By sorting out their subject data via yearbook selection, yearbook advisors can change the yearbook selection if the wrong images have been selected. You can, of course, do this on your end as well, but hey, let’s share the love and let the yearbook advisor handle this.

Printing Replacements

Hands up if you have had to print out replacement ID cards, certificates, etc. Yeah, we heard you. Portal gives you the opportunity to allow schools to view and print these replacements. You can have many different designs within your template area, e.g., memory mate, id card, award, and certificates. Whatever your heart desires! The school can see subject data filled into the placeholder templates and preview the design specific to each subject. Like the user permissions mentioned above, you can enable specific templates for certain schools and hide others.


Portal’s template area is one slick bit of kit! The advanced rules in our template editor mean you don’t need numerous duplicates for different colored backgrounds. We know that schools like to have different grades with different background ID cards, so we’ve kitted up our template area with rules. For example, you can stipulate a rule so each grade has a specific background color. Now that’s one clever template.


To ensure your brand continuity, the display page is totally customizable. You can add your logo, prefix, and title to the interface corresponding to your brand. Portal creates a sense of security for your schools as they log into a database with your branding.

Users & Clients

We’re all about flexibility, so let’s extend that to different levels of users in your portal account. Within commerce, you can set up Portal users and send out email invitations. This is where you also decide which clients this Portal has access to.

Easily determine which sessions users can view or make all viewable within the school. You can assign users to a single job or category; for example, one school user may only need to see underclass or sport. Thanks to this permission hierarchy, you can grant some users more visibility, e.g., an IT person may need access to several different schools if they will be doing the imports.


Watch this space. Our developers are grinding away at getting you the best dang exporting system known to man! Within this addition to Portal, schools will be able to export the subject export package. The export we are referring to is the one schools need to import into their various system, e.g., PowerSchool. You’ll be able to choose the amount of customization schools will have when doing a yearbook export. We’d suggest limiting schools from being able to choose crop templates and backgrounds, but that’s totally up to you! The option to allow schools to choose this is there if you need it. The “generate subject export package” will be located next to the print button. This will link the schools to the necessary commerce session, and this setup is as easy as putting this link inside Portal. After the school exports the data, they can quickly drop it into their site. Like an eagle with all-seeing eyes, you’ll be able to see each time the school exports the data, allowing you to track their movements easily.

This is just the beginning; we are still adding to Portal to grow it further. We’d love to hear from you if you have any ideas on how we can expand this software. We’re super proud of the versatile product we’ve created so far. As always, we strive to streamline your workflow so you can focus on growing your business or that neglected house plant.

Handing over responsibility to schools? Take my money! Price-wise, Portal costs $80 per school for the year. Reach out to our sales team to learn more. Alongside this blog, we’ve also released a webinar hosted by our sales guy Peter who does an interface walk-through. Check it out!