Order Sports Products From Labs
So far in this class, I've talked to you guys about how we find and get clients. I've talked to you about how we staff up, and the gear that we need to shoot the jobs. We've gone through the digital workflow, on how we actually process the files, as well as the orders. There's only two things left, to have a complete understanding of what we do, and that is, ordering your products. Like I said before, I have an in-house lab, so the majority of our prints we do there. We don't order a lot from other places. But I know that most of the people that are gonna be watching this class are not gonna be in that position. So I wanna make sure you guys know, if we were going to order our products, who we would order from, and walk you through how to do that. Millers is our lab of choice. Millers is awesome. They've been supporting me as a photographer for a very, very long time. They run Mpix, they have the whole Millers compound. I've been there, I've toured it, is is crazy. They have like 15 pr...
inters that is just dedicated for the volume side. So they guarantee all of their school and sports work is out in 24 hours. I mean, they crush it. It's huge business down there. So they got way more machines than I could ever hope to do. And they have the people to run it. They have the staff and the capacity to stay up with any order that you would possibly have. When you go and you download their ROES program, it is a different ROES than what you would have for portrait, for traditional portrait work. That's what this splash page is gonna bring up. To go in, download that, set up an account with them. Hop on in to the ordering screen. This is where you're gonna start processing your orders. They've got all this stuff. The Memory Mates, the specialty items, standard prints. You can go in and order. This is our stuff that we order from them. It's all specialty products. I walked you guys through this stuff the other day. We showed you the dog tags, yeah we sell a bunch of dog tags, it's true. The metal prints, the display prints, the key chains, all of that stuff we order from them. They do awesome jobs at it. I don't have the capability of making that stuff in-house. So we have to go to a lab. So this is the section of Millers ordering software that I am personally the most familiar with. Oh, we were asking how much for metal prints. They're $20. Someone asked that yesterday, $20. As you pull open the product, it does give you of course the bleed lines, so you know where your stuff is going to go. Make sure that your files work, that you aren't cutting anything off. Really, really basic stuff. It's similar to how most labs you're going to order (mumbles). It's pretty similar stuff. Pop in a print. That's one of our volleyball photos. Shows you that. Add it to the cart, move on. As you start building this up, though, you're gonna get huge, huge, huge, huge, huge, huge items in your cart, and they will let you upload everything at the very, very end. So toss that in a shopping cart, move on. We kinda touched on this before. Millers has tons of templates available to you. They have a general, the classic, the flex, the vintage, the old school, the game on collection. I talked to all those guys there, surprisingly the most popular one is still the classic one, it's the oldest one. That's what people use the most. You go in, and these allow you to go in with an eyedropper and you can change colors on them, it gives you points of customization, you can put in anything you want. Plymouth Volleyball League, 2017, kid's name. You can change all this stuff. We talked about this earlier, I don't want to get into putting names on prints unless they pay me more, because I'll mess it up. But they have templates for all of the sports that you could possibly want. All of the major ones. Like we talked about in the last segment, you can of course, still using Millers, make your own templates and send in. But talking about theirs, you can see Sally Susie, that's a fun name, St. Craig Prep Volleyball. So the other stuff that they have, they got Track and Field, like all the different layouts for it. They have tons of options for you. So if you are just starting out in this industry, I would encourage you to spend your time learning the craft of taking pictures, over just designing the products. So use these. You're just starting out. Maybe it's like an abstract sport, that you wanna have something that represents the sport, and you just don't have the time, or maybe it's only a few orders, these guys are giving you the opportunity to have a high-quality background and template. It's easy. Add some of these in. You can see it allows you to change your font colors. It's all, all that easy. All right. At the very end, this is like the two products that we ordered just for this demonstration. We walked you through the finished water bottle, the metal print. Make sure that you name this something that makes sense. Sometimes when I'm not paying attention, when we just started ordering stuff from Millers, I would just, oh whatever, Godzilla. And I'd name it something weird just because I think I'm funny. Then it takes me a while to figure out what order I have to go back and look up if there's a question about it. Make sure you're naming your stuff, an order name that makes sense. You can print on metallic paper if you want. They can ship stuff straight to your clients if you want. We talked about drop shipping. There's all those options. It's all at a click of a button. I never really got into it. I don't know if I would. There's a lot of people that were doing texturing of the prints for a while, because they were thinking it would stop with scanning. I don't know if that really is a big thing. They do offer all of that right here. I don't think that I would really go down that road. They have some options that I think are kinda like, mm, I don't know. I don't think it's very sports photography what I would do. But there are some things that I would pay for. We die-cut our wallets in-house. Die-cut means the sheet goes through, they're all popped out, rounded corners. It's a nicer look. They charge a little bit more for it, but you should do it. It's things like that, the finishing touches, I think make us stand out. The fact that we put all of our prints in those black backings, and not just loose prints in a bag with a piece of cardboard. Those little finishing touches I think do make us stand out. So once you're done with all of that, here's where it let's you, free shipping to my address, ship to my clients. $6 or they'll charge you more and they'll get it out faster.
We did have a question that came in from Tom, who's asking when do you think someone should switch to in-house printing. I know that's a big leap. You've talked about how much you invested into that. So what kind of size business do you have to be?
The thing about going into in-house printing, it's not even just the expense of the printer. It's not. It's that you're taking on the labor and the production side of it. So it's not even just how much you're gonna invest, if you're gonna get your money back, the difference between what an 8 x 10 costs me to print, over ordering it from Millers. If I order it from Millers, they have the guy that has to work and print the machine, they gotta package it and ship it to me, I don't have to do any of that. So there's more to it than just the mathematics of when you'll come out on the machine. But I would say if I was looking at getting into printing, there's a few very affordable options. I would look at some of the refurbished machines. I would look at something that would do. You could probably get into it for $10, 15,000. You could get a pretty good machine. A refurb's gonna probably, it'll only print one paper size. It's not gonna have three like ours does. It'll be a little bit slower. The quality would be the same. But you could get into it at that price point.
So for those of us that would have to order a large group or amount of photos through one of these places, how would we reorganize those on the back end?
Millers will allow you, how you would submit the big jobs? Millers, how we submit our orders for schools. I can confidently tell you how that works. We get it back from Millers all packaged per class. The way we submit our jobs, it comes back, Mrs. Jones second grade. That's packaged. This is Mr. Williams third grade. They're sorted out that way. We still will open up those packages and go through it all. You have to. One of the accounts that we got was trying to do a fully-automated print production delivery service. They messed up on their bar code scanning. Pictures were delivered to parents where it was like the Third Grade Girls Pink team, and it would be the Third Grade Girls individual pictures, and it'd be like U-17 Boys Black, would be the team. Like not even close. Not even close. And I'm sitting there thinking, how does it get all the way from printing into people's hands, and no one noticed it. And it was messed up all the way across the board. 3,000 kids. So knowing that we've got accounts by people not looking at their photos, I gotta make sure that they look good. They come packaged sorted that way, but I would still go in, look at them, and then put them in a different box or a different bag. These are our main products, the templates that we were talking about. We talked about how we design those up. It's just important to have a look that's unified across all the stuff that you shoot. That's one of our adapted sports leagues that we do. Which is a lot of fun, except for I'm terrified that I'm gonna get a concussion walking out on the ice. I am not as graceful as I look, and that's saying a lot (laughs). It's bad. I go out there and I'm like, oh I just don't wanna fall on my butt. Again, same basic look, we convert it. These PSDs we'll put in, we have to load it up. So it's got the name, and we'll load in, obviously this was a soccer one and they dumped the baseball kid in there. We load them up in a way that it just keeps that process, that look, that style. Okay? We were talking about this too when we were talking about team pictures. People were asking if we do them all exactly the same. This is an example of hockey. So you'll see they're sitting on a bench in this photo. The middle row is standing, the third row is crazy and they actually stand on another bench on their skates. And that's how they do it.