Announcing a guest, portrait photographer for the CCS summer seminar


I would like to announce our guest photographer, Meo Baaklini. Meo is (in her own words) an Intimate Wedding and Portrait photographer based in the San Francisco Bay area. She formally trained at the Academy of Art San Francisco and runs her own studio in Benicia, CA.

We know that many of our customers primarily shoot other kinds of work. But great pictures are great pictures! Meo does work both in her studio, on-location and outdoors in the challenging San Francisco weather. She will be sharing some of her favorite outdoor portrait tips during our Monday afternoon training time on July 22, 3:30-4:40pm*. For those of you that would like some tips for a portrait studio setting, we welcome you to join us in the Glamour Shots®** training session that will occur on Monday afternoon 1pm-3pm. During this indoor session, she will specifically cover shooting tips for Maternity and Boudoir photography. Please shoot us an email if you would like to attend the indoor, portrait studio training with Glamour Shots on Monday, July 22, 1-3pm PT so that we may guarantee we have enough seats! Email .

We hope that you are able to attend and that you find the session with our distinguished guest photographer inspiring and that the time will translate into better photography, happier customers, more sales and more referrals for your business!

Here are a few of Meo’s favorite pieces of equipment.

Canon 5dmkII

50mm 1.4 (“My favorite lens… it stays on my camera 90% of the time!”)



Calumet 750 Travelites (umbrellas, softboxes, grid, snoot etc..)

Reflectors and huge 8ft tall polystyrene boards to bounce light back

We hope that you are excited about this great opportunity to get insight from another professional!

You can learn more about her by visiting .Some samples of her work are below:




The impact of our distinguished seminar guest speaker, Steve Mulvany and his topic: Service Quality-An Edge or a Liability

CCS has had many speakers, several nationally known, at our annual seminars over the last 40+ years. One of those speakers who is nationally known has spoken to us on at least five occasions. He stands out as possibly the very best speaker who has ever spoken to us and one of the very best whom I have ever heard.

His name is Steve Mulvany. His topic is: Service Quality-An Edge or a Liability. This topic may seem mundane, but it is essential, especially today where reputations are built or destroyed rapidly via the Internet.

Developing a Customer Service culture is difficult in small and large organizations. It can be the difference maker between the success and failure of a business. Good customer service is not an accident, as Steve will tell you. It is also not something where you learn it, reach a goal, and relax. It requires constant effort to maintain it.

Mulvany’s message will detail his broad experience with many top companies in how to formulate, educate, and maintain excellent customer service over a long period of time. His humor and manner will make this seemingly dry topic entertaining and engaging.

His past messages to CCS customers and employees have changed the way we think about Customer Service. Some of our most successful customers say that Steve Mulvany has been instrumental in guiding their customer service philosophy.

As you know, our Summer Seminar is coming up in a little over three weeks. This year it is being held in San Francisco July 22nd-24th. We have been conducting these seminars, usually two a year, almost since the inception of Candid Color 40+ years ago.

We realize that it is a significant time commitment and expense to attend a meeting of any kind away from your place of business. But we strive to make the seminar motivating, educational, and practical. Most of all we strive to make it several times more profitable than its time commitment and expense.

I strongly encourage you to attend this seminar, no matter the size of your business or your experience level. You will benefit beyond measure from listening and incorporating
Steve’s message in your daily business practices.

We are lucky to have Steve speak to us and we all need to take advantage of it.


Dan Hays

COO, Candid Color Systems


Your sales funnel- small changes having a HUGE impact on your bottom line.

It is not uncommon that photographers focus intensely on the best ways to book business. We see courses on it, make materials to aide in booking and even go on sales calls with some of our customers. But we are rarely asked, “How can I maximize what I am already shooting?”

Booking and photography are frequently focused on to the exclusion of the other steps needed to run a profitable business. To maximize the business you shoot involves selling the most products to the most people possible. Studying your sales funnel will help you accomplish this.

The reality is that a relatively small percentage of potential buyers in a given situation will actually make a purchase. It has always been that way. But you can increase sales by getting more people to buy and/or getting a higher average sale per buyer.

A few examples of buy rate:

At college graduations about 50% or participants buy their picture.

With an average order of $60, this means you average $30 per graduate shot.

If 400 graduates are photographed then your sales would be $12,000.

For stadium fan photography, about 10% of pictures are purchased.

With an average order of $25, this means you average $2.50 per image taken.

If 6,000 images are taken then you can expect sales would be $15,000.

In both of these examples there is a huge opportunity to increase the number of buyers (or maybe even participants in the case of fan photography).  There is also an opportunity to increase the average order. Both can have a big impact.

Let’s look at an example of our ONLINE business funnel.



We lose potential buyers at each step. Here are a few reasons why we lose potential buyers:

  • not photographed because they were not aware photos were being taken
  • not photographed because they did not know when photos were taking place
  • can’t be contacted to view images (no email collected)
  • lose the password card they are provided at an event & can’t find their images
  • don’t open their emails
  • don’t click on the email to view the website
  • looked at images, but did not buy
  • don’t have a good pose to choose
  • did not see an appealing product
  • “Borrowed” our images instead of buying
  • Built an order /created a cart but did not check out

 A relative few become actual buyers. But think about the opportunity that brings! Let’s shoot for a very attainable improvement of 2 percentage points in the number of buyers.

An improvement of 2 percentage points in the number of people actually buying can have a huge impact when only 10% buy now!

If only 10% order from an event now – a 2 point increase in the number of buyers is a 20% increase in buyers and sales!

Simply reduce the non-buyers from 90% to 88%. That doesn’t seem too hard.

Since many costs for a given shoot are fixed – this can mean a 46% increase in profit.

Let’s look at a simple example for Shoot A:

Current sales of $10,000 (on a large event with 3K images. 300 or 10% purchasing)

Assume fixed costs of $4,000

Travel                        – Cost of booking

Photographers        – Equipment

Sending out proofs – Office overhead

Assume variable cost is 30% or $3,000

Profit of $3,000

$10,000 – $4,000 – $3,000 = $3,000 profit

If we increase the participants in Shoot A who make a purchase by 2 points:

  • That’s 20% more buyers and sales (move from 300 buyers to 360 or 12% purchasing)
  • $2,000 more sales – sales now $12,000
  • But only $600 more variable cost at 30%
  • Profit goes up $1,400
  • Total Profit now is $4,400 versus $3,000
  •  That is a 46% improvement in profit

        How do we get this 2 percentage point increase in buyers?

We study the places we lose buyers and we improve at each point.

Understanding the math…..

Book and schedule an event/opportunity. Here are some numbers to think about.

  • Photograph 75% of all available subjects
  • Have a way to communicate with 75% of them
  • 75% of them open our emails
  • 75% then click on links and view their images
  • 75% of them are honest and don’t “borrow”
  • 75% of them create an order and cart
  • 75% of them actually complete their order!
  • Only 13% of original prospects actually buy!
  • (75% x 75% x 75% x 75% x 75% x 75% x 75% = 13%)

To increase the number of buyers, we must improve at each point in the process.

If you made a 5 percentage point improvement at each step this gives you a much bigger increase than 5%

Check this out !

80% x 80% x 80% x 80% x 80% x 80% x 80% = 27% buy

Now 27% will buy versus 13%!

You will DOUBLE your sales!

You will TRIPLE your profit!

Small actions that impact a lot of people=big change. Think about all of the steps in your process and how you can improve at every turn.

That small 5% difference is why some people make a lot more money than others “doing the same thing.”


Time is running out! Take part in our nation-wide survey by May 17th!


Candid Color Systems® is reaching out to professionals in the sports photography field to complete a short industry survey. The survey will close on May 17th. This survey will be used to provide our customers, affiliates and the photography industry with valuable information to develop products, processes and services that can help maximize your business.

In return for your time, you will be provided with an advance copy of the valuable results we plan to glean from this survey. One of the best tools a business owner can have are benchmarks by which to judge your success.

Feel free to share this link with others in the industry who you feel could provide valuable feedback.

This survey will take less than 5 minutes. Get started HERE.

Thank you,

Candid Color Systems

Announcing our summer seminar guest speaker – Steve Mulvany

SteveCCS is excited to announce Steve Mulvany will be our distinguished, guest speaker for this summer’s CCS Seminar in San Francisco. He will be sharing some of his respected insights on management and customer service. Steve has shared his insights with CCS previously to high praise. Many of the CCS customers who were lucky enough to hear Steve speak at a previous seminar credit him with having made a real difference in their business.

More about Steve

Steve Mulvany is the President and founder of Management Tools Inc. where he works on a long-term basis with companies throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia implementing strategies to improve management and service quality practices which impact company performance and customers’ perceptions. 

Steve also facilitates long-range strategic and operational planning sessions for medium and large companies.  He has worked with companies ranging from major banks and conglomerates to Carl Sewell’s (author of Customers For Life) automobile dealerships. His experience has touched a large variety of industries with groups ranging from major resorts and hotel companies, to coal mines and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.

Steve is one of the highest rated speakers on the topics of quality service, productivity, and strategic planning.  He has spoken worldwide to the Young Presidents’ Organization, the Department of Defense, numerous trade organizations, and many corporations.  YPO, which has the world’s most prestigious speakers present to their audiences, reports that the audio sales from Steve’s sessions are in the top 3 speakers of more than 200 of their highest rated speakers.

Steve serves on 3 corporate boards:  Strottman International (kids meal premiums leader), CWS Capital Partners (apartments), and Security Properties (commercial and residential real estate).

Steve graduated in 3 years with high honors from the University of California at Davis.  His graduate work concentrated in business administration and education at both U.C. Davis and California State University in Sacramento.  Steve resides in Coronado, California, with his wife Maud.  Together, Steve & Maud have 5 children.

Comments from CCS customers who heard Steve speak at a previous seminar:

“Steve is one of the most inspirational and personable speakers I have ever listened to.”

“Wow he’s awesome! Great choice!”

“Great speaker and topic!”

We hope that you will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and attend the 2013 CCS summer seminar in San Francisco. This seminar is free to CCS customers. Visit or contact CCS Customer Development for more information.

Spring clean your business- analyze and revamp

Spring is a great time to take a good look at your business plan. A spring cleaning, if you will. Take the steps now that will ensure your business does well the rest of the year and beyond.

Market to existing customers currently satisfied with your services

While we constantly need to gain new customers, the focus and priority should be on satisfying your existing customer base. Businesses spend 80% of their marketing dollars going after new customers rather than maintaining the customer relationships they already have. Consider this:

– Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers.

– Referrals are 107% greater than non-customers.

– It costs six times more to sell to a prospect than to sell to a customer.

Increasing sales to existing customers is easier because they already believe in you. Build long-term relationships by showing your customers they truly are your business lifeline and that you care about them. Track phone calls and emails, making sure you keep in contact regularly. Word of mouth is one of, if not the best, form of advertising.

Focus on the parts of your business that bring you the most profits

Review which accounts are the most profitable and why. Why do they have success at their events? What marketing tools, product samples or email campaigns have been used? Determine how the high dollar amount spent per participant was achieved. Do they post pictures quickly after the event? Do they offer good value? A user-friendly website? Were there up-sells that contributed to success?

Be sure to service and maintain every profitable customer again this year.

Review your business plan and make adjustments

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Reviewing your business plan will allow you to see what is working and what is not. This can be the single most important contribution to your company’s survival and success. Use these important steps when reviewing your plan:

•Evaluate your staff

Examine your staff’s productivity. Are they performing and which need improvement? How is their personality in dealing with customers? Are they shooting quality pictures? Are they taking enough pictures? Having your entire staff moving in the same direction with a clear vision of the company’s goals is necessary for success.

•Update equipment regularly

Take inventory of your equipment. Retire old equipment, repair broken equipment and purchase what needs to be replaced. It is also a good idea to standardize. This will make training easier.

•Analyze your events

Do you have a plan in place to review your events’ success or failures? Which products are most popular? Which products are most profitable? Which events are worth booking and which ones are robbing time, money and energy? How can you improve these events and make them profitable to shoot?

•Create a contact quota

Set a realistic number of new prospects to contact per week. Research top prospects and develop a sales strategy to reach them. Track your efforts and record the information you discuss with each prospect so you remember your last conversation when calling them again. Differentiate yourself from your competition with service, products, pricing. Create a referral list and testimonials from satisfied customers. Stay in touch with your prospects and most importantly, FOLLOW UP! Creating and using a follow up system is a guaranteed way to grow your business as 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact! Less than 52% of all sales people follow up with their prospects. If you are in a market with heavy competition, you can eliminate competitors by simply following up!

•Provide excellent customer service

Make sure doing business with your business is EASY. Train your staff to respond to questions, take orders, and fill orders according to specifications. Make sure your capacity fits the needs of your customers so that you can deliver as promised. In some cases, you may need to expand facilities, hire more staff, get more equipment, or outsource production.

Spring clean now and let business bloom for summer, fall and winter months!

Do you know your tools of the trade?

cameras_mThe number of cameras available to photographers is staggering.  The lines are becoming blurred between what constitutes a pro camera and an amateur camera.  Entry level cameras today have more capabilities than pro cameras from 5 years ago.  Most pros only utilize, at best, about 25% of the available features.   So, this brings up questions.  Are there features in your camera (and flash) that would enable you to take better quality photos?  Are there features that would enable to you to take more creative photos?  Are there features that would make all of this easier to do?

To help familiarize yourself with your cameras and strobes, visit a camera tutorial website. These websites contain video and text tutorials for each model with details on the controls, menus and key features.  This website format is far more interesting than reading the owner’s manual.

Take some time to visit these sites.  You may find yourself saying “I didn’t know my camera could do that!”.

Below are links to helpful sites.

Nikon Learn More

Canon Learn More

Sony Learn More

Other resources:


Be a part of our Nationwide Sports Photography Survey!


Candid Color Systems® is reaching out to professionals in the sports photography field to complete a short industry survey. This survey will be used to provide our customers, affiliates and the photography industry with valuable information to develop products, processes and services that can help maximize your business.

In return for your time, you will be provided with an advance copy of the valuable results we plan to glean from this survey. One of the best tools a business owner can have are benchmarks by which to judge your success.

Feel free to share this link with others in the industry who you feel could provide valuable feedback.

This survey will take less than 5 minutes. Get started HERE.

Thank you,

Candid Color Systems

“Found money”- a remarketing success story



Prior to the holidays, our local retail operation offered a 30% discount (via email) on digital downloads. This offer appeals to those shopping procrastinators and anyone else that enjoys the immediate gratification of a download.

This special resulted in nearly $4,000 of found money!

Now, if one were to look at the percent who ordered they may not be particularly impressed. The nearly $4,000 came from less than 2% of those who were emailed. We had sales of almost $.10 per email sent. This is not a large number in itself, but this example serves as a reminder that everything is a numbers game.  Little efforts can add up! I think everyone could agree that $4,000 was worth the effort to create this email!

One thing is certain, you will not make any incremental income without collecting email addresses or having some way to re-market to your customers. If you begin building an email database (and keep it fresh by using it to send at least periodic updates to your customers) you can reap ongoing rewards from this effort.

Keep this in mind during all of your spring shoots. Don’t miss the opportunity to make more money in the future by failing to collect emails from your customers.

You could even try a special using digital downloads this spring or summer. Here are some other ideas to get your started:

  • Tax Day, Monday, April 15, 2013- Get a break!
  • Cinco De Mayo, Sunday, May 5, 2013- $5 downloads on 5/5 or $5 off
  • Mother’s Day,  Sunday, May 12, 2013-
  • Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, 2013
  • Flag Day, June 14, 2013
  • Father’s Day  Sunday, June 16, 2013- Downloads are great for digital frames.
  • First Day of Summer, Friday, June 21, 2013
  • 4th of July- $4 downlaods or $4 off. Celebrate the sale!
  • August – Back to School – Downloads for school projects!

Happy marketing!



Regional Meeting Update: We are coming to Austin in 1 week!


Candid Color Systems® is going on the road! We are bringing staff members to you by hosting a series of regional meetings for CCS customers. Our next meeting is in Austin, TX!

These photography business meetings are a great opportunity for learning, discussion and networking offered to CCS customers at no cost! Join us to hear about new developments, best practices and industry trends that will help you grow your photo business. Each meeting will have time for an open discussion with topics selected by attendees. The meetings will be 9am-4pm and CCS will provide a light lunch.


Wyndham Garden Austin
3401 South IH-35
Austin, TX 78741 US

Click here to learn more and register for these events.

Our upcoming regional meetings:

  • Austin, TX Thursday, March 7th 2013
  • Las Vegas, NV Sunday, March 10th 2013 (before WPPI)

Please call or email one of our Customer Development representatives below if you have questions or click here if you would like to open an account.


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