What’s New for Candid Color Customers?

If you are looking for a professional print lab or are considering switching from your current lab, give Candid Color a try! We provide solutions for photography businesses of all sizes and offer turn-key marketing systems to guide you through the booking, sales and photography processes. We are continually adding new items to our vast collection of specialty products, which is sure to give you the competitive edge you’ve been looking for. Here are just a few of our newest additions.

 

Multi Image Level TwoTM designs are the newest addition to our Level TwoTM product line. Multi-Image Level TwoTM prints are available in 4x5s, 8x10s and 16x20s. Each design displays 2-3 images of each athlete and can be personalized with custom text. Create a fun and unique product that is sure to impress parents and coaches alike!

 

Pano Collages are available in two sizes: 5×15 and 10×30. The 10×30 Pano Collage holds 4-15 images and the smaller, 5×15 Pano Collage holds 4-7 images. Each of our 9 designs can be customized with text and our 10×30 option can also be mounted or framed for a finished look.


 NEW Greeting Card designs have been added to our collection of 4×8, slim line Holiday Greeting Cards and our line of 5×7 Premium Folded Greeting Cards. All cards can be personalized with supplementary text or a custom greeting at no additional charge and are available with white envelopes.

 

New Green Screen backgrounds have been added to our ever-growing collection of over 400 backgrounds. All of these backgrounds are available exclusively for Candid Color customers, completely free of charge.


 

To learn more about each new product listed above or to become a customer, please contact Customer Development at 1-800-336-4550.  We look forward to doing business with you!  

Boost Reunion Sales With Faux Groups

 

As the summer season quickly approaches, committees for high school and college reunions are gathering to organize their summer festivities. Now is the perfect time to start preparing your business for a more profitable reunion season. One way to get a head start on great sales is to begin promoting our Faux Group product instead of the traditional group shots to reunion committees.

The Faux Group is a group image digitally crafted from a series of individual portraits photographed on green screen. When processed through our green screen software, the background is cleanly cut from each individual image, allowing the portrait to be placed over a wide variety of background designs. The end result is a stunning group photo with sharp focus, even lighting, and consistent head sizes.

Faux Groups provide many benefits to reunion committees. In your consultation, you can stress that the committee will not need to arrange for a large group image to be taken at the event, which can be time consuming and often stressful. Faux Groups also make the committee look good, because the final group image is a unique and professional product that other photographers cannot easily imitate. In addition, individual portraits taken can be retouched and remarketed for other professional purposes, such as alumni publications and networking opportunities.

Faux Groups make the reunion process easier for you as well. You can photograph each attendee on a green screen as he or she joins the event, instead of waiting until everyone arrives to take the group shot. You will no longer have to worry about arranging people on bleachers, finding a large space to photograph all attendees, or dealing with lighting setups suitable for a group. You will simply need one green screen and lighting setup to execute the portraits.

There are a few ways to market this exciting product. If you have access to the attendees’ email addresses, use an email campaign to premarket the Faux Group in addition to your standard product mix. See if the reunion committee will make mention of Faux Groups or allow for an ad in their alumni publications before the event. At the event, consider displaying a vinyl banner of a Faux Group in addition to samples so end-customers can visualize what the final product will look like.

As people line up to have their portraits taken, mention that their images will be added to a one-of-a-kind group photo. Have order envelopes on-hand to take immediate orders and gather envelopes throughout the reunion. Emphasize that names can be added to the final image (depending on the template), so attendees will not forget who they saw and met at their reunion. (People can look quite different after 25 years!) Boost nostalgia by mentioning that the school’s emblem or mascot logo can be added to the design. Simply build excitement, and customers will see the value of the product. 

After the event, mention Faux Groups in your post-event email campaigns, or send mailers highlighting the excitement of the product. In addition to your on-site sales, post the images online for supplemental sales. In a recent graduation shot by our retail division, average online sales increased by $4 or $5 dollars per customer when Faux Groups were available. This is highly possible in the reunion market as well.

Please make sure to thank the parties responsible for allowing you to photograph the event. As a measure of gratitude, offer the reunion committee or alumni association a complimentary framed print of this special group image to hang in the alumni office or hallway. The presence of your Faux Group will be a permanent promotional piece for your business and may lead to future bookings.

Please contact Customer Support at 800-750-0494, or Customer Development at 800-336-4550 to learn how to get started with this fantastic product.

Offering Faux Groups for Sports

Faux Groups are Candid Color’s newest approach to group photos.  Images used for the Faux Groups are easily shot on a green screen background which can be set up inside or out and does not require a full length shot. (If you do shoot outside be sure to prepare for weather conditions.)

Faux Groups offer you a distinct advantage over your competition.  It has been my experience, that when I show a Faux Group to a coach or parent, they are immediately impressed with the overall look and how the colors “pop” off the metallic paper. They are also thrilled to learn that all individuals are in sharp focus, everyone has the same head size and there is consistent lighting throughout the group, making everyone equally visible in the shot. And as you know, when someone is impressed, it makes the sell a lot easier!

Every sports photographer knows that coaches are pressed for time.  They want to use every minute they have with their athletes to better prepare them for the upcoming season or game.  One of my strategies in selling the concept of a Faux Group is to explain how I can cut the amount of time it takes to photograph a team. By setting up one or two green screens and taking the individual photos separately, I save time that would have been used for the group shot. I explain how we will not need to organize a group shot by erecting bleachers, or getting the kids in their bleachers or arranging kids by height, etc.  Coaches understand the chaos of photographing these groups. They perk up when I explain how we can organize the flow on photo day to keep things moving at a brisk pace without much or anytime downtime.

I offer coaches a few different approaches. One method is to photograph the green screen shot in May before the end of school. I can get 90-95% of the individual green screen images completed ahead of the group photo that will be shot in August. This allows me to photograph the athletes and coaches when everyone is more relaxed and not in such a hurry. It also gives me another remarketing tool, because I can take multiple poses and offer them as portraits for purchase immediately.  In the fall at the regular photo shoot, I setup one green screen background and photograph any new team members.  Any kids that were dropped from the team are simply not included in the Faux Group photo. It’s that simple!

The other approach of course is to photograph the individuals in front of the green screen on the regular photo day in August.  To assist football teams and maximize time, I like to setup the green screens in the locker room or training facility on photo day.  As players get dressed and come out of the locker room they immediately walk to the green screen, get photographed and then head out to the field for their regular posed individual and special group photos.

Below is a diagram of this particular scenario:

For both approaches it is imperative you get the player and parent contact information before the photo shoot. This can be given to you by the coach or the booster club. Take this information and make your photo day sequence cards with the information already printed on them.  This will save a lot of time; plus, you won’t have to try and read a high school kid’s hand writing! You can verify the information quickly with the athlete then simply sequence and shoot.

While I have referenced football, this can be utilized in any sport. Faux Groups work well with basketball and soccer as well.  Even though the groups are not as large, it still makes for a great looking group shot.

Increasing Photo Sales with Green Screen

Increasing sales has several different meanings.  It can mean increasing the number of events booked, increasing the size of the average order, or increasing the percentage of customers purchasing.  Green Screen can have a positive effect on all of these ways of increasing sales.

Close up and waist up Green Screen shots

Our retail division has been photographing graduations with Green Screen now for about a year a half and the sales have consistently been higher with Green Screen than without.  Comparing a series of graduations that occurred in Spring and late Summer of 2009 which were not shot with Green Screen, with those same graduations shot with Green Screen in Spring and late Summer of 2010, the sales are up over 30%.  The main factor that we believe caused the sales to go up so dramatically was the effective use of Green Screen.  We are currently utilizing Green Screen for a waist up Second Shot and the Close Up shot and sometimes using a ¾ length Green Screen shot for both the 2nd shot and a Close-up Shot.  Contact your Customer Development Representative for details on how to do this.

Why is Green Screen so Important?  Green Screen allows us to provide multiple background choices that are customized for a given university, high school, iconic scene, etc., increasing the chances that our customers will be drawn to one or more of these background choices.  In the past, numerous backgrounds would have to be purchased or created in order to provide multiple choices and to do so would be quite expensive, usually about $200 per background.  Worse still, a unique photographer and unique photographic equipment had to be provided for every background, further increasing the expense.  Last, using several different backgrounds increased the floor space necessary to photograph, sometimes exceeding the available space and therefore, cutting down on the number of backgrounds that could be used.

Backgrounds utilized for Green Screen

 

Gluing the entire selling process together is CCS’ dedicated software which allows photographers to have CCS cut out the image quickly and cost effectively.  The photographer can then choose one of two methods or both methods to apply the backgrounds and show the customer the image on one of the selected backgrounds.  The first method is called pre-rendered.  In this method the photographer photographs a number of thematically suitable and attractive backgrounds and chooses six to eight of these to be pre-rendered by CCS.  This means CCS superimposes the subject onto each of the chosen backgrounds to be displayed online and, if desired, on paper proofs which are mailed to the end customer’s home.  The cost for pre-rendering images with Green Screen backgrounds is 20 cents per image for the first background and then 5 cents per additional background.

 

The second method is referred to as dynamic and this method is strictly used for online viewing and ordering.  In this method a small number of event specific backgrounds are selected by the photographer/customer as the default backgrounds for that event.  A large selection of seasonal and themed backgrounds is also available online from CCS.  The end customer selects a pose and then chooses a background.  Both are instantly merged together and displayed online for the customer to view and order.   The customer can try out any background offered.  When the customer finds one which he or she wishes to order, they simply place the order in the usual way online and CCS fulfills the order exactly as ordered, including zooming and cropping preferences indicated by the customer.  The cost for dynamic Green Screen is 1 cent per image to process the originals and then 1% of any online sales for prints and products from that dynamic image.  (Standard online commissions are in addition to this 1%)

Pre-rendering Green Screen can also be used for sports in situations where you do not have an attractive shooting location or if the weather prevents you from shooting in your preferred location.   Dynamic Green Screen can be utilized for sports, family and individual portraits as well as parties and events.  We believe parties and events provide a huge opportunity for increasing sales with Green Screen because of the unique product that can be offered.  Green Screen before and after displays are important to excite event guests with the Green Screen process of being photographed and then choosing their own backgrounds online.

 

Offering Green Screen is a great booking tool.  The fact that is relatively new and not offered by many photographers gives you a competitive advantage that can enable you to book more events. 

We have multiple articles posted at http://candidnet.candid.com in the software section and the developments blog on shooting Green Screen and posting/marketing those images using CCS’ free CORE and Quicpost software.

Please contact CCS Customer Development at 1-800-336-4550 for more information on Green Screen.

Increasing Sales with Green Screen

Increasing sales has several different meanings.  It can mean increasing the number of events booked, increasing the size of the average order, or increasing the percentage of customers purchasing.  Green Screen can have a positive affect on all of these ways of increasing sales.

Close up and waist up Green Screen shots

Our retail division has been photographing graduations with Green Screen now for about a year a half and the sales have consistently been higher with Green Screen than without.  Comparing a series of graduations that occurred in Spring and late Summer of 2009 which were not shot with Green Screen, with those same graduations shot with Green Screen in Spring and late Summer of 2010, the sales are up over 30%. .  The main factor that we believe caused the sales to go up so dramatically was the effective use of Green Screen.  We are currently utilizing Green Screen for a waist up Second Shot and the Close Up shot and sometimes using a ¾ length Green Screen shot for both the 2nd shot and a Close-up Shot.  Contact your Customer Development Representative for details on how to do this. 

Why is Green Screen so Important?  Green Screen allows us to provide multiple background choices that are customized for a given university, high school, iconic scene, etc., increasing the chances that our customers will be drawn to one or more of these background choices.  In the past, numerous backgrounds would have to be purchased or created in order to provide multiple choices and to do so would be quite expensive, usually about $200 per background.  Worse still, a unique photographer and unique photographic equipment had to be provided for every background, further increasing the expense.  Last, using several different backgrounds increased the floor space necessary to photograph, sometimes exceeding the available space and therefore, cutting down on the number of backgrounds that could be used.

Backgrounds utilized for Green Screen

Gluing the entire selling process together is CCS’ dedicated software which allows photographers to have CCS cut out the image quickly and cost effectively.  The photographer can then choose one of two methods or both methods to apply the backgrounds and show the customer the image on one of the selected backgrounds.  The first method is called pre-rendered.  In this method the photographer photographs a number of thematically suitable and attractive backgrounds and chooses six to eight of these to be pre-rendered by CCS.  This means CCS superimposes the subject onto each of the chosen backgrounds to be displayed online and, if desired, on paper proofs which are mailed to the end customer’s home.  The cost for pre-rendering images with Green Screen backgrounds is 20 cents per image for the first background and then 5 cents per additional background.

The second method is referred to as dynamic and this method is strictly used for online viewing and ordering.  In this method a small number of event specific backgrounds are selected by the photographer/customer as the default backgrounds for that event.  A large selection of seasonal and themed backgrounds is also available online from CCS.  The end customer selects a pose and then chooses a background.  Both are instantly merged together and displayed online for the customer to view and order.   The customer can try out any background offered.  When the customer finds one which he or she wishes to order, they simply place the order in the usual way online and CCS fulfills the order exactly as ordered, including zooming and cropping preferences indicated by the customer.  The cost for dynamic Green Screen is 1 cent per image to process the originals and then 1% of any online sales for prints and products from that dynamic image.  (Standard online commissions are in addition to this 1%)

Pre-rendering Green Screen can also be used for sports in situations where you do not have an attractive shooting location or if the weather prevents you from shooting in your preferred location.   Dynamic Green Screen can be utilized for sports, family and individual portraits as well as parties and events.  We believe parties and events provide a huge opportunity for increasing sales with Green Screen because of the unique product that can be offered.  Green Screen before and after displays are important to excite event guests with the Green Screen process of being photographed and then choosing their own backgrounds online.

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Offering Green Screen is a great booking tool.  The fact that is relatively new and not offered by many photographers gives you a competitive advantage that can enable you to book more events.  

We have multiple articles posted at http://candidnet.candid.com in the software section and the developments blog on shooting Green Screen and posting/marketing those images using CCS’ free CORE and Quicpost software.

Please contact CCS Customer Development at 1-800-336-4550 for more information on Green Screen.

Marketing and Shooting Schools on Speculation

School Portraits have traditionally been photographed on a preorder or package pre print basis (sometimes also called Speculation).  In the context we are discussing here Speculation is entirely different.  By Speculation we mean taking the pictures, offering paper or online proofs or both and taking orders by collection at the school, mail or online.

What Do We Mean By Taking Pictures on Speculation?

We mean photographing each child in several (2 or 3) poses,  posting the proofs online, sending paper proofs home by mail or by the child, and having parents place orders online, by mail, by phone, by fax or by sending the proofs back to school.

Why Offer School Portraits on a Speculation Basis?

The biggest reason is potential competitive advantage.  Most competitors will offer a pre pay method where pre pay envelopes are delivered to the school a week or two before the shoot, distributed to kids to take home to parents, and parents are supposed to select a package and send the envelope back to the school via their children.  Since 95% plus of your competitors will offer this, it is difficult to differentiate yourself from them except on price or commission, neither one of which is to your business advantage.

In a survey of parents of kids who were photographed this year, 98% of those responding indicated that they preferred to see proofs before ordering and 97%  of those responding said they preferred to have a choice of poses.  Hence, at least 97% of the parents in our survey prefer Speculation to Pre-Pay.

Sales results have been similar to Pre Pay but we expect them to improve as the system becomes better known and understood.

Taking pictures on Speculation has one key advantage.  Parents have the opportunity to view proofs BEFORE making a decision to buy.   It also allows you to take more than one pose of each student, which provides more choices, and hopefully, more sales.  This maximizes your chances of getting at least one good picture of each student. 

Once parents have become accustomed to seeing proofs ahead of ordering, they will prefer that system because it offers greater certainty that they will be happy with the pictures of their children.  They get to see what they will be getting before having to commit and write a check.

This system results in less customer service issues with customers because there is less likelihood of them receiving a picture with which they are dissatisfied.  That means less calls to the school and a happier school administrator.

What Are the Challenges of Offering The Speculation System?

School administrators tend to be conservative and are sometimes resistant to change.  Since the old Pre-Pay System has been around for over 50 years, many administrators may be uncomfortable with making a change.  You have to be prepared with great samples and ideally, a list of references from other schools you have already done this for, or from schools where you have done Graduations or Sports on a Speculation Basis.

Approach schools which have already used you for graduations or sports, since they basically already know and understand the system.

The other challenge is communicating the new system with Parents.  If parents do not understand the Speculation Program, then they will not be looking for the proofs and will not order.  You must proactively communicate with the parents, preferably by email directly to them.  If this is not possible, then see if the school can send out emails on your behalf to parents, taking them to their proofs.

Mechanics of Proofing

                                                                                                                                                               In any case, send out paper proofs, preferably by mail to each student’s house, if you have parents’ addresses.  If you don’t have parents’ addresses, deliver proofs to the school for distribution to the parents. 

Set an order deadline date by which orders must be placed in order to receive the best price on the pictures.  Set that date two to three weeks after the distribution of  the proofs.

At that point, continue marketing, but raise the price by at least 15%.  This price increase needs to be pre publicized on the website and the proofs to encourage customers to place orders quickly.  If the customers procrastinate ordering, they may never order.

Green Screen-An Optional Bonus

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                                                                                                                                                               In the last two years, Candid Color Photography, our retail division, has utilized Green Screen photography combined with Speculation to offer a large number of backgrounds without taking pictures of subjects on all of those backgrounds.

Green Screen allows you to photograph the subject on a green or blue screen and then to use software to cut out the subject for the background.  Once the subject is cut out, using software at CCS, any number of backgrounds can be substituted for the green or blue background on which the subject was originally shot. 

                                                                                                                                                         There are two ways in which this can be marketed:

Pre-rendered where a finite number of backgrounds are substituted and then posted online and made into paper proofs so that the subject is displayed on each of the chosen backgrounds.
Dynamically rendered-this is available online only and allows the customer to choose a background from a menu list and to view that background dynamically rendered behind the subject. 

This allows you to create your own backgrounds of local scenes, indoor and outdoor, extremely inexpensively and then to provide a large number of choices to your customer.

This would not be practical, except for a few backgrounds, with a Pre-Pay system.

It lends itself extremely well to a Speculation System and can contribute to higher sales, using the Speculation System.

CCS Core Software for Schools is designed to help you manage the Speculation Process.  The merging of the images to the names, addresses and emails can be done in an efficient manner.  Email campaigns can then be generated with a link that takes the end customer to just their images online.  The Core software also allows you to create paper proofs for each student which can be mailed or sent home with them from school.

For further information, contact a Customer Support Representative or  Customer Development Specialist at CCS  1-800-336-4550.

Faux Groups are a new opportunity

Faux Groups are a unique way to create group photos from a collection of individual shots photographed in front of a green screen background.  These new style of groups can open doors to more portrait opportunities, provide additional sales, are great booking tools and give you options to overcome the physical challenges of actually shooting groups.

Why offer faux groups? Many groups can be difficult to photograph due to a lack of space, bleachers, time or even photographer skill.  Faux Groups offer you a solution to these challenges since you only need a limited amount of space to photograph the individuals and the lighting/background setup is fairly simple to learn and execute.  They can be shot indoors or outdoors, though shooting green screen outdoors does require additional control over your lighting conditions.

What markets are good for Faux Groups?  The most common to date are graduations, teams, bands and schools, but they also have great potential for reunions, companies, service organizations, Greeks, conventions and more.  The applications are unlimited.  If you are already photographing individuals to sell portraits, then the Faux Group is a great by-product created from those individual images and can be sold to generate additional sales.  If in the past you have photographed groups in the traditional fashion, shooting them as Faux Groups will now give you the opportunity to shoot and sell individual portraits to generate additional sales.  Faux Group sales can generate an additional $4-$5 or more per individual photographed. 

Faux Groups are great booking tools.  The opportunity to create a unique Faux Group can be all that is required to book the individual portraits for an organization.  It can also be used to sway an organization that you already photograph as individuals to switch to green screen.  Additional selling points are:

All individuals are in sharp focus
Lighting is consistent throughout the group
Everyone has the same head size and are equally visible. 
 

How do you order faux groups? CCS has provided customers with a detailed how-to on submitting orders for faux groups. This how-to was written with the expectation that images would be shot using green screen. Backgrounds for individual images can be pre-rendered for the retail customer or dynamically selected by the retail customer. Pre-rendered images have the final background image merged with the subject’s original green screen image and are displayed online for purchase. Dynamic images allow your retail customers to choose their own background online and purchase.

CCS asks customers to allow up to 5 business days for the creation of Faux Groups up to 300 subjects.  Groups larger than 300 subjects may take longer and should be pre-scheduled with Customer Support to receive an estimated completion date.  Images requiring cleanup can delay the completion of the group.

Please note that if your subjects would normally be holding a musical instrument or piece of sports equipment, take an additional photograph of them without these items for use in the faux group.  This reduces the risk of having one of these items block an adjacent face.

Please contact Customer Development at 800-336-4550 with questions about how to book and market Faux Groups.

An Updated Look at Proms: Pre-promotion and Marketing alternatives

Proms were traditionally a lucrative market but were extremely competitive to book.  The common marketing method utilized was Pre-Pay for Portraits, and online View First (speculation) for Party Pics® candids  Many studio competitors did not offer candids or, if they did, took only a few.
 
In recent years, sales at some Proms have declined by 50% or more.  Students are not as excited about posed portraits or candid prints.  Part of this is the surge of personal cameras taken to proms and the preference by students for digital images instead of prints.  Despite this trend, we still believe the parents are quite interested in prints.  In the past, most marketing was directed to the students and not the parents.  Parents should be included and be a major focus of any marketing efforts concerning photographs at the prom.
 
To successfully book proms and maximize their sales, you are going to have to change your mindset and your marketing methods. 

Obtain cooperation from the school so that you can reach the parents BEFORE the prom with your marketing message.  Send information to parents by email or mail so that they know what you are offering at the Prom and at what price.  If the school will not provide you with emails or mailing addresses, they may be willing to send out a broadcast email on your behalf or include links to your website and info in their newsletters or other correspondence.  Offering a unique portrait discount code to be used at the event in the pre-promotion can increase participation.  Pre-printed sports-style envelopes can be used for pre-orders and can be collected at the school a few days prior to the event or they can be brought to the event sealed with the payment from the parent inside.  We know of one parent who specifically gave her daughter cash (not in an order envelope) to purchase pictures at the prom. The daughter failed to even have her picture taken and the cash was used elsewhere.  Providing methods for the parents to preorder and/or seal their payment can eliminate this type of calamity.  Pre-orders can also be taken online for portraits prior to the event.  A gift certificate code is then sent by the photographer to the purchaser for the amount of purchase and also kept on file at the prom in case the attendee did not bring the code.
 

Display the backgrounds to be offered at the prom prominently on any flyers or order forms distributed.  Create posters with samples for display around the school.  Provide each school with website/password cards to be used as invitation stuffers.  Each card should include information about your portraits and candids.
 

 prom stuffer

Events-Prom-Flyer-2010

Shoot additional poses of singles and couples; when photographing couples at the prom, photograph the female first, then the couple and finally the male.  Shoot full length and half length.  Regardless of what is pre-ordered or ordered at the Prom, you can still I.D. these pictures and send an email link to parents, providing them the opportunity to order pictures of just their child.  Ask for a student and parent email from each person photographed.
 
For larger proms, offering a separate background for group pictures can be a hit.  Usually created with two 10×20 backdrops hung horizontally for maximum width, this prom setup can eliminate the problem of shooting off the background on a primary couple setup and reduce your couples’ waiting time.  Typically 5×7 or 8×10 prints at a fixed price are offered on this group line.
 
Shoot Green Screen or High Key portraits to offer a unique background or look to your images.  Traditional style backgrounds with props may be considered cheesy by some schools.  Green Screen will enable you to offer more background options at the prom or online and without the investment in props.  Be sure to display a variety of options in your marketing materials and displays at the prom to generate excitement and greater participation.  Shooting white high key portraits will give your images a cleaner and more sophisticated look that many schools prefer.   If you choose to shoot Green Screen or High Key, test your lighting setups and train your photographers thoroughly before prom season to ensure that you will have satisfactory results.  Contact Customer Support for instruction on green screen or high key photography.
 
Prom CoupleProm CoupleProm Couple

 

 

Be very visible at the prom.  Your portrait location should be easily accessible and within sight of the dance floor to increase participation.  Provide a script to the D.J. for regular announcements over the sound system on your behalf, to encourage people to have their picture taken.
 
Candids need to be taken in large quantities and, ideally, need to be projected large on a screen to create interest and encourage others to have their pictures taken.  Eye Fi, Canon Wireless and Nikon Wireless, as well as tethering can be used to accomplish this.  It is well worth the effort because it makes having the pictures taken cool to the participants.
 
After the prom, utilize an email campaign for at least three months to maximize your sales.  A significant amount of sales can be generated with these campaigns.  Weekly reminders should include a on focus pearlized paper, unique print products and ordering deadlines.

Green Screen for Proms

If you are looking for a competitive edge this prom season, which will be upon us in a matter of weeks, then green screen photography may be something that you may want to explore.  Rather than opting for the traditional, prop-heavy background you may want to consider green screen as a way to offer a myriad of backgrounds from the same image(s) with a minimum of props to complete your scene.
Green or blue screen photography is a technique by which foreground elements, like high school prom couples, can be separated from the green background and then composited against a new, photographic background.  Blue or green are commonly used because there is less blue or green in human flesh tones.
If you are planning to use green screen at any of your dance events this spring, it’s important to do it right to avoid any refunds or unhappy customers.  Green screen backgrounds suitable for a full-length photograph can be purchased at B&H Photo; Calumet Photo; EBay; or at www.chroma-key.com.  A 10×20 chroma-key muslin background will cost in the vicinity of $165.
We suggest using real flooring, like carpet, with the green screen behind any props you may use.  Doing it this way eliminates the “floating couple” in a background look, where their feet don’t seem to be anchored to the floor.


As far as lighting, your objective is to minimize, or, totally remove any shadows falling onto your green screen background.  It’s crucial to use diffused lighting created by an umbrella or a soft box to control shadows. The light source should be above the camera if you are using a single light source.  Full-length shots may require the use of an additional light aimed at the background to fill in shadows if you are using a single main light.   (See diagrams below)

As far as a workflow for CCS and to achieve the most efficient results you need to follow the following:
1. Shoot the event.
2. Send green screen images to CCS via CCS Transfer software.
a. Verticals in first folder
b. Horizontals in second folder
c. Backgrounds in last folder
i. Vertical and horizontal backgrounds
3. Contact Customer Support
a. Send order numbers and rolls to be converted
b. Background(s) to use for each roll
4. Images will be converted and then reloaded to event number
a. Roll 00001 will be uploaded as 10001 for first background
b. Roll 00001 will be uploaded as 20001 for second background
c. Roll 00002 will be uploaded as 10002 for first background
d. Roll 00002 will be uploaded as 20002 for second background
5. Call Customer Support to schedule your conversions
a. We prefer at least a week’s advance notice
b. Allow time to test your process and see image results
The cost for cutting out your green screen images and placing them into your background image is $.10 per image.  If you are placing them into multiple backgrounds, it is $.10 per each background.   So, if you submitted a photograph of a couple and had them placed into three different background images the cost would be $.30.
A good source of background images is www.photobacks.com.  It’s important to note that background images with more content hide potential flaws such as wrinkles in the green screen. Also, background images are better if slightly softened and darker images are better than lighter ones.  Remember to conduct tests on your background images to make sure they look good.  Backgrounds that look good for close-ups may not work well for full-length shots.  Finally, the aspect ratio of your background image must match the camera ration.  Most cameras are 3:2, but some manufacturers have 4:3 ratios.
Green screen can add a whole new look to your prom program, but success will come in the details!

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