Updated: Sep 13, 2021
School administrators and parents are valuing school portraits now more than we have seen in almost 20 years. Though we have much to be excited for, however, we need to take stock and care of the opportunity. Despite COVID-19, our industry has a second chance; we need to be grateful and thankful for that. Many industries are not granted the opportunity to reinvent themselves. Think of big chains like Blockbuster video or Toys R Us retail stores that did not re-adjust their lens and went out of business. It has been incredible to see so many in our industry change from old ways and pivot to more modern technology, marketing, operations, and strategy. Many of you have made it easier for parents to place an order and buy what they want, when they want it and how they want it. A vast majority of studios have stopped the race to the bottom of giveaways and high rebating, which has pushed families out of participating. Many studios have invested in personnel and in new technology to adapt to the new daily challenge of managing the ever-changing schedules due to school outbreaks and closures.
Who would have ever thought all of these changes and investments would come to our industry in less than 17 months. Your sacrifice and commitment to change, to invest in your companies, and to invest in our industry is exceptional!
We at School Photographers of America are so excited for what the future holds, not just for our industry, but for our partnered industries. As we break down the old-school mentalities and start to work together, we are on the brink of making incredible breakthroughs that will benefit all.
I could not be more excited about what is around the corner. We are hoping within weeks of launching a new national training program with a professional photography leader that will help lead yearbook- and student-based photography training across all 50 states. This helps restore the passion and excitement for aspiring young photographers and yearbook professionals for our entire industry.
We just finalized our partnership with the National Association for Down syndrome (NADS). We are hosting two free-to-members webinars that will help educate photographers all over the country on the best practices to serving and photographing this community. SPOA will also partner with NaDS to build a recorded training program with students in a studio for a senior-specific training this January.
SPOA also just inked a partnership with ImageQuix/PhotoLynx that will help facilitate multiple new projects for our association and industry. First, their experience and commitment to serve will help lead our new foundation that will serve displaced children with scholarships for free yearbooks and pictures. Alongside Inter-State Studios & Publishing Co., these two have already done some remarkable work on the building of this foundation. In addition, they have committed personnel to help in multiple areas by volunteering their time and talent on various councils and boards.
National conference leadership meeting
The national conference leadership team just finished our last site visit in Houston for our upcoming conference. This conference is lining up to be something our industry has never seen before and will be the grand event of all events in the yearbook and school photography industries. A huge thank you to Jennifer Volcko of Inter-State Studios & Publishing Co. Bill Freeman of Freeman Photography and Emily Budz of ImageQuix for working tirelessly to help create such an incredible event.
School software export update
In late July, we made the decision to push back changes to the school software export to allow the software providers a full year to make the changes to their platforms. This will enable us to make schools, districts, and providers aware of the purpose, safety, and effectiveness of a one export solution. The final draft is now with our industry law firm and is being reviewed and will be sent to software providers for edits before we vote to make this the new standard and guideline for the industry. Any and all companies wishing to participate in the vote or the review of the standards should complete the following fillable form if you have not done so already.
National School Picture Day is Sept. 9
Last, a final reminder for National School Picture Day on Sept. 9. Please encourage your schools, administration, and news and media outlets to celebrate this great American tradition by posting old school photos all over social media. This is an incredible way to celebrate our industry by bringing national exposure to such a great tradition. Thank you for all you do for our industry and all of us at SPOA wish you and your company a wonderful start to this fall season!
School Photographers of America