Photographer Showcase: Tim Macdonald

Introducing Tim Macdonald of Image Art Studio. Our photographers are the heart of our business and the reason we do what we do. That’s why we are showcasing their voices and expertise in this series. Scroll down to hear from Tim on all things volume photography, from engaging with kids to technical equipment.

Why school photography?

“It is a recession proof industry, for the most part. A parent will almost always spend the $28 – $60 on their child, year after year, no matter how the economy is doing. We do elementary schools with 200 students, up to 900 students, and collectively have over 50 schools in our area. If you do the math, the numbers are great. It’s really all about selling the best possible product to thousands of clients.  If you have the proper workflow, and employees in place, you will continue to grow year after year.”

Interacting with kids?

“We are always playful and light-hearted with our subjects. Each photographer has their own unique personality to get the student to smile properly. We can spot a fake smile from a mile away so I like to use the phrase ‘a little happier!’ and it usually gets them to where we want them to be.”

Technical Setup?

“We shoot our elementary schools outdoors. We use a very shallow depth of field, which separates us from the others in our area. We provide a high-quality professional portrait, at very affordable prices. We have PTO’s and administrators come to us for this outdoor look that the larger companies can’t or won’t provide. We use pool/patio umbrellas with a tripod leg base to shade our subjects, and put some tent weights on them as well. We also usually use C-stands for lights so they don’t blow over in the wind. We always use canvas on wood supports for our Senior/Underclass indoor backdrops, and keep the subject as far away from the background as we can. This creates more separation and depth for the subject. 

“Outdoors: We use off-camera flash (Godox AD200 or 600), with either a beauty dish or foldable softbox. We light the subject from the tree side to avoid shadows cast on the tree. We shoot 1/200 at f5 or lower almost all the time.

“Indoors: We have a three light setup with a reflector. The main light is also Godox AD600 with 48 in softbox, backlight and hairlight with modifiers. The reflector adds some fill to the opposing side of the face. These are shot at 1/200 at f6.3 or higher.”

Why GotPhoto?

“We chose GotPhoto to help streamline our workflow for our senior portraits. We photograph about 600 – 750 seniors a year. Our original process was to print proofs of each student, and mail to their homes along with our product brochure and order form. It did okay, but was time-consuming. So we chose the GotPhoto route because of all they had to offer – especially allowing the parents to have full control of their order, and then having those orders sent to the lab. 

“Once we found out the limitless possibilities GotPhoto offered, we started using them for on stage graduation photos, dance schools, high school sports. It has increased our average sale significantly, and kept our buy rate about the same if not more. But our time and labor have decreased drastically, and our workflow is more efficient and automated. All in all – less time, higher sales.”

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