We have offered green screen to the professional school photographers who use our photolab for three seasons and it has been a wonderful tool. There is no question we have increased our sales and enjoyed a competitive edge from this technology. The big guys in the school photography business are also finding that the ability to offer more background choices and products is very profitable for them. If you haven’t seen green screen photography technology in the schools in your area watch for it; it’s coming hard and fast.
That said, we have learned along the way that green screen photography is not as easy as just replacing the traditional background with a green one and taking images. For green screen to look really good it must be photographed in a certain way with a specific type of background for optimum results. Tests need to be done to verify that you will get the kinds of results you as a high quality studio want to present to your customers. If you don’t do these things and verify with testing you can end up with unpleasant results which can require extensive art time to correct and worse yet it could put the business at risk. Either one or both is extremely costly.
The digital backgrounds that you select to offer customers will also have a high impact on the sales results you get. Some backgrounds look more “real” than others. The tone, lighting pattern and sharpness of scenic backgrounds is very important for great results. It’s very important to select and prep your digital background files properly.
So you’re probably asking yourself if it is so difficult why bother if it’s just a way to offer backgrounds to a customer? My response would be if you are only planning to offer customers scenic backgrounds and the photographers don’t have to change a gel on the background light then you’re right. It’s not compelling. The real secret however is to use the captured images from fall or spring portraits to offer a host of products with different looks and personalization options that can be changed based on season or holiday. Each image now has the potential to yield revenue multiple times over a school year (that’s really exciting!)
It’s not easy but H&H can help. They are offering a green screen boot camp at their photo lab on June 23rd, 2011. They are going to cover all aspects of green screen; how to shoot it, sell it and implement it. I wish that this class was available when we first started. If you are thinking about green screen for this fall I strongly recommend that you take this class.
If you do green screen right it can be a great tool for your school business. If you don’t do it right I guarantee you a case of the Green Screen Blues.