Cherry Picked!

Hand-selected articles, guides, and more from the makers of Check Cherry, designed to help your business grow and flourish.

August 20, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Custom Branded QR Codes

Let's face it: QR codes are rather ugly. I suppose it's one of the reasons I've never been a big fan of using them, especially for customer-facing purposes.  However, QR codes are a handy and downright amazing technology. With the COVID-19 Pandemic lingering, they are being used more and more by photo booth software providers to aid in contactless photo booth experiences.

Have you ever wanted to add your branding within a QR code? We'll there is an awesome website https://www.qrpicture.com/ which does just that. Just upload your image, add some text, and it will generate a QR code.

Have fun!


July 29, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

How to book your first photography client online [8 easy steps]

Too many people who visit your website never book. That's why we wrote this helpful guide to help you book your first photography client online.


When you offer the convenience of self-booking online booking from your website, you'll get more bookings and better leads. That's because you make life easier for both you and your clients. By showcasing packages and pricing, you'll modernize your booking process and make it easy for people to know if they are a good fit for your business.


Here are eight easy steps to get your first online booking:

1. Create Packages

Packages make it easy for people to evaluate, compare and pick the best option for their needs. You're going to need to create packaged offerings so you can sell more effectively online.


It's common to offer at least two, but no more than three packages for each service you offer. For example:


  • A Budget Package - great for those who are price-sensitive, but still need you. However, that lower pricing point will come at the cost of lesser, but still a fantastic service. Perhaps they get fewer images or no prints.


  • A Most Value Package - your ideal price point. By limiting your budget package, you can make your middle package more attractive by including more. If your base package includes four professionally touched-up images, your premium package might consist of eight and only cost 50% more and offer print rights.


  • A Premium Package - for those who want all the bells and whistles. Make this one meaningfully more expensive. It's also going to make your two other packages seem much more affordable. This package might include a lot of the add-ons offered in your lower-priced packages.


2. Define add-ons for each package

While packages are a great starting point, offering optional add-ons can help your customer feel more control over the buying process and get just what they want. Add-ons also provide an excellent opportunity to upsell lower-priced packages. It's okay for your budget package to have many optional add-ons, while your premium package is all-inclusive or has very few add-ons.


Suggested Video: Packaged for Success


3. Configure Your Availability

Define when you're available to shoot. If you have standing commitments like soccer practice or a full-time job, block off those times of the week, so you'll never be double-booked. Defining the times you're available will open up the door for self-service bookings, which delights clients.


Pro Tip: Use a quality booking and client management system like Check Cherry so you can connect your Google Calendar and automatically block off time for existing events on your personal calendar. 


4. Craft Your Terms/Contract

It's essential to have clients sign an agreement when booking. A good set of Terms and Conditions will give your business some necessary protection and spell out some of the boring legal details of the service you provide. Often these terms are non-negotiable and the same for each client. Make it easy for people by offering electronic signatures.


5. Accept Credit Cards

Many people prefer to pay with a card these days. Avoid the temptation to tack on surcharges and bake the processing fees into your prices. It's easy to set up a Stripe, Square, or PayPal account and start taking payments. 


Pro Tip: Use a modern CRM for photographers like Check Cherry that allows clients to quickly pay deposits and remaining balance with Apple Pay and Google Pay from their phone.


6. Define Your Booking Fees/Deposit Requirements

It's smart to get a financial commitment before adding a client to your calendar. More reasonable dollar amounts make it easier for the client to commit while still ensuring the client is serious about following through on their commitment. Deposits are either a flat fee or a percentage of the total booking.


7. Setup your online booking system

You're going to need a way to put it all together. Check Cherry offers easy-to-setup and highly customizable booking software for photographers. It makes it easy for your clients to pick a package, find an available time, pay, and sign electronically. Best of all, Check Cherry offers several tools to accomplish the tasks above.


8. Promote your new convenient online booking option.

It's time to get the word out. Add some links/buttons to your marketing website so people can "Book Now", "Check Availability", and "View Pricing". Let people know you are now taking bookings online, and they can view packages, pricing and schedule a session online.


Too many people who visit your website never book. Check Cherry gives you everything you need to do online booking right. With our system, you'll spend less time chasing leads and more time impressing clients.


May 8, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Photo Booth Business Checklist

So you're looking to start a photo booth business. We've got you covered with a checklist of things you'll want to consider as you progress from the initial inception to your first successful paid photo booth customer.


Evaluate Viability

Take some time to evaluate why you want to start a photo booth business. Are you happy in your full-time job and looking for extra income? Perhaps you're unhappy with your current employer and looking to transition to running your business full-time. You might want to supplement your existing business with a new service.


Market Research

It's a good idea to look at your potential competition. Do some google searches for "photo booth rental NEARBY-CITY-NAME" and see what comes up. Take notes of the price points, which markets they serve, and the level of polish presented by them.


Identify your target market and ideal client.

Based on your market research, do you see a hole in the market? There are a lot of use cases for photo booths. Here are some common client profiles one might target:

  • Private parties: expect a lower price point, but make it up in volume. You'll likely be showing up to a private residence, and budgets will be smaller. This is a great place to start for many.
  • School functions: From prom to the homecoming, schools can take their next event to the next level with a photo booth. You're going to need to be flexible because a school may ask you to alter your standard photo booth terms and payment schedule.
  • Weddings: A cornerstone in the event service industry, weddings happen all the time and offer a great opportunity for you to nail down the perfect service to please the wedding party. 
  • Corporate events: Similar to schools, be prepared to be flexible in both negotiating your terms and payment schedule. There are a lot of corporate events happening each year: holiday parties, grand openings, tradeshows, to name a few. Corporate clients are often willing to pay more, but they also expect higher quality. 


How will you will your initial business?

Sales will be a big part of making your business a success: it's worth thinking about early on in the process. Take some time to think about how you'll get your first ten paid bookings. While you may be willing to do it for free for family and friends, you're going to need to transition to acquiring paying customers. Those first few bookings can be a great way to acquire new customers and gather real feedback, so be prepared to talk price if someone inquires about hiring your services.


Listen and learn

There are a lot of great resources to help you learn the business before shelling out a single dollar. Start out by being a sponge and soak it all in. When I'm new to a topic, I like to stay quiet and listen to the wisdom already out there. Use the search features on YouTube, Facebook Groups, and Google. Here are a few great resources to get you started:


Are you still feeling good about starting a photo booth business?


Branding

Nail down that perfect name and logo

Now that you know your target market and have a good head on your shoulders, you're going to want to come up with a great name. While it may be tempting to have a "photo booth" in your name, leaving it out can open up options for adding different services down the road. A more general and none descriptive name can be great for those who want to incorporate other services such as portrait photography or party games down the road. Keep your target market in mind, while you review design options for your photo booth business logo.


Locking Down Your First Setup

Naturally, you'll need an awesome photo booth experience to make your customers happy and willing to refer to friends. Remember, everyone who steps into the booth is a potential customer, so it's crucial to offer a quality service.


Photo Booth Hardware

The actual booth you can touch. Are you the type to build your own or are you looking for the fast track and willing to purchase from the various suppliers? There are a lot of great photo booth providers out there. There are two common booth types:


DSLR Photo Booths

As the name suggests, a DSLR photo booth uses a DSLR camera connected to a computer (often windows based) to provide the experience.


iPad Photo Booths

The front camera on an iPad may not be quite as good as a DSLR camera. However, the quality keeps getting better, and for many, it's good enough to deliver great photos and happy customers.

Photo Booth Software

Depending on the photo booth hardware you acquire (DSLR or iPad), you're going to want to evaluate the options when it comes to software. There are some photo booth hardware suppliers which also provide software and others who allow you to choose your software provider.


Photo Booth Templates

Also, referred to as overlays, photo booth templates will frame your guest images and offer a great opportunity to personalize the experience for your clients. Some people design their own, and others subscribe to services such as the PBO Design Shop or Photo Booth Tak VIP Club to gain access to pre-designed templates, which can be modified. Check Cherry offers a few free photo booth templates to get you started.


Photo Booth Props

An optional feature and perhaps an upsell opportunity, photo booth props are the fun, goofy, and memorable objects you can provide people to hold/wear before stepping in your photo booth to talk those pictures.


Photo Booth Backdrops

You're going to want to find a beautiful background for the subjects of each photo. Photo booth backdrops can also be an upsell opportunity. The most popular photo booth backdrops are sequin, so that is a good place to start.


Photo Booth Printers

While not all photo booth experiences need to print photos, it will be a common component of your services. Ideally, you'll want something that can quickly print so people can move in and out of the booth quickly. Keep in mind the cost of your print media with each booking and know that regardless of the number of guests, your booth can only take so many pictures per hour.


Photo Booth Contract

Be sure to get the terms and conditions of your service nailed down and have each customer sign off on agreeing to them. There are a lot of resources online, and that is a great place to get started, but be sure to have an attorney who is licensed to operate in your state review the wording. The laws of where you work might vary, and if you bring something to be reviewed, the costs will be lower.


Payment and Deposits

It's common for photo booth businesses to charge a deposit for a customer to reserve the date and book a date. Collecting a deposit ensures a person is committed to hiring you. Deposit rates vary, and keeping deposits low will make it easier for people to commit. However, it also makes it easier for people to go with another provider even if the deposit is not refundable.


👉 Suggest Reading: Photo Booth Business Plan


February 17, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Photography Contracts, Signatures and Deposits [General Guide]

Running a successful photography business means you'll be doing business with a lot of people. As your business grows, you'll move on from doing business with friends, family, and friends of friends to doing business with strangers. This article will cover the importance of requiring all clients first to sign an agreement and pay a deposit.Why should I make clients sign an agreement?A solid photography contract will spell out all the terms and conditions of your services. It's common to have not have covered everything during the sales process. For example, photographers often include a model release, allowing them to use photos from a session in their marketing materials.

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January 30, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

The Most Popular Photo Booth Backdrops

A lot of business was done using Check Cherry's photo booth booking software in 2019. We thought it would be helpful to analyze and share some of the data with the community. This article will be helpful if you are new to the industry and looking to buy your first backdrops. After all, you'll want to get the most bang for your buck. For those more established, it may be helpful to get an idea/confirmation of what the market is doing. Perhaps you're missing out on an important option, or maybe you need to diversify so you can stand out from the crowd. Be sure to look at the smaller words below; you might spot an upcoming trend.This word/tag cloud is based on the name of each backdrop selection that happened on Check Cherry during 2019.

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January 23, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

See All Competitor Facebook Ads [Marketing Hack]

Have you ever wanted to see what your closest competition is doing with Facebook advertising? In this article, I'll show you how you can browse the ads of your competitors and cover some ways this information can be helpful and also how it might not be so important.A few things before we get started:The search covers all Facebook platforms, including Instagram.You can search by the name of a Facebook Page to see results.Only active ads will show.One does not need a Facebook or Instagram account.About Ad LibraryFacebook has been under meaningful pressure related to its business model, privacy policies, and the impact of advertising on social issues, elections, or politics for its platforms.

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January 13, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

2019 Highlights

I'm proud of all we accomplished in 2019 and motivated by the excitement and appreciation of our customers when they see each new iteration of Check Cherry. In my recap of 2018, I wrote Matt and I both felt that 2019 was going to be even better than in 2018. I'm happy to share, our instincts proved to be accurate. While it's been a lot of work, it's also been a lot of fun to see Check Cherry continue to mature and help more people.Our customers are continually sharing feedback while they use and implementing the Check Cherry's style of a CRM or booking management system into their business. I want to give a HUGE thank you to all of those who took the time to provide feedback (big and small) to help make the platform better.

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January 6, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Photo Booth Rentals & Sales Tax [General US Guide]

Just about every state in the union imposes some form of sales tax. Among the few states who do not, some of them allow local counties, cities, and municipalities to tack on their own rates. As such, be sure to doublecheck because you may still be required to collect on that next booking.The intent of this guide to help you quickly understand some key concepts related to sales tax and how they might impact your photo booth business. It's important to note: taxes in the United States can be complicated, making compliance painful for small businesses. Often some areas need interpretation. After reading this guide, you'll have a better understanding of several important concepts.

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December 27, 2019 Judd Lillestrand

Managing Availability For Online Bookings

Happy Holidays! Check Cherry now has more advanced features around the concept of managing your company's "Availability," so you can be sure you have everything you need before taking that next self-service booking. 📷📦💻✔️Over the years, we've learned firsthand how service providers like you run unique businesses, and the standard inventory/equipment management concepts just would not have cut it for our online booking software.

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January 10, 2019 Judd Lillestrand

2018 Highlights

Looking back, 2018 was an amazing year for Check Cherry. With your help, we were able to continue improving the platform making it easier to use and more powerful. A sincere thank you to all of those who took the time to share their thoughts with us. Here are just a few things we accomplished together in 2018:Improved Tax SupportTax support in Check Cherry is rock solid. From managing different rates on a per event basis to allowing for only certain packages or add-ons to be be taxable. Your accountant is going to love what we did in 2018.PayPal PaymentsThis long requested feature finally hit production.

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