Turnkey Event Photography Solution Adds Spice to Portrait Business

Turnkey Event Photography Solution Adds Spice to Portrait Business

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Perhaps even more impressive than the dramatic increase in image quality we’ve seen since digital imaging began to mainstream in the late 90’s is the incredible flexibility the technology has brought to the category.

Keeping pace with all the new and exciting digital imaging applications that are emerging, seemingly on a daily basis, has been almost as tricky as keeping up with the technology. One DI application we were recently alerted to seems to speak to both the advancements in innovation the technology has made as well as the flexibility it has brought to the table.

Image Pro International is a Miami, Florida-based company that has developed what they call their PhotoFusion concept. We recently caught up with the company’s founder, Frederic Friedmann, who feels the PhotoFusion concept has the potential to be hotter than a mid-afternoon Miami day.

Friedmann originally launched Image Pro International back in February 2000 with the idea of being a photographic distributor that, as he explains, “would cater to our customers in order to become a complete solution to their photographic needs. I truly value my customers and with that in mind.”

By the end of 2001 Image Pro’s Sales surpassed $7 Million and by 2002 the company had acquired distributorships and partnerships with almost all the big names in the industry. As digital imaging continued to gain steam in early 2002, Friedmann began tinkering with his concept as he felt many imagers were starting to be confronted by “important technology changes” and he felt that creating a division within his company that specialized in turn key imaging businesses was something that would answer many professionals’ demands.

By 2006, what Friedmann now calls PhotoFusion Magic was created within Image Pro, a division that he refers to as the “Photo studio of the 21st century,” a take anywhere event photography service that includes all the latest in today’s imaging technology.

Friedmann explains the basic concept thusly, “Our production team uses our own PhotoFusion Magic software developed with a software company specialized in photography and optimized for the particular needs of the PhotoFusion Magic Concept. Ease of use and speed are key factors in what we do and ultimately, the ‘fusion’ of the customer image with our templates must look as realistic as possible to ensure the success of our images.”

Friedmann’s PhotoFusion concept recently landed a gig at the Miami Heat games – shooting Heat fans and “magically” landing their images in game action with the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and other Heat stars. The aforementioned flexibility issues come to light within the Miami Heat application as Friedmann explains the staff at a Heat game usually consists of four people (two photographers using Nikon D-70S and two computer operators to finalize the images). The Miami Heat organization also offers the help of two volunteers who organize the lines in front of the PhotoFusion studio.

“For the Miami Heat we need to be particularly fast, with up to 21,000 fans at one given game. We must be ready to answer very high demand. We currently use two of our PhotoFusion Studios linked to three computer systems in order to maximize output. The new Apple iMac is the perfect machine to provide the best results with our software,” Friedmann continued.

Using the magic of Green Screen technology, the mini-studio uses a screen made of a Chroma key foam-backed fabric with a patented surface that eliminates glare and diffuses light for an evenly lit surface. Friedmann’s team also created a wide variety of photo templates for the Heat games that they then drop in to the system with ease.

The PhotoFusion package varies from event to event but the Heat event includes some free 4×6-inch photos, keychains, 5×7’s and 8×10’s. A variety of frames are available for sale onsite as well, some with team logos. Each customer is given a unique card allowing them to see their pictures online after the game, link them to a website that is personalized as though it was created for each specific fan with a spot to order additional images online.

Friedmann’s PhotoFusion set up also includes any number of Mitsubishi printers at a given location, with the CP-9550 DW CP-3020DUA the favorites these days. Friedmann likes the minimal maintenance, low cost of the consumables and the consistent high quality output.

As he alluded to earlier, solid customer support is a big part of the PhotoFusion equation as well as Friedmann is quick to add, “ The Image Pro team is always happy to do whatever it takes to make sure their system delivers on all its promises.” yy

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