ALBANY – With schools out for the summer, iSmile Studios is itching for school photo season to begin.
The studio first approached the owner’s alma mater and asked them if they would be willing to support an alumni’s small business. The school said yes. Without really knowing how to run a picture day, iSmile dove in and found wild success with their approach.
“We feel like we’re really disrupting what school pictures were supposed to be,” Stephanie McCauley said.
iSmile takes a very different approach to picture day than the traditional process. Each student becomes the subject of their own personal photo session. Instead of taking one photo of the student and moving on, the studio takes a variety of photos in a variety of poses and expressions that parents can choose from.
Schools are offered the option of inside or outside sessions. Indoor sessions are easiest. The outdoor sessions are a lot harder, but pose no challenge for the professional photographers at iSmile.
“Outdoors is a lot harder because conditions change throughout the season and throughout the days,” McCauley said. “Parents really really love the ability to get natural light outdoor photos of their children”
Regardless of what schools choose for the year, monotony will never be an issue.
“Each time we go into a school we change what we do for them,” McCauley said. “While they get a similar experience in using us, they get a variety, so mom and dad aren’t getting the same photo year after year.”
For many students and families, school pictures are the only professional photos they’ll have. iSmile doesn’t take that fact lightly. Spending time with the students to get their real smiles, their laughs and make them comfortable is important. Students also receive a free class photo regardless of placing an order.
Orders are placed after the pictures have been taken, another difference from the norm. After a picture day, students are sent home with a personal access code to view their pictures online. Families can choose from a variety of packages and indoor backgrounds on the iSmile website.
“They can order whatever they want, whether that’s one photo or the whole thing in print, digital or both,” McCauley said.
iSmile also specializes in senior photos for both high school and college seniors. The program is so successful and popular people can’t wait for it.
“I get emails right now asking when senior photos are,” McCauley said.
For 13 years, iSmile Studios has shaken up the ways of doing school photos, and they don’t plan on stopping any time soon.