For fifteen years, Heidi Green taught pre-school in New York City. Photography had long been a passion, but, she always viewed it as an engaging hobby, not a source of income. Over the years, Green frequently brought her pastime to the classroom, capturing photos of the children that she would freely share with parents and colleagues.
In recent years, people noticed that there was something unique about Green's images. She had a knack for catching kids at their best moments. "The parents would often tease me that I should stop teaching and start taking photos," said Green. "They would frequently comment about how difficult and frustrating it was for them to capture their children." Green began wondering if there might be a way that she could help some of these parents.
Birthday parties can be a struggle for parents who are torn by the conflicting desires of capturing the moment on film, enjoying their guests, and attending to their children-never mind their actually appearing in photos themselves. Making matters worse, after spending so much of their time and energy taking the photos, parents will then let the photos sit untouched-and unappreciated --in their cameras for weeks. Busy parents simply don't have the time to make their own photo albums.
So Green started a part-time business. By day, she remained a devoted teacher, but she quickly found that her weekends were filled applying her photography skill to birthday parties. Right away, she realized she had tapped into an underserved market made possible by Manhattan's upscale environment.
Green developed a full service package for parties that packages a photo invite, shooting the party, a finished album and even thank you notes using photos from the party. Today PPSI makes it easy for Green's clients to choose their favorite pictures from her online gallery and get the results they expect, making order management virtually effortless.
A natural outgrowth of her background in education, Green points to her ability to connect with kids as the most significant tool in her kit. Green prides herself on never resorting to fake props or studio lighting - she always strives for a more candid look. "I always try to focus on the kids' personality. I think that it is really important to capture people as naturally as possible. Some of the best pictures are the unexpected ones. The shot of parents playing with their children to illicit an ideal posed smile is often so much nicer than the subsequent 'perfect' posed shot."
Green's clientele clearly agreed. With the popularity of her birthday party packages firmly established, Green started responding to requests for family portraiture. Taking advantage of the varied environment and natural beauty of New York's famed Central Park, Green began applying her natural, "in-the-moment" style to this additional genre. Demand steadily grew and this past January Green made the leap from full-time teacher to full-time photographer.
Green's path to PPSI membership was driven by her need to meet the demands of a rapidly growing business. Green's professional work has always been captured digitally. Early on, she posted her photos to her own server, and lacking any sort of commerce capability, clients would have to email or call her with their orders. When she only had to deal with a few clients at a time, the system was inefficient, but not burdensome.
Then she was hired to photograph the children of NY's Asphalt Green Summer Day Camp. Faced with having to shoot and offer packages for 650 kids, Green realized there was no way she could reasonably meet the demand using her existing, manually-intensive system. Scouting for options, a fellow photographer suggested that she look at online services. In preparation for the Asphalt Green project, Green decided to investigate.
"I tried one service and was shocked when my inbox and worse, my clients' inboxes, were bombarded with junk mail," exclaimed Green. "Then another acquaintance pointed me to PPSI and that is what made the difference for me. PPSI truly understands what the professional needs - a transparent partner that supports your business."
"The thing that matters most to me is the quality. My customers go on to my PPSI gallery, share it with their friends and family, and place their orders. I don't have to worry about being a bottleneck and I don't have to work 23 hours per day to meet demand. More than 99 percent of my orders go through without a hitch and anything that has come up is usually because grandma hasn't used a computer before. Most importantly, I've never had a complaint about quality-the prints are spot on. PPSI's extras are nice too because they help expand my product line. Someone might start their order with prints, but, they'll often pick up a keepsake such as a photo puzzle as well."
Just because she is shooting full time now, Green hasn't lost her interest in education. Lately she has been spending a lot of time in local schools where she has been hired to apply her natural touch to the traditional annual school portraits. Recently Green appeared on NBC's Today Show where her gift for capturing families at their best made her a featured artist for a segment about capturing the perfect image for family holiday cards. In fact, Green looks forward to spending more time on the other side of the lens -that is, in front of the television camera-teaching consumers how to take better pictures.