Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A View From Behind The Camera: The Science of School Picture Day

 Anyone who has ever been to one of our events knows one thing- don't wear green! Many people have asked us why not to wear green, or why we don't bring different backgrounds with us on site. The short answer is "we use green screen technology." For those of you interested in the longer answer, it's your lucky day!

What is green screen technology?

Green screen technology, also known as chroma key compositing, is a technique used in the photo and video world that layers two images together to create one image. It allows people like United Portraits to remove the original background used in the photo and superimpose pretty much anything!

Why not wear green?

One can imagine that if a background of green is ultimately removed, why it is important that your child or student not wear green! 

However, it is not the end of the world if they do. It certainly is not advised, but should a student choose green on picture day, our talented team of photo editors will ensure that the color is inserted back into your final photo. 👍

Why no other backgrounds than green on picture day?

We want to give you choices! If we were to bring certain backdrops on-site, it would limit the endless possibilities that we wish to offer you. Green screen allows us to give you anything you could imagine!

This has greatly impacted the amount of background choices we can offer, giving our customers 240 image and background possibilities every picture day. Even better, we offer different choices every season! 

We look forward to seeing you at your picture day!

-Event Manager Allie

Monday, February 23, 2015

Press Release February 10th 2015 - United Portraits Wants to Meet You


United Portraits Wants to Meet You

Gilbert, Ariz. (February 10, 2015)- Believe it or not, school picture day is right around the corner and United Portraits is now booking new clients for the Fall 2015 picture season.

As leading photography professionals, United Portraits strives to give their clients the ultimate picture day experience by providing smooth and organized picture day events, and hundreds of photo and background choices to choose from, all printed in the highest quality.

United Portraits uses green-screen technology, allowing them to superimpose fun and exciting backgrounds of all colors and themes. They also offer multiple ways to order, including their user-friendly and simple online ordering system.

United Portraits prides itself on the experience it offers its clients. United Portraits friendly staff takes extra care to ensure that hair is in the right place, and clothing is on straight.

Shortly after picture day, your child will receive an order form with your child's proofs. Simply pick your favorite, and return you order to school or order online at www.UnitedPortraits.com by the deadline printed on the top of your proof sheet. You can expect your photos to be delivered back to the school 5 days after your "due by date," printed at the top of your order form.

“It’s important to first tell you what NOT to wear! NO shades of green should be worn for picture day. We use green-screen technology, which means when you wear green, you become invisible to our cameras. Thinking of trying a new hairstyle? Sometimes, it’s best to wait until after picture day, since it often takes time to adapt to styling your new “do”. We also suggest staying out of the sun for a few days. Sunburns and red spots don’t always present the best you.” –United Portraits Photography Team

United Portraits looks forward to working with your organization. To learn more about United Portraits and to schedule to have your students or schools’ photos taken, visit them at www.UnitedPortraits.com or call 602-538-9600.

About United Portraits

United Portraits works with high schools, middle schools, 
elementary schools, youth sports organizations and colleges/universities to fulfill their photo and yearbook needs. To learn more about the United Portraits difference and to schedule to have your students or schools’ photos taken, visit them at www.UnitedPortraits.com or call 602-538-9600.

Press Release February 20th 2015 - United Portraits Develops User-Friendly, Easy Online Ordering System


United Portraits Develops User-Friendly, Easy Online Ordering System

Gilbert, Ariz. (February 20, 2015)- Gone are the days of waiting to review your photos after ordering them because United Portraits has developed a simple and fun process to order photos through their online ordering system, saving parents time and money.

The system, located on the United Portraits website, allows parents and families to view and order photo prints and yearbooks online. No more sending money to the school, and no more guessing games about whether the photo will turn out or not.

The ordering system allows users to preview their photos, and select and preview over 40 different backgrounds along with their photo. It provides users with over 240 different photo combinations and gives total freedom to order at the user’s convenience.

Users can also pre-purchase their yearbook through the online site, making it a one-stop shopping experience.
Our experienced photographers focus on your child's best feature-their smile! We do our best to ensure every child feels comfortable and confident, and we are never in a hurry on picture day. We take our time to ensure we snap the perfect picture of your child.” – United Portraits Photographers
After the initial due date for the school passes, orders are processed and returned to the school within five days.
To learn how to create an account and upload and approve your photos, watch this video tutorial here.

About United Portraits:
United Portraits works with high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, youth sports organizations and colleges/universities to fulfill their photo and yearbook needs. To learn more about the United Portraits difference and to schedule to have your students or schools’ photos taken, visit them at www.UnitedPortraits.com or call 602-538-9600.

About United Portraits in 2015

In January 2015, we adopted some new ownership, a lot has changed, and we think you'll like it.

Our leadership have been in the school photography business for a while, and we've learned a whole lot as technology has evolved, in fact--that's why we just got involved with the company.

A few things that we learned about parents/customers:
  • You want your product FAST
  • You don't want to pay an arm and a leg
  • You want to SEE your photos BEFORE you commit to pay
  • You want the photos to be genuine of what your child looked like that day

A few things that we learned about schools:
  • You want to provide an avenue for affordable photos
  • You need the photos for your school information system
  • You don't want the headaches that come along with missing photos, payments, etc.

A few things that we learned about our competition:
  • You can be big national companies, but there's only 1 of you
  • You are most likely a mom and pop shop run out of your home
  • You rely on outside companies to host your images, which a security concern
  • You don't have a centralized customer management system
  • You don't print in-house with printers that you own
  • Because of all of that, your prices are higher, and your turnaround slower

What our proprietary system real-time system does:

  • Secures your information the best way possible
  • We host your images on a series of servers WE own
  • We integrate with your school's management system
  • You can view, click, customize, all at once
  • You can add your yearbook to your order
  • Track your order in real-time
  • Automatically get order notifications by email
  • There's a ton of other features, but we don't want to give all our secrets away :)

Our system truly is UNMATCHED in the industry. Trust us, we looked. It would have been a whole lot less work and we've invested millions of hours and dollars into our portal. I'm sure if we really wanted to skate by--we would have used that money and time elsewhere. But we didn't. We wanted to do it right. Do it right for you. So it was easier. So it was more efficient. So you would get your product faster. Provide you more flexibility. Things that you don't really notice, until they are a problem.

Now, there have been some ups, and some downs. We have parties when we release new updates, and we cry when things go down and can't figure them out at 3am in the morning. It's our life, 24x7x365. But we do it for you.

There isn't another company that verifies and connects everything from the start of getting the kids information from the school, matching it on picture day, and providing a real-time update when it leaves one of our facilities.

In 2015, our error rate is well under 1%. In fact our error rate is .0012%

That means, for every 100,000 orders that we process, there is an issue with 112 of them.

If you are one of those 112, we really truly are sorry. We didn't mean to mess up your order. We didn't do it on purpose. It was an accident, we promise. And our developers and team are on it to fix whatever problem you had--so it won't happen again.

On the topic of our team, they're fantastic, they're amazing. They should be working on major projects like going to space, or working with robots.(not that school pictures isn't a cool thing to work on) Our development team is from all around the world from Spain to France to the Ukraine and China. In fact, most of our development team hold masters degrees and Ph D's! One in fact, is a neuroscientist when he has grant money for research :)

Our point is, that we're invested. We're invested in making your experience the best it possibly can be. And when we fall short, or you give suggestions--we listen. So speak up! Please!

- United Portraits