When you hear the word “business,” you might, as a reflex, think of an organization that solely exists to make a profit. However, the jury is out on whether or not they exist to bring high value to their customers or to you as a consumer. Well, we are here to brighten your day and affirm that there are, in fact, businesses out there that operate with a “customer-first” mentality and exist to help their customers succeed through the use of valuable products and services.
Today, our Vendor Spotlight interview and conversation is with our long-time friend and partner vendor Andrew Funderburg of Fundy Designer. Andrew, known as “Fundy”, is the founder and visionary behind Fundy Designer and has spent the better part of 20 years imagining and inventing software tools for professional wedding and portrait photographers so that they can succeed easier and faster. He has created a plethora of easy-to-use design tools for albums, marketing materials, wall art and more and their goal is to not only help photographers get the designs they want faster but also empower them to make more money through bigger sales!
So, no matter where you are reading this blog and/or watching our Vendor Spotlight video, we hope you find yourself motivated and inspired for new ways your business can succeed! Enjoy!
Founded in 2008 by Andrew Funderburg, the Fundy Designer is a suite of intuitive software for album design, online proofing, wall art, slideshows, IPS tools and SO much more. Their Design Suite expands your profitability while allowing you to stay in control of (and in touch with) your creativity. The automated tools built into the software are second to none. If you are a print-based or product-based photographer or want to find ways to increase your sales by showing your clients the potential of a photograph beyond a screen, Fundy Designer is made for you. In this featured interview with Andrew ‘Fundy’ Funderburg aka ‘The Idea Man’ behind Fundy, we unpack the software suite and why you need it for your wedding photography business.
While interviewing Andrew about Fundy Designer, we dove into his understanding of profitability vs productivity for photographers and the all-important “why” behind the company. What we discovered is that we believe photographers need what Fundy has to offer and here’s why!
3 Reasons Why Photographers Need Fundy Designer
- To increase productivity using their album design software which also saves you time, especially when using the auto-design feature and patented drop zones.
- To increase profitability post-wedding through integrated sales tools that leverage the power of the printed product.
- To bring on more clients with customizable products like the Studio Magazine for marketing your business.
Read on to find out so much more!
ShootDotEdit: Fundy is at heart an album design software that has expanded to become a suite of other products, all designed to make photographers more money post-shoot or post-wedding. But why is the printed product so important to you?
Andrew: I believe that everybody’s story is important. Their family stories are important. And the only way to preserve those stories for future generations is to have photos in print. Back in 2017, my mother and her sister found an old photo of my great great uncle taken during World War 1 in the south of France. It was a beautiful photo. And like a lot of studios did back in the day, it was adhered to a piece of cardboard with the studio name and address. So, everything kind of started from there.
I pulled up Google street view, and that studio was still in business. I traveled back to the south of France and had my portrait taken in that same location! We made a short 30 minute documentary about this called Power Of Print. We did this to show that if we print our photos ourselves and make sure that our clients have printed albums, wall art, and photos, their stories will live on beyond their own lives. And without that, our unique stories, each individual person’s stories, will slowly fade away.
ShootDotEdit: Wow! That’s quite an incredible journey! How did that lead you to Fundy Designer? How did you get started?
Andrew: I was living in Japan and owned an English school there. I was also shooting weddings part-time on the side. And this was very early on in digital photography. So, the only album design software available was based on the old matted album concept. It was a “choose your template” concept where you relied on pre-designed holes and shapes where you would put your photos. This became very frustrating because the images I had didn’t always fit the templates. So, I was bouncing back and forth between Photoshop and other programs to make albums for my clients, which took a ton of time.
The first few iterations of Fundy Designer were actually a Photoshop plugin. And not a lot of people know this, but I started the company with $2,000. And luckily it made enough money for me to reinvest and help it evolve. And then slowly we grew into a company with employees. I had never worked at a company with employees, and now I was in charge of employees, and that first growth period totally failed! I was the worst boss ever in the history of bosses. I was just lost. Then I hired someone to be my boss and got everything under control.
ShootDotEdit: So that’s how you became ‘The Idea Man’? And what was the purpose behind establishing Fundy Designer? Did you have a specific reason in mind?
Andrew: The goal with Fundy Designer is to marry automation and control together, which means that we want photographers to have control over how they put their photos together but in a fully automated way. This is where I feel like a lot of other software companies failed. They might be great at the automation part, but they take the control away or vice versa. In simpler terms, the ultimate goal is to help photographers to be more profitable and successful in a faster and easier way. Because you shouldn’t be doing it (whatever it is – album design, image editing, office work) if you can give it to someone else (a person or a system or a process) and use that extra time to go make money out there with your clients, creating new relationships and creating value in your business.
ShootDotEdit: This is so in line with ShootDotEdit’s mission as well! We want to see our customers succeed and help them make their wedding photography business more profitable while making it easier and faster at the same time. Do you have any best practices that you would recommend?
Andrew: While our software is design and sales software, fundamentally it is created based on the Three Principles of Profitability.
To increase profitability in a business, there are only 3 ways to do that:
- Bring in More Customers: New customers equals new dollars, but that’s also the most expensive way to bring in more cash because you have to advertise and spend money to get new customers. But you have to do this because new customers make your business profitable and keep it running.
Increase Productivity: From a ShootDotEdit perspective, photographers can push off their editing to be more productive and focus on other aspects of their business. So, similarly, with Fundy’s album design software tools, photographers can also be more productive and faster. Our album auto design feature is where the time savings really comes in. You can take all the images you have imported and in one click (with just a little input from you) our software turns those images into an album of the size, shape, and number of pages/spreads you designated. But then you can also easily proof that album with a client and allow the client to make changes. Our patented drop zones help with that process. So these little things are huge time savers down the line.
We also introduced one-click skin retouching and eye retouching within the album design. It takes 90% of that retouching out of the photographer’s hands with one click. These automation tools allow photographers to save time and be more profitable because they are spending less time per dollar they’re earning with a particular client.
- Increase Dollars Per Client: Increasing your dollars earned per client is the third way to increase profitability. And to help photographers with this, we have introduced our slideshow module along with the IPS (in-person sales) tools that allow photographers to show their clients wall art and album layouts within the slideshow software. I believe we are the only slideshow platform in the entire industry that allows you to put an album design with wall art designs and card designs along with your images inside the slideshow. This is important because fundamentally if you are a print-based photographer, you don’t want people to fall in love with the digital image because there’s no dollar value to it. You want them to fall in love with the album design and the wall art. So being able to put those pieces in the slideshow is huge – it plants the seed for the customer that these things are things they need to buy. We also custom-created music that’s included in the slideshow software. It might not be as snazzy and as fancy or upbeat as people want, but it’s specifically created to tug at the heartstrings, and it helps photographers make more money.
ShootDotEdit: Would you say that the software is a time saver for photographers?
Andrew: Definitely! And in different ways. Going back to our three things: More clients, more productivity, and more money earned per client. First, we help wedding photographers make more money by encouraging them to sell wall art or albums after the wedding. It’s a pretty easy sell and our slideshow software helps photographers show samples to pique client’s interests. When it comes to helping photographers increase productivity, our IPS tools, auto-design, and auto-retouching check that box. And for helping photographers get new clients, we have introduced Studio Magazine, a series of pre-written magazine templates you can customize with your own pricing, products and words. The copy is written by a professional writer and you can take the pieces and design a studio magazine for any genre – we have pre-designs for boudoir and engagement sessions, weddings, personal branding sessions, commercial work. This allows you to present something professional to share your information with your potential clients. Photographers can even marketing cards and create gift certificates to give to their vendor partners so that they can refer more clients.
ShootDotEdit: What is something that you wish your customers or potential customers knew about the software? Or even something that you want all wedding photographers to know about Fundy?
Andrew: The skin retouching. Everybody thinks it’s automated skin retouching, but you will be shocked at how good it actually is. We have licensed it from Perfectly Clear, so it’s incredible. And then the other thing is the ability to have your clients take a photo of their wall, send it to you, and for you to be able to mock up wall art right on their wall using the images you took and then put that into an IPS slide show (or even text it to them!). That’s probably one of the number one things that people don’t know.
ShootDotEdit: Are there any other products, services, or vendors that you feel (other than you, of course!) that wedding photographers MUST use to be successful?
Andrew: One of the key things is to really find those print partners that you resonate with and create a relationship with them. Jumping around between print vendors based on what sale is going on, in my opinion, is not the best way to create a stable business. You have to be consistent. Also, find yourself a good studio management software – Táve, Iris Works, Studio Ninja – whatever works for you. I also love Calendly for setting up appointments. Especially for photographers, it will keep them out of the habit of letting people book them outside of business hours.
ShootDotEdit: Is there something in the pipeline that users and potential customers can look forward to?
Andrew: We have a huge update that I think is going to blow people’s minds in January, but I can’t discuss it yet. But I would want to draw photographers’ attention towards Album Works, which is a really inexpensive web-based album design software that we just introduced this year. So for people who are maybe just starting out and don’t have enough money to buy into the full Fundy Design suite, Album Works is a really inexpensive way to design and then share albums with your clients. It’s fast, and it’s affordable.
ShootDotEdit: How can our readers find you and get to learn more about you and your services?
While weddings are all about beauty, celebration, and romance, Fundy Designer aims to go beyond the wedding day. It’s about empowering photographers to be more successful with innovative techniques that still let you stay in control of the creative process. Whether or not you are a print-based photographer, showing your couples the power of print – through immaculately designed albums or innovatively curated wall art – is not just another way to increase sales but also help couples cherish their memories for years to come. We want to thank Andrew for giving us a detailed insight into his business model and how it exists to simply make a photographer’s life easier and faster. We are inspired by your vision and how you made it come alive.
Like Fundy, at ShootDotEdit, we aim to make your life as a wedding photographer easier and quicker too. And we do this by reducing your post-production workload, so you have more time to dedicate to your couples and book more weddings. We edit your photos to match your style and help you deliver excellence to your clients. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our pricing plans.