More than 48,000 Americans make their living behind the lens of a camera. Two of those photographers, Victoria Schafer and Tod Cohen, both decided buying a TSS Photography franchise was the best way to invest in their futures.
Before taking the plunge and buying a franchise, Victoria and Tod both worked as experienced portrait photographers. However, they wanted to take their careers to the next level and pursue the opportunities that owning a franchise would provide.
Meet Tod Cohen
Some might joke that Tod’s been holding on to a camera most of his life. His passion creeps into your conversations easily and you can sense the genuine nature of his words.
“I like to joke about it a lot, but I was only three years old when I got my first camera,” Tod said. “I was always taking pictures. I was no prodigy, but that didn’t stop me.”
As he got older his passion only continued to grow. He joined the staffs of both his high school and college newspapers. He continued to work as a freelance photographer doing portrait photography as well as weddings.
“About the year 2000, I was looking at expanding and found the opportunity to expand in the Classified Ads,” Tod said. “I was already a business owner, I was already a photographer, and I could already use studio lights. I even had a couple of school accounts already.”
Tod followed his passion and purchased an existing TSS Photography Franchise. He was able to jump right in and tackle accounts in need of attention almost immediately.
Meet Victoria Shafer
Armed with both her bachelor’s and master’s degree, Victoria worked in human resources for years. But in 2014, she decided to make a change.
“I retired,” Victoria said. “I took the leap and I started a purely portrait business and did that for about 12 months.”
During that year, she learned how hard it is to learn from other freelance photographers. She saw the competition among them and discovered few were willing to share tricks of the trade.
“I realized very quickly that the market is oversaturated with portrait photographers,” Victoria said. “It would not, on its own at least, support a family. I knew that I needed more business in my down months and I began looking for more opportunities. I happened upon TSS by looking at photographers’ stuff and then I got started researching.”
Victoria decided the numbers made sense. After learning more about how TSS does business and the community they’ve created, she decided the time was right and purchased her franchise. Since then, she has been featured by Franchise Business Review several times highlighting her experiences.
What makes TSS Photography Special?
Without a doubt, there were other photography franchise options Tod and Victoria could have pursued instead of TSS. However, they both found similar reasons for choosing TSS as their next career move.
Support and Community
“I liked having the people there to support me in doing what I wanted to do,” Tod said. “TSS does their best to keep up with innovation. They follow industry trends and offer things no one else does. It helps move us to the top of organizations’ lists. We don’t pay traditional royalties since TSS owns the lab. The more photos I take and have processed, the more money TSS makes. It’s a win-win situation.”
The support matters to Victoria as well, both from the corporate office and from the community of knowledgeable photography franchise owners.
“The community is the best part,” Victoria said. “If you looked at the TSS Photography Facebook page for franchise owners, it is a place for us to share poses and lighting ideas. We share answers and tell exactly how our successes are created. If there is any business-related problem, I know I can call the corporate office and someone will be on the phone to help me.”
Another highlight for TSS Photography franchise owners is the ability to provide a stable income for their families.
“With wedding photography, a bride and groom hire me as a person once. They aren’t going to hire me again in six months,” Tod said.
“With TSS, I am selling our services and not me as a person. I am selling the products, the process, and the customer service we provide. I have faith in my staff. I am able to train them in these spaces and they are able to operate independently of me with the same skill level. This means we can be in more than one place at the same time.”
Victoria also appreciates having a stable income.
“I just finished doing [photos for] three daycares,” she said. “I scheduled those same daycares again in approximately six months. I know I will have both spring and fall dates and I know I will have the income in those months.”
The Sky is the Limit
A franchise owner decides how much or how little to work, how many or few people to hire, and how big to grow.
“While I still feel like a piddly-little franchise sometimes, I know no one else looks at me like that,” Victoria said. “TSS knows that if you are happy as a franchise owner and you are getting work, both you and they will continue to grow. As long as you invest your time into the company, they will do the same for you.”
Tod agrees you get out what you put into your business and there is nothing to stop you from expanding your business except you.
“There is no limit to what you can do with TSS Photography, except what you limit yourself to,” he said. “I visited the franchise owner who has the largest territory with TSS. He has all of south Florida. He is sending out 15-20 photographers, while in my territory I am sending out two to four. You can scale the business as far as you like.”
Learn more about life as TSS Photography franchise owner, taking photos, creating your own schedule, and how your military experience can be relevant to your next career move on our blog.