Business Growth During Challenging Times

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Business Growth During Challenging Times

A Summary of Robert Ste-Marie's SPAC Presentation

It’s 2021 and the Covid-19 Pandemic is still affecting our world, but that didn’t stop Coree and her amazing team from organizing and hosting the annual SPAC trade show in a virtual environment.

SPAC2021 virtual trade show booth 36Pix

With the unpredictability of school openings during this pandemic, it is more important than ever that our industry of high volume school and sports photographers stick together and support each other by sharing our experiences from this past year. Our President & CEO, Robert Ste-Marie, shared our company’s experience as a service provider and as a studio during his 1-hour presentation titled Business Growth During Challenging Times.


One of the huge challenges this past year was figuring out HOW to photograph the students, either because the schools were closed or because photographers were not allowed inside. With our own studio here in Quebec, Green Apple Studio, we created a setup to shoot outdoors, which you can read about in two of our previous blogs (School Photos During a Global Pandemic Part 1 and Part 2). Many companies had to go another route and have parents take the photos at home. There are a few positives in this, such as being able to take photos early to create ID cards, but we think this is a temporary workaround and not something that will stick long term. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Bad quality (bad lighting, bad crop ratio, etc.)
  • People often just don’t do it
  • Harder to link student photo with student data
  • Return on sales


When Covid started, Robert’s thought process was to first make sure cash flow is secured, take a step back to look at projects, and then prioritize, refocus, and go! 

On the imaging services side of our business, there were two main projects we focused on:

This past year we took our deepest dive into deep learning and developed a new algorithm to remove any solid background (white, grey, solid colors) as well as masters.

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Our CloudCT platform hosts customized GIFs and eBooks we have created. These products are highly shareable and are a great way to engage our customers. We often use them as an opportunity to partner with important causes and foundations so we can give back to the community.

Learn More


On the studio side of our company, Green Apple Studio photographs roughly 400,000 students every year. Unfortunately with Quebec laws, we were no longer able to send marketing material to parents unless they opted-in. This is why we came up with the Green Apple Club, a club which offers parents free personalized digital content in return for their data. Freemium content offered includes items such as printable bookmarks, door hangers and customized GIFs, which are great for branding and also for influencing schools for contracts. In short, the Green Apple Club is a path to monetization. Below you will find a sample of the email we sent to 10,827 Green Apple Club members for Valentine’s Day and a few of the key stats...more people clicked on the GIF creation link than the link to win a free chocolate basket!

Green Apple Club Valentine's Email


All in all, 2020 has been a great learning experience and great for innovation. Our goal for 2021 is to continue with deep learning to push our technology even further and to keep creating new content to keep our customers engaged.

Note: If you attended SPAC 2021, you can watch Robert’s presentation by logging in, entering the NAPA room and launching Business Growth During Challenging Times.