When you work in a small athletics department, you need to save time and cut out steps wherever you can.
“We’re all wearing so many hats,” says Ricky Hazel, Associate Director of Athletics for Stetson University. “We’re dealing with multiple teams at the same time, while also dealing with a lot of other things at the same time.”
Ricky handles communications, branding and licensing, and broadcasting for a wide range of teams, unlike some larger university athletics departments where each sports team has a designated communications team.
“There’s a lot on my plate in addition to the communications side of it, and anything that can ease the time it takes me to do the things I need to do on the communications side allows me to do the other things I need to do during the day,” explains Ricky.
That’s why he and his team stopped carrying around hard drives and taking up space on the university server (which was only accessible in the office), and moved their photos over to a cloud-based library on Libris.
Now, Ricky and his team have fast access to all of their photos in seconds – no more wasting time when they’re filling image requests, selling photos, or posting photos to social media and the Hatters website (which is even easier now thanks to the Libris SIDEARM integration).
“It’s absolutely critical for us,” says Ricky.
Responding to Image Requests, Anytime, Anywhere
When Ricky and his team were still using the university server to store the athletics department’s photos, they had no access to their content when they were off-campus. If Ricky got an email from someone asking for pictures when he wasn’t at his desk, he wouldn’t be able to find it. Even when he was at his desk, it could take 30 minutes just to find one picture.
“Somebody emails me now, it’s two minutes and there you have it,” says Ricky. “Now, it’s an incredible time saver.”
Stakeholders can even browse and search the library on their own, making image requests self-service.
The key to this fast access is organization. Ricky tags all of the team’s images with metadata so he can run a quick search in Libris and choose exactly what he needs.
The images are tagged with player names, locations and dates. Each sport has its own collection, which is broken down by year, then by game.
“It’s easy to go in and find a shot from a specific game,” says Ricky. “It’s all about the ease of finding what you need.”
The faster Ricky can find his photos, the faster he can deliver them to partners or get them out to fans.
Selling Photos with an NCAA Compliant Platform
In addition to photo requests from partners around the university, Ricky used to field requests from parents who wanted to buy pictures of their kids. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a NCAA compliant way to sell the photos.
Now, because Libris is an NCAA compliant photo sales platform, anyone can buy the photos Ricky makes available for sale in the GoHatters Photo Store. This allows him to provide an extra service for Hatters athletes, parents and fans, while following NCAA regulations.
Plus, those fans also benefit from the quick search functionality of Libris. If they’re looking for photos of a specific player or a specific opponent, they can type in the keywords and find exactly what they want. Then, they can choose the print sizes they want to buy, based on the options Ricky has set up.
Once they purchase photos, the prints are handled by one of PhotoShelter’s trusted vendors, so Ricky doesn’t have to deal with fulfillment.
Ricky uses social media, game stories and the Hatters website to promote the photo store.
And while the photo store helps Ricky and his team cover some of their costs, he says it’s an added bonus.
“To me, the whole idea of PhotoShelter was not about selling photos – it was about managing our inventory and doing our jobs,” he explains.
Publishing Photos in a Flash
Ricky and his team are streamlining their workflow from capture to publish, cutting out steps across their workflow.
The team works with several freelance photographers, and they have one primary freelance photographer who shoots home games. The photographers upload straight to Libris using the Lightroom integration (or any other upload method that works for them). During home games, the photographer uploads photos at halftime. The next day, he uploads the full shoot.
“I go through them all and make sure I’m tagging all the student athletes by name so when I need something I can just do a quick search,” says Ricky, who sends the photos to social media, the Hatters website and other outlets.
Now, he can also cut out steps when he pushes photos to the Hatters website via the integration between Libris and his website provider, SIDEARM Sports. Rather than running a search in Libris, downloading the photo, and uploading it to his website, Ricky can now browse and search his entire Libris library within the SIDEARM interface. He can select a photo and hit “add to site,” without ever having to download it.
“If you’re in SIDEARM working, and you go into Libris from SIDEARM and type in the name of the kid you’re looking for – boom, it’s there,” says Ricky. “It’s easy to pull it in and go.”
Combining these two lightning-fast processes can help the team post photos on their website when it counts. The photographer can upload photos at halftime, and Ricky can push them to the Hatters website right away.
The Bottom Line
When you wear a lot of hats, every second counts. By cutting steps out of their workflow, Ricky and his team are getting time back to do the work that’s most important.
Cover photo by Jim Hogue for Stetson Athletics.