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11/24/2008 06:06:25 PM · #1
So remember i did the dance add thing I was asking about? well this is one of the pictures I got from that. ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/85000-89999/86454/120/741659.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/85000-89999/86454/120/741659.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
Well this picture as shown to an owner of a daycare in town, and she has asked me to come in and do this for the kids at her school (75)

so... I explained to her well I don't have the gear or experiance for that really. i did that shot on a shady porch.. and then ran it through an editing progam..
She said she would still like me to come in She doesn't pay you she said the way the things thier work is someone comes in takes the pics brings a proof in or makes the pre-pay and then parents either buy it or they dont...

Is this something i should even attempt for the experiance? seeing that its not a paid thing, so if it sucks.. well it's not okay but it is in a way.. no one loses anything. and if the parents like it then well I make some money..???

Message edited by author 2008-11-25 03:00:20.
11/24/2008 06:15:35 PM · #2
That's usually how school portraits work school never pays the photographer in fact photographers usually have to fight each other for the rights to be the photographer for a school, then you price them and make moey directly from parents and school gets nothing, I think the school gets nothing...
11/24/2008 06:23:45 PM · #3
What do you mean for the rights? they have a lady who comes in now. She has for a few years. and will continue to come in. but her prices are very very high and most parents don't even buy the pictures the percent is 30% that buy she said. but it's because of her prices. I'm not trying to take the lady's job and she isn't trying to replace her. the lady usually comes in and give a free gift which is why she still has her to do it. so each kid gets a bag with their pic or a free class pic, or tee shirt. I informed I wouldn't be giving anything free...

Message edited by author 2008-11-24 18:24:40.
11/24/2008 06:25:26 PM · #4
you MUST have insurance for this type job - just imaine the issues if a kid were to get hurt or make some accusation! Many schools even require clearances to let strangers, so to speak, have access to the kids/school.

Second, taking pics to please yourself is one thing, taking them to please other folks is entirely different. You will be charged with pleasing 75, I mean, 150 parents (2 per kid more or less). This will not happen. Some will be unhappy.

Are you prepared for the amount of work this will take? Shooting the pics is easy -you'll need products to sell and prices for them, and a place to get them from. You need to be able to take their money - cash is easy but most will probably pay with a check. If the averge sale is $20 that's potentially $1500 - you'll have to claim that on your taxes (to be legal). If you are depositing that amount of checks and EVER get audited the IRS will be asking a LOT of questions.
Sales tax - you need to collect it. Of the 150 parents you will not know who may be a tax man or be a competetor or work for a competetor. It's MUCH safer to play by the rules than face the penalties if you get caught avoiding taxes or working without a license.

To shoot 75 kids i'd STRONGLY suggest at least one helper,maybe two.
You will need controlled conditions - you will have no control over the weather and telling the school/parents 'well,it's raining so the pics will be dark...or...we'll have to rescedule for next week and hope it's sunny'. Indoors, studio lights, and some kind of background or set. and have backup gear- I've had cameras die and lights blow up at shoots - you can't stop to fix it so you need a backup you can quickly switch to.

Now you have 300 images of 75 kids. And you'll maybe want a make up day later on in case folks want retakes or someone is sick that day.
You need to make / print 75 proof sheets -takes time and costs money.
Deliver to the school and wait for orders.
Option 2 is have them prebuy packages and you pick the best image for it. I've seen it done both ways. I've done it both ways. Each has it's own plusses and minuses.

Then once these folks order you need to edit/order the images and either find a lab to sort them or you can do it when they arrive - you'll need envelopes too (some labs can supply the big portrait window ones).

This is your first time doing this so expect to make mistakes.
11/24/2008 06:30:08 PM · #5

the guy that does my gradeschool does a LOT of schools. prices are LOW - like $7 to 9 a unit (8x10 sheet). No packages.
The outfit that does the preschool my kids attend are all about packages, multi images, multi poses, multi BGs even! Smallest package is $36 and the offer one for $140 or so with images on CD, xmas cards, etc.

Most places here do not pay teh school a fee/kickback/commission/revenue sharing (pick a term). But some places that does occur.

11/24/2008 06:52:18 PM · #6
WEll this was like a one pose kinda thing.. like the pic posed above in BW. I do have a lab I use for the stuff I do for friends and family kinda stuff. So a place to print is taken care of.
yes taxes is a must.. I have a sperm donore who like to take me to court for everything... I filed taxed on $375 dollars the year my son was born just to be "safe" and sure enough... he attempted to take me to court over it!

I intened to print a flyer stating that I was a new photographer offering blah blah blah.. and use a few kids I know to do before I went in and print them out to show..

If I even do it.

I'd like to give it a try, just to see. But that is why i am here asking. I wanted opinions from others of should I even try. and then okay once you get toddlers on up.. how would you do the lil ones who can't sit up for a santa hat pic?

i intended on a $10 package, $15, and $20 package.
which would be- for the $12.00 (1) 8x10 (1) 5x7 and (4)wallets
$15- (1)8x10 (2) 5x7 and (16) wallets
$20 (2)8x10 (2) 5x7 (4) 3 1/2 x 5 and (16)

I thought that wasn't bad...
11/24/2008 07:02:02 PM · #7
One pose is fine - that's how most school/sports is done - and flat (boring?) lighting. It's a save choice - with 75 kids of various complexions, heights, posing (as in listening) ablilities you're better to keep if flat and simple. The way you make money on this type of job is volume - and anything that takes up your time kills your profits.

I did a college's year book pics and those 'kids' can be just as much 'trouble' as wee ones. But the pics need not be boringly lit, or too boringly lit anyway. BG is the room I was in.

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11/24/2008 07:05:36 PM · #8
but if i am doing pics like this then I really don't need a "BG" so much.. right?
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11/24/2008 07:58:40 PM · #9
Originally posted by Photomom1981:

but if i am doing pics like this then I really don't need a "BG" so much.. right?
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True, but you say 'daycare' so these are kids 3 and under for the most part? And you're a stranger...will they lay/sit like this and smile as nicely?
This is not the typical image parents expect from 'school photos'. One key to sales is to meet or exceed the customer's expectations.

First, 75% won't want black and white. (mostly men from my experience with seniors). So you'll have to offer color and B&W if you want lots of sales.
And remember that no sales means no money.

This is a tight shot on the face - I bet 50% or more of the girls will come with ribbons in their hair or mom will want to see their hair. So you have to shoot shots that show the hair. Or forgo sales.

Does this matter? Well, yes it does. I just got done doing my annual pet photo fundraiser. 3 days of pets only (or your kids) - choice of poses, props, etc. We tried to get 3 or more different poses per pet/customer. Then the last day was with Santa. 95% of the images had santa in them. Average sale on the non-santa days was $75 and some change. On Santa Day it was $48. That is a HUGE difference, especially times 31 clients. $900 kind of difference.

I see it with seniors too. You gotta shoot the 'classic traditional yearbook headshot' - dad, grandma, someone wants it and it will sell 80% of the time. When they buy 5 to 7 poses and one is the boring head shot that's 15% to 20% of your sales. You've got to shoot what they expect, or are used to seeing if you prefer to phrase it that way.

You want sales. You do not want 'issues' - complaints, comments made to the school, etc. You'll never please everyone but if you shoot for the majority 'expectation' you will be better off in the long run.

Of course by all means shoot and show what you WANT to sell, your style of image, etc.

Message edited by author 2008-11-24 20:10:35.
11/24/2008 08:09:27 PM · #10
Pet pics from this year

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Here is a soccer shot from the spring. I'm doing a wrestling gig tomorrow night and now that I have more experience I will do better - much better.
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Now if you look at this year's yearbook shots and last year's yearbook shots (like this one) you tell me which is better (artistically, lighting, bg, etc)? Same location, same lighting gear - more experience on my part allowed me to do better.

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Note BG, hairlight, catchlights in the eyes, sharpness. (L vs non L lens mostly on that)

11/24/2008 10:47:54 PM · #11
Anyone else have any input on this?. the advice given is great advice to the point.. should i try it or should I pass?
11/24/2008 11:05:17 PM · #12
OK, have never had to do the business side of things, as I always worked under a friends company banner.
Have plenty of experience with School photos though. To you guys, thats age 5 through to 18. Have also photographed Deb balls (so 15 year Olds). What seems simple is anything but at times.

Highest Selling Photo when multiple poses shot - The Head Shot (head and shoulders) In this case, the parents are putting it up on the wall.

Unfortunately the shots that don't sell well - Those you really like, the pose you like etc - Why? Just because you like it, doesn't mean the rest of the uneducated population will.

For kids of that age (I have nephews), best idea would be to take a Head shot (for Gran etc), a shot like you did (because you like it) and something else. Take too many poses and you waste time, effort and people can't deceide. Take a few though for variety. Even with the close crop, offer it as that, and one further out, maybe without the hat. Same pose, 2 different shots, less to try and make them do.

Some schools get a commission, some don't. Worth checking that out first.
As you are not experienced, best idea would be to provide proofs for them to order, therefore there are no people who have already purchased images complaining. If they get to see the photos first, and complain about the proofs, you can say Sorry, if you don't like them, there is no obligation to buy.........Negative though is that you have to print proofs (proof sheet - 9 images to an A4 page. Have seen this done on a personel injet printer (if photo quality) and it was good enough.) so there is an outlay yourself.

IMO, don't let the negatives etc stop you. If you don't jump in feet first, you never will. This sounds like the perfect way of getting experience, with a relatively small outlay, and little risk if people don't like their photos, and no matter what, you will learn helps from it.

11/24/2008 11:12:15 PM · #13
thanks that helps alot. my husband keeps telling me just that, if you don't jump in you never will.
He has been telling me to go to the daycare and do some stuff. ( this isn't the first time they ave asked me, only the first time i am thinking about it)

I just figured..okay she wants headshots, and B&W.. I can handle that with what i have... and put the $ in the jar for some mroe equiptment so i can learn to do better things :)

I didn't intend on making anyone prepay, being a mom myself i never pre-pay for pictures. and i intended on doing the proofs. I have a lab here that charges me next to nothing to print, so I use them for proofs and then send them off to a lab in Dallas to get printed once someone orders something.
11/25/2008 05:24:51 AM · #14
Something to think about... Get a smugmug account. You can post the proofs to the net in a secure folder, give the parents a card with the website and password to the folder, they view and purchace right from smugmug with credit card. Smugmug prints and sends them the photos with a 100% money back policy if not satisfied. You can set the number of days you have to proof their order and make any adjustments to the photos. You set your own prices. It's alot less work then printing proofs. But yes, a pro account will cost you $150 a year but it has been worth it to me. I have shot a few of the highschools football games and a golf tournement and made almost $240 in the first 3 months. There are also other companies that do the same thing.
11/25/2008 11:12:42 AM · #15
Originally posted by david1707:

Something to think about... Get a smugmug account. You can post the proofs to the net in a secure folder, give the parents a card with the website and password to the folder, they view and purchace right from smugmug with credit card. Smugmug prints and sends them the photos with a 100% money back policy if not satisfied. You can set the number of days you have to proof their order and make any adjustments to the photos. You set your own prices. It's alot less work then printing proofs. But yes, a pro account will cost you $150 a year but it has been worth it to me. I have shot a few of the highschools football games and a golf tournement and made almost $240 in the first 3 months. There are also other companies that do the same thing.

I use Instaproofs.com for that. its very similar, only you still do your own printing. I kinda like the own printing thing so I can see it before it goes to the customer and it isn't mailed directly to them. Which I am sure you can do with smugmug. I have had several orders go through there of a few things mainly the golf tour i did over the summer and was very pleased with the outcome and the way they handled the business. the only thing I'm not crazy about is any card payments made to them they only send it to you 2 times a month. the 1st and 15th i think and it has to be a specific amount before they send it. but it isn't a high amount and I just have the minium order set at that.

I'm gonna do it though! I called the daycare this morning and agreed. I'm doing it Tuesday! Wish me luck...
11/25/2008 11:14:10 AM · #16
now my only issue is the infants! what do I do for them! I'm sure I will think of something by the end of today and have 2 new borns ell a couple months old to play with over the week to get it right.. I love friends with babies! lol
11/25/2008 12:01:41 PM · #17
the easiest way to do infants/babies to be sure to get good pics easily is to get some fuzzy fabric that you can drape over the front of a seated person. the baby goes into the arms of the person who can hold, pose, position, etc the baby but because of the fabric they'll not be 'in' the picture. Safe, secure and fast. And the baby is MUCH happier being held by a warm person that being tossed into a cold basket, propped on pillows, etc.

Online is good for some things, but you'll sell more almost any other way. Online makes it a business transaction and gives them a chance to think it over, procrastinate, etc.
11/27/2008 09:54:47 AM · #18
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11/27/2008 10:58:37 AM · #19
Originally posted by Photomom1981:

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Cute rendition. But do you want to do that 40 times? Even if you get paid accordingly there is only so much time in a day one can work.

Here's a report from the wrestling T&I tuesday night. Ages 5 to 12, 53 on the team and 47 came for pics. Allowing for brothers/twosome shots sold 43 packages with an average of just over $25 each.
Took 90 minutes total onsite with two of us - setup, shoot, teardown. I shot while my assistant worked the table.

Why do you NEED insurance???????????????????????????????????????? Put 47 kids and 47+ parents and 5 coaches and several siblings in a gym (well this room was the multipurpose room, smaller than a gym). They PLAY. They run around. They throw things. They walk over your cables, chairs, etc. Last year one kid broke an arm and another had stitches from accidents that occurred DURING the pictures. Any wonder that photographer was not asked back?

Here is a sample individual pic. The lighting is not flat and boring, no generic muslin (not that the multipurpose room was all that photogenic)
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I've chosen the best pics and on monday will place the order with the lab - figure that will take 2-3 hours maybe. Add in drive time to and from teh school of 45 minutes each way - and paying an assistant for that time as well as the 90 minutes on location and of course I'll make the trip again to deliver the prints, it's a living but there aren't many rich photographers out there!

and one of the team pics (we also did one with the coaches). I like the vintage feel of the sepia myself.
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Message edited by author 2008-11-27 10:59:28.
11/27/2008 11:33:24 AM · #20
It really didn't take that long to do.. in all about 3-5 min to adjust, crop, erase... I did however decided against the names on the pic.. that will be a " if you want it extra" I think that would be WAYYYY more time than I want to spend on each one..

but then again... 3-5 x75 kids.... i went to a friends house last night and played with her two kids.. ( they are difficult and HATE you taking their pictures..) well the oldest one does anyway.. I figured no child could be worse than hers with the not wanting the picture taken so i borrowed her to get some feel on okay.. what's gonna work for the ones that want to be booger heads.. I ended up getting a shot witin 5-7 min of trying to get her to let me... but uh.. I figured there will be more than one "kid issues" when there.. any suggestions on that? a photographer in town that I am friends with told me she gives them 2 min for the problem children, if they don't act right she skips them at the end if she has time she gives them 2 more min if they still don't act right she takes a crappy crying picture and packs her stuff they just don't get one.. :(

so.. suggestions?

yeah i see the reason for insurance.. I had an atty friend of mine draft me a "disclosure" that the daycare has to sign releasing me and having their insurance cover any accidents.
11/28/2008 05:11:52 PM · #21
So here's what i came up with for the pricing, and Cale another newcomer on DPC helped me with the flyer for the daycare.
12/01/2008 08:07:47 PM · #22
OKay so tomorrow morning I'm doing the pics. Any last min suggestions, help.. eeek the nerves have just kicked into overdrive..
12/01/2008 10:26:01 PM · #23
wow! thats some great last min suggestions... lol
12/01/2008 10:54:05 PM · #24
Don't stress.......worst thing for a child is you running around stressed. Even when the s*** hits the fan, you need to at least look to the outside people that everything is alright..

And have fun
12/02/2008 05:22:54 PM · #25
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