Nice work if you can get it?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by WESO, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. WESO

    WESO Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 12, 2014
    In the uk I have two children at local state middle school. Time of year for school and class photos to be done.1st one hear's about it is the proof prints coming home with there homework. Given the photographer is at the school for one day and photographs every individual class as one individual group photo as well as each individual child. Class sizes are normally 30 plus children, 4 classes per year and 4 years.

    As my interest in photography develops I take a keen interest in other peoples work especially working pros.

    I looked closely at my 2's proof print of class shots as well as the individual portraits.

    Not only are the class photos poorly cropped and somewhat distant, the individual shots are better cropped but mediocre at best in terms of sharpness and general image quality.

    The price list was a shock to me..

    one 7" x 5" (inches) is £ 10.80 and one 8 x 6 is £12.00. Admitedly each print comes in a cheap mount, previous ones have been particularly cheap brown card. Ordering is by cheque and form filling then back to the school etc.

    I would like to think the school gets a appreciable cut of profit etc. Knowing there are many working pros on this forum I would welcome there views on the costs involved in arranging and producing images from such a operation. I can only see many families with 2 children at school paying out upwards of £40 for 4 7" x 5" prints, an appreciable sum of money for many working parents.

    I recently did a Team photo for the company I work for our website and certain other publications as well as recently a Team photo for my sons under 11 football team. All taken with m43rds system, results came out really well and found it a breeze compared to my more normal sports photography and family stuff. Obviously team photos can be ordered and run in bulk which helps keep costs down as well.

    Needless to say my services I did not charge for and in fact prints mainly 12" x 8" I passed over to parents FOC. The goodwill created and positive responses was enough for me but then I don't depend on it for a living!!


  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Around here, Lifetouch inc. pretty much has a hold on the entire public school districts for their event, sports, and individual portraits. Its difficult to get into the schools without actually working as a contracted photographer under the LIfetouch inc. umbrella. They also have agreements with the local sports clubs such as my son's soccer organization.

    We buy photos (small packages) as a way of supporting the school. I see job postings from them all the time. They also have studios embedded into the mall and stores.
  3. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Real Name:
    Sean Rastsmith
    Easiest way to compare what their prices are like is to call up a local studio, and see how much it would be for a sitting and respective photos. It is essentially the same process (minus the travel to their studio). I agree that it seems a bit steep for the quality, but once they get in, it is usually exclusive (as has been said before). I do wonder how much the school gets out of it. Maybe do a local studio shoot and donate directly?
  4. QualityBuiltIn

    QualityBuiltIn Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    It does seem like a nice little earner. Especially if you can get into fairly affluent schools - what middle class Mummy could possibly refuse to buy at least the cheapest set of her little darlings?

    The 'job' itself would be a photographic walk in the park although some of the kids will be little monsters.

    The biggest workload would be admin - you're looking at high numbers of low value orders. Lots of work for little return. Until or unless you have a very efficient, possibly automated, workflow to deal with that. Or if you can delegate much of the admin to the schools in question.

    In my day job most of my clients choose to use my services and serving them is usually a pleasure. A percentage of my clients are sent to me by their employers or the authorities; they resent being there and are often quite unpleasant. If you like the customer and the client are not one and the same. Sounds like a similar situation being a schools photographer.
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    found this after a quick google

    I know its American, but I am sure the model is similar

    so with a school of 500 pupils if every parent bought 2 pictures you are looking at 10,000 pounds or a 1000 photos sold

    lets be generous and say you get a 50% sell rate, we are down to 5000 pounds or 500 photos sold

    Lets say the school takes 40% and you are down to 3000 pounds

    lets say material costs are 1 pound per photo - so thats 3000 - 500

    so photographer is left with 2500 for themselves - which may sound a lot... but if you are self employed, there may not be that many gigs a year, and you have all your own costs of salary, equipment, car etc.

    I am sure for many photographers it will be their bread and butter

    according to this your average photographer doesn't make a fortune


  6. Darren Bonner

    Darren Bonner Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 1, 2013
    Poole UK
    On my trip to London, I visited the Shard (tallest building in Europe), after you have paid to get in you have your photograph taken. The camera is a low end Nikon APS-c DSLR with the kit lens and the onboard flash is used. On my way out I was offered to purchase my photograph for £25, it was and 8x10 in a carboard frame which they printed there and then, I declined.
    Whilst places like that are making a mint, I would not be surprised if some independent pro's are struggling and taking what work they can.