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Archive 2013 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)
  
 
gtjohnson
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


Here's the background. I shoot action shots for my local high school, specifically seniors, and create collages for them. I've done football and lacrosse the last 4-5 years and will be expanding into most of the other sports next year (plus Rugby and baseball are on board this spring). I've teamed up with the guy that has been doing the T & I there for years to cover virtually every sport in the school, so it's turning into a nice account.

I recently shot their Spring theater production and put the photos up on my website for purchase by cast members and their parents. The Marketing Director for the school contacted me requesting five or six hi-rez shots from the show ... "I would like to have access to your photos so that I could select some for the school to buy and use in our publications". They don't want prints, however, but digital downloads. I'm sure he'll want to see some of the sports shots I have when I introduce him to them as well. I'm also looking at next year (and beyond) when I'll be covering all their sports action. It would be a nice addition to the income from the parents and students, but I don't know what the accepted protocol is here. I deal mainly with the booster clubs and haven't really had any direct contact with the school, so they didn't know I existed (other than the athletic director).

He's clearly expecting to pay, but what's a reasonable price per image (or should there be any price at all)? I'm very leary about giving my work away (thanks to the many photogs on this forum who have helped me see the value in my images), but in this case ... I'm not sure. It's certainly not going to be my bread and butter, that will still come from the boosters, but I hope to be at this school for a long time and want to establish a proper expectation right from jump street.

Sorry for the long post, but I thought the background was important.

Thanks!
Gary



Mar 28, 2013 at 01:19 PM
RichCoyle
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


In order to create and maintain a long-term relationship with the school in which you are allowed to continue to shoot the events (in today's protective environment this can be an issue), I would provide "x" number to the school for no charge. Let the Marketing Director know the extent of the gift and what the cost will be beyond that number; I don't believe in giving anything that the recipient doesn't know that value of.

Good luck with whatever your decision.



Mar 28, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


Obviously you have no control over the number of prints that might be made from any high-res file you provide. Considering loss of potential print sales, 10x the cost of an 8x10 would make sense. Rather than give some away and charge after that, come up with a per-file rate and offer a better deal for 5 of them (compared to the per-file rate times 5), and an even better rate for 10. This way you give nothing away, make clear the value, and also show your willingness to provide a quantity discount.


Mar 28, 2013 at 02:22 PM
gtjohnson
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


Thanks guys.

Rich - my concern with giving X number for free and charging after that is that they'll take X number and that'll be it. A plus for the 'we like Gary' side, a minus for Gary's wallet. But 'we like Gary' has definite benefits here ...

Russ - There would be virtually no loss of print sales from this since there is no cross-over from parents (and/or cast & team members) purchasing these. It is entirely sales that I would not have at all - icing on the cake if you will. I would love to be their source for these shots, but they'll need to see my pricing as reasonable (and I have no idea what their expectations might be). I do like the volume discount concept. I will certainly work that into my final presentation.

The first number that jumped in my head was around $40.00 per image which is considerably less than 10x an 8x10 print (or roughly $120.00). Too little you think?

Gary



Mar 28, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Carl Auer
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


Gary, let me ask you this.....wait... we will get to that... Let me state a couple things first that I see from your original post and ask a couple questions.

One - You are shooting a couple sports for the last 4 or 5 years, and expanding, plus helping with the T&I. You provide collages for the seniors.
First Question - What do you charge for the collages?
Second Question - What are you trying to do, become the schools only booster photographer? Run the T&I guy out and take over?

Two - You shot the theater production.
Third Question - Are you looking into adding non sports shooting on a permanent basis?

I like this except for one thing, but that is beside the point. I do not like the fact that there is a T&I photographer. I would try to take over his position totally (T&I can be the best money). The last time I did T&I shoots, I used a student at the school interested in photography to help me out. But like I said, beside the point.

Three - What I am getting from what you posted is that you are interested in shooting everything for the school except maybe the yearbook student photos/ID Card photos. That is cool. I was doing that with the last school I shot for in Alaska. Started with a couple sports them moved into almost all the sports, ROTC, and a couple events. If I would have stayed, I probably would have taken the whole school contract and it is what I am looking at doing now with a school down here.

What I use to do is give the Boosters and School a "discount" for images. My main income was from the T&I, the senior posters I did for banquets, and senior photos that came from being around the school and teams all the time. But I would not totally devalue my other work. If a poster cost me $15 to print, I would charge parents around $100-120 for it (this was for non seniors), for the boosters I would discount it based on how many seniors. Football had 23 seniors, $70 each, basketball had 6 seniors, $85, Soccer had one senior, $100.

There were times I did special things too...I did a panorama, 8" x 36" of the new football field. Gave one to the new principal, gave one to the new coach, sold 10 for $250 each. First football conference win? Principal and coach got a couple 8x10's at no cost.

Now, what I would do, is sit down with the marketing director, bring my laptop with the photos from the theater photos, and a jump drive. Go over the photos, and how they will be used, and stress that you would really like to begin working more with the marketing director on projects like this, and you understand the school has budget issues. Tell him something on the order of normally the photos would be $xx for an 8x10, double the price for "normal" full res sales. But give the Marketing Director a good price. Start out with $40 apiece, and lowest I would go would be $25 each and 5 or more images $20 each. Pop them on the jump drive and hand them over and invoice them as quick as possible.

I personally look at school booster shooting as a give and take. I will give the yearbook 4 or 5 shots, but I take a free ad in the yearbook. I drastically discount senior gifts, but get T&I out of it. I waste my time shooting game action (sales are really not worth it usually), but that gets me close to parents and leads to senior photos, family photos, even had some corporate photo shoots come from it.

Hope that helps some...



Mar 28, 2013 at 04:25 PM
gtjohnson
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


Carl,

Wow, that was a lot to absorb. Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed response. You hope that helps some? It helps a ton! That's some great information.

Let me try to respond and stay on point.

One) collages go for $75.00 in a $10.00 frame. They are displayed on stands at the banquets (lacrosse and football) which is my sales tool for the junior class the following year. Football averages 20+ seniors, lacrosse about a dozen. I am not trying to run the T&I guy out, in fact I have a great respect for what he does. The action photos were more than he could handle, so I filled a gap. He has since contacted me to provide senior collages to all the sports and to work with him on T&I shoots. He has hinted that he's only in this for another few years (he turned 70 this year), so it's likely that I'll have the opportunity to fill the T&I void when he hangs up his spikes.

Two) the theater shoot was the first non-sports event I've done for the school and it was on-line sales only for this go-round (until the Marketing Director knocked on my door). The in-house photog (a teacher) died suddenly last fall, so they were left without a photographer. I got my foot in the theater door by offering to shoot the cast photo gratis which led to the opportunity to shoot the full production. I would certainly welcome the chance to shoot other non-sports events. That will be part of my conversation with the Marketing Director.

Three) Lifetouch has the ID photos, yearbook, and senior portraits so I'm swimming upstream (ok ... upriver) in that arena, but I'm sure there are other opportunities outside those cash cows.

Carl, this is great advice. I can't thank you enough for the guidance. This gives me a solid foundation to start with and we'll see where it goes.

THANK YOU!
Gary




Mar 28, 2013 at 07:18 PM
 

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Carl Auer
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


Really? LT has the senior photos too? I have seen Lifetouch to activity card/yearbook photos, and the seniors use those photos unless they have senior photos done elsewhere and turned in by a specific date. That seems odd to me.

Anyway, good luck



Mar 28, 2013 at 08:17 PM
gtjohnson
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


I mis-represented that, Carl. They do a senior graduation package with photos from the graduation ceremony - not senior portraits. So there's a potential avenue ...

Gary



Mar 28, 2013 at 09:20 PM
DizzelDel
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


.

Edited on Apr 04, 2013 at 01:00 AM · View previous versions



Mar 29, 2013 at 12:58 AM
dweverett
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


I'm not a pro so normally wouldn't comment but since it's drama shots I'll throw my $.02 in in case it helps at all for future reference. I just posted some shots from my kids schools performance in the "people" forum. The drama program has to be self sufficient so I take the head shots and photos of the performance which we sell to raise funds. I've considered doing the online sales thing but for a vareity of reasons (timing being one of them) I haven't. What I've landed at is printing a bunch of 5x7s and 8x10s and sticking them on the walls in the hallway outside the auditorium so folks have some idea what the pictures look like. In the last couple of years we've also taken more formal cast shots. Every year is different but in general we end up selling the pictures off the wall for $10 for the 8x10 and $15 for the cast shots which are about 6x19. I'll burn disks with all of the pictures that sell for $20-25. That's probably way too low for what anyone doing it professionally would ever want to charge. I don't think there is a lot of people sharing the high res files -- though for a few weeks a lot of low res ones will show up on the kids facebook profiles etc. It usually raises about $500-600 though that's only because I'm not charging for any of my time nor even for the materials I'm using to burn the disks, make the prints etc.

For reference, the school has about 500 kids and probably has about 1000 people come see the show between the three performances. There are a number of logistical challenges to people a) seeing the pictures, b) figuring out how to buy them and c) make their way through the crowd to do it. My guess though is that even if I solved those problems I might sell 10-25% more. While more people come to the show from the town, it's only the parents that are going to buy the pictures and I think most of the ones that are interested enough to do it probably already do. Ideally I'd have a setup where people could pick what they wanted with onsite printing but there is no way that's ever going to happen.

Again, not directly what you asked but it's the only experience at all I have with selling anything -- thought that the implied volumes might be relevant for the future.

Bill



Mar 29, 2013 at 03:52 AM
sivrajbm
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


Good Stuff there Carl...


Mar 29, 2013 at 04:04 AM
gtjohnson
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · HS digital image request (help w/ pricing)


I'm convinced if you popped open his button-down shirt you'd find find blue tights with a big red 'S' on the chest.

The guy takes the time to lay down about 10 paragraphs of high quality advice to help a ham-and-egger like me ... unreal.






Mar 30, 2013 at 12:58 AM





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