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Archive 2013 · What would you do in this situation?
  
 
Jayem1
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · What would you do in this situation?


A few years ago, I went to a local HS dance performance and took some pictures and showed my pictures to the dance teacher afterward. She loved it so much and ask me to take pictures each time after that. (She used to use a commercial photographic service and she wasn't happy.) I gave her the images (low resolution) on a CD and gallery link on my webpage. I get paid only for minimum given the limit school fund (or so I was told). Anyhow, I was hoping that my high quality pictures would be able to reach parents and friends which would lead to some sales and other paid work like portraits and senior shoots, but this has never happened. I found there were very limited traffic for the pictures I posted, so I doubt if she ever gave the picture links to students and their families at all. So after this year's spring dance, I asked her if it is possible to make sales to parents or at least make those images available to parents and she has not replied so far after a week. Now I am debating whether it is worthwhile to continue doing this. I do use high quality gears and spend lots of time processing those images. I love to have the opportunity to take dance pictures, but I don't feel right the dance teacher just kept the pictures only to herself and I don't get the exposure I expected to generate by offering my low cost service. So I am not sure what I should do if she asks me to do the shoot again. Any suggestion or input would be appreciated.


May 25, 2013 at 03:37 PM
jefferies1
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · What would you do in this situation?


I usually only shoot for a set fee up front. Too lazy for what I as listing below.


I do know of some that will go to events and shoot for free then push for sales of prints. They are handing out lots of cards with links to the images and working the Facebook account which has likes from the same group of kids. If you want to try one more time have order sheets ready, cards to hand out, samples of unique prints like buttons, magazine cover looks etc. Get kids to market you on FB.

Don't let the "I don't have money" line stop you from asking a fair amount. They seem to come up with funds when they are interested. Don't be surprised if they turn around and pay someone else 4-5 times what you got who had a better marketing line.



May 25, 2013 at 04:35 PM
obscure
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · What would you do in this situation?


1. You are giving her low res images on CD (which you are being paid for). Are you sure she isn't just giving those to the parents for free?
2. It's your business. You shouldn't leave it up to someone else to sell it for you, especially if there is nothing in it for them. The instructor paid you and got her images, why would she bother to do any more? Have you thought about offering her 10% of any sales you make? That would encourage her to help promote you by sending out a link.
3. Better yet are you giving out cards to all the parents/kids at this event? Connecting directly with the parents would be far better than connecting through the instructor.



May 26, 2013 at 10:06 AM
cineski
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · What would you do in this situation?


This is nothing personal, but newbe photographers simply are unfamiliar of proper fees or how to stand up for themselves because 99% of them just decided one day to be a photographer and have zero business experience that is generally taught by another photographer or proper schooling. There's nothing wrong with that, but just spend some time to familiarizes yourself with the business side. When I say proper schooling, I'm not talking photo school. I'm talking business school. An untrained newbe photographer is like a jar of honey in a field full of bees, nothing you do but educate yourself in business will keep the bees from taking bits of you until the jar is empty ;-)(although my euphemism may be incorrect because bees make honey). You simply need to explain to this person the time you're spending and that you need to get paid fairly for the time or you're going to walk. You also are in charge of wether you sell to parents or not. It's not up to her. If she has a problem with that then you simply need to stop and take those photos in your portfolio and shop them to other schools. A buddy of mine makes good money in a very small market dealing with school dance performances. It's all sales dependent. But you need to figure out the best way to implement this and gage wether your market has people who are willing to pay for photos.

Also, if you're leaving it up to another person (like this teacher), your photography will never turn into word of mouth work. It just doesn't happen like that in today's consumer based markets anymore unless you are rabidly type A. Not with the insane amounts of photographers in the world and social networking.



May 26, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Lunchb0x8
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · What would you do in this situation?


I would honestly stamp a big dirty watermark on the images with your website or phone number and see how many parents etc. call you to ask about getting the prints without the watermark.

If you are getting calls, then it is safe to say the teacher is handing them out for nothing and is treating you like a charity.



May 27, 2013 at 02:42 AM
glort
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · What would you do in this situation?


cineski wrote:
This is nothing personal, but newbe photographers simply are unfamiliar of proper fees or how to stand up for themselves because 99% of them just decided one day to be a photographer and have zero business experience that is generally taught by another photographer or proper schooling. There's nothing wrong with that, but just spend some time to familiarizes yourself with the business side.


Couldn't agree more!

I am always harping on the need for Photographers to educate themselves in sales, marketing and advertising and that these skills are in fact more important to their profitability than their skill with a camera.
The amount of endless " how much should I charge" type posts on forums drive me nuts. If you don't know what to charge you shouldn't be taking pics for money until you hit the abundant resources and educate yourself till you do.


In this case I agree with the previous sentiments of taking control of the situation or walking away.

You have paid your dues, proven your work for tiddly winks money, now it's time to get serious.
I'd be telling the teacher that you can no longer afford to put in the time for the money you are getting because you are loosing out on other potential markets.

Tell her you will provide cards and or flyers to be given to the kids and parents and you would also appreciate a line in the program informing the parents that the pics of the dance will be available for purchase at abc website.

I'd say it's pretty likely you will get some resistance, why wouldn't you? The teacher is on a good wicket atm and any deviation has a good chance of not being appreciated simply because people inherently don't like change. |
Be prepared to dig in and if need be, offer a percentage of your PROFITS ( NOT takings).

Work out your pricing in advance and I would suggest offering value added packages of the same child for multiple images. Getting the people to your site is half the battle, looking professional and really working those visitors to get the best return is the other part.

Don't be price focused, the parents probably spent a small fortune on costumes and outfits and this is a one off event that had months of preparation. Charge a solid but fair price and don't think for a minute that you have to be cheap to make sales. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you are uploading the pics to a site, you need to get them up asap. I personally wouldn't stuff around editing them anymore than to take out the bloopers, get them on line with a watermark ( you decide on size and how ugly you want to make it) and have your shopping cart set up and ready to go. Myself I wouldn't be going to bed till the things were uploading even if that took an all nighter.
Getting the pics up quickly as possibly can not be over stated.

I would also be upping the ante and trying to shoot individual pics of the kids in their costumes. The dress rehearsal is a great opportunity to do this. Set up a background with a couple of lights and pump them through. It needn't take long, do a close up, bang off a couple of frames, pull back for a 3/4 or full length, another couple of frames in case you get a blink and next. You should be able to shoot it as fast as you can read it.

Backgrounds are dirt cheap on ebay as are Chinese studio lights and if you are doing it remotely right you'll make profit on the first gig from sales of these pics alone.
I'd also see if you could do group shots of the kids in each performance which would also be a seller and give you something else to throw into a value added package. Think of the big picture ( pun intended) and market the heck out of this.

In the unfortunate event that the teacher completely puts the kibosh on it, I'd say you will have to think it over if you can continue to do the gig and you'll get back to her I'd then do as suggested and go market your services to some other schools in the area and see who goes for it. You can then either go back to the first teacher and say sorry, I have a better offer or continue on as you have if you think it's remotely worth it.

I'd love to have an opportunity at an event like this, I go after them every year with the private dance schools and always do well with them.

There is good money to be made here, you just have to work the opportunity and make the most of it.




May 28, 2013 at 02:40 PM
 

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Corojo
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · What would you do in this situation?


dance schools, youth team sports, underclass school pictures are all about kickbacks! Ed K.


May 28, 2013 at 05:25 PM
mdude85
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · What would you do in this situation?


Personally I think if you want to start selling your images to parents and friends, then you should do so (as long as you get model release). Whether you will actually make any money from this, or how, is another matter.

I'm not really sure why you would need to ask the dance teacher for permission to sell the images you gave her on the CD, or any other images for that matter.

If she is not responding to emails then maybe you can just call her or visit her at the studio.



May 29, 2013 at 06:52 PM
cineski
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · What would you do in this situation?


A model release isn't needed if you're selling the photos to the person or family in the photos. While I'm not privy to modern buying habits in these situations, I can't claim to think you'd sell a photo of a high school sport player or dancer to anyone other than the person in the photo (including friends). If photos of a person do end up in the hands of another person, it's because the person in the photo buys them and gives them out to friends.


May 30, 2013 at 01:26 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · What would you do in this situation?



This is exactly how I broke into the business, but I didn't give things away to start. The dance company did get JPGs for free to use for marketing, but in return they sent out email blasts with links to my galleries where parents and dancers could purchase the prints. I could always tell if it worked by the number of visitors to the galleries, as I would get hundreds, and sometimes thousands of visitors a day in the days after the performances. My print sales worked quite well based off this model.

These gigs also led to senior portrait sessions, family portraits, and weddings.

But the OP's problem is that he doesn't have a sales strategy in place with the dance teacher. He's essentially working for free for the teacher, which doesn't provide him with anything. The OP needs to meet face-to-face with the teacher and get this resolved, or get out of the situation. Something is amiss if they were using a professional company before, as certainly the parents are used to buying pictures.



May 30, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Jayem1
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · What would you do in this situation?


thank you all for the invaluable inputs. just got busy lately and haven't got a chance to respond. but i have read them all. thanks again.


May 31, 2013 at 03:43 PM





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