8th grade "moving up" ceremony. Help?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by joshroot, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. So I got a call from an old family friend who works in a local
    school district. They need a photographer for their 8th grade moving-
    up/commencement ceremony. They weren't asking for charity, but
    rather needed a new photographer this year, and the friend saw my ad
    in the local paper. So she called to ask if I would be interested
    and what my rate would be to do something like that.

    The drill is that each kid gets a solo portrait and then there is
    one group shot of everyone. There are 55-60 kids. Parents get one
    8x10 of the group and one 5x7 of their kid. Essentially like sports
    team photography.

    I don't know if I am expected to give a rate for just showing up and
    then handing over the prints to the school later. Or if I am
    supposed to charge something to show up, and then handle all the
    ordering from the parents. Since she specified the number of prints
    to me over the phone, it makes me think that the school is handeling
    the ordering. I know I should have asked more questions, but because
    she is a family friend, she had my home number and woke me early
    this morning. So I wasn't exactly on the ball. I would have no
    problem callign her back for more information though.

    So has anyone done this sort of thing before? What's the general
    idea on pricing? It's not exactly the sort of work that I usually
    gun for. But Tax Time has got me all wound up about fixing my bottom
    line, and the house needs storm windows before next winter. So I am
    considering any job that comes my way. This is a good "creating word
    of mouth" type of job. But I'm not going to through a bunch of
    stress and annoyance for $200.
  2. You need more information, no doubt. You might find out what has been charged in the past and be sure they are not expecting the same from you. Make sure it is worth your time. Also, find out if the school is expecting a percentage back from you for the privelege of working for them. I don't know if that is a common practice but it is SOP around here and pisses me off enough that I don't pursue the work.

    Rick H.
  3. I think $200 is fair for a couple of hours of "work" for a friend. In fact, I would probably charge less. I do contract engineering work and generally charge zero (not expenses), depending on the location and nature of the project, then if the client is satisfied and keep me on (so far 100%), they get billed for the first month. It's a good way to get your foot in the door.

    IMHO, I don't think photographing 60 posed kids is particularily stressful or annoying. BTW, take a few of each kid if you're not good at decisive moment photography. They're paying for the materials, no?
  4. Josh, I was a public school teacher for 32 years and have had many school picture sessions under my belt, as a teacher, not the photographer!

    This is the way the school photographers do it:

    1. They send out an order form weeks in advance even before the photos are taken.

    2. In this order form they have a series of options. There are many labs that print these option in many different formats...like X# of 5x7's, wallets, one 8x10, one group plus others, and so on.

    3. The students must bring in the money with the order form or they will NOT receive any prints. Everything, including payment, is done BEFORE the photography.

    4. If the student/parents do not like the photos they can participate in a follow-up photo session and must return the complete first package!

    5. If that doesn't work out, the must return all the photos and they will get a refund...that never happens.

    That is a basic outline of the School Photography (and sports photography) business.

    I would suggest that you devise some options for print combos, prices for each combo, and get paid BEFORE you take the photos...otherwise, really, you won't get paid.

    This is important:

    schools don't have money! The school will NOT give you any money for this job. They don't have it and they can't do it. What you will earn is only based on each and every student who buys a package. that's it...no more! There is NO "photographer's fee" involved in this in any way.

    School photography is tough unless you protect your income and expenses by getting paid BEFORE any photos are taken.

    Hope this helps.
  5. $200 for a couple hours work shooting 60 children? That's 2 minutes each including
    switch outs. It does not include handling all the paper work, order fulfillment, film and
    processing (or digital processing time).
  6. Save all your paperwork and energy:

    find out if the school budget can handle 90 cents or 95 cents per 4x6 of the child. If yes, shoot the photos, bundle up the prints, and take one invoice to the office. No forms, no 'bad' checks, no extra work.

    Then find out if the school 'staff' want to assist in moving a 8x10 shot of the 'group.' If not, do not even attempt to shoot it. You will have 60 parents shooting along with you, and the kids will keep you nutso trying to get everyone to look towards you and not grandpa.
  7. As a 32 year retired teacher please let me say this: anything you do for a school is a charity gesture...and that's OK. Do it, but don't expect to make any money on the job. I've done it many times. Again, don't expect a profit.

    Until our government provides as much money for schools as it does for bombs, don't be disappointed if the local schools can't pay for your film! Think about that.
  8. "As a 32 year retired teacher please let me say this: anything you do for a school is a charity gesture...and that's OK. Do it, but don't expect to make any money on the job. I've done it many times. Again, don't expect a profit.
  9. Gerald...what's your point? Schools are not adequately financed and must go begging for money whereas other governmental institutions receive gobs of cash that goes to waste: heavy military expenses, waste in beaurocracies, over priced hammers, and thousands of other examples. The cost of one missle could probably fund a school's needs for over a year. My point is that doing a photo job for a school needs to be funded through a one-on-one sale of photos to each student seperately, because schools don't have cash available to pay for a photographer's fee up front. The profit comes from the direct sales only and must be built into the price of each package. That's just the way it is. This was not intended as a political statement on my part. Sorry if it was taken that way.
  10. Someone played "editor" with what I had posted.

    Missiles are good for those who contribute to election campaigns:
    taxes are necessary for public education to exist.

    Have a good day!
  11. Gerald - I played editor. The post started going into politics and another poster objected to something you said at the end of your comment - Sorry - but I just had to shorten it.
  12. The $200 might be fine if all I have to do is walk in, shoot some photos, and walk back out again. But I know that isn't going to be the case. Particularly if I am expected to provide the cost of the prints out of my own pocket or if I am expected to deal with the orders and payments myself.

    I will get more information this weekend and post what I find.
  13. Mary and Josh,

    I apologize. I mentioned a sensitive political item, and that probably started it. I need to be more careful.

    All I was trying to say to Josh is that many schools simply don't have the cash to finance such photography, up-front. In fact, in many states, it is not legal to use public funds for such projects. School finding is often "categorical" and must be used only for approved projects.

    ***I would strongly suggest that you work with the 8th grade "promotion" parents group, and NOT the school. They might be able to finance your project.***

    That is all I was saying.

    It's so hard to be honest and direct nowdays!
  14. Correction, read "...school funding..."

    Also, there is no reason why you could not set up a "photographer's fee" with the 8th Grade Parents' Group, give each student one free proof print, and charge a modest amount for a nice 8x10 and/or combo. I think that would work.
  15. Josh,

    Call ProPhoto Imaging 800-237-6429 website...www.prophotoimaging.com
    Get a catalog from them. They have packages in there that will work for your shoot. Prices are very good. Just figure out what you want your profit to be. Do not charge $200 for this shoot. If each kid spends at least $10...that's $600 minus expenses. As far as the group picture goes....60 kids is really not that much. Yesterday I just did a track team of 150 girls and boys. No parents where there to bother the kids though. I did a first communion one time and had to take a group picture of all the kids. I just had the parents wait out in the hallway until I took about 5 shots and then I let them in so they could get the pictures they wanted.

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