In part one of our new four-part insight to the world of Schools photography, Rachel Proctor, One Vision’s Schools guru, shares with us some valuable insights into this underrated area of the professional photography world
“You could easily argue that wedding photography is such a crowded market place. A studio may be out of the question as shoots are more home-based these days and commercial options are more about who you know. Schools. Kids… “Eugh!” I hear you say. How does the old adage go: never work with children or animals? Well, based on what I am hearing from my customers, ignore kids – in this case schools photography – at your financial peril. Over the next four weeks I want to spread the word and share with you a little of where I believe photographers new and old could expand into as a new, highly profitable (if done right) area of professional photography.
“Many photographers who have started out shooting Schools or Pre-Schools have been pleasantly surprised by the overall spend and earning potential. For a day’s shooting – and sometimes less – their margin has been higher than having spent a couple of days shooting in the studio. Just look at a recent example that Jane, a photographer completely new-to-nursery photography, shared with me following her first shoot:
“I spent just 4½ hours at a nursery taking naturally lit shots of each child. They were simply enjoying their day at nursery, whether it was reading, riding a trike, playing on the trim trail, sand pit or water tray. For each child I took around six different shots.” said Jane.
“Once I arrived home I spent a couple more hours whittling down to the best four images of each child, I then edited and prepared the files for printing. Within the week, the proof cards arrived and I dropped them off with the nursery staff to hand out to parents. Just ten days after leaving the proof cards at the nursery, I returned to collect them and took them all home to sort.
“I simply opened each order, checked it and paid all the monies into my bank – and the same day posted off the proof cards to One Vision. The finished packs and orders arrived just ten days later, so I hand delivered the packs to nursery and booked them in for the next shoot six months later. I couldn’t believe just how simple the whole process could be!”
“Jane reported that just eight hours of work brought over £400 in profit – and that was after paying for all the printing and giving the nursery a 10 per cent commission on the total sales. She said that this was much higher than expected, despite the nursery saying that the parents didn’t buy much the year before! The style of photography is crucial. Gone are the days of static grip-and-grins; Jane’s images had a more lifestyle approach, were more ‘natural’ and caught private moments the kids were having. Parents these days are more tuned in to what good images look like.
“At Simply Schools, we believe that most photographers want to spend more time behind the camera and not in front of a computer screen, therefore increasing their earning potential. Shoot more, sell more, this is the logic. Simply Schools has been set-up to be a complete service. Not only do we look after all the printing for you, we also include colour correction (a complimentary service) and offer a dedicated and easy-to-order Pics4Schools online ordering website with a whole host of products to choose from. All-in-all, a solution where the photographer can be… well, a photographer!”