Graduations can be one of the most lucrative photo markets. Best of all, Candid Color Systems® has all of the know-how and systems to help you be competitive and profitable in this market.
The photography is relatively easy but requires detailed preparation and back up equipment. Once graduations start, they rarely stop until all graduates have received their diplomas.
Booking can range from easy to very hard depending on the size of the graduation, the amount of competition, and the school itself.
Why bother with doing this if you are a portrait, school or sports photographer? Because, minute for minute, you will probably make more money photographing a graduation than any other kind of event. A 300 student high school graduation can yield sales of up to $6000 with a $3000 to $4000 profit when best practices are followed. A 300 student college graduation can yield sales of $10,000 dollars with profits upward of $5000. The actual shoot will require you to be on site two hours early to set up and will require about one to two hours of actual photography. For the 300 graduates in our example, the post production work will require about 10 hours to identify each graduate, type in names, addresses and emails, merge images with names, send out emails and print and mail paper proofs.
If you want to start small and work your way up, start with a Middle School graduation (also called Bridging Ceremony) or a Vo-tech or Community College. These are generally easier to book and less stressful to shoot. The sales from these events are usually somewhere between those of a high school and College.
If you live in an area with a College or University, then the person who is usually in charge is the Registrar. If it is not the Registrar, then the Registrar should be able to inform you as to who is in charge. Just because one school or college within a university is being photographed, doesn’t mean that all of the ceremonies are. You may need to check with each different school to see what the situation is. If someone is already photographing the university, scout the graduation to see what improvements you could make when you try to book it the next year.
If you are in a town with one or more high schools, then you definitely need to make an effort to book the graduations. Many are not being photographed at all or the photographer is only photographing those students who opt for the service in advance.
The program CCS recommends photographs every student at least twice (two different poses), sends the graduate and /or parents an email link to the proofs, and follows that up with a paper proof mailed to the graduate’s home. There is no charge to the school or university for the photography. The students/parents order only what they want in the privacy of their homes, after looking at proofs online or paper proofs sent to the home.
A wide variety of products and packages are offered which cover a broad price range. There is something for everyone. Pictures ordered online through CCS are mailed directly to the graduate’s home within a few days of ordering (usually within 3 or 4 days).
Candid Color has webinars available on all aspects of booking and shooting graduations. Also, our Customer Development Staff stands ready to help answer all your questions and to mentor you through the entire process.
We have 40 years of experience in this market and process half of all the graduates’ pictures at the high school and college level in the U.S. If you already have contacts in your local high schools or colleges, leverage those contacts to assist you in booking the graduation. You will be happy you did.
Resources Available from CCS for Graduations
For assistance, call your Customer Development Representative who can guide you through the materials and mentor you through your first booking and shooting of a graduation.
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