Winter Grads are Just Around the Corner- Are You Ready?!

Winter commencement ceremonies will begin taking place at colleges around the country in about a month’s time.  When well executed and properly marketed Winter grads can provide a great kick-off to 2012 with added income to start the new year, plus it’s a great way to prepare and train new photographer recruits for Spring grads.  With the time remaining before these winter commencements you still have some time to execute last minute details that can make the difference between being more profitable, or merely maintaining the same level of sales as last year. Here are some helpful hints that you can still implement in time for this month’s ceremonies.

Collect emails – Collecting “fresh” primary and secondary email addresses for each graduate is critical!  Don’t rely solely on lists provided by the school since as many as 15% of the emails provided by the college may be incorrect.  This is crucial for creating your email marketing. By sending emails you are guiding your customers to order via the Internet which cuts down on office labor and decreases print delivery time.  This process is as important as talking the photos and you must have a strategy for collecting as many as possible.  Whether you attend rehearsal and gather email addresses there, or collect them the day of the grad with employees that have been trained for such an exercise, the more you can collect the higher your sales will be.

Set up Email Campaigns prior to Grad ceremonies – Once it’s has been configured and the emails have been queued, the email campaign component in CORE software automatically transmits marketing emails periodically throughout the year. Marketing to your customers requires that you be proactive.  Our software is designed to help you reach out to your customers and doing this in a timely manner will get their attention and increase sales. It is a proven marketing method delivering a sales spike each time an email is sent to your customers.

Shoot Multiple Poses – By shooting several poses—handshake, flag shot, third shot, friends and family, etc.—the graduate and their family have a variety of pictures from which to choose.  This frequently leads the customer to purchase more than one pose, which can increase your average sale per graduate.

Substitute green screen for the second, or flag shot – We have seen grad sales as high as 33% more with green screen than without.  The upside is largely dependent on the availability of iconic backgrounds on campus and the quality of the photography of those backgrounds.  Any type of background, indoors or outdoors, can be substituted for the green screen.

Queue Email Campaigns – Queue email campaigns within 24 hours notifying your customers that their event is online. Getting your email proofs out within 24 hours not only impresses your customers, but sales take off on a much quicker timetable Be sure to check your email reports within 24 hours of sending out the first email to your customers.  Look for clues like unopened emails, bounce backs, or low activity from an email provider.

Upload images Quickly – Upload images and have them online within 24 hours after the graduation has been shot. If you can get them online with 6 to 8 hours, all the better.

Queue Paper Proofs – Queue paper proofs to print and mail within 48 hours after the shoot.

Deliver PR Images within 3 days – A great idea is to offer to burn a disk on site the day of the ceremony and hand it over to your contact before you leave the campus on commencement day.  But, if you can’t do that, make sure you deliver them in your contact’s hand within 3 days.

Make sure to offer Quick Retouching – Offer retouching services and advertise through your website and in the emails sent to prospective customers.  Your cost is $3.00 and you can retail this great moneymaker for $10-15.

Up-selling Options – Pearlized paper, retouching, and specialty products like plaques, statuettes, framed prints, collages, and holiday greeting cards can also add to your revenue stream. Frequently, customers will spend the extra money to have the best product possible.

Negotiate with the presenter – Negotiate with the presenter to face the audience and look at the camera with the graduate, as opposed to the old handshake shot which captures the back of the presenters head.  (CCS has a flyer that shows and explains this entire point.)

Keep the sequence cards in order – Get the card reader(s) at the ceremony to collect the cards from the graduates in the sequence they graduate, and string the cards on a fish stringer after they finish reading the names.  If the presenter is unable to help with this task, have a staff member do this. When done properly all graduates will be kept in the exact order in which they were photographed.

Shoot Party Pics®  Before and after the commencement ceremony photograph friends and family.  Remember to distribute password cards so your customers can be directed online for further sales.

Time is short but some last minute planning can create some long-term results for months to come! To become a Candid Color customer and learn more tricks of the trade, sign up for a FREE account at or contact our Customer Development team today!

Offering Faux Groups for Sports

Faux Groups are Candid Color’s newest approach to group photos.  Images used for the Faux Groups are easily shot on a green screen background which can be set up inside or out and does not require a full length shot. (If you do shoot outside be sure to prepare for weather conditions.)

Faux Groups offer you a distinct advantage over your competition.  It has been my experience, that when I show a Faux Group to a coach or parent, they are immediately impressed with the overall look and how the colors “pop” off the metallic paper. They are also thrilled to learn that all individuals are in sharp focus, everyone has the same head size and there is consistent lighting throughout the group, making everyone equally visible in the shot. And as you know, when someone is impressed, it makes the sell a lot easier!

Every sports photographer knows that coaches are pressed for time.  They want to use every minute they have with their athletes to better prepare them for the upcoming season or game.  One of my strategies in selling the concept of a Faux Group is to explain how I can cut the amount of time it takes to photograph a team. By setting up one or two green screens and taking the individual photos separately, I save time that would have been used for the group shot. I explain how we will not need to organize a group shot by erecting bleachers, or getting the kids in their bleachers or arranging kids by height, etc.  Coaches understand the chaos of photographing these groups. They perk up when I explain how we can organize the flow on photo day to keep things moving at a brisk pace without much or anytime downtime.

I offer coaches a few different approaches. One method is to photograph the green screen shot in May before the end of school. I can get 90-95% of the individual green screen images completed ahead of the group photo that will be shot in August. This allows me to photograph the athletes and coaches when everyone is more relaxed and not in such a hurry. It also gives me another remarketing tool, because I can take multiple poses and offer them as portraits for purchase immediately.  In the fall at the regular photo shoot, I setup one green screen background and photograph any new team members.  Any kids that were dropped from the team are simply not included in the Faux Group photo. It’s that simple!

The other approach of course is to photograph the individuals in front of the green screen on the regular photo day in August.  To assist football teams and maximize time, I like to setup the green screens in the locker room or training facility on photo day.  As players get dressed and come out of the locker room they immediately walk to the green screen, get photographed and then head out to the field for their regular posed individual and special group photos.

Below is a diagram of this particular scenario:

For both approaches it is imperative you get the player and parent contact information before the photo shoot. This can be given to you by the coach or the booster club. Take this information and make your photo day sequence cards with the information already printed on them.  This will save a lot of time; plus, you won’t have to try and read a high school kid’s hand writing! You can verify the information quickly with the athlete then simply sequence and shoot.

While I have referenced football, this can be utilized in any sport. Faux Groups work well with basketball and soccer as well.  Even though the groups are not as large, it still makes for a great looking group shot.

Quantity, Quality, Speed & Communication

With the variety of photography opportunities in the special events market, there are a few factors that should be considered to achieve successful sales.  These factors are quantity of images, quality and uniqueness of images taken, the speed of posting and the communication to your customers about how they should find their images online.

No one will get very excited to go online and look at images (or purchase them) if there are too few taken at an event.  Photographers should never be spectators at events.  With proper training of people with outgoing personalities, photographers CAN become the life of the party!  There is a critical mass of images that must be achieved to generate excitement at an event.  This increased excitement will make guests more willing to participate in the picture taking process.  Anticipation to see the images online will increase too.  (Especially if you are projecting your images on a large screen at the event)

Photographers should be averaging one image every 30-60 seconds at a minimum.  At many events, a shooting rate of four images a minute is not uncommon.  If you think one image per minute is a fast pace, stand in front of a clock and watch it for a minute while doing nothing.  It feels like an eternity.  Now think of how many images you could take just by casually approaching people at an event and taking their picture in one minute.

Additional images can easily be taken by breaking down larger groups into sub-groups.  An example is a group of 3 couples.  Photograph the three couples together, then each separate couple, then all of the girls, then all of the guys.  Sales of these additional shots will vary from event to event.

Track your sales per image rather than just total sales to determine which photographers are giving you the type of images that your customers are purchasing.  You can view sales by photographer or image folder using the photographer productivity report at  You may find that some photographers are giving you a high number of images, but because these image lack uniqueness or desirable content, they are not selling.  This report also gives you the option to view images that are selling and those images that are not selling.  This is a great way to review past events with your photographers.

A large quantity of images alone will not guarantee successful sales.  The quality of the content is just as critical. Images should first be properly cropped, focused, be exposed properly, include creative posing and iconic backgrounds. These steps are very important for yielding better sales rather than just putting more money in the photographer’s pockets. Take for example a football tailgating event. An image taken of a tailgating group with a stadium in the background is more likely to sell than an image of the same group with just a wall or crowd in the background. 

In addition, photographers should be targeting subjects who will make a purchase.  These are typically groups of people containing women, whether they are with males or families.  Compensate your photographers for the images that meet the above criteria.

The sooner you post your images, the sooner your customers can view and purchase them.  Most purchases are made within the first few weeks of the event, provided that the images are there for your customers to view when they go to the website.  Customers who were given a website card, did not lose the card, and then took the time to visit your website only to find that there are no images posted may never come back to your site.  Post events while your customers are still excited about the event and before something else in their lives makes the event a distant memory.

Website cards should be given out to guests with a verbal explanation of where images will be posted and how to access them.  Though website cards should be used, this is not as effective compared to proactively collecting email addresses and sending them a link to the online event.  Each email should contain a link that takes customers directly to the event’s images.  This is 5-10 times more effective than just passing out web cards, especially if you utilize an email campaign.

Follow the above tips and you will hopefully see positive results with your sales. If you have any questions concerning photography at your events, posting images or setting up email campaigns, please contact Customer Development or Customer Support at 800-336-4550.

7 Reasons To Shoot Multiple Poses for Youth Sports Photography

There are probably more than 7 reasons to take multiple shots when shooting youth sports, but here are a few that come to mind. Let’s dive in….

Reasons to shoot several poses:
1)    Offering more poses and choices may help you book more teams as parents want choices
2)    Parents may prefer one type of pose to another
3)    Parents can better find a shot with an expression that they really like
4)    More poses usually results in higher sales – We have done comparisons where we have traditionally taken 3 poses, then when we added a 4th pose our sales and profits increased.
5)    Some parents will buy all of the poses offered
6)    In a digital world there is little cost to taking more poses and showing the parents more images – it has a positive effect on profit.
7)    By taking several poses you can offer multiple image products (like collages) as another product option.

It is a very simple concept – If you take several shots of each player you are more apt to get one that the parents will want to buy.

Plus, taking more poses is good insurance. The parents can usually find at least one they like so you are going to make people happy by giving them choices, disappoint fewer people and minimize the number of retakes that might need to be taken.

Taking several poses lends itself to a marketing approach which allows the parents to order from proofs – either paper proofs, email proofs or proofs online.

When you go from a “pre-order marketing method” to one where parents can “view first” and select from proofs (which is a strong booking advantage) – it is very important to your sales that the parents be able to find several images they like of their athlete.

Each sport calls for different kinds of poses, but they will all generally fall into one of these categories:

1)    Standing
2)    Kneeling / sitting
3)    Close-up portrait
4)    Action shot (or simulated action)
5)    Buddy shots with friend or coach

6)    Team –  a traditional shot & then a “crazy” or informal shot

Consider shooting more poses and see how it positively impacts your sales.

Preparation for Summer Reunions

Why Shoot Reunions?

A carefully selected 25th Reunion can easily yield a profit of $800 to $2,500 for one or two days of photography. That makes them well worth doing at a time when other business is slack.

Reunions typically occur in middle to late summer, a time when most photographers could use some additional income because there are not very many school based events or sports to photograph. Reunions can usually be photographed with one or two photographers, so they do not require hiring a large staff of photographers or production personnel.

How To Select The Ones To Photograph:

Pick out the 15, 20, 25 and 30 Year Reunions at schools that were good at the time the participants were in High School. These particular reunions have the best combination of nostalgia and high percent of attendance. Also, pick reunions that seem to be well advertised and well organized. These will most likely have the highest attendance. High attendance means that you will have an opportunity to make more money.

Conditions That The Reunion Committee Needs to Meet For The Reunion To Be Profitable For You:

The ability for you to market pictures via e-mail is imperative for you to make a profit. Most Reunion Committees have e-mail addresses for most alumni and can, if they choose, provide those addresses to you before or immediately after the reunion. They have to have those addresses in order to market the Reunion effectively. Contact the Committee Chairman and make a presentation to them about what you can offer them in terms of coverage, products and prices. Explain to the Chairman that you are willing to do all this work because you are confident participants will buy if they can see the pictures.

Obtain from the Chairman an agreement to provide to you all of the email addresses as a condition for you shooting the reunion. Without these, your sales will be 25% of what they would have been utilizing email marketing. Premarket to explain to the classmates who you are and what they can expect, what events you will be photographing and what products and prices will be available.

If the committee does not have the emails, obtain permission to collect them at the event when the classmates enter the venue.

Do not bother to photograph any reunion with out assurance that you can collect the email addresses of the vast majority of the attendees.

Contact the Reunion Chairman or a Memeber of the Committee and offer to email them sample products and prices or to make an in person presentation.

Where to find them:

 1) School’s web site/Reunion sites
 2) Call the office of the school
 3) Facebook
 4) Radio
 5) Newspaper
The best would be, have the committee buy a picture & download for each registered.  You would create a gift certificate in the dollar amount you sold the committee, plus the cost of postage and handling. Hand out the printed code on a business card as the people come in, or email the committee the codes for each person.
I’ve seen prices vary from: $1.95 to $6.95 for 4×6 standard finish.
                                                       $3.95 to $8.95 for 5×7 standard finish.
Group pictures $10.00 to $20.00 for a titled 8×10 or $15.00 to $25.00 for a 10×18  larger print sizes are available to accommodate larger groups.
Equipment needed:

Digital SLR 3 meg or larger with a direct flash for the party pics.
Digital SLR10 meg or higher for the group picture.
Shooting Opportunities At The Reunion:

  • Posed Pictures of Couples
  • Candid Pictures of Couples and Groups of Friends
  • Group Picture of Entire Group
  • Jump Studio (optional)

Events To Shoot (See examples below):

  • Picnic
  • Dinner
  • Dance
  • Other events if planned and well attended

Friday night party: Show up and shoot posed candid’s as many as you can, circulating around the room. Shooting buddy shots, all the cheerleaders, football players, any group you can get together.

                                                                                                                                                       Saturday: Possibility a noon family function: Shoot posed candids & Groups


•  Saturday night: Semi formals to casual. Shoot posed candids and Formal Couples, possibly on a backdrop with studio lights. Full Length & Cropped Shots of each individual and  couple, or group.
   (Here’s a possible green screen application)


•  Traditional groups vs. faux groups
If there is no way to shoot a group due to location’s size or time constraints consider a faux group.  Take each person’s individual photograph on a chroma-key backdrop. You may have CCS assemble all the class mates into a group photograph. Each individual will be sharp and well lit, unlike the individuals in a traditional group picture. 

                                                                                                                                                            Lab Cost is 10 cents per person with a $40.00 minimum.   Can consist up to 300 individuals. 
Photographs have to have been shot on Green Screen and loaded through CCS software
Faux Groups are set up for a 10×24 print at ea luster ($3.83) or metallic ( $5.75)
Equipment needed:

       Digital SLR 3 meg or larger with a direct flash for the party pics.
 •      Digital SLR10 meg or higher for the group picture.
Start today by making that first phone call.
If you have any questions on booking or photographing reunions please call Darwin Drake customer development 800-336-4550 ext 306

Making the Most of Prom Candids

With Easter less than a month away it’s safe to say that Proms are just around that next bend in the calendar.  Though not the “cash cow” that they once were—especially from posed couple portraits—proms can still deliver decent revenue returns when you attack it from all fronts.

Though the explosion of digital cameras and camera phones has influenced our industry significantly, there are still some strategies that you can employ to maximize your income at proms, namely, get the most out of your candid photographers and the number of images taken at prom events.

It’s a proven fact that the more images taken at an event, the better your sales will be.  By just relying on the posed couple packages you may be leaving extra money on the table. Using the CCS PhotoMatch system for Party Pics® candids can influence the buying patterns of your school dances and proms.

PhotoMatch, a CCS software solution, can be used at Proms where hundreds of students are being photographed multiple times.  This combination software/hardware solution allows students (and their parents) the ability to easily find their images online. This system also gives photographers the option of sending home printed proofs of each student’s candid photos!  But, more about that later.

Here is how it works! The PhotoMatch system revolves around a wireless scanner, barcodes, email addresses, and the time clock present inside all digital cameras. By synchronizing a camera’s time clock with a barcode scanner, PhotoMatch is able to pinpoint the exact time customers are photographed, and then match their email address to the time they were photographed.
After taking a photo, the photographer simply scans a barcode which has been pre-printed on a perforated two-part form. A card is scanned for each person in the photo. The photographer can also take multiple photos of a couple or a group and then scan as many barcode cards as they would like.

Barcodes can be distributed in several ways. Each attendee could receive one half of the two-part card containing a barcode before entering the event. The photographer would keep the other half of the card that also contained the barcode and the attendee’s contact information such as email and mailing address. 

Alternatively, photographers can create wristbands for each student attending. The wristband would contain a barcode to be scanned and student contact information would be collected when wristbands are distributed.  This method was successfully pioneered by our current CCS Customer of the Year, Leslie Broadland of NorCal Candids.  Her fresh approach to maximizing results has given a big boost to the candid market at special events. 

The PhotoMatch system was created to make it easier for the end customer to find their images online, thereby creating a more timely purchasing opportunity by sending a link, via email, that will take them directly to their photographs. The ability to get images in the hands of parents is also a way to boost sales! The scanning and “competition” to participate in more photos also creates excitement at school events like a Prom.  Additionally, Leslie figured out that she could mail out printed proof sheets that would include all the images of one person!  This also contributed to better sales at events.
The PhotoMatch System provides an easy and reliable method for roving photographers to match customers to their photographs. PhotoMatch works with almost any digital camera by using a non-tethered bar code scanner to tag the images. It is a simple and easy process but does require some training.  If you are interested in discovering more information about this method contact Tech Support at 800-750-0494.

Necessary Equipment to Shoot a League: From Cameras to Soccer Balls

You’ve booked your first league, and now you’re starting to stress because you realize you’re going to need more equipment.  However, you aren’t sure what you need or how much to buy.  Worry no more!  Here is a list of equipment starting with the bare minimum of what you’ll need to make it through your shoot.

First, you’ll need cameras for all of your photographers.  At the minimum you can use a Nikon D60 ($400-600) or a Canon Rebel ($500-700).  Next, you are going to need a flash for each of your cameras.  Even when shooting outdoor sports it’s important to use a fill flash to balance the background with the subject and fill in any deep shadows in the eyes or under the chin.  For the Nikon, you can purchase either a Nikon SB800 Speedlight ($200-400) or the SB 900 ($450).  The SB 800 is no longer being produced, but you can easily pick one up on eBay or Amazon.  For the Canon shooter, you’ll use the 580 EX ($450).  Both flash “talk” to your camera, which means you can set your camera to Program (P) and your flash TTL, and the equipment will do all the work for you.  You will only need to adjust your ISO and white balance.  Don’t forget to provide a tripod and a bucket or stool for each photographer.  For all day shoots, keeping your photographers comfortable will ensure they make it through the day and keep a positive attitude.  Lastly, make sure you have backup cameras.  It’s best to have a backup flash and camera for each photographer.  If this isn’t an option for you, have at least a backup set for every two photographers.

Finishing up with the essential equipment you’ll need are samples.  If you want to sell your products you have to show samples!  It’s best to have samples of every product, but at the minimum make sure you bring samples of Level Two, Attitude Panos, and show the difference between lustre and metallic paper.



Once you’ve covered your essential equipment it’s time to move on to the sales table.  A sales table is extremely important when executing a league shoot.  It provides a barrier between the parents and where the photographers are.  You’re sales people can keep the parents at the sales table while the players are being photographed.  The sales table also helps draw attention to you.  First, you’ll need an EZ Up Canopy Tent ($100) and at least one folding table ($40-60).  Now that you have a tent you can create banners or posters featuring your products to hang in your tent.  Be sure to include the name of the product and the price.  To further create a barrier between the parents and photographers it’s a great idea to put up stakes with flags strung to each stake.  This again draws attention to you, but it also keeps the parents away from the photographers.

Once you’ve created your sales tent all you have left are miscellaneous supplies, including, extra equipment (balls, bats, etc.), pens to fill out order forms, extra order forms, money to make change and plenty of water for your photographers.

To learn more about how to execute and shoot a league you can join us on one of our webinars – Outdoors Sports or Indoor Sports.  Just go to to sign up.  You can also call Customer Development at 800-336-5-4550 with any of your league questions.

A Guide to Corporate Events and Parties

 How and where to book events
        o Personnel Directors
        o Managers
        o Owners
                  – Offer free photos for their publication needs
 Pricing of Events
         o Some companies pay for photographers to be at their functions  while others do not
                 – For those that pay fees:
                           • $60 – $100 per camera or $60 – $100 per hour per camera
                 – Some companies are willing to purchase vouchers as gifts for attending employees
                           • Vouchers could include free shipping, free 4×6, etc.
                 – For companies that do not pay:
                           • Increase package prices to offset cost
 Suggested number of photographers to photograph event
         o One photographer per every 250 attendees
 Photo pay for photographers
         o $15-$20 an hour based on a 20 cent to 25 cent per frame rate
 Photo Opportunities
         o Formal pictures on backdrops
              – Photograph the couples or individuals as they arrive (Great time for Green Screens!)














 o Party Pics
              – A vertical shot of two people, 4-5 feet away from subjects. vertical
















              – Horizontal shot of three or more, same distance as vertical shots.


              – Posed candid’s, not photographs of unaware subjects
              – Party pics of groups at tables are ideal when half of group is standing behind the other half sitting.












o Groups
      – Organize company/ department photo


o Awards

Benefit of Offering Multiple Poses

multiple pose










How many times have you heard a Mother say, “I really don’t like Johnny’s school pictures.”  Usually, this refers to a single pose of Johnny that has been made into several 5×7 or 8×10 units.  This statement contains the keys to why it is important to offer multiple poses in all markets where it is feasible.

The keys involve psychology and probability.

If only one pose is taken, there is no opportunity to pick the best picture from among several.  The viewer, often the Mom, may not like the picture but she has nothing to compare it against.  She innately resents that she is forced to pass up the “bad” picture or to purchase one with which she is less than thrilled.  Even if she does buy the picture, she may not be happy with it.

If you take two or three or more pictures, you have an opportunity to capture a more flattering facial expression and a more flattering pose.  Within reasonable time limitations, the more pictures you are able to take, the more opportunities you have to sell them.  Since there is a selection of pictures from which to choose, the buyer has the opportunity to choose the best ones and to pass over the least attractive ones.

There is very little extra cost in shooting additional pictures-the cost is primarily photographers time.  Each additional picture, after the first one, can be taken in as little as ten seconds.  You can change the zoom from waist up to head and shoulders in a few seconds.  This is the easiest way to provide an additional picture.  You can work with the subject to obtain a better expression which might take thirty seconds, but can result in a much more pleasing pose.   You can change the entire pose, which might take an extra minute.  Compared to the overall photography project, these times are minimal and but a small fraction of the time required to book, coordinate, gather the subjects, transmit the images, set up the offer, type in the email and mailing addresses, etc.  Yet, each picture taken may result in a substantial increase in sales.

Since you already have the subject in front of the camera, all of the work except posing or cropping is sunk into the photography project.  It is leaving money on the table to forego the opportunity to take additional poses and crops.

Green screen provides the opportunity to add another element and utilize a large number of additional backgrounds to the posing and cropping variations.  In the graduation market, the use of Green Screen with attractive and meaningful campus backgrounds have resulted in up to a 30% increase in sales.

Shooting multiple poses is best utilized with speculation marketing because you provide the customer with online and/or paper proofs from which to choose.  However, it can also be utilized with Prepay marketing to provide later opportunities to order online after the Prepay event.  If only one picture has been taken, then the marketing opportunities online after the event are quite limited.   But if three poses have been taken, you have a reason to go back to the consumer with e-mails offering additional products and poses.

Don’t limit yourself by rushing through a photography shoot and taking only one picture.

You may have left a lot of money on the table or worse, alienated a potential customer because the one picture you took didn’t meet the customer’s expectation.

CCS software has several tools that allow you to accomplish the suggestions above. We have tools to allow photographers to have their images automatically cropped to create additional images. Our software also allows consumers to go online and drag and drop images into different collage templates in order to make use of the several different poses the photographer has taken. Our green screen software allows consumers to select backgrounds and our email marketing tools create automatic campaigns to alert consumers of more opportunities to purchase. For questions about these or any other software features, call our Customer Development department at 1-800-336-4550.

multiple pose-sports

Maximize Sales at Each of Your Events for the Best Possible Net profit

It is critically important to your profit picture to maximize sales at each event you shoot.
The reason for this is that once all of the fixed costs like sales expense, office expense, photography expense and salaries are covered, then you are making a very high percentage of the additional sales.
An example will make this much clearer:
Let’s use a 300 student graduation for our study.
Let’s assume a selling price of $7.95 per 5×7 and $14.00 per 8×10.
Let’s assume a participation rate of 42 % .  This means 42% of the people photographed buy something.
Let’s assume an order average of $35.71.    That works out to $14.87 per graduate photographed.
So, gross sales for this graduation would be .42 X 300=126 orders
126 Orders X $35.71=$4499.
Let’s look at the costs involved in achieving these sales.
Variable Costs
Now, let’s examine our costs for this graduation:
We will assume that a handshake and a green screen shot were taken at this graduation.
We will assume this is a single line graduation shoot.
So, we will require two photographers and two assistants.
We will pay the photographers $100 each and the assistants $40 each.
So, Photography will cost $280.
We will assume 100 miles of driving at $.30/mile or a total of $30.00
Id’ing or spotting will cost $12 per hour and will take 3 hours.  That equals $36.
Entering e-mail addresses and mailing addresses will cost $12/hour and will take about 6 hours.  That equals $72.
It will cost about $.80/proof for printing and mailing paper proofs.  So, $ .80 X 300=$ 240.
We will assume that 2/3rd of the sales derive from 5×7’s and 1/3rd of the sales derive from 8×10’s.
So, $1472 derives from 8×10’s which means we sold 105 8×10’s at $2.26=$237.30 lab costs.
2/3rds of the sales derive from 5×7’s. So, $2,945 derives from 5×7’s.
That means 370 5×7’s were sold at $1.13=$418.10 lab costs.
We will assume that the e-commerce hosting and payment processing fee cost is 10% if orders are placed online and that 75 % of orders will be placed online.  So our cost for that portion of orders placed online will be $335.  We will assume a 5% cost for entering manual orders into CORE on that portion which came in by mail and were entered manually.  That amounts to $55.78.
All of the above costs represent variable costs that are directly related to the cost of shooting and marketing that particular event.
Fixed Costs
We will also put in an allowance for fixed costs to cover management costs such as a manager, photography manager, etc.  We will use 15% for this cost, but it should be lower.( i.e. you should sell and photograph enough business and generate enough revenue that the fixed cost is lower than 15%)  This equals a cost of $ 670.00.

Adding all these costs together:  
Photography                          $280
Driving                        $30
Id’ing                           $36
Enter Addresses      $72
Paper Proofs              $240
8×10’s                         $237.30
5×7’s                            $418.10
E commerce               $335
Order entry                 $56
Fixed costs                 $670


This comes to a grand total of $2374.40.  Sales were $4499.  Net Profit is $4499-$2374.40=$2124.60
Or 47.2% of Gross is net profit.  Not bad!!!
Now, let’s assume that we are able to increase sales 20%.  What could we do to accomplish that?  You may have an improved email or address collection rate by attending the rehearsal and collecting e-mails at that event.  Shoot better pictures.  Pre-publicize the graduation photography.  Collect e-mails from spectators in the audience.  Produce and mail proofs faster.  Conduct an e-mail campaign starting the day after the graduation.  Confirm that the website is working properly and all sample images are appropriate.  Blind carbon-copy yourself on emails and paper proofs to make sure they are done correctly and on-time.  Offer greenscreen, although that will increase costs $135, while probably improving sales by as much as 35%.  At any rate, do everything you can think of to increase sales and then let’s see what happens to the profit.
We are going to now calculate the cost of the additional sales.  Remember all of our photography, marketing and production costs have already been amortized against the sales of $4499 that we have already considered.
Sales increase
1.20% of $4499=$5398 or an increase of $899
Again we will assume 1/3 rd of the sales to derive from 8×10’s
So, $295 will come from 8×10’s.
We will assume 2/3rds of the sales to come from 5×7’s.
So, $589 will come from 5×7’s
The print cost for the 8×10’s will be $47.62.
The print cost for the 5×7’s will be $83.71.
The ecommerce cost will be $67.00
The manual order entry cost will be $11.17.
We will add $10 for keying additional email addresses.

The 20% of business we added by our effort and expertise will cost us:
8×10 Print Cost            $48
5×7 Print Cost              $84
E commerce                 $67
Man Ord Entry            $11
Email Keying              $10
Green Screen               $135 for 6 backgrounds
Total Costs on this additional  20% of sales is $354.50.

$899-$354.50=$544.50 net profit on the additional sales of $899 versus 47.2% on the initial sales of $4499.
This increases our overall net profit from $2124.60 to $2669.10.  This is a 26% increase in profit.
The important point to note is that it required little more work and an extremely low cost to improve sales 20%.
This points out the importance of doing everything possible to wring every dollar out of existing events.  It is usually more important to accomplish this than it is to simply book more events. Your first goal should be to maximize the sales on existing jobs.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 142 other followers