As graduation season approaches, many photographers are thinking about breaking into the graduation and school markets or expanding upon the business that they currently have. Graduations and school portraits are two markets that can be very profitable and fun to photograph. You can book both at the same time in a face to face visit to a school. No appointment necessary!
The time frame to book school portraits and graduations is generally February through early May. Visits can be made to the school throughout the year and they can be very successful, but keep in mind that if your target school already has a photographer, you are more likely to get a contract signed during this time period. That is generally when the decision is made.
Start your meeting with the principal when doing sales for schools and graduations. If they are not the decision maker, they will know who to direct you to. It is best to do a little research to find out who the principal or yearbook advisor is prior to your visit. Having the name of the decision maker will help you get past the gatekeepers.
Once you are face to face with the decision maker, it is important to provide them with the information that they are looking for:
- High Quality Samples
- Bid/ Pricing sheets for end customer
- Rebates back to the school
- Administrative products that you offer
- Duration of shoot/ How many photographers will you bring
- Information on your photography company
- Recommendations from current schools
- Cost to the school (if any)
You can also discuss things that you are going to need from them such as:
- Names list of students (for marketing or sequencing)
- Hanging posters or pre-marketing materials that you provide
- Proofing of names on group images
It is best to discuss all of these details up front so that the administration is not surprised by your plan or needs later. When discussing the details of your shoot, be sure to only promise what you can deliver. This will help you keep the new business and keep your administration happy for the long term!