Does anyone photograph portraits at schools?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by TrueColors, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. TrueColors

    TrueColors TPF Noob!

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    I am curious about how photographers conduct business with schools doing portraits for yearbooks, senior portraits, etc.

    Is there a contract involved?

    Are the student charged a sitting fee? Or is all the money made on just portraits?

    Does the school get a bill?


    Thanks!
     
  2. Judd

    Judd TPF Noob!

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    From when I was in school, and I have 2 kids in school now, there is no sitting fee. Usually they take pictures, and we receive a proof, and if we want to buy, we can order from a package.

    I think everyone gets photographed whether they plan on buying or not. So they make it in the yearbook.

    This did not include senior portraits. I decided to go the GED route, and I don't have a senior yet.....
     
  3. Browncoat

    Browncoat No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When I was in school (and this has been many moons ago) we received a notice of the date when picture day was, usually a month in advance, and were sent home with an information packet.

    This packet (along with a consent form to take photos) contained different print packages the parents could purchase. There were several options of 8x10s, 5x7s, wallet sizes, etc. And in my later years, options for background colors, retouching, or other effects.

    The package was selected, if any, the payment was enclosed, and returned to school on picture day. All students present at school that day were photographed for the yearbook regardless, unless for some reason the parents did not want their child photographed. About a month later, we received our completed portrait packets at school to take home.

    If I remember right, retakes were also scheduled about a week after the packets were received. I think there was a small nominal fee for a retake, but I can't be certain. Over the years, I seem to remember that there were several different local photographers taking the pictures. I'm not sure how that process worked, if there was some kind of bidding for a contract involved or what.

    As a parent myself now, it's pretty much the same for my kids.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Yes, contracts are involved, and in the case of a school that is publicly funded the contract(s) are usually part of the public record too.

    Photographers that shoot school photos shoot on speculation, and frequently kick back a % of their sales to the schools, an unethical business practice in most of the rest of the business world.

    Senior portrait sessions beyond the yearbook are usually booked by the senior or their parents on an individual basis and with the photographer of their choice.

    http://www.lifetouch.com/companies does photography for a lot of schools.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's been some time since I did this sort of work. In fact, I was still shooting film when I shot the last one.

    Yes... there's always a contract. And yes... the photographer does give a LOT of incentives to the school, especially if there's a high school involved. The kind of things you'd be expected to provide free of charge include:

    –Photo ID cards
    –A couple of days of team/group photography for the yearbook, usally one in the fall and one in the spring
    –Candid coverage of one game each: football, basketball, etc.
    –Photo packages for staff and faculty
    –A camera for use by the student yearbook staff, with instruction

    The list goes on. I had one request from a grade school district that wanted desk-top calendars for each classroom. Yeah... office supplies.

    And, as Keith mentioned, kick-backs are frowned upon. So instead of kick-backs, you'll be expected to deliver a "commision" to the school for each package sold. I was told it was no different than any other fund raiser they conducted.

    In the old days, it wan't unheard of to give merchandise directly to the principal... something nice.... like a television.

    And, since you cannot dictate where students and parents spend their own money, you cannot charge for a senior session if they are requied to use you in order to be included in the yearbook.

    You have to shoot the entire student body for the yearbook and IDs, but nobody has to buy a single thing. Depending on the school district, you can expect 60–80% of the kids will buy something.

    You can still make good money doing these.

    Good luck.

    -Pete
     
  6. Browncoat

    Browncoat No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This sounds like something out of a mobster movie. I figured there was some kind of contract bidding involved, considering this is the government we're talking about. I suppose I was a bit naive in thinking that even something as simple as school pictures wouldn't be subject to corruption and simple bribery in order to get the deal.

    Ned, I wouldn't worry too much over this contract. Seems to me I've already got my boys committed elsewhere. You be sure and thank Maisie for this fine pie. - Warden Norton (The Shawshank Redemption)
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The same thing happens with youth sports too, as far as kickbacks to the league.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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