First Daycare/ School Inquiry ... Advice???

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by ACrossley, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. ACrossley

    ACrossley TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hi friends -
    It has been a busy season ... good thing, but bad that I have not kept up in our forum! I have returned for your much appreciated advice and wisdom.

    I had an inquiry from a client who owns a daycare center today. They want me to handle their biannual portraits. Let me give you my background - I shoot on location (families, seniors, children and the like) and weddings. I do not own a studio ... I would like to have a consultation space one day. I worked for a company in college which handled 28 local school accounts - I know it's work!

    What specific advice can you offer? The daycare is smaller in size servicing 120 children on average. I need contract, package, set up, and any other details. Do you ask for package payment prior to photographing children or send home watermarked proofs? OR do you handle it all on an online proofing system? They would like me to do the first round of pics in November, so I have time to research.

    Please let me know if I need to provide more info :)

    THANKS A TON!
    Alishs
     
  2. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    7,006
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Kankakee, IL
    I'm not sure I would do proofing for a preschool, BUT... people can't want what the don't see.

    Definitely prepay. Send payment/order envelopes home a day or two before, and other advance materials going sooner.

    Disclaimer: I've been at this a long time... maybe too long. I suspect on-line ordering may result in larger orders, since parents see and want the photographs, and can use a credit card for payment.

    -Pete
     
  3. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    3
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    As the mom of multiple preschoolers I can tell you what we don't like in terms of service and product:

    I don't mind pre-pay - in fact, it's perfectly fine because I'm terrible forgetful (having small children eats brain cells) and you are much more likely to get paid on time this way. I do mind prepay when the photo turns out rotten and there's no re-takes. Offer a way to reorder if the parents love the shots, of course - preferably online so mom can order them at midnight while filling out her Xmas cards.

    Always have retakes for the kids who were out or whose shots came out mediocre. Schedule retakes far enough away to allow for kids who had the flu or chicken pox or a terrible rash on their face (this was my kid) the first time whatever to make it to the second one - 2-3 weeks apart minimally.

    Keep them reasonably priced - make a nice profit, but don't gouge. My kids went to both a fancyschmancy preschool and a moderately priced one. The prices at the fancy preschool were much higher and the quality lower. It's crappy to charge extra just because some of the cars in the parking lot are expensive, which is what I suspect happened at that school.

    Along the same vein, offer a reasonable variety of packages, including smaller ones. I don't have any relatives, so 400 2x3s are worthless to me. And offer the option to buy a package without the class photo - some parents who are on a budget can't afford the big packages and just want a few decent shots of their kid without unnecessary add-ons. They will be happy to pay for what they want but grumpy about paying for stuff they don't. I don't want to pay $15 for the 5x7 class photo with 6 out of 15 kids looking the wrong way!

    Nice neutral backgrounds are best - preschoolers, especially little girls, will be wearing all sorts of insanely bright colors and prints which will look horrible with a bright multicolored background. Parents are complete idiots when it comes to dressing their kid for photos and the more obnoxious the outfit, the better, they must figure. The best shots I've gotten from a preschool had a little white chair on an ecru background with a tan teddy bear and some other similar very neutral props.

    That may have been a bit of a rant...sorry about that. :lol:
     
  4. njw1224

    njw1224 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think you want to get into proofing for the initial order. That will slow your workflow waaaay down. Even though you may think it will garner larger sales, it won't. In fact, it will kill the immediacy of parents having to send that order envelope to the school on a certain day. Also, it could backfire. Rather than getting larger sales, you are giving parents an opportunity to nit-pick your work before they've sent you the money. If the smile isn't perfect, or one eye is a bit squinty, they may demand a reshoot before they give you any cash. But if they send their payment first, they are much more likely to accept what you give them.

    What I suggest is send order envelopes home about 1 week prior to shooting the photos. Be sure the photo date is shown prominently on the envelope. Inside the envelope can be a flyer that describes the packages, but the outside of the envelope only needs to have the package names, a space to add up the total, and space for kid's name, address, phone, etc.

    Then, when you deliver the finished orders, you can put a reorder form in with the photos. This will be your chance for parents to order more if they love them. Reorder prices can be substantially higher than the initial package prices. Good luck!
     
  5. njw1224

    njw1224 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    0
    Relating to retakes - you SHOULD develop a retake policy with the school so that you and the school administrators all agree on what constitutes a retake that you have to pay for. I do this for preschools I work with, and I've had some instances where parents demanded a retake at my expense just because the kid's smile "didn't look right". No blinks, no blur, and even a smile - but it wasn't the right smile. Since I had discussed with the school staff what would constitute a free retake, I was able to show them the child's photo and they sided with me that the photo was acceptable. If the parent wanted a retake, it would be at their expense, not mine.
     
  6. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    3
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I had one set where my kid came out looking all freaky. He was "smiling" technically, but it was all crooked and he looked slightly deranged.

    No one argued with the retake, though. :lol:
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    7,006
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Kankakee, IL
    Thanks for taking time to share this. Very good feedback.

    -Pete
     
  8. ACrossley

    ACrossley TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for all the great feedback, guys!

    I really appreciate the tips from the mommy with little ones .... it is great to consider what is is like from a client view.

    Most centers around me have photogs that provide paper proofing (must be returned within one week with order). I am considering this as the center is small and will require little investment. The watermarked proof will help those who cannot view online ... I also think parents may opt to purchase more SEEING the photo first.

    Any tips on "this type" of contract ... any samples? My wedding document is solid, but I am not sure what all to include here. Also, any tips on lighting setup - what would you suggest?
     
  9. photosbybritni

    photosbybritni TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Before going to college, I actually worked at a daycare and remember the photographers coming in and setting up a "boring" backdrop and one by one kids of all ages waiting their turn to be told to smile.

    I later took my three year old class outside and while they were playing, I took their pictures. They were more cooperative and most importantly their smiles were genuine. They were doing something that they loved and the setting was absolutely perfect for a child photograph. At that time I had no idea what I was doing, like I said this was before I started photography school, but I do remember after posting them on the classroom bulletin board, I got so many compliments from everyone including parents. So maybe that's something to take in consideration, it may take more time to do, but the results may be more rewarding. It's something different and definitely something I would do if I ever venture towards that market.
     
  10. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    7,006
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Kankakee, IL
    Yeah.... but....

    This is an entirely different kind of photography. Consistent lighting and framing is essential for this sort of work.

    And we're not talking about a little more time. Photographers who do this sort of work are likely to schedule four schools this size in a day (some twice that). When I think about tracking down kids on a playground, making certain nobody is missed, I imagine it could take at least a minute or two per kid... likely more, turning a one hour job into a six hour job.

    Then, there's the organization. Printing, packaging and labeling the correct order would be nightmarish if not impossible. Remember... an outside photographer won't know these kids by face.

    There's just no good way to treat a job like this as 120 different individual portrait sessions. NOBODY would be willing to pay for it either.

    Nice thought though.

    -Pete
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
best lighting to use in a day care
,
daycare photography
,
daycare photography backdrops
,

daycare photography contract

,
daycare photography contract sample
,
photographing daycares
,
preschool photo backdrops
,
preschool photography backdrops
,
preschool photography contract
,
tips for daycare photography