Making Money: Dance Competition CD's, Changing Prices

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by iflynething, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    For the past two years, I have been selling CD's of images taken at a dance studio when they go to competitions. My sister goes there so I am going to the venues anyways with her and my mom, so there is no expense with getting there.

    I have in the past been charging $5/image and put them directly to CD with a copyright release on the CD. I found that very profitable other than the fact it was hard to get the parents and my schedule to match up to where they could view pictures taken from any one competition. I was averaging about $100-130 every time I sold a CD, except it was not consistent. The schedules never matched up and it's very hard to get them to look at some images while we have down time at the competitions.

    This year I would like to change it to make it much easier for the parents and myself. I am thinking of doing $5/dance or $25 for all dances per competition. My girlfriend dances there too and she is pretty good at coming up with these set prices. This is currently what she was thinking. I'm on a double sided sword because it's hard to get parents to pay more than $30 or so for a dance. They spend a fortune on costumes and traveling and don't, or can't spend it on prints and I"m taking thousands of pictures they are not buying. I need a change of plans to make it better this competition season.

    Looking at the big picture, I think it would work out better if they were to just do all of the dances, this would entice them just to do the $25 deal for all of the dances. While that is extremely cheap, it's good for me, right now. We have a production dance also, which I will be in. My mom will be taking those pictures and I'm going to teach her more of how to take a decent shot - more so than just pointing and holding down the shutter. This way, there are shots of the production. I would tell the parents I will go through these images and find pictures of their child and just include it on the CD, but ONLY if they buy a CD of at least all dances from that competition.

    The hardest time with the pricing I have now is they are getting images on a CD (the most simple way I know how to distribute them to the parents, and the most cheapest) and have unlimited printing on them. $25 for possibly 200 pictures is something I just will have to get over.

    As I said, it's a double sided sword, I can either do alot and charge per image or more just for the entire CD and have less parents buy but make the same or charge less and sell more. I do not know if it would equal out in the end. It's not that hard to burn a CD, though.

    In the end, I counted 7 girls who are the senior (15-19) and I am 90% sure would get a CD. I came up with $875 if they got a CD of all the dances from the 5 (possibly less) competitions we will have this season. This would not be counting all of the smaller dancers who are in smaller dances, the $875 is only for about 30 dances at each competition with those 7 girls.

    What are your thoughts on this price, would I do anything different, offer wise? It's not really that much about profit, as I said, it's not expensive to burn a CD and wouldn't be hard. I have a system down now to get the images on my laptop, go through them each night of dances that day and delete bad (mis-focused, blurred) pictures - if the competition is multiple days.

    ~Michael~
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  2. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What about buying a dye sub printer and printing on site, thats what we do when shooting events as soon as they see the print it's sold and £10 (8"x6") in the till
     
  3. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    That would be nice, but still it's the issue of them seeing the prints. I don't have a high set-up for my photography, just one laptop so I wouldn't be able to get the majority of the parents around my computer to see what I have shot

    ~Michael~
     
  4. C.Lloyd

    C.Lloyd TPF Noob!

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    It sounds to me like you're selling yourself short...You aren't selling your ability to take the pictures from your camera and burn them to a CD ("it's not expensive to burn a CD"), you're selling your ability to creat a quality image in the first place that makes these dancers look fantastic, as opposed to a blurry snapshot that the parents may take with their point'n'shoot.

    I've shot dance recitals (competitions may be different) and the lighting is low and shooting is difficult due to the fact that dancers aren't standing still. You need a fast (read:expensive) lens in order to keep the motion blur to a level that looks intentional, and that's difficult to pull off (usually) with a point-n-shoot.

    I say get e-mail addresses from prospective buyers and send them digital proofs and let them pick which $25 print(s) they want you to ship to them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  5. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  6. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    Oh I know I"m selling myself short but it seems I have no other choice. I had so many parents last year buying prints from other photographers that were "hired" by the compeitions we go to but I am the photographer for the studio. They are cheaper because they have a larger spread. Their photos suck is the thing. I'm interested in making money but I can't think of another way to do it. I could go up on the prices but many of the parents do not want to pay a premium for my work. Take a look at my site to see what you think of my work. I have had most of them taken off because the current dance season is about to start.

    I have no problem with the lens. I shoot with a D300 and the 80-200 2.8 and will be upgrading to the D700 in the Spring, so there is no problem there. People just don't realize what we all have invested in equipment.

    The way I like to show people why they pay ME is to give them my camera and change the setting and then say "YOU take the picture." 100% of the time, they can't and I explain that's why they are paying me. It's a brutal way to show them, but it's the only thing I have found that works, kind of.

    I understand that they are paying for a piece of art that I have created. The knowledge of actually how to effectivly take the picture and get their dancer at their best, but it's the parents who don't realize that and don't want to pay for what they're getting.

    Thanks for the link. I'll be snooping around there. Even though its the UK, I can still see how things are priced.

    ~Michael~
     

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