Student Photography - need help starting this gig

pRuben

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I have multiple schools around me that I hope to sign a contract with to provide yearly school student pictures. Since I have not done that, yet ( I specialize in weddings & engagements ), I am slightly puzzled on the whole process.

Does anyone have links, tips or suggestions on where to start ? Has anyone here, done ( is currently doing ) it ? I am particularly interested in your lighting equipment and the techniques on how to keep track of pictures vs names, so they won't get all mixed up. Also, are there any good school picture ordering forms available anywhere ? Who do you use for print company ? Online or local ?

Also, if you have any tips on how to approach the school board, what works, what doesn't. ANYTHING would be helpful.
Thank you in advance for your wise tips!

- Ruben
 

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Where's that "popcorn" icon?

I hope you realize that you will be competing with established studios that have been doing this for many years, and have the photographers, equipment, contacts, business model, and everything else that assures that they make some money.
 
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pRuben

pRuben

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Where's that "popcorn" icon?

I hope you realize that you will be competing with established studios that have been doing this for many years, and have the photographers, equipment, contacts, business model, and everything else that assures that they make some money.


Not sure what is popcorn icon, and how it is relevant to my question. Thanks for your concerns. Do you have anything constructive to say ? :)
 

Light Guru

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Not sure what is popcorn icon, and how it is relevant to my question. Thanks for your concerns. Do you have anything constructive to say ? :)

:popcorn: The popcorn thing is sometimes used when a person thinks that a thread is going to be entertaining to follow.

I think that the comments that you were given are constructive. Taking school photos is NOT a easy task. Its going to take you 3-5 people a full day or two to photograph all 400 or so kids at an elementary school. Its not something you can take on by yourself.

If you want to get into school photos, you have a much better chance at succeeding if you work for a company already doing them so that you have an complete understanding of what you are getting into and how an established company handles all the logistics.
 

Designer

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Where's that "popcorn" icon?

I hope you realize that you will be competing with established studios that have been doing this for many years, and have the photographers, equipment, contacts, business model, and everything else that assures that they make some money.


Not sure what is popcorn icon, and how it is relevant to my question. Thanks for your concerns. Do you have anything constructive to say ? :)

I thought that was constructive.

My point being that you're going to have quite a fight getting into schools, and when you do, you're going to have to produce on an "industrial" scale.

So get your portfolio ready, and give the schools a call.

Good luck.

BTW: the popcorn means that this discussion may go on for several pages, so I want to be ready with the snacks.

RonLane; I've got most of a 12-pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in the fridge.
 
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pRuben

pRuben

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The school I want to start with is relatively small ( talking about 250-300 students ). I do have 2 people working with me, multiple cameras and light sets with backgrounds. My questions were pretty specific, and none of them related to your concerns about me not knowing what I am getting myself into. I understand how big of a task it is; I am not a 20 year old with a rebel camera. So unless someone has something interesting to say, please do not waste pixels, looking for specific answer folks! Lighting equipment and ideas how to organize pictures and names into some cohesive structure. Thanks!
 

ronlane

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Easy there pRuben. You come in guns blazing with a question about set up and business stuff without introducing yourself or giving background. Then you start demanding things, come on man. We see people on here every day that ask questions that are brand new and want to start their business and need a set up for lighting or pricing or something.

But I'll stay out of it now, good luck with your question(s).
 

The_Traveler

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I have a good friend who does exactly that.
The company is highly automated, the setups are very standard with backups for every piece of equipment, the throughput is huge and she is merely the button presser.
It is clearly a high volume, low margin business dealing with children and requiring a high degree of cooperation from the school and parents.
And all the printing is done in house.

It's hard to understand what a small start-up could offer that would beat out an existing company with a contract.
 

runnah

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Better off trying to do senior photos. More money, more creativity more control
 

cgipson1

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The school I want to start with is relatively small ( talking about 250-300 students ). I do have 2 people working with me, multiple cameras and light sets with backgrounds. My questions were pretty specific, and none of them related to your concerns about me not knowing what I am getting myself into. I understand how big of a task it is; I am not a 20 year old with a rebel camera. So unless someone has something interesting to say, please do not waste pixels, looking for specific answer folks! Lighting equipment and ideas how to organize pictures and names into some cohesive structure. Thanks!

You state you are not a twenty year old with a Rebel, and yet you ask how what lighting equipment to use? Do you also need advice on how to set the lighting equipment up, and what settings to use?

A professional would not have to ask about lighting equipment, and would also know how to present themselves to a potential client.

I would learn how to do the shots you need and then worry about how to go about getting clients later. Good luck!
 
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pRuben

pRuben

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Tirediron, thats exactly what I am looking for. Thank you so much for your time to write this response. The_Traveler: I guess without trying, we won't ever know right ? I see a potential in that venue, and would like to give it a try. I have few ideas how to make it more exciting, than just the old-style boring stuff. If this fails after a few tries, no big deal, but at least I tried and learnt something new.

ronlane, sorry if I came out too blunt - I didn't know I had to give my bio prior to posting a question. I kindly asked for help with logistics strategy and/or links to some well-known resources, thats all. Any comments that were trying to enlighten me about the size of this task, are simply unnecessary ( I am not asking for a moral support; I would put that in a trolling category : )
 

tirediron

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Okay folks, let's keep the vitriol to a minimum please. Perhaps we can assume that the OP was simply asking what sort of lights anyone here who might work in the volume business uses, not what sort of lights he needed to take the pictures.
 

runnah

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Any comments that were trying to enlighten me about the size of this task, are simply unnecessary ( I am not asking for a moral support; I would put that in a trolling category : )

I disagree. It's as if you said you wanted to open a hamburger joint to take on McDonalds. It's no easy task and going up against such a giant is going to end in defeat.

I think my suggestion about doing senior and family photos is much more reasonable. Think of it as a gourmet burger place, slower but better quality.
 

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