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Thread: Need advise - School photography

  1. #1

    Default Need advise - School photography

    Someone approached me and invited me to submit a quote in bidding a school project for taking school photographs for the entire school.

    They require me to shoot class photo for every class, small group photos of each class, all CCA groups, staff group photos (groups including HOD, subject committes, etc), non-staff & maybe some building shots.

    Has anyone here did anything like this scale before? I did many wedding shoots but never at this scale. I am supposed to give them a formal quote. Apart from cost of the photos which is calculatable, I wonder how much I should charge them for my services. Definitely I believe its not a just 4-5 days job can settle kind of thing. As they need a formal and actual quote before the shoot commence, I am not able to quote them things such as $120/hr kind of thing.

    Already tried searching in CS forums but seems there are no such discussions. Would appreciate all friendly brothers and sisters here for their kind inputs, sharings and suggestions and no flames please.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    i used to do that but i stopped liao as the school are getting more and more cheapskate

    earn from school is difficult, they will surly squeeze until u will not earn much...and i know some sch that can squeeze until the photographer offer free shooting service and only charge from printing...

    but that's not all, the photographer still got to share the profit from the printing with the school , or the school will mark up the price to earn from the student.

    eg. photographer charge $3 for each print but the school charge the student $5 or more.
    Last edited by Wai; 18th December 2005 at 12:38 AM.
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  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    What you earn is from the sales of the prints which students ordered, like wai said, the rest of the things you shoot, is free for the school, if the sales is bad, good luck to you.

    Btw, you need studio lights, assistants, you need lab to give you cheap and good prints, you need supply folders for the prints, you need to type in and proof reading thousand over names, making mistakes there goes your profits.

    And also if your qoute is higher, is to help other photographer gets the assignment, if you qoute lower, you are in risk of not making any money.

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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights
    you need to type in and proof reading thousand over names, making mistakes there goes your profits.
    that one is the nightmare...esp those day when shooting with film, there is no computer for you to type

    taking order, printing the right photo at the right quantity is also another nightmare

    shooting is easy, it is the post processing...not worth the time and effort

  5. #5

    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    don't need to quote. now adys gebiz liao.

    also, i used to do that, now i give up, price too low nowadays, too much time involve, and best still can earn how much?

    effort x time may not equal to good $$$.

    how big your school? if more then 2000 students, think of typing the names of students for proof 2000 over times plus 100 teachers. also, may need to throw freebies like free 16 by 20 school staff group, school organixations chart and staff passport.

    schools now adays cheapskate, also kena jia lat jia lat by principal also, like school don't arrange time scedule cos they feel thats not their job.

    also, must see who incharge, if good staff, then ok, bad staff, they give you alot of sleepless night.

    students also hard to handle, primary school still ok, secondary students can really make you band head. some idiots will never corporate, point middle finger when shoot. best part, whole class buy one, then scan and email to the rest

    the rest is like what wai and catchlights say.

    beware, students not compulsary to buy.
    Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!

  6. #6
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Wai
    that one is the nightmare...esp those day when shooting with film, there is no computer for you to type

    taking order, printing the right photo at the right quantity is also another nightmare

    shooting is easy, it is the post processing...not worth the time and effort
    Yes, this is the worst part, shooting class group photos of a thousand students school may take you only 2~3 days, but the post production takes how long, it depand on you, if you are fast and good, maybe two months can close the case, anyway, people don't see how you do it and how much time spend on it, so not gonne pay you on this, many can even tell you this: wow! only come and shoot for 2 days, and then can earn $$$$$$$, very good money leh.

    Btw, heard some photographers shot the photos already, but in the end never shows the proof to school, and the school have to look for other photographers to shoot class group photos again.

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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by smurfman
    students also hard to handle, primary school still ok, secondary students can really make you band head. some idiots will never corporate, point middle finger when shoot. best part, whole class buy one, then scan and email to the rest
    kindergarden quite easy to handle, just make some funny face and make them smile can already
    primary school not so bad, as long as discipline master around they dun dare to be funny
    secondary school are the worse, luckily so far no one point middle finger at me
    poly is probably the best cos all grow up liao.

    usually the formal shot must buy, informal one optional

    look like few of us here give up school line liao, hopefully as supply go down, the school will wake up their idea

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Wai
    look like few of us here give up school line liao, hopefully as supply go down, the school will wake up their idea
    You wait long long hor.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Students these days care more about owning the latest and coolest mobile phones than to have a class photo for rememberance. Sell mobile phones instead, and that will bring you more $$$$. The key is to know where the demands are.

    Don't even think of starting. You will make peanuts! (not the NKF kind)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    wow! Thanks for the input. They actually required me to provide almost 3000 5R shots in prints and 8R shots for all classes in a folder.

    By the way, it's a friend whose working in a printing company who is quoting the school for a one stop solution including design, photography cum printing of their year book. I've spoken to my friend that the input of the names into the photograph and the design of the photo template shall be done by her design staff while I solely concentrate in shooting and developing the final print. As for the photo folder, I decided to let them (printing company) do the job as well. :P I wonder if I so call out-source these to them, will my job be easier?

    Judging from the response here, it seems this is a very tedious and complicated assignment. Maybe I should just quote reasonably for my photography services as the printing company will be giving the school a packaged price.

  11. #11
    Senior Member glennyong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by smurfman
    best part, whole class buy one, then scan and email to the rest

    the rest is like what wai and catchlights say.

    beware, students not compulsary to buy.
    wah! u make u super super super guilty........ but half my class paid for the photos lah.. while i er.. did the one i quoted... =p


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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Magix88
    wow! Thanks for the input. They actually required me to provide almost 3000 5R shots in prints and 8R shots for all classes in a folder..
    8R somemore....good luck to u

    folder not cheap too, and lots of labour work involved, best if just use plastic bag

  13. #13

    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Wai
    8R somemore....good luck to u

    folder not cheap too, and lots of labour work involved, best if just use plastic bag
    imagine paste the prints on folders 1 by 1.......................
    Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by glennyong
    wah! u make u super super super guilty........ but half my class paid for the photos lah.. while i er.. did the one i quoted... =p

    seriously, i don't understand wat talking you.
    Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Bro, I'm sure you can finish the whole shoot in a day.
    The school will inform all staff and students of the day and all will be ready.
    All you need to do is set up your lighting in the auditorium or anywhere they prefer as the background and the groups will come one at a time.
    Lights ready, people in position, compose, 1 2 3 smile, click, Done. One group at a time, you'd be done in no time. Then afterwards you go around the school documenting different parts of the building, but make sure you find out from the head if there are specific areas that must be covered. You may also wish to do some of classrooms with a class in session. This kinds of shots are best with a difused flash on one side, slightly over-exposed, to give the feeling of sunshine shining into the classroom. Shots like these give a warm and inviting feel, which is advantageous to the school. You may also wish to visit the canteen and shoot the aunty mopping the floor, the vendor selling drinks to students, etc, etc.
    Where the charge is concerned, what I do is charge what I feel I am comfortable with and also reasonable to the client. Never accept jobs that pay too little. There is no point in taking less than what you want and figting with low-charging photographers. You are killing yourself and others who are in a for a living.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Heartshape
    Bro, I'm sure you can finish the whole shoot in a day.
    The school will inform all staff and students of the day and all will be ready.
    All you need to do is set up your lighting in the auditorium or anywhere they prefer as the background and the groups will come one at a time.
    Lights ready, people in position, compose, 1 2 3 smile, click, Done. One group at a time, you'd be done in no time. Then afterwards you go around the school documenting different parts of the building, but make sure you find out from the head if there are specific areas that must be covered. You may also wish to do some of classrooms with a class in session. This kinds of shots are best with a difused flash on one side, slightly over-exposed, to give the feeling of sunshine shining into the classroom. Shots like these give a warm and inviting feel, which is advantageous to the school. You may also wish to visit the canteen and shoot the aunty mopping the floor, the vendor selling drinks to students, etc, etc.
    Where the charge is concerned, what I do is charge what I feel I am comfortable with and also reasonable to the client. Never accept jobs that pay too little. There is no point in taking less than what you want and figting with low-charging photographers. You are killing yourself and others who are in a for a living.
    Sure or not? You do b4? We are talking about school photography.

    When school helps to arrange the time table, they need fix the class that can shoot when form teacher is in. Cannot shoot without form teacher. Then the class will come down about time. then we arrange according to height. then we put them in place. then we take students index number for positions purposes. key name on photo. then we shoot.

    All in the space of 10 mins. You calculate. 3000 students, 35 to 40 per classes. 10 mins per class. the eca group need to arrange another time, cos they need to be in uniform. then staff group will be one find day, any day, when principal ask all staff to wear nice nice for shoot. most likely when school celebrates something.

    Also, need assistance. 1 ppl do very very siong. those who done it knows that, 1 ppl do can cry.

    If anyone can shoot in ONE DAY, I CALL HIM OR HER THE GREAT MASTER.
    Last edited by fotoudavid; 18th December 2005 at 06:43 PM.
    Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    don't forget recess and lunch plus pe lessons. students must wear uniform, not pe attire.
    Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!

  18. #18
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Heartshape
    Bro, I'm sure you can finish the whole shoot in a day.
    The school will inform all staff and students of the day and all will be ready.
    All you need to do is set up your lighting in the auditorium or anywhere they prefer as the background and the groups will come one at a time.
    Lights ready, people in position, compose, 1 2 3 smile, click, Done. ............................................
    Sounds like I'm reading fairy tale..

    If is it ture, all along we must be shooting schools from hell liao.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights
    Sounds like I'm reading fairy tale..

    If is it ture, all along we must be shooting schools from hell liao.
    hell in a cell.
    Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Need advise - School photography

    A very big thank you for all the input brothers.

    hmmm ... you guys are making me worried as there is no mention of taking class photos indoors. All I have is a SB-800 flash unit. Thoughts of setting up studio lighting is ideal but I had no prior experience doing it. Maybe its time for me to start paying to attend lessons. Having it done within a day or over a few days is ok.

    As far as my memory can recall, I do see alot of one man show taking class photos. But I agree it will be super taxing on the voice cord and endurance.

    Well, I supposed the school is either making it complusory for the students to buy all the 5R prints or they are giving it free to the students. I am supposed to quote inclusively the 3000 5R prints together with the 80+ 8R photos into one folder. I am thinking to outsource the input of names into the photographs to my friend's printing firm in concern (they got full time designers on mac machines) and for the pasting of 8R photos into the folder shall be outsourced to the printing company as well. I believe they can do a much better job than me.

    The fact that my friend has much faith in me to do a good job. I guess I should just go ahead and quote properly to preserve photographers' esteem + pocket.

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