by Mary Fisk-Taylor, M. Photog., Cr., CPP, ABI, API
At our Real Life Studios location we tend to offer several fund-raising partnerships with small sports or teen organizations in our area. These are great partnerships. They not only allow us to raise money for non-profit children-based groups, but they also allow us to bring new clients in the door. Especially clients that will one day be a high school senior and will feed our senior business. So this is win-win situation all the way around.
This normally works by offering a cheaper or reduced creation fee. We will offer the creation fee to this group exclusively and quite often advertise or promote them as mini-sessions. This means they are about 30 minutes, one outfit, one background, etc. We are able to book many of these sessions during our slower time of year and day. I do not generally make the appointments for prime time evening or morning and they are never done on the weekends.
The reason that the associations are so quick to be involved is that they stand to benefit from a great fund-raising opportunity which essentially costs them nothing. I create, e-blasts, PDF’s for emailing, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds and fliers or posters for their gyms or rec buildings. The group or association just has to make sure they are advertising both by word of mouth and virally amongst their database, Facebook fans and Twitter followers.
This is a rather simple way to keep appointments on the calendar and hopefully feed future business and clients to your studio as well as being charitable and giving back to your community. We will also offer exclusive mini-session collections that are only available to these clients and ONLY available at the initial order/viewing appointment. The good news here is that 99% of the time we are confirming their order the first time they come in and not having to schedule second or even third ordering appointments. The collections are discounted about 25% to 30% so it’s a substantial savings.
Even though these are mini-sessions and even promotion driven we do try to take the time in the camera room to “Kick it Up a Notch!” We are only using one outfit and one background, but that doesn’t mean that I have to limit myself to one-pose sales.
By taking the time to create some images with a little more drama and spice, or using a shallower depth of field or selective focus you can produce images in minutes that create an entirely different mood and are hard for your clients to walk away from.
So be creative, have fun and enjoy being charitable.