by Chris Wunder, Cr.Photog.
Prom books are becoming more popular every year and in many parts of the country, they are a required part of dance photography programs. If prom books are not traditionally offered in your area, they can help set you apart from the competition and get you more business.
Prom & dance books are short-run “memory books” produced from images taken at school dance events: proms, homecoming dances, cotillions, Sadie-Hawkins Dances, etc. Typically, a prom book consists of posed couple photos, group photos and candids taken of the event. Dance books are easy to create and the layout is simple since the photos are not usually identified with names or captions.
You can find specialized software to help automate the layout process. This software can electronically flow the couple photos into a layout in minutes from your digital camera files. Candids and group photos can also be easily placed using pre-templated page layouts. You can also use InDesign, QuarkXpress, Microsoft Publisher or even Photoshop to layout your pages
Dance book marketing ideas:
- Include prom books in larger, selected packages to help drive sales to higher levels.
- Dance photography is very profitable, but you have to get the business first. To book new business, offer one book complimentary to each couple attending the prom. Since both the girl and guy will want a book to remember the dance, you’ll end up selling an extra book. Price the extra books high enough to cover the cost of printing all of your books plus make a little profit.
- Offer dance books as an add-on sale after closing on the prom portrait package. Many photographers price them at $10-$12 for one book, $18-$20 for two books.
I guess I don’t understand where you are getting these books printed where you can charge so little. Are you creating one book for the whole event and selling copies (similar to the yearbook)?
As Julia mentioned, I am wondering that also. are they hard cover, how many pages etc and vendor?
We use Marathon’s automated BOOKS program to do the layout, and utilize the template for 16 Couple’s portraits per page. The number of couples then determines the minimum number of pages required. We usually add 3-4 additional pages of candids we’ve taken of the event. Most books are 12-16 pages and they are always SOFT cover.
These are NOT one-off books. They are typically called “Event Books” and are printed at Marathon using their software.
At their current prices, you can produce 200 copies of a 12 page Dance book for less than $5.25 each.
Their minimum order is 50 books and I’ve found that I easily satisfy that minimum as long as I have at least 75-100 couples at the Event.
Here is a link to request a book kit which includes the software and some samples.
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