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#38063 - 01/19/12 02:21 AM Should I have Done It For Free?
Nicole St-Onge Offline
Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Loc: Canada
Hey guys! I kind of need to vent a bit, hopefully you some input and advice for me. So as some of you might know from my previous thread(s), this past Christmas season I worked with several pet stores and did photos with Santa. Customers paid $5 to $10 and in return they received a 4x6 photo (one store even offered them for free by donation). The money made went to the local humane society (just for the record I don’t really work with my local humane society as a photographer). I set up from 9-5 and it was all walk-in traffic. Some days I had as little as 30 people other days it was over 150! I received a $75 store credit for my time but it was totally crazy and when it was over I swore that I would never do photo fundraising days again in this manner.

So a few of the stores asked if I would come back at Easter to do photos again. I told them that I wasn’t going to be running "free" photo days like that for this year. I made the offer to take appointments and charge a sitting fee, splitting the profits with a local recuse that I do work with rather than the humane society etc. . . . but I guess they didn’t like my idea because I see that the stores are still going ahead with the Easter photos and they must have booked with another “photographer.”

So be honest, did I completely blow it? Should I have just done the Easter photos for another $75 store credit? I really wanted to get away from that "free" stuff and wanted to present something more along the lines of what Jim Poor suggested to me a while back. And many of you even brought up the point that just because something's a charity event sponsored by a pet store doesn't mean I have to give my time away for free.

Not sure how to feel right now. Input?????



Edited by Nicole St-Onge (01/19/12 04:46 AM)

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#38064 - 01/19/12 01:03 PM Re: Should I have Done It For Free? [Re: Nicole St-Onge]
Jim Poor Offline
Addict

Registered: 05/07/08
Loc: Virginia, USA
I don't think you "blew it" by not doing things that way again. $75 is way too little for the effort you put into it. Have you booked any private sessions based on the in store work? If so, we're those sessions good sellers?

There will always be someone willing to do it for next to nothing, but of you want to do this as a business that someone can't be you.

Sounds like it is time for you to start marketing in other ways. 

BTW, nothing wrong with working with the local Humane Society, it the national HSUS that is an issue. 
_________________________
Best,
Jim

Visit my website




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#38065 - 01/19/12 03:02 PM Re: Should I have Done It For Free? [Re: Jim Poor]
Nicole St-Onge Offline
Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Loc: Canada
Hey Jim, I book one private session out of the 6 weekends that I did the Christmas photos. I would love to work with my local humane society but they already have a really great photographer who does all of their adoptable photos. And she is amazing!

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#38066 - 01/19/12 03:07 PM Re: Should I have Done It For Free? [Re: Nicole St-Onge]
Jim Poor Offline
Addict

Registered: 05/07/08
Loc: Virginia, USA
What about other rescue groups?
_________________________
Best,
Jim

Visit my website




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#38067 - 01/19/12 03:16 PM Re: Should I have Done It For Free? [Re: Jim Poor]
Nicole St-Onge Offline
Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Loc: Canada
I have two that I work with. I did present the idea of charging a sitting fee and selling print packages to one of them and they said we could give it a try.

It's not so much of a rescue's issue as I think it is the pet stores', who just wants "someone" there with a camera to take photos for free.


Edited by Nicole St-Onge (01/19/12 05:30 PM)

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#38076 - 01/20/12 03:51 PM Re: Should I have Done It For Free? [Re: Nicole St-Onge]
psmith Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/09/08
Loc: Kansas
Originally Posted By: Nicole St-Onge
It's not so much of a rescue's issue as I think it is the pet stores', who just wants "someone" there with a camera to take photos for free.


Is that really someone you want to work with? The clients and contacts that you make would tend to be the bargain hunters anyway.

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#38080 - 01/21/12 03:53 AM Re: Should I have Done It For Free? [Re: psmith]
Nicole St-Onge Offline
Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Loc: Canada
Diddo . . . thanks Preston and Jim! As always, you guys give a positive outlook and fresh perspective! Moving forward for me . . . I presented an idea, similar to what Jim had shared with us a while back, directly to a rescue and we are in the brain storming stages this weekend! (YAY)


Edited by Nicole St-Onge (01/21/12 03:53 AM)

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#38081 - 01/21/12 04:00 PM Re: Should I have Done It For Free? [Re: Nicole St-Onge]
FretlessD Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 06/26/11
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Nicole, I'm siding with Jim and Preston. There are other ways to market one's self. If you name is associated with $5 giveaways, then there is no way a client will be happy with a $200 sitting fee.

I have a very good relationship with my vet. I asked him if I could up some of my photos in his waiting area. He had nothing to do, we came in on a weekend while the staff was tending to the patients and the waiting room was empty. I originally asked if we would could leave the gallery up for 4 months. After about 6 weeks I changed a couple of the images. Now, he wants to keep it longer. The old pictures on his wall had been there for YEARS. This keeps it fresh and keeps my name in front of a pet loving clientele.

The clients love, the staff loves it and we have had several referrals. All it cost me was the image printing, several "cheap" (but classic) frames and a small business card holder mounted on the wall next to an image. (Taking up none of their limited counter space.) -- Doug
_________________________
FOR THE LOVE OF DOG!!!

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#38092 - 01/23/12 09:24 PM Re: Should I have Done It For Free? [Re: Nicole St-Onge]
spinround Offline
Wanderer

Registered: 02/22/08
Loc: CT
Nicole,

I feel your pain. I was 'recruited' by the local adoption group that I work with to do Santa photos this past season. I agreed to do it because I have not been as active in the group lately as I had been in the past. For me, it assuaged my guilt for not helping out more but I couldn't imagine working directly for the pet store and not getting paid a fair wage. $75 for 8 hours of shooting plus set up/take down time is barely minimum wage, never mind the mileage you are putting on your equipment taking all those shots. I think your response plan for Easter photos was more than fair and agree with the others that whatever publicity you may have gained was not worth the effort. Put it this way - if you add up your time, equipment costs, gas, etc. and used the money that you spent doing this fundraiser for actual advertising which do you think would be a better investment?
_________________________
www.elizanardonephotography.com

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#38111 - 01/25/12 05:26 AM Re: Should I have Done It For Free? [Re: spinround]
Nicole St-Onge Offline
Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: spinround
$75 for 8 hours of shooting plus set up/take down time is barely minimum wage, never mind the mileage you are putting on your equipment taking all those shots.


Actually, where I live, minimum wage is $10.25, so it was less then making minimum wage per hour. Here's the kicker, the Santa was usually a store employee who was being paid by the hour.

Originally Posted By: spinround
Put it this way - if you add up your time, equipment costs, gas, etc. and used the money that you spent doing this fundraiser for actual advertising which do you think would be a better investment?


. . . And don't forget the time spent editing. I see your point. Well noted.

The good news is that one rescue, for their Valentine Day Event, has invited me back, and has agreed to my go along with my new approach of taking a sitting fee and selling prints and packages to go along with it. Here's to hoping that it's a success!

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