So you have your kit ready for graduation photographs and you have decided what you want to do. When you run any kind of business there’s always a business element which demands your attention. Here are some key things to remember, and – as always, seek professional help from those who can advise you on legal and financial matters.
When doing graduation photography you need to be highly organized. When you take the photograph of a graduation you need a system in place so you know exactly who you photographed, what university, what faculty, what degree, and what their address is.
You then take the photos and send the contact sheets to your clients’ home addresses (remember they are no longer at the university!) and they will respond if they want your photographs. You can then sell them a small or large pack of images) this is a chance to upsell and add on other items like albums and nice frames!.
If you don’t have a good system you will get jumbled up. If you see 1,000 students in one day and you happen to miss out the name of just one, you may mess up the rest of the production workflow and everyone will get the wrong image!
Therefore use a number system that suits you and stick to it. Keep it clean by taking exactly a set number of images for each person – so it may be two – one of the graduate and one of the graduates with their family – this way you know that the names and addresses change every 2 photographs. Even if someone turns up without their family, take a blank image to substitute for the second image so you can keep track of what is happening.
Also consider using stamps or labels to indicate the day and time of when the image is taken.
You absolutely must get insurance for your equipment but also for yourself when dealing with the public. Unlike with wedding photography, where the pressure is on to get everything perfect on the day, with graduation photographs, you can usually recreate things a little better.
If someone went into your studio and tripped over a wire, if someone fell over a bag you left lying on the floor then you need to be covered for this. Same for loss of equipment – if you have a large team and it’s a busy environment, you never know when things may go missing.
Remember to give the insurance company details of everything that you have. Don’t just insure things that cost thousands; include the bits that cost $100 here and there.