It is the start of a new school year! So much excitement... back to school shopping, new clothes, new shoes, pens, pencils and trapper keepers, meet the teachers and registration, back to schedules and sports, busy mornings and packing lunches. ... so many things to think about and coordinate. We can't forget that as moms, we should also pat ourselves on the back for actually MAKING it through the SUMMER!!!
As we start off this time of year, we turn our minds towards my favorite season....school portraits!! Yes, it is busy in the fall and full of crazy but school photos mark the passage of time like nothing else. With each years' iconic school photo we buy, we laugh, we cry and we remember.... My mother STILL has our school photos up in the kitchen by the telephone (Yes, it is still a landline!). It is truly a rite of passage.
Before we dive into costs of school photos, we would like to crush two common misconceptions about school portraits:
1) We do not get paid by the schools. We only make money when photos are purchased by families.
2) At K. Boyer Photography, every school receives a portion of net sales as a fundraiser. So a portion of whatever you spend, actually goes BACK to your child's school.
As a school photographer, I am frequently asked "Why are school photos so expensive?"
First and foremost, try to make each individual child in a school of 800 + kids (ages 2's to 13) share a genuine SMILE that lights up their eyes... Yup. That is what we do every single day at every single school. It is hard, but worth every single image. I always say that if my team and I were on candid camera, we would go viral in our attempts to make children smile!!
Well, a simple answer is that the sheer amount of work and manpower involved to successfully shoot, cull, color correct, edit and upload the amazing volume of photos is extraordinary! Each school can involve anywhere from 250 - 1000 students and when you also throw in regular pesky business expenses like insurance, websites, camera and lighting gear, a $8 photo does not seem very expensive anymore!! Just in case you are interested and want to know a little bit more about the breakdown, keep reading!!
My typical fixed costs include big expenses such as
In addition, there are also variable expenses to include and consider depending upon the shoot. For example,
But WAIT... we still aren't done with COSTS!
And... we can't forget the Cost of Good Sold
These costs include the actual photographs, shipping, lab fees, printing fees and all the fundraising donations back to the school.
TOTAL EXPENSES - 92% of the cost of an image pays for all the various expenses listed above.
That is 92% TOTAL Expenses. The remaining 8% goes to my family as my salary and my retirement. So, if you purchase a $8 image, my net is .64 cents. Yup. That pays me for the endless hours of time, energy, travel, stress, worry and so much more to make sure I am capturing your loved ones in the here and now.
With all of that said, I am a HUGE believer in keeping my pricing very reasonable and affordable for EVERYONE and you can buy a la carte with free shipping* if you want! WHHHHAAAT?? A 4x6 is $8 so I make .64c on your order. YUP. No need to purchase a huge package if all you want is one print or one digital image. My pricing and my business model allows for that flexibility. I believe 100% that every single family should be able to purchase a photo of their child so I price my images that way. It is that simple.
*free shipping available within the first two weeks if set up with your school.
Interested in some behind the scenes during a typical school photo day? Check it out!
Yup... now you know. While to you it is just a snapshot, to us it is weeks and weeks worth of work, preparation, planning and execution. Our goat is to capture your child in the here and now and help showcase their true personality. Not just push a button. We hope this helps!! We don't take this lightly and we love every single second of what we do.
Interested in hearing a podcast I was interviewed for about incorporating schools into your photography business?