OK, so you’ve taken pictures of a dance recital and are wondering how you can actually make some dollar bills from all the work you just went through.
Well, I’m going to cover 3 proven ways that I make money selling dance recital pictures.
Each one of these methods will get you various results both in the amount of time spent and the revenue each can generate.
I’m going to give you my honest opinion on all these methods when I have photographed recitals over the past 10+ years with dance studios
I would choose the method that you are both capable of and what you are comfortable with.
You also want to make sure you have permission from the dance studio and that they are hiring you to take pictures of there performance.
Before you try to make money off dance recital pictures check out my article on How to Photograph Dance Recitals Like a PRO
Before I go into each method you first need to understand 2 key points in order to be successful in making money selling dance recital pictures:
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For all three of the methods, if you are not organized with your pictures then it will be hard for people to locate images of there child to purchase.
You want to make sure you have access to a program or have the dance studio give you an outline of all the dances.
While you are taking pictures you can:
So if your a dance mom just wanting to take pictures of your child or of your friends’ kiddos then don’t expect to make a lot from selling your photos.
If your a photographer really wanting to make money selling dance recital pictures then you have to take a whole lot of pictures!!!
When I say take a lot of pictures I don’t mean just holding down the shutter release button blowing and going.
You have to capture EVERYONE on stage and make sure you provide a variety of images of each dancer.
This can get challenging if a dancer is only on the back row but you have to do your best in capturing everyone to give you the best results.
You are not taking pictures for yourself but for the parents and the dancers performing. This is key to keep in mind.
You don’t have to have the best action or jumping images, just make sure you are capturing the dancers smiling on stage and properly composed with the right exposure
If you can stick to these 2 key points the rest is just logistics and getting your images in front of people.
If you’re wanting an easy way to get your pictures in front of people I would recommend setting up an eCommerce website where you can upload your images.
There are multiple platforms out there you can use but I would recommend Zenfolio for the ease of use for both the photographer and consumer.
You don’t have to know a lot about website building. They have great support and tutorials to help you with the process of setting up your site and shopping cart.
The key to selling your photos online is to make EVERYONE aware that you took pictures and where they can find the images.
You need to do everything from:
If you were organized while taking the pictures during the dress rehearsal or the performance then the next step is easy.
Just upload your images and folders to your eCommerce website.
The beauty with this method is you are not taking a whole lot of risk and expenses. You just need to do everything that you can to get the word out.
Remember time is of the essence. You don’t want to upload your images weeks or months after the performance.
You need to draw into the emotions and excitement and either upload the day of the performance or the following day.
When it comes to setting up pricing you need to understand the concept of bulk.
Its all about low price and high volume.
I will say that if you charge $1 you will have to sell a lot to make a lot.
I would recommend starting off at $5 for a 4×6 print and then go up in price with larger prints.
People these days expect and like having the option to purchase the digital images. You can sell your digital images from $8-$15+, all depending on what your market will spend and what you value your time and work at.
The great thing about having an eCommerce site is they have options to fullfill all orders automatically.
You don’t have to print or e-mail photos yourself. People will go to your website place an order and the photo lab will either send a link to download digital images or will print and ship directly to the customer.
The only thing you have to do is promote and let people know where to find images.
This option is the best option if you are wanting to play into the heat of the moment with all the excitement and emotions that come during a dance recital
Parents who have first time dancers, seeing there child all dressed up and on stage with there friends can be a precious moment in people’s lives.
If you can already have pictures printed and ready for people to purchase to take home that day, you will have a ton of sales.
This process has a lot of logistics involved and you have to make sure you have 2 key components in check:
If you can’t secure both of these components then its really hard to pre-print your images.
The other requirement is the dance studio has to have a dress rehearsal either a day before the performance or the week before (which is better)
If you can bring all these logistics together you can make thousands of dollars selling dance recital pictures.
Yes, you are having to pay for all these prints without making any sales yet, but if done right you the odds of losing money is very low.
To give you a personal example I have spent close to $1000 printing thousands of 4×6 prints for one dance studio. I would charge $5 for each print with a special of buy 4 get 1 free.
I ended up selling over 1500 prints and at $5 per print would bring in $7500 in revenue.
Again the key is high volume and low price.
If you are able to stomach the logistics and costs involved with this method you will have no problems making money selling dance recital pictures.
OK so this method is ideally the best way to make money selling dance recital pictures, but it also is the hardest, when it comes to trust and negotiations.
If you have built up a relationship with the dance studio and have shown that you have the right skills and talent taking pictures of recitals then this method is the best direction to guarantee a profit.
What I mean by bulk group rate is where you negotiate a price to take pictures of the recital and then provide a download link that the entire dance studio and parents can use to access their photos.
You can directly tell the dance studio that you want to charge say, $1000 to photograph everything but the best way to negotiate and word things is by a price per student.
Let’s say a dance studio has 400 students (dancers) you can tell them that you will photograph the recital at a cost of $10 per student.
That would come out to be $4000.
What you would then suggest is that they incorporate this into there recital fee.
Most dance studios will have a recital fee to help pay for expenses such as facility rental and other expenses involved in order to put on the recital.
If the studio lumps this cost into the fee parents are already used to paying then you will not have any pushback.
The key is the bulk group rate not partial group rate. Parents can’t choose to pay for pictures or not. Logistically this is impossible since you don’t know who is who on stage.
If you are able to negotiate this deal with the dance studio the only other thing you have to make sure is you have a simple means for people to access the pictures.
I personally use Dropbox and its an amazing platform to easily store and share files.
The customer has the option of downloading all images or selecting specific images to download.
If you have the option for the bulk rate I would recommend going this direction.
You don’t have to worry about promoting your eCommerce website or mess with printing pictures on the day of the recital.
Good luck and go out sell your dance recital pictures!
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