How Does School Photography Work?

Have you always wondered why a few school photographs cost you a bomb?? Most of the parents don’t land up buying them – cause its too expensive! Well for the most part I agree with them. School photographs can cost you easily in a few hundreds. Ever wondered why?

When the rate card comes, we obviously think that the photographer must be rolling in piles o money with the amount he is charging us. Are you sure what you pay goes directly in the pockets of the photographer?

NEVER! In order to book a school, a photographer has to pay commission, like a donation. This donation amount started with a small amount, but over the years this amount has increased to almost 50%. This means, that almost half that you pay goes back to the school.

If you are the leader in the industry, it would be easy for you to “buy” the schools by offering a large amount to the school. But if you’re a freelancer, forget about doing a session with the school for free also ! Big companies often keep the schools in their pockets with a large number of photographers on hand to cover a large area.

One more thing to worry about is conflicts. Largely there are three parties that are working:

  1. Photographer  – maximize earnings and customer satisfaction
  2. School Administration – minimize cost, least disruption in the school functioning
  3. Students  & Parents – reasonable but excellent quality photographs

If you notice, all the three parties have conflicting wishes. It all comes down to how the relationship is maintained. Photographs must maintain a healthy relationship with the school if you want to establish a long term business relationship with the school.

The commission that is received from the photographer is usually used to fund school programs or sometimes photographers just provide with small things to the school like pencils, books etc. which schools are more than happy to accept!

Do you buy your school pictures? Why or Why not? 

Leave a comment and pass along / share/tweet / email this post to someone – I’m really interested in everyone’s thoughts!

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