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Pro / Prom Photography
Posted By: Igilligan, 05-17-2008, 09:43 PM

Ok I have already started a very controversial thread today....

So why not one more?
And I am not sure where to post this, but since the only reason I am posting is to show the snapshot of the photographer maybe this is the right place...

I am an event manager/tech director and we are in the middle of prom season. And the proms we have in the building, have between 400-700 young adults. Each prom hires their own local photography company to come in and shoot the prom pics. Some are better than others, but the days of pre-shooting the kids are just about gone. So now they show up and have to wait sometimes 30-45 minutes in a line waiting to get their prom shots done. If they do group shots with their friends then that is another line, this in a 4 or 5 hr prom. My guess is the kids pay between $50-150 depending on the packages they choose... then if they do groups those are charged extra....

It is usually 2 to 3 prop/sets, with one converting to groups later. And usually one photograper is managing the event, with helper photogs at each station, and usually 2 workers handle the orders and money. There is also some extra cash to be made with polaroid keychain shots.

You can do the math... 500 kids $100ish each... + couples / group shots bla bla.... you get the idea

So in 4 to 5 hrs that seems like some decent paydays. And the kids have to pay on the spot... Does this sound like a good business? Any thoughts?

Here is a shot from one of the proms of a veteran photographer...

It is a very different look than me on my belly, sneaking up on a turtle the other day... haha
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05-17-2008, 10:26 PM   #2
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heck yeah it does! But who wants to deal with high schoolers
05-17-2008, 10:34 PM   #3
Damn Brit

Sounds more like a rip off.
05-17-2008, 10:41 PM   #4
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It works the same way as doing team shots for local sport clubs (soccer, softball, footy). It's not a bad niche

05-17-2008, 10:46 PM   #5
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As a father whose youngest daughter is AT her Senior Prom as I type (I'm cool with this - sorta) - the parents think the whole thing is a giant racket, the photographers are just like the limos and the clothing and the tickets to the Prom and the tickets to the "After-Prom" and all the fundraisers we have done to lower the cost of the Prom.

As a photography hobbyist - I wonder what the gear to capture all those images costs - what is the cost of the gear just in your shot above, not to mention the other stations? - and how many hours go into processing the raw files and printing the packages - all computerized so each customer receives the package he or she paid for?

It looks like a nice payday on paper, but all that gear has to be amortized in one month, in competition with all the other church and Prom photographers in town.

I'd bet the final payday isn't so good after all - I'd bet a lot of the money is soaked up by hardware and software and assistant salaries - I wonder how much of my money is going home in her gear boxes tonight?

FWIW, my daughter went to Prom in a party bus with 15 or so other couples. All the kids gathered at one house (and they are returning there after the "After-Prom") and all their parents took pictures (this one included - 116 images).

I swear, it was a feeding frenzy. One family hired a pro to take their shots - white-paint lens if you get my drift - and another parent IS a pro sports photographer (he was cool - helped the amateurs like me) and the cameras ranged from the cheapest P&S to over-the-top Nikons. Yours truly had the only Pentax and actually heard some nice things about my choice.

Unfortunately there wasn't much chance to do anything but take snap shots and line-ups.

My best shot was when some director-type mother got all the couples on the steps and veranda and set-up a "team" shot. I turned around and took a picture of the 30+ paparazzi parents jostling for position to get their own shot - pretty funny, actually.

I'd post it, but can we publish pictures of people without their permission?
05-17-2008, 10:54 PM   #6
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It's what I call production line photography, and it just isn't for me

And monochrome, for the most part you can post event photographs, although that might be considered as a private event by some.
Where it might be frowned on.

If in doubt don't post any frontal photographs, unless you can't make the features out.
05-18-2008, 12:58 PM   #7
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Hiya Gus,

I'm not one for production line photography, but I engage in it once a year. The weekend before Christmas, I set up my studio lights in one of our downtown (one block long) businesses, while Santa poses with the kids. Every kid goes away with a candy cane in their hand and a memory in their heart. Their mamas and papas, many of whom don't speak English, leave with 5x7's of their little dearies to send to their Grammies. If a family wants a group shot, Santa gets off his chair and I take shots of the parents and the kids. For my part, after putting out the cost of the paper, ink, and lights, I get nothing more than a warm feeling that lasts the better part of the year.

As for the prom... I'm the president of the local Board of Education. One of the things we've done in years past is to reign in the excesses of prom night. It was getting where each class was trying to outdo the one before it and there wasn't much else they could do locally. At some point we had to inject reality into the situation. I'm sure there are those who were disappointed that they couldn't take black helicopters from their homes to Las Vegas for Prom Night, but their parents are happy that they weren't fund-raising for 8 years just for one night. I did offer to take photos of a friends daughter before prom this year, but her mama pulled out a K100D and said she can handle it!

BTW, I'll be back in your neck of the woods 5/27-30. One of my peers is leaving for greener pastures and I have to extract his memories of what we do, lest our competitors learn all our cool secrets. I'll be near Moffett Field in Sillyvale. PM me if you'll be around.

Your Cuz from back home


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