23FebCharitable Photography – Doing a Photo Booth for Fun & Profit
Charitable Photography – The Perfect Marketing Opportunity
Had a question recently from a member who’s been asked to provide a photo booth for a local celebratory event. They have some ideas on what they’d like to provide but needed help with how to make it profitable for themselves. ALWAYS the key – charitable or not.
This member’s idea is to create a booth with a background and a selection of “silly” props. People could have their pictures taken – possibly with an event themed “mascot”. No specific direction or requirement on what people could/should/would do for their pose or images.
This photographer also indicated she might give back a portion of the proceeds to the committee that is sponsoring the event.
Those who attend this event will likely not come expecting to have their portrait created so in my opinion forget about promoting it as any kind of “formal portrait.” In that respect the silly props and the event themed mascot are a good idea.
A good idea, but one you’ll need to take to the near extreme to make it attractive to event attendees; the more and the sillier the props the better; the more awesome the set the better. Try to come up with a set theme that ties to the event theme.
In my opinion most people will be reluctant to “buy” a significant number of these images. If the props and the background are enticing enough maybe – but they’re not likely to invest in much more than a single print to remember it by.
Instead of trying to make any significant amount of cash from the venture – use it instead as a marketing opportunity for which it is perfect.
If you’ve never read Robert B. Cialdini’s book; “Yes – 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive” then you should. Immediately. It is full of ideas – as per the title – that will help you persuade people to participate by having their picture taken.
Have a big sign in front of the photo booth. “Get your picture taken with our event mascot, “Smokey the Bear.” To participate they have to donate $5.00 to the “cause.”
Make the “cause” appealing and something that’s hopefully tied to the event and socially desirable. Something like, “100% of your donations go towards the maintenance of our public hiking trail system.” Something the attendees of this event would feel is appropriate and socially desirable to contribute money towards.
Get yourself an assistant, maybe dressed as a park ranger, someone willing to “hawk” for you. Maybe have them use a megaphone or bullhorn – bringing people to the booth and explaining what the benefit is to them for participating.
You might also considering testing the amount of the contribution. If you can, get a hold of some kind of clear box for the donations. Then try a sign that says either, “Donations Accepted” or “Pictures only $1.00″ or something to that effect. Depending on your own ethics you could “seed” the clear box with some dollar bills and some larger bills. The point is, requiring a five dollar donation might put some people off – but making the donation their choice might actually increase the funds raised. The key here is the clear box, it’s visual “social proof” that other people have contributed. You’d have to be a major scrooge to take advantage of the picture opportunity without contributing.
Everyone who has their picture taken gets a digital file to use however they want. To get the digital file they’ll need to fill out a form that has their name and address and their email address. You tell them when the images are on-line you’ll send them a link in an email. Now you have their email address – and hopefully their mailing address – so you can continue to market to them.
When you send the email you also include a coupon for a FREE family portrait session. Your normal session fee is $150 or $200 or whatever. Make sure to show the “value” of that FREE session on the coupon. (See suggestion in Idea #4 below for including your picture in the email.)
Then be sure to follow up at least three times about the family portrait coupon. And then every time the season for family portraits rolls around – hit them again.
Next to the big sign that advertises the $5.00 donation for having this fun image created, you have a sign-up box for a free prize drawing of a family portrait session and ???? – maybe a frame for their wall portrait? Of course to win they have to fill out a signup form with all their contact information. You should have a framed family portrait on display as well.
For years I’ve donated a family portrait session and $250 towards finished portraits to a local school auction. The stipulation is my donation has to be on the live auction. (The reason I’m donating $250 – their minimum value for the live auction.) The key is I always have a beautifully framed 30” x 40” family wall portrait on an easel. Something the auctioneer can point to during the auction.
Try to get other business owners involved. You’ll put their name on the sign along with yours if they contribute a prize for the drawing. Promote it to the business owners as something that will help raise money for the “cause.” And of course share the names you gather with the other contributors.
Getting other local businesses to contribute is the perfect way to open up the dialogue for some endorsed marketing opportunities. If you’ve entered the Valentine’s Day Photo Contest on The Portrait Expert Facebook page (And if you haven’t what are you waiting for???? Photo submissions close on March 4th – CLICK HERE TO ENTER) you’ll notice I’m doing endorsed marketing there; giving away prizes from Shoot Smarter and New Photo Biz.
Say you get a local restaurant to contribute to the prize give-away. You suggest some endorsed marketing – maybe a signup box on their counter to win a portrait session from your studio. In exchange you send a coupon to your clients giving them a free appetizer when they visit Billy Bob’s Road Kill Cafe. He “endorses” you and you do the same for him. Powerful marketing.
Follow-up like a mad-woman. How many times have you signed up for something at a trade show or the county fair or whatever and then never received a call or any contact. It happens ALL the time. No follow-up.
Create a picture of yourself with your background and the mascot. Send a letter to every single person who signed up and include your image and most importantly – the results from the fund-raising efforts. You also list the names of the people who won the prizes in the drawing. Since you’re in a small community if you can hand deliver the prize certificate and get a picture of yourself handing it to the winner – all the better.
This is perfect material for a newsletter. You could do an entire page showing your setup, some of the images you created and reports on the funds you raised. You MUST draw attention to yourself, and if you can do so by doing something charitable that’s even better.
This is the perfect kind of opportunity to spread the word about your business – especially if there will be people attending from outside your immediate area yet within your marketable area.
Promotion of the event and your photo booth are paramount. Have fun with it. Maybe dress up like a park ranger yourself. Be OUTRAGEOUS and people will respond.
So what about you? Have you done any charitable photography promotions that worked out well for you? No doubt other members would love to hear about so everyone can learn from your experience.
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