Add $50k to your bottom line this year with the TOP 10 High Volume Photography Promotions – Part 1.

Whether you are looking to specialize in high-volume photography, or use it to supplement your current studio business, there are lots of money-making opportunities out there. Over the years we’ve developed more than 30 different programs covering a broad range of markets and impulse sales opportunities; and we continue to add more every year.  Some are associated with a specific seasons, holidays or passages in the lives of children and families. Others chronicle Clients’ hobbies, athletics, special interests and more.  Some programs are seasonal in nature, while others can be done anytime.  The overlap of these programs can help provide you with YEAR-ROUND income.

All of the programs below are time-tested, proven programs to make more money with your photography business.  The potential of each program may depend on several factors, including the population density of your area, the local demographic and economy, competition and your capabilities based on your photography skill level and experience.

However, the biggest factor influencing your success or failure will be your perseverance in pursuing these opportunities from a sales and marketing basis.  Our programs will teach you all the best practices in landing high-volume accounts.   Even if you feel lacking in strong one-to-one selling skills, it’s a FACT that you CAN book volume photography accounts if you dedicate yourself to learning what we teach you and apply it to making personal, repeat sales visits with potential clients.  The more face-to-face, personal sales presentations you make, the more business you will book. It’s a proven FACT!  As the old adage goes; even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while!

In reviewing the following programs, consider your own personal and business network of folks who can help you with introductions to decision-makers. Family, Friends and Neighbors, people you might go to Church with or business contacts are all probably willing to make a referral, recommendation or introduction on your behalf – if you ask!  This can help you get started more quickly.

Here are the TOP 10 opportunities, in order of profitability and market potential. 

#1. Youth Sports Photography

Youth Sports T&I (Team & Individual) photography programs represent one of your best seasonal profit opportunities. Almost every community has or sponsors Youth Leagues with participants as young as age three thru the mid-teen years, and every parent wants the team photo or Memory Mate to commemorate their child’s participation in Sports. It’s a winning combination. Much of this work is done on Saturdays, but some is done on weekday evenings as well. Traditionally posed Team shots are still the norm, but “Virtual” composited team photos are quickly gathering popularity. In order, Hockey, Football and Baseball / Softball are the top three most profitable Sports to photograph.

#2. School Photography

For most Parents, buying School Portraits is an annual tradition. Unfortunately, many Parents are dissatisfied with what they get from the “big” companies.  That’s where you come in!  Adding School Photo business to your Studio’s marketing mix offers many advantages to you – Weekday morning revenues, a great database and many networking opportunities.  The biggest profits come from public, private and parochial Elementary schools. Best of all, adding a big book of school photography accounts to your Studio business makes your studio more attractive to buyers when it’s time to transition at retirement time.

#3. Portrait Directory Programs

This is probably the most under-served market by professional photographers, and that’s a shame. Family Portrait Directory programs for Churches and Country Clubs are in demand and there’s almost no local competition. Best yet, Family Portraiture is often a Studio’s strongest skill set giving them the ability to close big sales. In addition, the excellent customer database created thru these programs will allow you to attract Families back to your Studio year-round. Churches and Country Clubs near your business can be serviced at your Studio. Those further away will require you to set up a temporary studio set-up on-site for a few days up to about two weeks. Printed Directories are still the norm, but online directories are gaining popularity.  We recommend you offer both.

#4. Early Childhood Programs

With more two paycheck families, the need for daytime Childcare or Early Childhood Education / Preschool programs is booming.  While the average Center has about 75 children, smaller ones can have as few as 20, or as many as 200.  Virtually all these Centers offer their Parents some sort of Portrait Photography program twice per year (Fall and Spring) thru a connection with a photography company. You don’t need to build the market – It’s already there! You do need to have excellent Children’s portraiture skills (or be willing to hire someone who is) to be successful in this market. These Parents expect great-looking & creative portraits with a new background or theme each season and are ready to buy because children this age change so rapidly.

#5. Dance Schools

Often called the “cash cow” of photography promotions, these programs can be very profitable, yet artistically creative as well. Best of all, knowledge of Dance techniques is not always a prerequisite as School Instructors often do the posing for you. They will expect both full-length portraits of the individual dancers and group photos of each dance group. Dance groups are usually photographed using two matching muslin or vinyl backgrounds to create a 20’ wide set that’s 10’ deep. As many participants, will be in multiple types of dance groups (ballet, jazz, tap, etc) Parents typically buy portraits taken in each different costume; creating a “multiplier” effect on sales.

#6. Martial Arts, Gymnastics & Cheer Schools

These local businesses are typically run by an owner-operator, making it easy to make one contact and book them 1-2 times per year for a photography program.  There can be several of these schools in your area, so opportunities are abundant. While all will expect you to offer portrait packages of individual participants (often in posed action stances) some will expect Team, Squad or Dojo group photos as well, including Staff / Instructor group photos.  Like Dance School programs, you don’t need much knowledge of the actual sport techniques to photograph here as the Instructors will often help with posing.

#7. Family Portrait Fundraising Programs

It’s easy to approach almost any organization with this painless fundraising opportunity.  Charitable Organizations, Church Youth Groups and School Parent-Teacher Groups are just a few ideas. Offer a Family Portrait mini-session taken at their location, or at your studio, if close-by.  The members of the organization sell Certificates good for a discounted session and 1-8×10” or 10×13” portrait for $20-$25.  They keep 50-100% of this sale for their own fundraising, while you can sell up to bigger packages.  Offer the Organization an additional rebate from portrait sales as an incentive for Customers to buy more. This is a great year-round opportunity that can be photographed on location or at your studio.

#8. Scholastic Sports Photography

Scholastic Sports are athletic programs conducted thru Schools.  While photography programs servicing High Schools are best known, there’s also money to be made photographing Jr. High and Middle School programs. Typically, these programs are photographed on school day afternoons; sometimes prior to a game. While there are fewer participants than Youth Sports programs, the average purchase can be higher. Scholastic Sports programs are often the gateway for local studios to create working relationships with schools often resulting in other new business acquisition such as School Portraits, Senior Portrait Contracts, Dance and Prom pics and Commencement day photos.

#9. Publishing for Profits!

Create new revenues and capture new customers by combining your photography with publishing. Publishing a School’s yearbook, a Sports League’s Roster book, a Church’s photo Directory or a Childcare Center Memory book is a time-honored way to help you get their photography business, too.  You’ll have the additional revenue stream from the profits of publishing their book in addition to the photography revenues, plus you’ll build a tighter client relationship that will make it harder for a competitor to take that account away from you. There are other Event Book applications as well including Dance and Prom Books, Reunion Books, Dance School Programs and many more.

#10. Customer / Resident / Membership Appreciation Programs

This program can help you build your Family Portrait business. Agree to donate a mini session and either a 8×10” or 10×13” family portrait to the members of any affinity group such as a Homeowner’s Association, Community or Fraternal Organization, or Customers of a business in “Appreciation” of being part of / client to that group. The group does the marketing for you for sessions taken at their location or at your studio, if close by. Most of those participating will opt to purchase additional portraits if the quality is good and your prices reasonable. This program can be a win-win for everyone – the group that sponsors and those receiving feel “appreciated”, and you gain new customers and revenue.

Ok, now that we’ve defined the best promotions to make the most money with High Volume Promotions, let’s quantify what kind of revenue you can realistically add in one year.  Watch for it in Part 2!

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