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Atenndance fee or no [Archive] - Event Photographer Society Forum

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08-06-2009, 08:27 AM
Just wondering what the general feeling here is regarding charging an attendance fee.

From what I understand the feeling is that for smaller corporate, black tie stuff, one charges an attendance fee, but with proms, you can pretty much be assured of healthy sales so it's permissable to waive the fee.

I'm just doing some research regarding proms and I keep seeing 'free', or 'no charge' - is there anyone who actually charges for proms, or are these statements just there to make it look like a better deal?

Mike Weeks
08-06-2009, 08:39 AM
Alex,

I use the term that 'I normally attend for free' and as of yet have never charged for attending a prom however due to the nature of yr 13 proms (18 year olds as opposed to YR 11 which is the 16 year olds) that is one area where I might consider it.
As for corporate and black tie events it again depends on the nature of the event. I have been finding more and more that in some ways you are seen as part of the standard entertainment much like the chocolate fountain and if you are not careful they will try to tuck you away in a corner and nobody will come along. Many people on the circle of Charity Events will have been to so many that they do not want yet another photograph. I used to be firmly against a booking fee but now take each job on a case by case view.

Mike

Jeremy Nako
08-06-2009, 09:07 AM
Is that the sound of a can of worms being opened I hear...???

Everyone has their own business model - what works for some doesn't for others.

However, to attend any event free of charge you have to have a decent chance of earning a reasonable return.

So how do you judge that ..?

The skill is to get as much information about the event and the guests as possible in advance, and then, putting yourself in the shoes of the guests, decide what the motivation would be for them to purchase a photo costing 20 times the price of having their own printed at Boots.

Are they dressed up in an unusual way (black tie, fancy dress etc) ? Is the immediacy of the print worth the extra ? Can you get substantially better images (using your skill and/or equipment) than other attendees can shoot ?

These are only some of the boxes that need to be ticked, but every event is different, and the skill in picking the right ones (actually, it's refusing the wrong ones) come with experience... some of it painfull !

There are exceptions, but I'd stick my neck out and say that most photographers dont charge to cover proms. If you do look to charge, then you'll be cutting out a substantial part of that market as most (rightly or wrongly - that's another arguement) dont charge for this. However, that may be the way you want to run your business, so it's not necessarily the wrong plan.

However, proms arent a guaranteed banker. You can increase your chances dramatically by marketting to the guests once you've booked the event, but even then sometimes it has little effect. I recently asked a colleague to cover a year 13 (rarely as good as a year 11) prom for me... 150 guests, all had flyers, all knew we'd be there, ticked all the 'should be a good evening' boxes, and he took just £80. That wasnt his fault - he's an experienced 'eventer'.. they just weren't interested in having their photos taken.

Yes.. he's still talking to me as he understands these thing happen, but obviously not a happy Brummie.

This weekend I covered a last minute event that I thought was 'iffy'. It was a Sunday day job and the organisers insisted that the photos were priced at half our normal rates, and of course we had to atted FOC.

I took the job 'on a punt' (no.. not a nautical phrase !), and it was the highest earner we've had this year.

My point is that you need to determine a set of business rules but also be prepared to take the occasional chance.

As Del boy said.. "He who dares...".. fill in the ending yourselves !

Mike Weeks
08-06-2009, 09:13 AM
Yes.. he's still talking to me as he understands these thing happen, but obviously not a happy Brummie.

I did not know that they made a happy version :lol:

Mike

Jeremy Nako
08-06-2009, 09:25 AM
I did not know that they made a happy version :lol:

:rofl:

Aint that the truth !

Mark Amies
08-06-2009, 09:36 AM
Heh! I know some very jolly Brummies!! I used to live in Wolverhampton area when I was a kid, and it just aint true- leave them alone!! :D

Trudy Trafford
08-06-2009, 10:58 AM
This weekend I covered a last minute event that I thought was 'iffy'. It was a Sunday day job and the organisers insisted that the photos were priced at half our normal rates, and of course we had to atted FOC.

Jeremy, do you think that had anything to do with the pics being more affordable for people? :? Just wondering ???

Jeremy Nako
08-06-2009, 07:20 PM
Good point Trudi, and difficult to judge.

There was certainly an air of 'its affordable' at the event, and my son overheard people saying 'it's 2 for £10'.

That in itself was interesting as they were a fiver each.. so maybe it was a value for money thing, rather than an affordable thing.

On the day we shot both individuals and a team photos, which meant that parents could get the two for £10.

I'm not convinced that this would work at other events.. and it was the scale of the day that made it worthwhile, butn interesting nonetheless.