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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old March 2nd, 2010, 11:05 AM   #1
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We have been contracted for the 2nd year now to shoot a huge conference ( I think membership is close to 1500 attendees).

I will propose a profit sharing thing with the association and here is my plan:

I am planning to set-up a Photo Booth, members get to have their picture taken, give them an 8 x 10 Print on site. We have never done this, can someone with the experience give us the heads-up as to what the hard cost is? If we are charging $ 15/per print will we be making money? It may be late in the game as the conference is in May, I know the best way is to include cost in the registration so you can guarantee all 1500 attendees having their pics taken. One or 2 booths is enough?

Inputs are greatly appreciated.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 01:23 PM   #2
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We've done on-location prints and the cost of 4x6 prints range from $0.30 to $0.45 each (paper + toner) . This doesn't take into account for equipment costs though. You can definitely make a profit at $15 each but you'll need to sell enough to cover your printer, backup printers and whatever equipment you're providing.

As for having one or two photo booths, do you expect the attendees to have a strong demand for the service?
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 02:53 PM   #3
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Hi Raymond, thank you for your reply. I want this done right and rather than dive into the unknown with the Conference just weeks away, I will target next year's conference.

IF I am able to sell the idea to the Association (1.e incorporating a $ 5 or $ 7 fee to the registration) that means all 1500 attendees need to have their photos taken in a span of 2 days. Maybe it is cheaper to have a lab print them for me, distribute the photos on day 2, and mail whatever did not make the deadline. In your experience, one booth is enough for 1500 attendees? Span of 2 days?

Thanks in advance.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 03:41 PM   #4
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For 1500 people, you will hit long lines on day 1 with a single booth. From my experience, people tend to bunch up in groups and things get hectic if you have to rush through the photos. At 100 shots per hour, you've only gone through half the attendees after 7-8 hours!

The lab print idea is actually pretty good and it'll save you money on prints, equipment, troubleshooting and possibly hiring 1 less person to manage the printer.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 07:59 PM   #5
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Noel, each year my wife and I help out a photographer pal who does 150 on site portraits of children living under the protection of a charity who have achieved awards under various schemes they run to motivate and inspire the kids. My wife does the wrangling, making sure we know who the photographer's shot, their name etc - frankly the key job.

I take the CF cards, do a rough adjustment to each frame, crop each to size and print it on a Dye Sublimation printer.

We then put prints in folders, match them to names and deliver them for the awards ceremony.

I think the photographer charges about 500 for the job.

Take of this experience what you will but my strong recommendation is to have someone dedicated to organising the work, ie the wrangler.
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Old March 4th, 2010, 09:26 AM   #6
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Raymond, thank you for the math. So 1500, we may need 20 hours in 2 days using one booth. I know there is a pre-registration thing so if ever they agree to it, I might ask for 3 days.

Philip, thank you for your input. I never thought of an ID system (how the heck can I remember 1500 names) and someone manning the line-up/shoot (wrangler).

Glad to be part of this forum, very appreciative of your inputs. I will pitch this idea when we shoot the conference in 2 weeks time.
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Old March 6th, 2010, 09:50 AM   #7
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Noel, If you sent the prints to a lab you need to figure out a way to distribute them back to the customers. This means collecting names, packaging, sorting and some sort of delivery table. Shipping is an option but is an additional cost.

I would try to go with onsite printing. They pickup the print right then and your done.

However you will be able to shoot faster than the printer(s). Dye sub printers take about 20-30 sec per print. See if you can rent a faster unit, print smaller prints ie. 4x6 /5x7 and network several printers to one camera.

The key question is will everyone actually be photographed? Just because it may be a free photo some trade show types won't want a picture. Of course if you included a pose with a bikini clad model, well that's a different story ;)

See if you can talk to someone who has worked/member of the group before you make your pitch to get more information about the attendees.

1500 people is a lot of shooting. I would plan on 4-6 camera setups at a minimum. People don't like (won't) to stand in long lines. Be prepared!

Good Luck.
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