David Haas , Jan 06, 2010; 06:11 a.m.
You've hit the biggest snag / complication with Day Care Photos -
#1 - Yes - shoot every child and see what you get. Parents are very leery about handing over money without seeing the finished product - especially if your name isn't LifeTouch. With Lifetouch or one of the other 800lb gorillas - parents know that they may not get the 1 in a million shot of their child, but they do know that they will get consistent quality and their money back if not satisfied.
#1a. The daycare owner doesn't want to be in the position of having to collect and store the money - Don't blame them a bit. They're in the daycare business - 99% of their collections are check or credit card - very rarely do they keep cash around the center. Also if things go bad, they don't want to be in the middle. If money is missing or short - who are you going to blame? If photos aren't returned are you going after the center? (One of the 800 lb gorillas used to do that)
#2. We all love pre-orders - it's guaranteed income - otherwise we're shooting on speculation or spec that the parents will a) go look at the proofs b) like them enough to buy them c) actually carry through with the buy. My preferred method is to have the photos shot on one day and then come back to the center with a computer and ordering information another day. That way the parents see the proofs. 2nd favorite is to do online ordering - put the proofs online for a limited time - password protected and give the parents the website and password. Giving the parents prints and asking them to return is a hassle for all involved and can create hard feelings all around.
#3. Not sure of the area of the country / demographic of your daycare center - but my take on your pricing is that that price is about average for what I've seen locally for the same content. But if that is your cheapest - then you're overpriced. You need to have a "toaster" package - something that the parents can buy cheap and feel good about (IMHO) - again - not knowing where you are at - I'd say the intro package should be around $15.00 - Of course all of this is predicated on you doing the "school" style photos and not aiming at the higher end - custom portraits.
#4. Those are two of the very good ones. It is a very competitive market - and a lot of dance studios don't do their photos at recitals - they do them days / weeks before the recital at the studio.