Local Photography Projects
Here's an idea for creating a photography project right in your neighborhood and probably make some money while at it.
As you know all businesses need to advertise. Whether by word of mouth or through formal channels businesses depend on a steady stream of new customers as well as maintaining their old or repeat clientele.
But many small business owners don't have the resources, or skills to launch or manage such an add campaign. Here is where you the photographer comes in. A simple formula would be to approach your local businesses, even approach managers at local chains and offer to do a photographic spread of their establishment to include the managers, the staff, customers, and products.
Offer to display the prints along the walls and on the windows of the store and to place some images on various sections of the aisles. This creates a visual aid that attracts clients to stop, look and spend more time while at the store.
An alternative is to display your logo or contact information on the prints so that anyone who wishes a copy can buy them from you.
Go one step further, and create a web site to display the images and an advertisement for the stores. You can charge for this add space too. Although the larger chains may allow you to place images within their establishment, they will probably not advertise on your site due to company policy.
Always have on you your business cards so that interested individuals can take some. Make certain that the images are technically sound and present the store, the people and the products in an attractive "light."
This project can be done any time of the year but the best times are often during the approach of the holiday or special store events such as grand openings.
Consider approaching many types of businesses, don't be choosy. Banks may seem unapproachable, but my best experiences have been with them.
Photographing the staff and management should not prove to be an issue, however with customers of the store, you must explain the purpose of the photographs and off course ask for their permission.
Do take various photographs and use different angles; don't do all horizontal or all verticals. If allowed, do your product photography in store, this adds to the excitement and natural curiosity of people and allows you to make contacts as well as to distribute your business cards.
If you question the benefits of this project think of it this way; you are being given access to a possible large number of people, you are given access to display your work, there is no need to advertise as you have a captive audience. The stores benefit by having free publicity/advertisement and enhancing the over all atmosphere through a creative medium. Clients may return time after time and bring family and friend just to show them their photo.
Pose the management and staff with some of their work wares; price guns, tools, in uniform, while holding some products, along side customers, while doing their work. Do not be intrusive and ask for an employee to stop working and pose for you. The best images and portraits are often those that are not planned or posed.
It would also be wise to post a couple of signs announcing the photographic campaign, so that any customers that do not wish to be photographed become aware. Avoid photographing staff and clients near any items that may be deemed sensitive, use your imagination as to what products. You must be keenly aware of the location of where and when taking an image, so look around before you snap away.
If you go the extra step and decide to post the images on a web site, then you should ask clients and staff for a signed models release. One thing is to have your image at a local retailer but another is the possibility of having it broadcast worldwide.
Always be courteous and professional as this will help to make this project a repeating one. Be reasonable with your fees for prints for the same reason. If this project turns out to be a success, then the following time you can modestly increase the price for the prints and for any outside work, but in the beginning always err on the side of modesty.
Even if you do not specialize on portraiture, product photography or commercial photography, this is an innovative way to gain possible sales, make new contacts, network and make some money in the process. However if this project turns out to be a huge success, then it will be something for you to think about.