The invitations for graduation parties are piling up! As I was recording them on our family calendar I remembered those who would be graduating next year. Now is the time to make your appointments for senior pictures.
When my youngest graduated from high school, we were torn as to where to get his senior pictures taken.
We had three options:
Photographer A: took the senior pictures of my first two children.
Photographer B: is a close friend of the extended family. So close, that her family has attended our family reunion for decades.
Photographer C: is related to my daughter-in-law. She took a family picture of us.
They all are excellent photographers and we were worried about hurting feelings. Then I remembered the deal I made with Photographer A.
My oldest son was to graduate in 2005. I saw a picture of a 2004 graduate that captured her personality. The picture was taken by Photographer A.
When I called to make an appointment, I told her I had a senior and a junior and asked her if she could make me a deal if I had my daughter’s pictures taken there the next year.
She offered me two free family sittings. I used the first free sitting for my extended family in 2004. I never used the second one.
I called Photographer A and reminded her I still had a second free sitting. I asked her if we could use it for my youngest sons’ senior pictures.
She said, “Yes!”
Sitting fees are based on the number of outfits worn for pictures. In this case it was $25.00 per outfit. Derek wore a uniform and three other outfits for his pictures. That saved me $100.00 in sitting fees.
Top Ten Tips
1. Book your appointment in June. Most photographers will have a reduced rate or throw in free pictures for early bookings. My sitting fee for my first son was 75% off because I booked in June. Every photographer has their own incentives.
2. If you have more than one child, ask for a deal and have all of them photographed by the same one. The pictures will have a similar feel because each photographer has their own style.
3. Limit the number of outfits your child wears. This is especially hard with girls!
4. Ask if the photographer has a “Participation Bonus”. You get a free gift or picture when your child is photographed wearing a uniform: band, sports, even FFA.
5. Have your child be a model for the photographer for a free or reduced sitting fee.
6. Order the minimum number of pictures needed. Make a list of all the relatives you are buying for and write the size of the print you want for them next to it. Buy a large print for yourself and an 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 for your child. Don’t order hundreds of wallets. Derek graduated with 129 other students. I ordered 100 wallets for Luke and had a stack left over. I ordered 88 wallets for Laura and used them all. So, I ordered only 88 for Derek and used them all.
7. You may get more opportunities for free pictures later in the year by writing a review, etc.
8. In January they go on sale. You will be contacted to see if you need more photos, sometimes at reduced prices. You can also get a copy of portfolio or picture DVD at a reduced price.
9. Some photographers throw in a free bonus picture if you pay in full when you place your order.
10. You can also get free photos and other freebies based on the amount of money you spend, i.e. Spend $200.00 – get one freebie, Spend $300.00 – get two freebies.
If your photographer is a family member….
…don’t expect a free sitting. This is how they make their living. Be willing to pay full price and be grateful if they offer you a discount.
…don’t expect them to clear their schedule to accommodate you.
…don’t cancel at the last-minute, unless it is an emergency, and pay them the sitting fee anyway.
Being frugal is not about being cheap;
it is about making the most of your money!