Welcome to Greeting Card Photography – the 4th post in the How To Start A Photography Business series. Put simply, this is the process of turning your pictures into greetings cards.
Some pros say that this business model might not be the most lucrative of ways to start a photography business. However, it is an easy method, and it’s also far safer to cut your teeth doing something like this, than to dive straight into a 150 guest all day wedding.
Options for Greeting Card Photography
As I suggested in a previous article, you might want to employ the services of a photography, or printing, store and particularly when we are talking about the production of cards. The sort of cards I’m referring to can include anniversary type cards : birthdays, Weddings, Valentines, Easter, Christmas, or even Leaving Your Job, ‘Thank You’ cards and also Holiday Cards (a particularly good opportunity to practise your local scenery photography).
But aren’t greetings cards seasonal ?
No at all. Remember, with good planning (mentioned in the planning and organizing article), you could have a year round business, based on particular days of the year. Ideally, you want to make sure that your ‘project’ is completed at least three months prior to the particular event of the year. This is to allow for distribution and also many stores start there themes at least six weeks before any seasonal event (larger stores might even have a two month lead in time). So, for example :-
- For Valentine’s cards in February – complete your project by the preceding November
- For Easter cards in March – complete your project by the preceding December
- For Mother’s Day cards in May – complete your project by the preceding February
- For Father’s Day cards in June – complete your project by the preceding March
- Thanksgiving cards and Halloween in October and November – complete by July
- For Christmas cards in December – complete your project by the preceding September
- All year round – Birthday cards, wedding anniversary cards and new babies : even small portraits of family members turned into cards (see my article on Portraits for additional information). You can build up some real long-term relationships with this type of work
What should your Greeting Card Photography project consist of ?
- Establishing your theme or idea
- Prepare / make some prototypes
- Finding a source for your finished product (could be a local store, or an on-line store)
- Agree a contract of products that you will deliver to them
- Preparing or sourcing your props
- Establishing a setting for your props (if applicable)
- Developing / touching up the photographs
- Having the photographs made into cards
Now depending on how busy you are getting, it might be that you are able to outsource some of this work. Certainly props could be prepared by friends, family, local craft schools – or purchased cheaply, depending on your budget. And the final step should certainly be outsourced to a specialist printing firm. They will look more professional and, through economies of scale, will work out cheaper to produce.
The one thing I would really recommend in your early forays into the photography business is to stay with a local theme. Regardless of what seasonal them you are looking to exploit, if you could work this in with a well-known local landmark, you should have no difficulty with selling these cards to your local stores, who are always on the look-out for locally produced goods, depicting local scenes.
As a final thought, it is much easier to sell to a previous customer, then to get a new one (assuming you have done a good job previously). Therefore, it is always worthwhile getting as much information about your clients as possible and you can send them reminder cards that a certain event is looming and that you could source their cards requirements again.
The next in the series :
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