Workflow of camera concession

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Quade posed a question asking about workflow of camera concessions with regard to tandem passengers, aff, etc.


My interest is mainly for tandems because we don’t do much AFF camera work here.
At our dropzone, I’m the only one who does stills. I’m switching to digital this spring and plan to offer on-site printing of still pictures.

I’ll try to explain the price plan I’m working on. Maybe this is too complicated and it needs to be simplified a bit. I’d like any suggestions that you might have. And, if you don’t mind, I’d like to hear how it’s done at other drop zones.

At our DZ, there is a set video price for tandem passengers. I am the only one who can offer stills, video, or both. My plan is to use the already established set video price for either stills or video alone. And then, offer stills and video both for some price greater than the set video price. (I don’t expect many people to select stills only, but who knows.)

Question: How much additional $ for both? I was thinking somewhere between a $10 and $25 bump up in price above the set video only price for someone who wants both.

With the digital stills, the base price (if they choose stills only) or the base price plus additional for both stills and video, entitles them to 5 still picture 4”x6” ‘proofs’. These are picked from the computer after they are downloaded and will be printed on site. Five pictures would typically give them an Exit, 2 Freefall, Landing, and Ending Pose w/ Instructor.

If they want more, they can pick more pictures or duplicates or enlargements and pay for these a la carte from a schedule of prices. (Offering: 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 printed on site) (Offering: 11x14, 16x24, 20x30 printed off-site and shipped to the customer). I’ve made a schedule of prices for re-prints but I’m not sure if this is too much or not. It can always change. It ranges from $2 each for a 4"x6" up to $80 for a 20"x30".

Comments or suggestions?

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5 pictures is it? Giving them 5 printed pics and a photo CD is a better deal and the only way I'd want to buy them. With out the CD if they later want one blown up there is no way to do that.

I'd rather shoot the Digital and give it to them on a Photo CD to be later printed or just shoot the film and use the digitals on the fun jumps with my buddies.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery


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Just my $.02.

The people that fly video at my DZ and also have still capabilities just had off a roll of film to the customer with their completed video. No extra charge and that way the customer is responsible for all the prints, processing, etc... :)Honestly what do you spend for a roll? $2.50 for 12 exp rolls or so at most.
I like the idea of handing the customer what they want, picutes, when they leave so they can show their friends that night, but wouldn't you cut your hastles by printing them a contact sheet and giving them a $.50 CD with the originals when they get their video?:|
Then have a separate price scale for on-site/off-site prints, shipping and such.
$80 for a 20x30?:S I think they cost me about $25 to reprint from a negative.
the "non-flying photog,"

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I think $10 is a reasonable price to add stills to a jump (if you're giving up time and producing a half-dozen nice prints), but here are some things to consider...

When I was shooting 35mm stills, I charged $10 extra, and they got the roll of film. From this roll, I'd tell them to expect about 10 good (framable) prints. They almost always got more, but they were a little extra pleased when they got 15 or 20, instead of expecting all of them to be good. They paid for processing, including the time to drop-off and pick-up. They could also get all the reprints/enlargements they wanted. Very little time (except to load/unload film) invested, and a small investment in film per jump.

Now we're in a time where digital is doable for skydiving. No more laying off the tongue switch to save film - click away, and sort them out later. Almost no investment on each jump, but the up-front costs are much steeper than a good film camera.

The strategy I work with...

Take digital stills on EVERY tandem/AFF. Even if they didn't pay for it. It'll cost you a little time, but it pays in the long run...

Buy an easy to remember domain name, or forge an agreement with your DZ to use their website. Put up a storefront or forwarding portal to a web based print lab. Print up a bunch of business cards that point customers to that website. They buy prints and enlargements - you get a check from the printing service.

There are a number of services out there. Some charge to setup everything, and there are various price schedules. If you have a local photo lab with a good web presence (the service already in place) you may want to develop a relationship with them. It's much easier to resolve problems when you can walk in the door, than waiting on an e-mail response from a lab in Somewhere, Oregon (unless you happen to live there).

You will be quite suprised that people will still be ordering prints from months past (and I've heard from the guy that turned me on to this strategy - a year later) of their skydive. Nearly EVERYONE buys at least a few prints when they take just a few minutes to browse over to your storefront. That includes the customers who said "no" to stills at the DZ.

I think part of this is the suprising cost of that first jump to many. They shell out a couple/few hundred clams and get hit-up for the "upgrade" packages... "How about a video of your Tandem?... It's only $75 more... How about photographs?..." I think they feel like they're negotiating buying a new car. When they can recover from the sticker shock, and hop on the web at work... "Wow! I need that to hang up in my cubicle." Much more attractive than hanging a VHS tape on the wall. And family members buy them, also. Sort of a follow-up gift for the great Mother's Day gift. Especially if you click away on the people that come along for support (and why not? it's digital - click away).

It's not without its investments. It takes time to sort out the useless shots and upload the rest. It's also much like film in that you have to change film (use two cards and a card reader - copy one to a laptop while you are jumping the other) and keep on top of batteries.

This' just what works for me. It's working for others, too, but your mileage may vary.

The laws of physics are strictly enforced.

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To all: Thanks for the ideas. Like I said, I'm just kind of looking for how other camera people manage the still picture side of camera work at other dropzones. While we haven't decided on a particular strategy yet, we're kicking around some different ideas. I'm looking to see what works for others who have been doing this for a while.

In switching to digital this year, the results will be a better product, prints are immediately available, and better quality enlargements when people want them. A professional development shop is able to accept electronic submission of images for printing the enlargements and they will ship direct to the customer.

The hard part about trying to offer a better product is that it cost around $3k in startup cost for digital. It doesn't really matter what token amount is charged to take the still pictures and it really doesn't matter that much how many prints are made. (Okay, it matters a little) I don't think anyone expects to make much money off of the initial set of 4x6 proofs. My hope is that a person could make a little money by selling re-prints and enlargements. It seems that you lose this capability if you give away the film or images on CD. I don't expect to get rich but it'd be nice to offset some of the cost of the new gear.

It seems like it would be much easier to sell by the picture in the digital world than it was with film. With film your costs are fixed and with digital they are much more variable. With film you had to shoot a whole roll and you had to get the whole roll developed, so you might as well charge for the whole roll. We're not constrained by that with digital so why not let the customer pick the best picks and only pay for them?

Just thinking out loud here. Anyone else given thought to this type of workflow?

I really liked Cajones idea about setting up a web site for posting pictures from which pictures could be ordered from. I'll look into that. Anybody know a source for developing and hosting such a site?


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How would you keep all the digital photos stored locally so that if 3 months down the road someone decided that they wanted one picture blown up they could do that? With negitives its easy, but unless they or you have a copy of the digital its not going to happen.

Have you considered the print time for 5 pictures after spending the time sorting with the customer to get the best 5? All that time could be used to be packing and getting ready to shoot the next load. Where as with something like the webhosted you charge them something like $15 to shoot them and then they can choose from at least X number that you will upload to the web by Y date and give them their customer number and password to see their pics and off they go. This way they can get the same number of stills as a roll of film and if they want to have a copy they are paying for the development of them.

It would take about 100 jumps with stills to pay off that new Canon 10D (DROOOOOL) and probally another 25 to pay off all the set up fees and memory cards for the online store.

A guy at my DZ tried to do digital frame grabs 2 years ago and print 2 pics for the jumpers to take home and after seeing the amount of ink it goes through, the 10 minutes per picture that was needed, all the attention needed to make sure all the equipment was running right and every thing I did'nt think the person doing it considered it a good investement since he droped it mid season.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery


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I switched from Sony Hi-8 camcorders to Mini-DV about 5 years ago now when I bought a Sony DCR-TrV-7..:)BUT... I can land,,, quick review the tape,, pause/grab a nice close up image of the tandem
student with a nice smile on their face,,,S-video cable it,,, into the deck and in about a minute and a half,,,,(while I am getting out of my gear,, and jumpsuit,,,) I have a pretty decent,,,digital print....
And often before the student has gotten out of their own jumpsuit,, I run over and hand them a "pleasant and unexpected surprise"... Plus it is INSTANT....... in some cases a student will offer to pay me for it,, in which case,, i graciously accept,,,
or else,, If they have just paid for a video,, I "throw it in" for nothin'.......IF I liked the person....
With this approach,,, it is comepletly up to ME whether someone gets a print or not.... I do NOT make a big deal about "offering" stills... Cause that can become a pain... Then people EXPECT some
magazine cover type pics,, and it becomes a case
of students "having it their way"...:S We are not an amusement park,, we are not a fast food joint,,,
we are not Wal-Mart..... we are a club,,, and if students want to join us fine....:D:)With this deck,,(no computer needed) I can make up a print or not,,,, I often say, " since you can't put
your video onto the refridgerator with a magnet,,, here is a snapshot for you" most students are very appreciative.... and the cost to me,, just adds into my outlay for film, tapes, batteries, etc... ( no big deal).... The printing deck only cost me around 350 bucks then.... now they are cheaper.....and they give you a good alternative to a costly and involved printer set up.... P S... I also fire a Canon Rebel 2000 and so I do get some great still images,,,,only they are NOT instant....( Please see above reference to "fast food" ) :ph34r: If the student has a close friend or a Mom or Dad there,,, I try to notice,,, and then simply dial up 2 or 3 prints,, all at the same time,, and give one to the Fam. member/friend as well...... It generates.. alot of good will for the DZ and many smiles,,,,
Also.. other videographers at the club are welcome to ask me to make a print for their subjects,,, in which case I do,,, but THEN I usually ask 3 bucks/ print.....from their student
I had thought of a way to make a "Print Dubbing"
Self Service Station..... to leave full time at the DZ...
but have not worked out all the details on that one yet>>>>>:)to dial in the best focused image)

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