Figuring out Reenactment Photography Packages: Individual and Unit Portraits

So, I’ve decided that one of the things I want to focus on over the next few months is how to combine my two loves, reenacting and photography, into something profitable.  Yesterday I took one of the first steps toward this by asking my various Facebook reenactor friends whether or not they’d hypothetically pay to have me do portraiture and general unit photography at events.  The response was overwhelmingly positive, so I’ve started brainstorming a bit as to how to structure it all, etc.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, and it is by no means set in stone.  I will obviously be significantly rewriting this to emphasize why reenactors will want this, but for now, this is just text to explain what I’m thinking of for each package.

Individuals

Individual sessions are a chance for reenactors and/or their families to have professional portraits taken of them while they’re at an event.  Most reenactors only have random snapshots of themselves at events, and this is an opportunity to get a keepsake of their involvement in the reenacting world.  If they have a new impression that they want to show off, this is an excellent way to do that as well.

30 Minute Mini-Sessions

This package includes 30 minutes of dedicated shooting time at an event, and 10 hand-finished digital files.  Prints may be purchased separately.  30 minutes is generally enough to shoot in two locations at the site, as long as they aren’t too far apart.

Price: $90

60 Minute Full Sessions

This package includes 60 minutes of dedicated shooting time at an event, and 15 hand-finished digital files, as well as one 8.5×11 print.  Additional prints may be purchased separately.  60 minutes is generally enough to shoot in three to four locations at the site.

Price: $150

Family Supplement

Since my prices are based on shooting only one or two people at a time, for more than two individuals, a family surcharge of $50 is added to the price of the previous packages.

 

Units

I have several options available to units, ranging from a quick and easy group shot to a full documentation of your unit over the course of an event.

30 Minute Unit Group Photo Sessions

This package is for units who want to have a few professional photos taken.  For 30 minutes, I will photograph the unit either in traditional formal group shots, in candid and relaxed group shots, in posed action shots, or in a combination of all of the above.  The unit will receive 20 finished digital files.

If individual unit members wish to also have photos taken of them at this time, I will be available for 5-10 minutes per member at a rate of $25 per member.  If members want more time, mini-sessions can be purchased at a discounted rate of $50, provided that they are booked before or during the unit shoot.

Digital files will be provided to unit members for use on websites, etc, and prints can be purchased separately.

Price: $125

60 Minute Unit Package

This package is for units who want to have professional photos taken of both the unit and of individual members, or for units that want more time to get a good set of action shots.  For 60 minutes, I will photograph the unit either in traditional formal group shots, in candid and relaxed group shots, in posed action shots, or in a combination of all of the above, as well as any individuals who would like some personal attention.  No extra fee is charged to individuals with this package, provided that the shots are taken during the hour-long period.  More time can be purchased at a rate of $40 an hour.  The unit will receive 30-40 digital files.

Note: This is the best deal I offer!

Digital files will be provided to unit members for use on websites, etc, and prints can be purchased separately.

Price: $225

A note about travel fees:

If the reenactor schedules a session with me at an event I was already planning on attending, there is no additional fee.  If I was not planning on attending an event, there will be a travel fee of $25 per 150 miles from Alexandria, VA.  If multiple parties are interested in having portrait sessions at an event I wasn’t planning on attending, I will divide the fee between the various parties.  If they really want to book me for a shoot but can’t afford an un-split fee, I will also do my best to find other clients to shoot at that event, to lower costs.

A note about my pricing:

In order for me to pay my bare minimum of bills, I need at least $1000 a month.  Since I go to about two events a month on average (and I will definitely be attending more events if this becomes a big thing for me), that means I need to clear at least $500 each weekend.  If I’m shooting just individuals, that’s 2-4 shoots, depending on what packages are chosen and how many prints are ordered.  If I’m shooting a unit, that’s one unit shoot per weekend.

One thing to keep in mind is that the reenactors aren’t just paying for their time in front of my camera, they’re paying for the time I have to spend processing and editing the photos afterward (which is actually the most time-consuming part of the process and is comparable to darkroom fees in former days), they’re paying for my equipment, and most of all, they’re paying for my skills and experience as a photographer, as well as my understanding of reenactors and the reenacting hobby.

The other thing to keep in mind is that most reenactors will readily plop down this amount of cash for a new piece of clothing or campware, and good quality photographs of a reenactor in their heyday in the hobby will be far more cherished 20 years from now than that new campfire reflector oven they’re lusting over.  For units, the cost of having unit photos taken can be divided among the unit members, and with high quality, professional photographs of the unit, they’re far more likely to get new recruits in the future.

I should also note that these prices are sort of “early bird” prices.  As soon as I get more established, these prices will go up, but for right now I’m willing to work for less because the folks who will be the first to know about all of this are the people who have known me the longest and who I know will help me advertise through word of mouth.  If the response is good and I’m getting a reasonable amount of work, I’ll raise prices by 50% after 6 months.  If I continue to get clients at the same rate at that price, I’ll raise it by another 50% after another 6 months.

Next post:  Unit Shadowing and Event Photography

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3 Responses to Figuring out Reenactment Photography Packages: Individual and Unit Portraits

  1. Lothar says:

    I find these prices to be very reasonable. With a good sized unit, the cost could easily be divided up among members to make it more affordable. I would certainly be willing to pay for a group package in the future when I’m not broke.

    • Kelsey Freeman says:

      Yes. With a ten person unit, the 30 minute package is less than you’d spend on lunch, and the 60 minute package is less than you’d spend on dinner, per person. Even with a five person unit, the price is still very reasonable ($20-$45) when you consider what you’re getting out of it.

      If you figure out which even you want me to shoot you guys at, let me know!

  2. Pingback: Figuring Out Reenactment Photography Packages: Unit Shadowing and Event Coverage | Behind the Glass

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