One of the easiest ways of making extra money is with a camera. More people own cameras than radios, and photography is the fastest growing hobby in the world. Yet using a camera as an extra income tool is largely overlooked!
With a little imagination, a flair for showmanship, and just a hint of salesmanship, the average man or woman, or even teenager, can easily make an extra $300 a week with his camera.
You don't have to have one of the popular, more expensive cameras either, or a loot of high priced attachments and equipment. In many instances, a Polaroid or other "off-the-wall" camera will suit the purposes perfectly. The only special piece of extra equipment you may want to invest in would be a tripod for mounting the camera in certain situations.
One of the easiest ideas is to visit a children's clothing store in one of your busy shopping centers, or the children's department in one of your large department stores. Sell the manager or store owner on the idea of your setting up in a corner of the store or department, and taking pictures of the shoppers' children. He can promote the fact that you'll be in the store taking pictures for special prices during certain hours - perhaps on Friday evenings and all day Saturdays - in his advertising, thus drawing patrons into his store because of you.
You'll need a sheet or a plain piece of material, or some sort of imaginative set for a background. But this you can easily make or build yourself. You should also have an eye-catching poster that calls attention to what you're doing and the prices you're charging. Unless you're a commercial artist, spend the money to have this sign made for you by a professional. The next and last thing you'll need will be a 2-part receipt or coupon.
This can be a simple piece of paper about 2" wide by 5" long. On the left side draw lines for your customers to fill in their name, telephone number and address. You might also want to include space for additional information such as the child's name and age and the number of children in the family, for future efforts, but keep it brief and simple.
On the right hand side of this coupon, have your business name, address and telephone number, plus a quick outline of the different kinds of photography work you handle, and perhaps a business slogan such as "Satisfaction Guaranteed or You Don't Pay."
To add a little bit of class to this coupon, take the basic outline of this idea over to an instant print shop. Tell them what you want; show them your outline; and have them typeset everything. Then put a fancy border around the whole coup on and have it printed on colored paper. The best color of paper is a "dollar bill" shade of green. If you want to give it even more class, you could have it printed on green, lightweight card stock. You'll want to divide the "information" side o f this coupon from the "business card" side with a dotted line and perforations.
If you layout this coupon properly. You should be able to get six of them on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper or card stock. This means the printer can print and cut 6,000 of them for about the same cost as printing 1,000 circulars or flyers.
On your printing, shop around for the best deal, but in the end, it shouldn't cost you more than about $60 for all 6,000 coupons which will come from those 1,000 sheets of paper or card stock.
Now, when you take a person's picture, regardless of whether it's an "in-store" set-up, out on the golf course, or along the street, you give your customer one of your coupon-receipts and tell them their prints will be ready in a couple of days. They fill in the information part of the coupon and give it back to you, retaining your "business card" portion of it.
When the prints are ready, you can phone the customer and remind him - volunteer to deliver and collect; send them through mail with a bill; or make arrangements with a store to take care of them until the people call for them and pay at that time.
Most stores, golf courses, bowling centers, and other retail merchants will be glad to handle this part of it for you, because it brings the customers back into the places of business, and provides another sales opportunity for them.
By all means, be sure to include an advertising circular with each set of pictures you deliver. This circular should explain how the customer can get more prints, how he can get enlargements of his favorites, and details relating to all the other photography services you offer.
Back to the original "in-store" picture taking set-up during evening shopping hours and on weekends for extra income. You can call attention to your "in-store" set-up and bring in more business with a few merchandising promotional ideas. In the following paragraphs we give the highlights of a few ideas that have worked well, however, you should keep your eyes open to observe additional promotional ideas that could be adapted to fit your new business.
Dress a helper in a clown suit, and take pictures of the kids on his lap or with his arm around the kids. Put a sandwich advertising board on a helper and let him stroll through the shopping center advertising the fact that you're in Kiddie Clothing store taking pictures.
Promote a "Baby of the Year" contest where you take pictures of babies, display the pictures on a "show board" and offer $100 cash plus a merchandise prize in a big drawing at the end of the year.
Set up a booth in the mall and promote "Instant Snapshots." Be a Roving Photographer and take candid shots of shoppers and promote a "Shopper of the Year" contest. Work with a clown and have him "attach himself" to the kids, and ask if they'd like to have their pictures taken with him. Build an inexpensive and portable set, such as an air plane, a race car, bucking bronco, hand-shaking scene with a famous person or "balloon figures" and take pictures of people standing in or on these sets.
Get out to the golf course and take pictures of the golfers teeing off. Get over to the bowling centers and take candid shots of the bowlers in action. Do the same thing wherever there's a sports event taking place. Be on the spot and ready whenever there's an opportunity to take team pictures.
You might follow, or hire someone else to follow a Little League team through its season, take candid and action shots. You then arrange the best of these pictures in a photo album with the team's name and year on the front. You should be able to sell one of these albums to each member of the team.
There's also the idea of "just strolling through the park" on a Sunday afternoon. You take candid and interesting pictures of couples, children and people in general spending time with their relatives.
Keep tabs on the announcements of new births. Send advertising literature to the new mothers, and follow up with phone calls efforts to set up photography sessions.
Keep tabs on the engagement notices in the weekend papers. Send your sales literature to the brides-to-be, and follow up with phone call efforts to take the wedding pictures.
Set up household and business photo inventory service. With this idea, you contact the insurance companies and determine if they will approve and endorse photographs you take of their policy holders' household, personal and business property in loss claims.
Most will, and from there - working either with the help of an insurance agent, the agency itself, or on your own - contact owners of property and sell them on the idea of your taking pictures of the household goods they have insured. You take pictures - a pictorial inventory of everything they're claiming or would like to claim on an insurance policy - and then identify the pictures, giving one set to the property owner and the other set to his insurance agent or company.
Picture inventories of household and personal property is still a new thing, but everywhere it's been introduced, it's definitely proven to be a super money-maker for the people willing to get out and hustle.
If this idea arouses your interest, you might want to check into a going franchise operation that gives you a complete business manual, operations guidebook, and ongoing consultation services: Photographic Inventory, PO Box 4046, Morgantown, WV 26505.
Once you decide that using your camera to generate extra income is what you're going to do, get out and use your camera, start taking pictures, and allow yourself the opportunity to build. Give yourself the chance, and you'll quickly beg in to think of hundreds of ideas for taking pictures, merchandising ideas for promoting your services, and sales angles for increasing your profits.
The important thing is to get started, regardless of how small your start, and begin chasing in on an idea that's still in its infancy. This is an idea that can produce new concepts for profit every day of the weak. An idea that can be fun, as well as financially rewarding for you!
You've got the idea and the plan - the rest is up to you. You've got the ball; now run with it!