Show & Tell Marketing for the Photographer


When the stars all align for you–take advantage of the moment. For me, my moment is now. My daughter is in the musical Into The Woods this April at her high school. She is the witch in the play. [Much of the type on our banner and posters are controlled by the licensing contract we signed to do the space]

The school buys the rights to produce the show. So they need to recover around $10,000 for the total costs of putting on the play. One of the ways they will recover the price is ticket sales. Another way is selling ads for the program. The last method is through donations.

Parents volunteer to help build the set, costumes, ticket sales, ushering, and many other roles to help keep our costs down.

The 6′ x 9′ Banner in front of the school was near the corner with a traffic light.

My wife and I volunteered to help with the PR since we both work in the industry. I was very excited about shooting some promotional photos of the primary characters for the musical. I had been researching other promotional shoots for Into The Woods and started thinking we could do some of what I saw with the Disney production.

I figured that much of our audience would be more familiar with the movie with Meryle Streep and Johnny Depp than the play productions. As a nod to the film is why I shot the poster shot in this style.

The school has had banners of the sports teams for a couple of years in front of the school. I think this is now a trend around the country. But unfortunately, the art kids don’t have the same backing and promotions due to more parents and the community not supporting them in the same way.

While a banner in front of the school helps just like a billboard promotes a product, the other thing the banner does is help celebrate our arts kids.

I also bought the domain name to help us with promoting the play and directing everyone to the website where they can buy tickets. But, of course, you can also buy them–HINT HINT!!

Click on the photo to enlarge.

I decided I would pay for the banner and all the photo shoots. Paying for the banner was my way of helping as one of the parents. My wife came up with the concept of the Rate Card.

The Rate Card we designed was an 8.5″x11″ postcard. On the front was the poster, and on the back were the prices for the ads for the program. Each student/family is given 10 of these with a cover letter to call on businesses and individuals to take out ads. The company can then easily use the card as a poster in their store window or on the wall to promote the play.

Next, we started to use social media to promote the play. We are using all small events like putting up the banner as a good reason to post photos and always the #IntoTheWoods and pushing them to the website

We use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to help promote the musical. For example, we did individual shots of the cast members so we could post about each of them rather than using the same image over and over.

The banner again also is a way to celebrate the kids.

Besides this marketing campaign helping the school sell tickets, if this is more successful than in past years, I will have a great example to show all my clients and potential clients how I can help promote their brands using images to engage the audience.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

So here are the headshots I also did for the program and other PR uses.

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Now there is a considerable risk in doing all this work–if the sales are not better than in previous years, I will not have proved that my photography has helped with the promotion of a musical. So while there may be other circumstances that could impact it other than my photography, I will still not be able to show it was relevant.

Are you willing to take on a personal project and show that your photography can make a difference in your community?