Garage Sale Photobooth

All right, so you've got everything set up for your garage sale photobooth -- you've practiced your technique, your battery's charged, your tripod is set up.  Now it's time to get down to the business side, since the creativity's down pat.

A photo booth with varied costumes available.

How much should you charge for photos?  You have to put on two lenses when approaching pricing: the eyes of a garage saler, and the eyes of a professional photographer.  Photos of a professional quality run very high in price, from $50 to hundreds for a single session.  You have to decide if you're going to do much editing on these photos to raise the quality, or if you just want to offer that as a service.  Generally, people who want to get some high-quality images taken at a garage sale aren't going to be willing to pay more than $5 for several shots.  A good price range is $1 per file you send to them, maybe a little more if you want to push it.

A good idea for your advertising is to remind people of what they can use high-quality photos for: school, work, portfolios, Web sites, newsletters, holiday cards...the list is virtually endless!  If people come up to ask about your services, try to gauge what they might need and pitch it that way.  Perhaps it's a mother with young kids, who could use a good family photo for the newsletter.  Or maybe it's a smartly-dressed younger man who might need some shots for his personal Web site.

When someone approaches you to pay for your services, have them write down their email address on a piece of paper.  Next to this, when the session is over, you can write the file numbers they want sent to them (and/or edited, depending on if you plan to offer that as well).  That way, you won't have to be fumbling with twenty different slips of paper with vague instructions on them when it comes time to send the files on their way.  It'll also give people the confidence that they will see the product they paid for!

You may find that some of your photos are great, and you want to use them to put together a portfolio.  If you plan to do this at all, you'll need to get your "models" to sign permission slips allowing you to use their image.  This is especially important if you are photographing children, since they do not have legal clout and their parents will need to sign for them.  Make it a very non-threatening contract, with casual language, so people won't be afraid to sign.

What about deals and specialties?  You can offer to take things like passport photos (just learn the technique online first!) for a little extra money.  Or, put together some packages: five photos for $5, 10 photos for $7, etc., in the hopes that someone will be willing to pay the extra to get a few more shots.  Take your time when shooting multiple pictures, and make each one count -- that way, people will be more likely to buy a bunch off of you.

Who knows -- maybe your garage sale photobooth will land you a bigger gig!  If you can prove you are worthy, someone might come through who needs a wedding photographer last minute next week.  Bam!  A $500+ gig.  Or if a mom likes the way you took her child's picture, she could offer to recommend you to the elementary school principal as the next yearbook photographer.  Connections are everything when it comes to the creative arts, so work your garage sale hosting magic!

For more garage sale magic, come on over to, where we've got a ton of awesome resources at no charge to you.

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