What I love about Charity Fest is the variety of programs we hear about and the number of photographers who are willing to share. This idea is from Ed and Krystal Cicenas of EMC Photography. They live in Clinton, Illinois. I love the way this is building brand recognition throughout their community. Plus, they're building a reputation with a number of other vendors in town. Skip Cohen
We decided to do something very different -- for our community and the many of the folks who can’t afford good professional photography. For some, our event might be the only image captured of their child by a professional.
Yearly, the merchants in the downtown area give away candy on Halloween. We’ve been on the downtown Square now for two years . . . and decided candy was an easy way out. We opened up our studio for a “photo-as-a-treat.”
In just one hour we had 102 kids stop in to our two-person operation to get their photos taken in costume. The catch? None. It was complete craziness and insanity.
We posted all the photos on Facebook as high res photos and told everyone they could download to their heart’s content. We set it up at the local Walgreens and CVS to allow folks to print without copyright problems.
We quickly realized afterwards that many would never visit professionals due to cost, etc. It's super cool. It netted us a lot of good will and publicity. We even did a contest, those garnering the most likes on Facebook would win prints.
So this last year, we upped the ante. We opened it a couple hours before the trick-or-treating started. We told the local charities about it. We put up fliers telling others what we were doing.
Then Krystal went around and solicited donations from other Clinton businesses to get the photos printed of the costumed children. We wanted to make sure we had more time and every person actually got something in hand. We wanted to do more than just post the photos on Facebook. We already were consuming a lot of time and effort and just plain could not budget in the printing costs on top of that.
More than 155 costumed children flowed through our doors this time. Most of them during that one hour period, of course. And we know some looked at the lines outside of our studio and chose not to wait. From babies to tweens.
Wow, the reaction and everything from those who came was fantastic! And even more of kudos to other businesses who chose to donate so we could do the printing. They had no clue what they would get out of the deal other than just good will.
We’ve already started thinking about what we might do this coming Halloween, because we really do want to get those who could not wait out the line outside our studio. We know that our studio location makes this a very unique opportunity for us, it’s not highly likely that most studios can even approach doing something like this.
But the reactions from the moms, the dads, the grand parents and so many others make this so worth it! Do some come that are our regular clients? A few, but very few. The majority really are those who would not even be Sears or Walmart clients.