Advice for Prom Photographers
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Peter Stevenson (left), from photographer insurance specialist InFocus Insurance, has seen an increase in the number of photographers looking to take advantage of the trend for teen prom parties that require a photographer. Here’s how you can benefit from them and a few things you need to know before you start using your shots.
Britain appears to be in the grip of prom fever and it can be an opportunity for photographers to secure business as extravagant teens vie to outdo each other.
Proms have become big business in Britain as GCSE students celebrate the end of their exams. Many events are months in the planning with school leavers donning expensive suits and dresses to mark the occasion. The success of US TV shows including Glee and My Super Sweet 16 have contributed to the growth in these US-style school-leaving parties. Many teens are willing to splash out hundreds of pounds on extravagant photography to capture their big moment.
From getting into the limo, to arriving at the venue, to the event itself, they don’t want to miss a moment. It is estimated that more than three quarters of school leavers now celebrate with a bash. Most involve stretch limos, hours in a beauty salon and extravagant dresses. We’ve had lots of calls from photographers that are busier than ever with bookings for prom parties across the country.
To capture the moment, many prom goers are booking photographers and for many, it’s an excellent source of income. However, if photographers are tempted to enter this area, they should take steps to ensure they follow the rules.
Age of consent
The first thing to consider when taking photos of a prom party is the age of consent. It could be necessary for photographers to get consent by proxy from the school organising the prom who in turn would be obliged to get consent from parents. Photographers should compile a form that details what the activities are and who is in charge of the photography session. Even though the prom is an extra-curricular event the school is hosting it and acting as event organisers. This means it is ultimately responsible for the children – even those over the age of consent of 16.
It can be difficult to gauge the correct age of a student and if you’re in doubt always ask for identification. An insurance policy could cover your legal fees if there were any dispute after photos have been taken.
The next thing to check is that your policy covers any loss or damage to your equipment that could happen on the night. With spirits running high, damage to your expensive equipment is not completely out of the question. If someone stands on an expensive piece of kit with a stiletto heel, make sure your policy will cover it. Similarly, if you have to leave anything valuable in your car, make sure it is hidden from view and again check that your policy covers items left unattended at the time of the prom. Also, check that there are no time restrictions on your policy – you might be surprised to learn that some policies will not cover equipment if it is stolen from your car at night.
Once you have taken the photos and sent them to your client, make sure you protect your copyright and prevent photos from being printed without permission. Agree exactly what the prom party can do with them. This should be in writing to ensure you’re fully covered. Photographers must protect their pictures from being published without permission. They should also be wary of publishing any pictures on the internet that you have taken, for example, showcasing them on your website or printing them in a brochure without obtaining written permission first. This can stray into the arena of a breach of privacy but is easily avoidable.
It’s clear there are vast opportunities for photographers to take advantage of opportunities in the prom market. My advice is, do your research first and make sure you’re fully insured.
Words by Peter Stevenson from InFocus Insurance