Our idea was a seasonal photo booth. In front of a staged living room fireplace decorated for Christmas, people can use props and dress-up clothing to create a cheesy, fun portrait of themselves and their friends for use on their social media channels.
Who was in your group?
Myself, Loren, and Frances.
How did you arrive at your innovative idea?
We discussed all the skills and knowledge that we had, what happened last year, and openly shared our ideas on what we’d like to do. We kept going through ideas until we all agreed on a couple. We then looked at our favourite ideas in comparison to what was successful the year before, what was affordable, and what we could achieve in the time. We then considered our aims for the project – we all wanted to make as much money as possible for the charity – and whittled the ideas down to the seasonal photo booth.
What ideas did you reject?
Collaborative zine making because not everyone liked the idea, and several making stalls because of the costs and quantity of materails.
How did the group dynamics work?
The three of us work really well together because we are honest with our thoughts, are each willing to do our fair share of the work, and we do what we say we will. We have different styles and interests which complement each others and we are all willing to compromise to achieve the best for the group yet not afraid to fight for what we believe will work best.
Target Audience: who is the stall aimed at and why?
The stall was aimed at students with a sense of fun and who are social media savvy. We choose this audience because the stall would be in a central location in an art college.
- Easy to use
- Can use with friends
- Cheap to make stall
- Large groups of people can use
- People may be camera shy
- People may not want their picture on internet
- We may find groups overwhelming
- High and fast turnover of people
- No limit to amount of people who can use the booth
- Individuals may not want to use the booth alone
- Internet could cause problems
- We may find larger groups overwhelming
- The theme is Christmas – Not everybody celebrates Christmas
- Money going towards charity – some people may not agree with chosen charity
- Low cost of making the backdrop
- No printing cost as we’re using blog to display images
- High turnover of people so more donations
- People can make own donation so does not limit people with less money
- Useable for all ages, gender etc.
- Not suitable for all religions – only ones who celebrate Christmas
- Blog could have technical issues
- Internet connection could stop working
- Photo’s on internet may not be secure
- Using internet can be fast way of people getting their photos
- a funny and memorable moment with friends captured to entertain known others online
- user decides
- donations only, no fixed price
- collected in branded fundraising bucket to emphasis the purpose, encourage generosity, and collect money from participants
- cafe bar, utilising wall space
- transform into a Christmas living room
- props, word of mouth
- charity banner
- our blog – http://yourphotosareon.tumblr.com/ – and the slips that communicated the address where people can see their photos
The activity was free but we asked for donations to the charity. This was a psychological strategy that was to encourage greater giving and allow people not participating to still feel like they could give, and for those without much money, the ability to participate and give (getting 5p was better than nothing and having activity at the stall encouraged more people to come over to see what’s going on!). Charity bracelets were available to anyone who donated £1 or more.
How much did it cost to create and set up the stall?
The materials needed to create the stall were taken for the library and were free as they were slightly damaged or were packaging from items in the shop. The Christmas decorations and additional dressings came from our own collections. In addition, £1 was spent on card and tissue paper for the fire and printing the picture above the fireplace, and £2 was spent of dressing up items. In total we spent £3 on the stall.
The branded fundraising items and promotional bracelets were on a sale or return basis, so cost nothing.
As we spent so little we were confident that the costs would be covered. The other stalls were on average charging 50p a go – if people were influenced by what other people were charging, that would mean that we would only needed 6 participants, which could be achieved in just one photo.
We made around £43 and did not need a float. The straight profit was £40 once the costs were subtracted. We won the prize for the most profitable stall. We were really pleased as raising funds was our priority, even over creativity.
We offered a fun, welcoming, and immersive experience for individuals and groups of friends. Having 60 different people participate (excluding the group photo) in 33 different photos is testament to this.
We attracted customers using Fran talking to people and flashing her charity bucket. We also relied on people seeing other people having fun taking part and talking about it afterwards, either in person or by reposting their images, which were immediately posted onto the Tumblr blog. The experience was personalised so they could get the most out of it – this was by them choosing their own props to make the photo, and the people they wanted to take their photo with. We kept people at the stall by watching others having fun getting their photo taken and allowing them to rummage through the dressing up box to prepare for their photo while they were waiting.
Stall in use
My responsibility was to bring in my Christmas decorations and help create and set-up the set. This was shared amongst the three of us. My individual responsibility was to get a trial copy of Lightroom on my laptop and use it during the session to immediately post the image to our blog http://yourphotosareon.tumblr.com/. We were aware that the weakness of many of the photo stalls last year was the delay in getting photos to the participant and we didn’t want to let people down with a delay. Posting immediately was also part of the promotional strategy. We were never quiet.
What problems were there?
- There wasn’t enough space for the stall; even when we reduced our footprint it was difficult for people to get past us and exit the area. The passing traffic would have been more beneficial if the people weren’t so focussed on how to get past.
- We were next to a water based activity, which was not our choice and was pretty silly considering we had a lot of electrical equipment. I had to ask people taking part in the Free the Battery Hen activity not to be so rough as I had no other safer places to put the laptop or camera but next to it.
- It took a little longer than expected to set up and people started coming around earlier too. Although we had done a significant amount of prep, we hadn’t factored in that everyone would be moving a lot of stuff downstairs on the lift, which slowed things up. There were also delays in getting the camera and laptop set up as initially Lightroom wouldn’t work, even though we had practiced earlier in the week. We could not have set the camera up any earlier as we didn’t know where we were going to be so were undersure of the lighting.
- Lightroom kept crashing.
What would I do differently next time?
- Had controlled lighting so we didn’t need to readjust the camera settings often as the sun got lower in the afternoon. However, studio lighting would have been too hot, dangerous, and space consuming using the layout as allocated.
- Use a full copy of Lightroom so it wouldn’t crash so often and the photos would have automatically posted to a blog (the add-in that posted wasn’t available in the trial version)
- Had another person in the group so that we could have had more time to visit everyone else’s stalls
How could it be changed to be better and generate more money?
I don’t think we could have made anymore money than we did. Perhaps if we offered a printout or Polaroid service to complement the online version we could have made a little more, however we would have had to spend significant amounts to be able to offer the service and the profit margin would have been minimal.
What skills have I learned and how can they be applied in the future?
I’ve learnt more about set dressing and photography, which I’m not sure how I will use in the future as it wasn’t at a very high standard, for example for theatre or film. I already had professional-level business and marketing skills as I have worked as a marketing and communications manager in many organisations for many years.