Practice (and time) your lesson. Shutter Teachers kids classes run for approximately 45 minutes (kids have shorter attention spans) and our adult classes last two-hours. This is including time for questions, time to help students find settings and take practice shots. When class starts, have everyone go around the room and show off their camera. Ask them why they signed up for the course and what they like about photography. Then share your story and experience in photography. If you need assistance, you can find a variety of resources at ShutterTeachers.com.
Leave early enough to allow for traffic (especially if it’s a weekday evening class). When you arrive, set up the room. Have your photos displayed around the room or running on a slideshow behind you. Place some sample albums/sample images & business cards at the sign in table. Bring a sign-in sheet to collect names and e-mails to keep-in-touch after the class. Print and bind all materials ahead of time to easily pass them out in class. Collect your thoughts and meet/greet students as they arrive.
Pick specific days before you start promoting and make sure the space you are using/renting is available. The more dates you make available, the more opportunities you create for students to sign up. You may want to start small. If the venue is small and limited to a certain amount of people, you’ll need a way to track each person who signs up. We use a calendar. When a student RSVPs, we write his or her name on the calendar for that date. When the date is full, we stop promoting that day.
There are several ways to promote your class.
- Group deal sites, like Groupon or Living Social: read the fine print for the price/split they give you and confirm the expiration date, the terms if the student doesn’t use the voucher by a certain date, etc…
- Eventbrite.com: use this website and give clients a code to RSVP online. Eventbrite will track the number of students the “event” is limited to and when to open/close sales.
- Flyers: put up flyers at your local library, supermarket, coffee shop and local camera shop.
- Cross-promote: try partnering/cross promoting with shops who sell camera gear… i.e. buy a camera and get “x”% percent off your photography class with “your photo studio.” We talked to a local art school for kids and they promoted our classes in exchange for a small % and allowed us to utilize their facility. We were also able to cross promote with the local animal shelter to advertise our classes there for a small fee. If you’re going to go this route be sure you adjust your curriculum to include tips on photographing pets. Students will still need to know the basics.