Working here can be great and it can be horrible - it really all depends on your position and your district manager.
Everyone in the studio - boring days 75% of the time. Christmas season is insane. Expect to go into Walmart to try to bring in clients to photograph. This is hit an miss. Some locations have no issues with this, some have huge issues. It all depends on the customers in Walmart (something the company doesn’t understand) you will have sales goals, as ANY sales based job will have. Old equipment, no real editing software, old backgrounds and bad props. A strong sense of studio posing is needed for this job. If your a primarily outdoor photographer you’ll have to rethink how you shoot to get a grasp on this studio style. A couple years back they were talking about revamping the studios so the camera was removable, but that has yet to happen. You could get lucky and have a camera that tech support hasn’t locked, so you’ll have a little more freedom - but not much since the lighting is set so your stifled creatively. You will be expected to do some cold-calling to get past customers in to take photos. There is a minimum goal for this that changes (roughly 5-15 calls a day)!!!
Sales associate/part time photographer - minimum wage most likely. don’t go into the interview expecting full time hours. Some BAD district managers will say full time to get you in the door. Always expect part time, and severely so. A shift or two a week (7-14hrs). If you work over Christmas expect more hours, but hires during that time are mainly seasonal. There are hardly any bonuses for part timers. Some for OLP sales and some for bringing in first time clients, but there only a percent or two - nothing to get excited over. In general, if you do your job and keep to your goals as much as possible you should have a decent time here.
Studio managers - pay at this level doesn’t have a standard. I know some managers making minimum wage, some making $5-$10 more an hour, and some in between. There is a bonus structure, but it is entirely based on studio sales in comparison to the previous year. If your studio is positive to last years sales AND above the goal the company gave you you will earn a bonus every 3 months. It’s a decent bonus, but VERY hard to get for studios not in large cities. You, as the manager, get all the stress from your DM and associates. You get to deal with complaints, reshoots, angry customers and refunds. You get to do your own schedule!!
Regarding the district manager - I’ve had some great DM’s and one HORRIBLE one. The great ones will support you, back you up with complaints, be realistic in their goals and are generally nice people. Horrible ones will push for sales no matter what, never allow a studio to close even for emergencies, never give raises or do yearly evaluations, play favourites, treat photography like a “need” rather than a “want” for customers and expect you to sell it as such.
OLP (on location photography) - I personally did not do this, but I know a little about it. You can either be a contractor (just OLP) or an internal (Olp and Instudio) You provide all your equipment, internal photographers get paid an hourly premium based on your “photographer rating” (usually an extra $4-$10/hr), contractors get a base pay (I believe it’s $25/hr), your NOT paid mileage and get paid for 15 mins of upload time (regardless on if it takes 3 hours or not) they ask you DO NOT edit the photos, but if you do you are NOT paid for it.
Notes to the company:
- Do yourself a favour - WORK IN THE STUDIOS. Take a week or two, and actually do our job. Talk to our customers, understand what your asking of us.
- LOWER YOUR PASSPORT PRICE! $30 for a passport is ridiculous especially now that Walmart is doing passports IN THE SAME BUILDING (on that note - stand your ground with your contract!! This is ridiculous and makes our job IMPOSSIBLE!!)
- more bonus/commission opportunities. Pay your photographers what they deserve! You can’t expect us to have a sit every half hour, plus passports, ALONE, for minimum wage.
- LET US WEAR SOMETHING OTHER THAN BLACK AND WHITE!!! Employee morale goes a LONG way.
- give us ACTUAL editing software. DONT say we offer “professional editing” and then only allow us to make the photo black and white or sepia. To the public “Professional editing” means retouching, blemish removal and the like!!
Hour long lunches, awesome repeat customers, my current DM is amazing!
Low pay, high sales expectations, working alone, no real editing software, old equipment, cold calling.