Because we didn’t “officially” kill the Easter Egg Hunt until three weeks before Easter, I didn’t have that much time to put together the portrait thing. That’s okay since there wasn’t too much to do.

First, I contacted the photography team. We’ve got a dozen or so professional/semi-professional photographers at Gateway. Whenever we have events, they come out and snap pictures. It helps us have good coverage of an event and it helps them with exposure of their photography business. It took about a week, but I heard back from enough to have 3-5 photographers per service (we only did the portraits immediately following our three lesser attended services).

Second, I advertised the portraits. I didn’t say anything about not having a hunt or that this was replacing the hunt, we just said we’re offering free family portraits after these services to make room for our guests during the other service times. Here’s the actual page from our ministry blog. We also had this announced from the stage for a few weeks, in the program, it was in our leadership emails, and my weekly email to all of our parents.

Third, I worked with one of the photographers to scout out the ideal locations for photographs. We had sunny and rainy locations that didn’t get in the way, but were out in the open where people would see it and want to participate.

Forth, we set up our distribution mechanism. This is my favorite part. You may be wondering, “What an administrative nightmare, now you have to send photos to all these families and match up people with their pictures.” Nope. Welcome SmugMug. On of the photographer (and family friend) helped me set up a Gateway SmugMug account. It would eventually be the photography home for all events at Gateway, but we set this up with Easter photos in mind. I paid for the most expensive account (a few hundred bucks) so that all my photographers could have “assistant rights” and could log in and upload their photos. So, I have three galleries, one for each of the three services we took pictures at. Next week once all the photos are uploaded, we’ll send an email to all the families letting them know where they can go to find their pictures. They can look through the galleries and find their photos. Here is our Easter SmugMug site. The beautiful part about this is that they have options. They can download a high resolution photo themselves or they can actually use SmugMug to order prints of various sizes. Heck, they can even get their photos on mouse pads or coffee mugs. Tomorrow I have an admin typing in the 170 email addresses I collected last Sunday and I’ll send the email out next week. That’s very little admin work for a huge payout.

Last of all, I also had to create sings and release forms. Click here to see see the sign I designed and here to see the photo release. That was it. Yeah, we’re going to do this again.

So, what was the time investment? A few hours to get the photographers which will be easier next year as we’ll already have one year under out belts. What was the cost? About $100 for the signs and printing and a few hundred for SmugMug, all of which was a lot cheaper than the $4000 we would have spent on an Easter Egg Hunt? Oh, and you can get you money back on the SmugMug site. You can control the prices if people choose to order their prints from SmugMug. So, you can raise the price by 5-10% and when people order prints, you can earn money from that as well.