I just finished shooting our 2014 Tiny Dog Calendar. This is our 5th tiny calendar and every year, I enjoy it more. For those of you who haven’t seen them, it’s the format that is tiny, not the dogs. We have it printed at a local printing company with an Indigo digital press and it’s sized to fit in a CD case. The case flips open and creates a stand for the calendar pages which you select each month.
Each year I self-publish this calendar and give the proceeds to a local charity (usually an animal rescue organization) This year we put a new twist on it by allowing people to vote online for their favorite dog photo at a cost of $1 per vote –with all the voting dollars going to the local Humane Society. We sold 2749 votes and created a lot interest for the calendar — which we have now sent to the printer. For those of you planning a similar project, here are a few key points to remember:
1) The time to sell calendars is in the fall. Shoot when you want to, but if you can’t have them ready by October 1st, you will miss the majority of your sales. They are big for the holidays but after January 15th, retailers practically give them away.
2) Pet owners LOVE having a calendar model in the family — they will buy lots of copies to give as gifts and even pay for the privilege of being published in your calendar.
3) They are a great way to publicize your cause, your group and your photographic skill. And they are a TON of work.
4) There is risk. The best profits come from the larger orders — so shop around. Most printing companies will work with you but the cost for a small order is very high. Once you get over a 250, the price drops significantly and you can start to make a profit, but someone has to pay the upfront costs and most charities don’t want to risk their hard-earned funds. So you may be pulling the money out of your pocket to get the job done!
As soon as the calendars arrive, we’ll have them available on this blog, my website and at the studio — I hope you’ll purchase one and use the inspiration to publish a calendar for your favorite animal rescue charity!