Photography Proposal

Photography Project Overview

We envision the photography program to be a sustainable, revenue producing enterprise designed to provide both the visitors and the community with pictures at a reasonable cost. This program would be run by a group (under 4) of people as an extension of the co-researcher program. Services would be provided in the form of a photographer, printed photos and picture boards. This could possibly be expanded to small knickknacks (such as picture frames or key-chain devices) as the program grows.

Hopefully this program will be able to provide employment for some residents while giving the community another way to connect with each other. Additionally we plan for this program to help preserve the memories and experiences of visitors and volunteers from all walks of life.

Purpose for Photography Program

The purpose of this picture program involves several aspects. The first aspect is to expand the co-researcher program into a possible job opportunitie. Because of the over-saturated job market in South Africa, job creation has been named as a major goal for the current president. We hope to contribute to this goal and by extension, the individuals themselves.

The second goal is to provide a convenient service to the visitors and volunteers of the Shaster Foundation. Due to the nature of the work and activities at the compound, trying to take pictures (particularly of yourself) can be extremely difficult and awkward. Instead, a dedicated resident taking pictures will do so less obtrusively and get much more natural photos than otherwise.

The third goal is to help bring the community together through the picture boards. We plan to have several different boards, showing everything from volunteers to local businesses. The community members themselves have a separate board dedicated to pictures for themselves and their families. We hope that this service will improve community morale while building an interest in the work that Shaster is doing.

Program Operations Plan

The operations plan for the photography program relies on several different sources. The first source is the guests and volunteers who visit the Indlovu center. Pictures of these people can be taken by the photo shop operators. This service can be extended to tours that they wish to take of Monwabisi Park. Although guests would have the freedom of taking pictures within or near the general vicinity of the Indlovu center, should the guests desire to go into the community they will be required to use this photo service. There will be a charge for having the pictures taken as well as a charge for the pictures themselves. The photo taking can be presented as a package that will compliment the tours that already exist in Monwabisi Park.

These pictures can then be given to the guests and volunteers in a compact disk or printed out as different sized pictures. Frames will also be available for purchase that will be handmade by the photo shop operators. There will also be a postcard option where the guests and volunteers can have their picture printed on a postcard template. Should the guests or volunteers want to leave a picture of themselves and at the community center, they may do so without a charge. This will be a way in which the Indlovu center thanks the guests and volunteers for their support.

The second source of business for this program is the businesses around Monwabisi Park themselves. A picture of the business will be taken by one of the photo shop operators and then displayed at the community center along with information about the company as a form of advertisement. The charge would cover the cost of the photo and the posting on the advertisement board.

Should there be pictures of the guests and volunteers taken with community members in them, these pictures would be displayed on another bulletin board at the community center. This would show appreciation to the community and these pictures can be viewed at anytime.

Lastly, the community can have one photo of their family posted on the community board for free. In total there will be three boards, one for advertisement, one for community and one for volunteers and workers. These boards will be posted in prominent places as to build community awareness. We also plan to have the co-researchers make up advertisements for the business.  

We hope to expand the photo shop project to eventually provide other services such as yearly portraits for the children in the crèche as well as family portraits for the family in Monwabisi Park. There will be a charge for a package that will include different sized pictures. If there are any weddings, birthday parties and other celebrations in the park, the shop can be hired to be the photographers and a price will be charged for the services as well as the pictures.

Cost Analysis  


From our brief research into the guestbook of the Indlovu project along with interviews of residents, we found that there is an average of four volunteers a month. Once the guest house is finished, we estimate (through talking with the economy team) another four guests per month. This represents a total of eight people per month for the photography program. We believe that this a conservative estimate over the next year.  

Equipment Options:

There are several packages that can be purchased to start the program. Although the capital costs for some vary, one must also look at the operational costs of ink and paper.


Camera Cost

Printer Cost

Ink Cost

Need Computer?

Large Photo per Ink Cartridge



2200 R

300 R


80 (estimated)


900 R

500 R

1000 R


130 (estimated)


900 R

1200 R

500 R


200  (estimated)

Note: We have found a photo paper source that will sell 100 sheets for R160. We will use this number as a baseline for all calculations.

Option 1:

This package contains a digital camera, printer and starting supplies. This option is very convenient as the interface is pre-designed to be very simple. There is no need for a computer should we decide to drop the option. Camera resolution 8.3 mega-pixels per shot – decent but not great.  The total capital cost of the unit is R2400 (including the cost of the camera memory card).

The ink for this printer cost R300 and is quoted to last 80 pages. Therefore, the operational cost of this printer/camera combination is the photo paper (R160 per 100 pages) plus the ink, results in a final operational cost of R5.35 per photo.

Further Options and Camera

Both option 2 and 3 contain units where we purchase the printer and camera separately. To this end, we have identified three separate cameras in order of quality to purchase with these options. The main difference in quality is the mega-pixel count. All cameras have card capabilities and include basic camera editing options (lighting and flash) along with movie options.

The three different options are:

Fujifilm A180, Mega Pixel Count: 10, Cost: R999

Kodak C140, Mega Pixel Count: 8.2, Cost: R899

Kodak Advanced Line, Mega Pixel Count: 12, Cost: R1100

Each one of these cameras will require a memory card, costing approximately R200.

Option 2:

This option is buying purchasing the camera and printer separately. The camera option is identified above. The printer option is the HP 2563. This is a cheaper printer, with less quality than any of the other printers mentioned. This is a good chance that the print quality will impact the photo. The cost for this printer is R500.

The downside to this printer is the fact that it requires an external computer and has a high operational cost. The ink for this printer cost R1000 and is quoted to last 150 pages. Therefore, the operational cost of this printer/camera combination is the photo paper (R160 per 100 pages) plus the ink, results in a final operational cost of R8.26 per photo.

Option 3:

The last reasonable option we were able to find was actually the recommendation of the store employees. As with the last option, we would buy the camera separate, while the printer would be the Cannon mp550. This printer specializes in efficient photo printing – exactly what we would want. The capital cost of this printer is similar to the first option, retailing for R1500. This printer would not only be able to function without an external computer, but is also capable of copying and scanning. Although neither of these functions is for planned business features, they could be considered down the road.  

The operation cost of this printer is the best of all the options. Although the ink appears to cost a lot, there is a reason. The cartridges are separated in colors to allow for the best efficiency. That way, you are only replacing the colors that are truly out, instead of all of them at one time. So although the ink estimate is high, the probable cost will be lower by R300. The first set of ink for this printer cost R720 and is quoted to last 200 pages. Therefore, the operational cost of this printer/camera combination is the photo paper (R160 per 100 pages) plus the ink, results in a final operational cost of R5.2 per photo.

Digital Transfer Option

To further make the photography business more presentable we considered a digital option of transferring photos to customers. This option is going to increase the complexity of the business because of the requirement of a computer. Also, this will increase the cost of the system.


The operational cost of a computer and cds are very low. Writable CD’s currently cost R179 per 50 pack. However, the lowest cost for a sufficient computer (with a burner on board) R4500 +/- R500 depending on the model. One solution would be to use a laptop for training and donate the server computer for use after the WPI team has left.


The level of complexity goes up drastically as we implement a computer into this process. The problems that could arise can no longer be trained for case by case, which raises the training time. Although we cannot prepare the co-researchers for all problems faced, we feel confident that we could equip them to handle any day-to-day problems that might arise. Should there be a catastrophic error, we hope to identify a computer consultant to help with the problem. 

Employee Compensation

Although we have yet to talk to Shaster regarding employee compensation, the communications team has brainstormed some preliminary prices.  These prices are for guests and businesses unless otherwise marked.

Photographer around the compound: Have a person follow you around for a couple hours taking pictures. Afterwards the wanted pictures can be printed at an additional cost (below). Cost for photographer: R40. (R20 for volunteers)

Photographer and tour around Monwabisi Park: Have a person follow you around for a couple hours taking pictures. Afterwards the wanted pictures can be printed at an additional cost (below). Cost for photographer: R60.  (R30 for volunteers) (mandatory)

Photo Printing: Print the wanted photos on a piece of paper. Large photos (page): R40, regular photos (4×6): R20. (Volunteers, R30 and R20 respectively) This includes the cost of printing the photo.  

Photo Posting: Guests and companies post their photo on a board, along with sponsoring businesses. The cost is R20. (Free printing and posting for workers and volunteers on their board)

According to our research and a preliminary base cost of printing photos of R6 we estimate (with 4 guests and 4 volunteers a month – 5 photos each) that the total income for this job is R920 per month. (including two company advertisements per month)

  All costs are subject to change depending on Shaster’s input. We do not believe that these details will impact the overall capital purchase of the equipment. 

Conclusion and Final Recommendations

Based on the above analysis we believe that the best option would be to purchase the R999 camera with the Cannon Printer (R1299).  This will provide the optimal combination of reasonable cost, good and simple equipment as well as room for expansion with copying and scanning. Additionally we think that the server computer should be reformatted with windows XP (for easy teaching) and donated to the site. This decision can be reevaluated next year. The total capital cost is the printer (R1299), camera (R999), memory card (R200) and batteries (R60) – totaling R2,558 – not including the various taxes.

Our plan is to buy the photo printing set that includes the camera, printer, and paper to start the photo business in Monwabisi Park and facilitate the celebration day.  The setup we suggest allows pictures to be printed immediately on site and function without a computer for the celebration day and in the future.