1st Commission and it's a big one..

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by ottor, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I may have overstepped here... A couple of weeks ago, I went to a local Motocross and took some pics... They turned out pretty good, so I sent the Owner a letter of interest, and about 5 pics that I took earlier.. Just got a call from him.. He wants me to be the sole Track photographer for a Memorial Day race - about 2,000 racers coming in from several States! I have a little 15' camp trailer and I envisoned taking a couple of pics during the day, processing and printing that afternoon, and having a helper sell them at the trailer on Sunday when Im out taking more pics.. He also wants me to take the Trophy Presentation Pictures at the end of the meet.. He said he'd hook me up with the local Sports Photographer so I could take some shots for the Newspaper coverage also.. What did get myself into?? I dont' have any doubts that I can cover the event with decent pictures, but ...... can I run a business like this at the spur of the moment? There's a ton of stuff I'll still need to get... a couple printers & supplies, another Mem Card, Signage, business cards with Website on it for after race purchases... I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas I can get from you folks that have been there... Here's what I sent him....


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  2. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    Well, the third pic in that bunch would have grabbed my attention too. Nice shot.

    You got the photo thing down...everything else is just fluff. You stand to make a considerable amount off this venture if you play your cards right.

    Here's a list of things you might want to do.
    1. Backup the photos ON SITE. Perticularly trophy photos. You only get one chance to take those, and if you lose them...you got issues. Use a clean card for the trophy shoot. Then back it up asap afterwords. If you can swap cards and get doubles..go for it.

    2. Work up a price list for the prints. Stick to it.
    3. Get a couple of assistants to help if possible. You cant be shooting pictures, and selling prints at the same time. One person runs the booth, and one person is the "runner". The runner takes the cards from you, and makes prints, and all the booth person does is sell.

    Im assuming you dont intend to get pics of all 2000+ riders. (which would be crazy). So your gonna have to get PAY shots. Pick em carefully. When you go back to print...find some good shots with the winners in em, have your "runner" take them and get them autographed = $$$

    Dont forget to get some in-the-pits candid shots. People love that behind the scenes stuff along with the awesome action shots.

    The biggest issue your gonna have is timing. If you can get the winner shots printed and ready for sale before the trophy ceremony...yer golden. What Ive done in the past is in the last few laps, when it looks like you know who the winners are gonna be. Shoot some good shots, yank the card, pass it to a runner, and have them go print the shots. If you time it right you can have winner shots waiting on the table by the time they cross the finish line.

    Get some radios...you know the little motorola ones. Use these for communication between your staff. It will make things much faster and easier.

    Depending on how big the area is, you might want the runner to have a bicycle or something so they dont die from running around while you are sending them back and forth with cards and such.

    Good luck....
     
  3. Blank

    Blank TPF Noob!

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    Congratulations on your work being recognized for an opportunity like this.

    I looked at doing this myself (I drew up a pro's and con's, and I decided not to, not to say my advice is gospel, but be real sure you can handle this.)

    The POSITIVES from this are:
    You can make a stack of money
    You will get great exposure
    You will make a connection with the organizer for other events
    Great experience

    The NEGATIVES could be:
    With 2000 potential riders, trust me, there is not enough hours in a day to process that many images ready for sale.
    Taking payment for your work when you have no registered business, could catch some peolpes attention.
    I decided not to do this because I dont trust anybody except myself to process and edit and print for that matter.
    I am assuming there is a Sunday race by your post. There will be no time to cover the action, get back and process for Sunday sales. Generally folks will be leaving and they just ask where they can view your images.

    This is a golden opportunity. Like I said, I looked at doing the same thing and declined. Not to say I wont do it in the future! If you dont have any of the extras you say you'll need, chances are you wont turn much of a profit. It looks like about $750-$1000 worth of purchases.

    What I ended up doing (and I still do this today)...
    Printed up some Avery cards for link directions to a vieweing gallery. I subscribed with Printroom and set my prices (this took leass than 2 hours). At the start (when no one knew me), I walked through the pit and introduced myself to every rider and team. I gave them my gallery direction card. Another lesson I learned (very few spectators buy pictures, my first time, I gave those cards to the money collectors at the gate and saw most of my cards sitting on seats at the end of the day). Stick with the riders and teams.

    I could really go on and on. Overall, it is a ton of work to get through. I wish you luck, whatever you decide.
     
  4. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thought about that, but this track will have 5 Major meets this year, so this is only the beginning... It will certainly be an experience - lots to consider, and you guys have given me some awesome tips !!

    THANKS..
     
  5. dizzyg44

    dizzyg44 TPF Noob!

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    Just remember.......

    How you handle the event will have more effect on the success/failure than the quality of your photos offered.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Key point here by dizzyg44. Just sayin.
     
  7. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    When we do the gymnastics shoots, we generally have the photographer out shooting the event, someone back at the booth editing and uploading to a server right there, and a card runner. We setup 5 or 6 computers that are networked to one central "server" with all of the images uploaded on it. The people sit down and click through the images and they can buy prints or cd's of the prints right then and there. We also tell the customers that they will be online for viewing/purchase in a couple of days. We sell cd's with all of the shots we have of the gymnist for $30 at the show, or $50 if they buy them later. This encourages sales at the show. It would be hard to keep the riders seperate like we do with the gymnastics, but you could sell a cd with all of the images of that particular heat... Hope this helps
     
  8. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Man, love that third shot.

    Go go go... you've got a chance to do something lots of folks would die for. It may be a little scary now and again, but it'll be worth it in the long run, and you always have TPF to fall back on for advice. :)

    Congrats and good luck!
     

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