Help please from the Pros - Where did I go wrong?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by ottor, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here's what I had this weekend - Soccer match - here's the good news - 79 teams - 15 fields - 2 days. Attendence from 5 surrounding States - about 850 kids !! ... I had my trailer lined up with the concessions - plenty of kids and proud parents walking around.. Remember this as we go - prices.. 4x6 $3.50, 5x7 $4.50, 8X10 $11.50; 11x14 $14.75. Package of 8x10 team photo, 2 5x7, and 4 wallet size for $22.95. First, I didn't sell one single 'package'. All I got was parents coming up asking if I'd shoot their kid, #14 on the Amazon Team at the 11:30 game? Of course.. I'd walk over to field 2 and shoot #14 for about 10-15 minutes.. I'd get a call from the trailer to shoot #7 on field 12.. Off I'd go to field 12, and shoot for 15 minutes.. Walked back to the trailer and gave the mem card to my Dau-in-law who suprised me with her prowess with the computer!! She had all divisions broke down by ages and teams... she'd d/l the card to the various teams while took another card and went to another request for a shoot... She stayed with the trailer and took any orders and talked with the customers.. I had a display of photos I've taken in the past and that actually generated quite a lot of interest from those walking by.. 15 fields all next to another is quite a sight - was a farmers field that the City bought and developed into a soccer complex.. I finally obtained one of the donated 4 wheelers to make it a little easier, but it was quite the rush, getting to the requested kids, on the requested fields (15)!! - Sounds like it could be profitable, huh? - Possibilities were certainly there.... Plenty of cards given out for later posts to the website where they can purchase other pics later. . (hopefully this will pan out - at least there was lots of interest..) - heres' the bad part.. I netted $191.00 for the weekend. Of the ones that came back to the trailer after we downloaded and culled the bad ones out, the largest sale was $29.25. I had some purchase only a $3.50 4x6. I printed out the ones that wanted only 1 8x10, and took the payments from the rest of them now, to order at my cost tomorrow and have shipped directly to their home... What happened to this 'opportunity'? - What did I do wrong? - I 'did' see better camera setups than I had by some of the parents, and I expected that... Of the shots that I sold, the parents were in love with them - but - just not that many actual buyers.. I know that my prices were pretty cheap, so I don't think that deterred buyers.. Here's some of the shots I was selling..
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    I'm 62 yrs old, and I can't run around 15 soccer fields for 2 days!! OK, got the 4 wheeler to make it easier but I'm exhausted !! Hopefully, after I download the rest of the photos on my website rottophotography.com, there will be more sales, but - I know that as time passes, the less likely they'll be visiting the internet for pictures.. So I have to hurry to get them up..

    Any help here?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Many Hats

    Many Hats TPF Noob!

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    Sorry so late a post, but hope it helps. I just did my first soccer tournament without the benefit of on-site printing. Gave out cards for each game with how to view on-line with each game password protected. 3days...25 games....sales...$45. one mom called me to ask about specials as she liked several action shots of her daugher, but at $7 each 5x7, thought that was too much. Crazy!
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Oh yes sir. I'd be delighted to make images of your kid playing soccer. That will be $75.00 in advance and includes a $25.00 print credit. Please see the cashier and she will make sure I have a time slot available and you can pay her with a credit card or cash. Next.
     
  4. Many Hats

    Many Hats TPF Noob!

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    Oh don't I wish all understood
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Sing it brother. :lol:

    The one that gets me is when a league wants a kickback for granting permission to shoot their league.
     
  6. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So help me understand... was the problem "Soccer" - or was it the entire idea of mobile event photography in that kind of activity.. (Littile league, football, or even Motocross, where I have a big shoot on Memorial Day)

    This was my first attempt - ever, at something like this, and I consider it a learning experience, but what I learned is that I dont' want go through the expense and time, for such little benefit, when I retire.. EVERYBODY told me that all those proud parents would purchase tons of pictures of their kids, and although I didn't share their enthusiam to that degree, I didnt' expect to bomb like this - at a venue that had this kind of possibility. I can tell you that if I charged a $75 fee just to shoot their kid, I'd have saved a lot of shoe leather.. I wouldn't have paid for my gas to get there..

    How does someone make a modest living taking pictures like this? - or, do you?

    thanks for the help on this...
     
  7. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ever think it's quite possible that people actually know what it costs to get an 8x10 printed? They can take their own pictures and have 5 8x10s printed for that cost, and people know that. I knew that before I had gotten into the photography hobby for myself.

    That's what I think would happen with something like this. Everyone has a camera, they don't need to purchase an 8x10 for $11.50 when they can do it themselves for $1.99.

    I often thought about doing this myself with the little league games around here, but I doubted that I could sell anything. They hire someone at the end of the season for team photos, but during the games (which would be much better "action" photos such as yours above) I wouldn't think people would buy in today's camera world.
     
  8. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    like I said ... there were parents there with equipment that I'd die to have.. But - these are parents that pay $450 to get their kids on a team, and travel 2 States away for tournaments... They probably take better pictures than I do, and share with other parents on the team for nothing..

    Pehaps I better think about taking photos of family members, and enjoy my retirement without running my azz off all weekend for literally nothing.. :(

    We'll see - it'll be interesting how this Motocross shoot comes out. Well have 2500 riders coming in - I have sole track access.... Mabie I can even sell some $1.99 8x10's... :confused:
     
  9. Blank

    Blank TPF Noob!

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    I think I replied to your MX opportunity a little while ago and how I declined to set up onsite. It just didnt add up to run your ass off all day long. You can build anticipation for viewing by handing out cards and make all images available in 3-4 days.
    The only field sports I do are baseball, because parents don't know how to shoot through chain link, or dont have long enough lens' from the outfield.
    Parents have full capabilities on the sideline as any photographer making a living. It's tough, but the ancient mystery of professional photography is slowly dying thanks to affordable mid range dslr's and the internet.
    I stick to motosports. I dont have parents and spectators walking tracks or having access to the inner field of short track oval racing. You should have more success at the MX.
     
  10. Guido44

    Guido44 TPF Noob!

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    This is something that I would like to get more into myself. I admire your effort. I had modest success this season with my son's basketball team.

    I think this is your best chance to make a profit. I'm only saying that based on what I've seen other photographers doing. If you shoot photos at several games, then you can offer them action photos, a still, and a team photo. Just a thought.

    You may also have better success if you have a prearranged contract with the league. Yes, I sucks to think you would have to give a % back to the teams, but I wonder if there isn't an expectation from the coaches that a you are going to "donate" back to the league.

    If you do, make a sign that says "10% of the proceeds are donated back to the league". I'd put it on any fliers you hand out as well.

    I'd like to hear an experienced professionals' opinion on this myself.

    JMO

    dan
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What you have to understand is that its not a print you are selling - anyone can print a photo at $1.88 from a good online printing lab - what you are doing is capturing a moment - that one shot of their son kicking the ball into the net - the shot of their son diving for that game winning goal block etc...
    That is the image you are selling and you are selling not just a blurry shot, but a clear sharp one - even with the latest gear being easily affordable for many (compared to how it was) there is still skill in photography that a more experienced shooter will have that a novice won't = even if said novice has all the "right" gear.
    Team shots at the end as well as trying to get some offical position are also key parts I think and can give you a minium takings from a day as well
     
  12. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think you have a good idea good for you for carrying it out. However, there are plenty of good ideas that aren't as successful as we would like them to be.

    I think that part of the problem is marketing. I'm guessing that most players and parents had no idea of your service until they saw your trailer on-site or maybe got handed a card etc. Maybe some sort of marketing campaign before hand or during the event...but that eats into you bottom line.

    As for the pricing...I think your prices are too low to make a real profit. Will you have even lower sales if you raise the prices? Maybe. But remember that if you double your prices, you only have to do half as much work for the same revenue.
    Another thing to consider is that your price may be directly tied to the amount of respect that people give you...if only on a subconscious level. I heard and give this advice to wedding photographers all the time...Raise your Prices.
    Of course, it's a fine balance and if it was easy to figure out...we would all be rich.

    I see a problem in the plan, in that you wait for a request to shoot a particular subject, then go to shoot the during their game. It's not hard to figure out that if things went well, you would quickly run out of time.

    I agree with the poster who mentioned that there is probably more money to be made by shooting team & individual portraits. This is more of a 'captive audience'...especially if part of the tournament itinerary is to have the whole team stop by for a group photo.

    I still think you have a good idea but I still think that it might help to have an on-line ordering option, so that players could check out the photos on their own time and hopefully buy prints. Having said that, you might be fighting a loosing battle...I'm sure you're not the first person to think of this but there doesn't seem to be a lot of photographers doing it...which might be a clue.
     

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