How to expand on this newly acquired success?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by ottor, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wanted to get some shots this weekend that had some color in them - Winters pretty lean for photography around here, and it was a nice day.. Went to a motocross race held both Sat and Sun... Saturday, I took about 350 pictures.. Went home and picked out about 20 of my best shots, did some post processing, and printed them out on my photo-printer.. Took them back on Sunday, and approached some of the riders and families of the kids that were racing, and - sold every single 8x10 for $8.00 each !!! They loved them - the proud dads snapped up the ones of the kids, and the teen riders could't resist the shots of their jumps, and some tussling in the turns... I have never even thought of selling anything before, but - since I'm about to retire in August, my wife thinks this could be profitable... I have a little camp trailer that I could take to various events - T-Ball, Little League, High School events, races, ets.. What's the best way to capitalize on this? - The promotor/race owner suggested that I show up at every organized race... I just don't know how to do this. It took me all night to process and print 20 shots - out of over 350 pictures... how should I organize this to maximize sales? I think I have something here, I just don't know which directon to take it... In this instance I had 2 days .... what about a one-day event - how would I handle that??

    Thanks, in advance...

    r
     
  2. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    One thing you will have to realize is that the demand for these shots is ALOT higher than you expect. You sold EVERY 8x10 in one day. So it's $180, great but since you have such a high demand in the market you're photographing, I think first for the most profit, I would bring those 8x10 prices to around $20. They WILL sell for that.

    If you're getting 5-10 for the same family or riders, it might be hard but if they have the money in their equipment, then they will be more than obliged to spend some on a good shot. If that's what you're getting, then you're set to go....almost.

    Try to build a relationship with the riders as a friend of mine does with pilots at airshows. Go to enough races, you get to know the drivers. The families. Everyone. My friend went to ALOT of airshows and would do what you did. Take some shots of the riders (planes) in action, post process them, then go back to another airshow prepared with 8x10 and even sometimes 16x20's (which you also might look into printing) and sell them to the pilots at the next show.

    Make sure you're at least somewhat interested. If you do try to get to know the families and riders, you will have something to talk about other than just business and selling your shots. It just makes it all more personal.

    ~Michael~
     
  3. chadsdphoto

    chadsdphoto TPF Noob!

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    I've seen photographers doing the same thing on the rodeo circuit and at dirt track car races. As long as you want to put the time and effort into it, you can probably do pretty well at this. I agree with the idea of becoming known to all the riders and families. Showing up just once in a while will do okay, but if you are there at every race and people come to expect you will have quality shots of them, they will buy.

    Good luck with it!
     
  4. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Really appreciate the comments ... I would have never thought of charging that much.. But I think you're right -the reception I got for the shots that I offered was unexpected.. Here's a couple of pictures I took during one of the races..

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3632/3398681766_c51d464858_b.jpg

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3577/3398655562_cc61d299de_b.jpg

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3423/3397847809_58b899732a_b.jpg

    Someone thought that I should hand out business cards with a URL of photos taken that day .... they can then go to the website and purchase ANY pictures of that day they want.. I'd have to learn to, or hire someone to set up a website that would handle retail sales, but I'm not sure that it would be as profitable as handing them the photograph and letting them see it firsthand.. I dont' think that I'd have sold 20 photographs by just handing out cards...

    I have a lot to learn, and have some time to explore options... again, I appreciate your comments..

    R
     
  5. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    I have a website that I use for my dance photography (Michael Carr Photography @ LifePics)

    They are wonderful at selling and you can set your own price. High quality print. It's a one time set up fee of like $80 but after that you a site you can sell your shots at. I think something like this or SmugMug (SmugMug Photo Sharing. Your photos look better here.) would do good. The only thing is they take 15% of what you sell, which isn't much. For those shots, I think 8 for an 8x10 is undercutting yourself.

    What equipment are you using? It seems great to be able to get close, but a long focal length and shallow depth of field will bring out a certain rider. That's another point I was going to mention was once you get to know rider and families, try only shooting that rider. You will find that you get many more shot than from just bouncing around getting "snapshots" of all of the riders.

    ~Michael~
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    There are certainly two sides to this type of thing. One is getting the photos, you seem to have a good handle on that for this event. The other side is sales and marketing.

    Having a product in-hand, can make the sales part really easy...as you have seen. If you have a great looking 8x10 to sell, people will snap them up. As you mentioned, this works for a multi-day event...but even that requires a quick turn around on your part.

    Another option would be to setting up a web site when people could purchase prints. This doesn't have the same emotional impact as having 8x10s in your hand...but it gives you more time for processing and potentially gives you access to a bigger market for a longer time.

    There are several existing sites where you can upload the photos and have people purchase from there. Smugmug, for example. I don't know if they have this option, but some sites will even print and ship directly to the clients...all you have to do is upload the images and collect the profits. Of course, this service isn't free and the site does take their cut.
    Another option would be to set up your own website (not a bad idea anyway) and sell your images from your site. This is what I do...and I've purchased a great application to handle it. Photocart is a great utility for displaying and selling photo prints. It was a one time cost, so I don't have to pay a commission on each print...and I keep the clients on my website, rather than sending them off somewhere else to purchase prints. The downside is that I have to fill and ship the order myself...but that hasn't been a burden for me so far.

    As I mentioned, selling on a web site is not as easy as selling a product that you have in your hand. This would probably require you to be more of a salesman with the people at the event...more than just handing out your card. Of course, this may take time away from actually shooting the event...so it may help to have someone (your wife maybe) talking to the parents during the event while you are shooting. Maybe even showing them some samples, to really wow them and make them want to check out your website etc.

    Another option, would be to operate on-site with a very quick turnaround...so that you could sell prints on the same day as the event. You could set up a computer workstation and printer in your trailer. If you could shoot, cull, edit & print your shots fast enough to get them out before people went home...you could really sell them...but that's a big task.
    If you wanted to go high tech, you could do it like some pro sports shooters are doing it. They shoot while tethered to a portable computer which is wirelessly connected to a network. Then you have someone else pulling the photos off the network and choosing the best ones. They could be quickly editing and printing while you continue to shoot. This is how, during the Superbowl, some of the shots are published on websites, only minutes after there are taken. This is probably overkill for shooting kids events...but the technology is there.
     
  7. gravity0

    gravity0 TPF Noob!

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    Good shots but let's look at this from a business point of view. Forget for a moment paper, printer cost, camera, etc. Let's look at this strictly as time you spent and is it worth it. All night to process 20 photos at $8, that's $20/hr. :( Now someone mentioned selling them for $20 a piece that's $50/hr. :cheers: But this just processing them, this doesn't take into account travel time, shooting time, etc.

    From another point a view, this could be a nice little profitable hobby for your retirement. They say you should stay busy.
     
  8. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    As BigMike mentioned, I would give it a little time and invest in an on site "studio." You could have computer, camera, and printer all right there in your truck. I'm sure there is available power at these events for what the riders need.

    Even so, I think once you get the hang of it, you could even have a faster turnaround time, simply because you know what to look for and you're not doing as much post processing....ie you have more keepers than throwaways and compositions get better.

    Also, one thing I do at airshows and dance compeitions is right after a big burst of shots, I got through and delete the ones I don't like. I takes me literally a half a second to decide if I don't like the composition, lighting, and everything with the picture. You might benefit from the same technique. This will cut down many many photos from you having to go through, cutting down on editing, therefore cutting down on turnaround time and more time.

    ~Michael~
     
  9. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a 15' Camp Trailer that I ... customized.. Stripped the interior, and put in solid oak interior, wall to wall carpet, custom tires/rims, etc.. Just for fun - and really went overboard with it.. .. Now, my wife still dznt' like camping... Sooooo, .. I can see just a little more time in this rig, and it certainly could be a mobile studio, with very little extra work.. With a powerful Laptop that would run CS3, and print capabilities, it could be a mobile storefront! I sure appreciate all the input on this.. I also paint landscapes, as well as play a mean Blues Guitar, but I couldn't see either of those really paying off after retirement.. A guy's gotta earn enough for Health Insurance these days!! ;) This could be fun.... Thanks again!!

    r
     
  10. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    I think you could really have something going here. I didn't know you already had a trailer. I was going to say get one but didn't know how much you wanted to invest....

    You'll just have to be ready for traveling.....which you should have plenty of time for once retired. Another idea is to get a cheap projector. Well, they're not that cheap anymore and project what you're seeing on the laptop to a wall in the camper. There is nothing more I hate more than to see a picture on a little laptop screen. Everything is better bigger and families and riders will appreciate a larger visual.

    Just an idea though

    ~Michael~
     
  11. PhilGarber

    PhilGarber TPF Noob!

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    Dude..Your seriously under valuing yourself! Shots like that sell for a whole lot more then your charging. You positive you aren't a professional?
     
  12. chadsdphoto

    chadsdphoto TPF Noob!

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    Have to agree here. Those are top notch motocross shots. Great work and good luck with the business end of it. I think you're onto something here. :thumbup:
     

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