I beat the competition through Season 1!!!! Woohoo!

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by keith204, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So, when I started race photography, I was in a tough situation. Photographers didn't last. Tracks wanted a photographer who would stay for an entire season, and not quit halfway through.

    The culprit of this: a 40 year old guy who sells pictures for 1 dollar each. A great guy, loves racing, and photography is his excuse to get on the track for free. He charges a dollar each cause that's simply his hobby. He's been doing it for 20 years now, and obviously he can sell pictures---they're only a dollar.
    So, I knew that there was no way to earn money by charging only 1 dollar per picture. So, I came into the story charging a whoppin $5 per 4x6. The first reaction was many complaints on the racing forums. "what, there's this college kid trying to rip us off?" So, rather than reducing my prices right away, I tried to provide excellent service, and excellent quality photos.

    The other photographer wouldn't take but a couple hundred photos...maybe less. Also, it would be a few days before he got them online for people to see...and he would only upload about 20ish. Also, he uses a flash on the track, which only lights up dust between him and the cars...looks terrible. So, thanks to Big Mike's advice, I learned how to deal with the darkness on the track, and become a master of panning. It's great. My photos were able to soak up the natural light, and turned out more real in the pictures.

    My wife ran our photo booth, and she was great. We have a photo printer, some high quality photo paper, and my laptop set up. We have the photos renamed by car number, so they sort that way. That way, when a customer wants a photo, we can access each and every photo of that car real quick, and they can pick the ones they want. Then, it takes about 30 seconds per picture to print. No waste of printing photos that don't sell.

    I try to get my photos online (from 500-1000 of them) within a day. Renamed, watermarked, sorted, exported, uploaded, added to gallery. Then I post some highlights on the forums, which get great responses, and I've had over 77,000 views on my web gallery this summer already.

    People can order online, or they can order prints at the track. They love the service, and can't get over the quality of prints.

    We at least tripled our sales goals. We paid off the printer, a set of inks, and all the paper, in the first night's picture sales. Our sales bought my 40D, paid for my sigma 70-200. Also all other expenses...business cards, brochures, fliers, etc.

    And as for my biggest goal, when people saw my photos, they stopped complaining about prices. The season is over, except for a couple of special races, and I am super happy about how it turned out. They also told me they want me back next year. I can't wait.

    :thumbup: BIG Thanks to everyone on this forum that gave me advice when I needed it. I owe it to you guys!
     
  2. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Congratulations! I love to hear success stories:)
     
  3. S2K1

    S2K1 TPF Noob!

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    That's awesome to hear! Racing photography is my primary interest and would love to be able to be a track's photographer, but the local track here is world renowned and they don't let just anybody in. I'm working on it though, and this gives me hope.
     
  4. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    that is awesome. i don't know a thing about shooting at the track but I'm so glad to hear that you did so great. Congratulations!
     

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