Softball, Dancing, Lighting and Printing

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by iflynething, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    My aunt told me about a guy with her neice's softball team that wanted me to do the shots for his entire softball unit. By unit, I hear there will be 7 softball teams and this might lead to football and cheerleading photos. I have called the guy 4 times, left 3 voicemails and he has not returned my phone calls...

    My sister is in dance (and I"m completely involved in it too). They (the dancers, the parents AND the dance studio owner) have been VERY unsatisfied with the quality and mainly the attitude of the photographer they have had for the past years. They are non personal and seem to come in, take the picture and leave, then come back to do it again next year. I tried to get some stuff together last year for the studio shots but was unable to, so the other photographer did them as usual - and, as usual, most people were dissatisfied. It seems as though they get the pictures from them....well, just because. Technically as far as lighting goes they are great. The guy uses a D70 or 70s and knows what he is doing, he is just not fun to work with....for anyone.

    Along with talking about lighting, I do not have any equipment. If the softball guy will contact me back, I would love to work with him. While both of these things are not out the possibility for me to do, I am wondering if it would be better just to rent lighting or buy some. I am back and forth with this because I have considered opening a studio. I could buy it and have it for that use, or just rent it. Either way, I think I would be making enough to pay for equipment -whether it was rented or bought.

    One other concern I have is the delivery. The dance photographer has sleeves (for lack of a better word) that says "Portraits" and some designs on it. I have plenty of time to get whatever I would need together, together. Where I would print the prints. There would be alot. About 200 individual pictures for the dance and who knows for the softball. I heard there are about 12-15 girls on each team. So I'm looking at some 8x10s of that plus all of the individual photos...not to mention all of the individual prints I would have along with the group shots for the dance.

    I am not completely uncomfortable shooting the softball shots and have NO problem shooting the dance. I'm just concerned mainly about getting myself into too much. Like I said, I would have plenty of time to get things together since none of this would happen until next May for the dance shots and probably about the same time for the softball. Since I haven't talked to the guy, I don't know if he wants the shots before or after the season is over. As for the dancing, I would need to come up with packages (which going over with my girlfriend who also dances said should be cheap!), printing out enough copies for everyone, and just having general orgainization for people to order. Last year, the photography was done over a week. Distributing the different classes over different days to make it not as hectic.

    What are your thoughts?

    ~Michael~
     
  2. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I think if you can do it, why not. But you need to practice.
    Have you developed a work flow for this volume of shooting?
    Are you going to re-touch all the photos?
    Did you break down all your cost and time to figure out the cost of you packages?
    Can your lab handle the volume of prints fast enough?
    Given this your first time out for this, are you prepaired that you will have people that are not satified with your work and have you figured out how you will deal with them?
     
  3. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    No I have not dealt with that. I will print at Wolf Camera. I used to work there and while they might not have the highest quality print as an online store, the place where I go allows me to personally go into the lab and print. I print as many times as I need to get the color right.

    I have not broke down my cost. To be honest, I'm not sure what my costs will be. I have an idea of my packages. I am going to look at what the other guys did and will probably have the same prices as them but will change up what is in the packages.

    I am thinking about a 3 week turn around time for both times. I am hoping they will not be in the same time frame (within 2 weeks).

    I know there will be people not satisfied with my work. What examples would be good of something that might happen?

    I have always consider myself great with people and excellent at customer service. Very savvy and elegant with word (at times) but this will probably stretch my patience.

    Thanks for your input so late

    ~Michael~
     
  4. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    as Nike said, "just do it", quite easy once you do the first batch, mounts can be bought at calumet over here, they are called strut mounts, you can have them plain or embossed with your name & number, I use these for 7 x 5's, you can get others for 10 x 8 but they are like a folder and I personally don't like them, besides nearly all customers bin them and buy a frame so I now only strut mount the smaller ones.

    You will need a lighting kit, background etc but this will pay for itself in no time, I'd go for a decent pro make, (bowens, elinchrome etc) and a meter.

    If your good with people and your timing is good I'd say to do three shots of the individual groups, and five of the individuals themselves, show only the best and watch for awkward poses, I've done teams and my daughters dance school, both are good sellers to grannies, moms n dads aunts etc, and if your any good and word gets round you could take off.

    One last thing, get a pro lab to print, chemically, if your shooting a lot you don't have time to print plus a decent lab can bag/label etc so the product has a professional appearance, go for it.

    Any large prints over 10 x 8 I would offer framed and mounted, if your any good printing do these yourself, frames can be got cheap and mountings no big deal, a few big ones at a decent price can boost your earnings big time, have your name/copyright on the mount for that little extra advertising. H
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  5. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Just one more thing, if your work is of pro quality, then I suggest altering your profile as why would you want anyone editing your work. H
     
  6. rhondag

    rhondag TPF Noob!

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    I would suggest getting the prints printed @ a pro lab.
    There are many that offer "package" deals...bayphoto.com and whcc.com are 2 that I recommend.

    You will have to prove that you have a business before you can use their services, but that is minor.

    Using these pro-labs---they offer several things that "ballpark" moms love. You can offer portrait "ticket-stubs", portrait "buttons"---portait "magazine covers", portrait "trading cards", etc. Ballpark moms LOVE to have the option to buy the extras.

    I would suggest that you get approved to use bayphoto (or any other pro lab)....and see what their prices are for packages and the extras. You can then make a price sheet---and you will know what your profit margin will be.
    Good luck!
     
  7. rhondag

    rhondag TPF Noob!

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    and another thing...you may want to consider bringing an assistant with you...not necessarily to shoot...but someone to handle the paperwork.
    You will need to make sure that you document what frame # of the camera is what child, etc.
    There is no way that 1 person can man the "paying" table & the form table...as well as take all the pictures.
    I highly recommend having your price sheet...do you know a softball/cheerleader that could pose for you? You would need to do a free quick photo shoot for them----and then have some samples on display for picture day.

    ----get a portrait pin/button made
    ---get a set of trading cards printed
    ---get a set of ticket stubs printed
    ---get a portrait package to have on display

    You can display all this on a card table.

    When mommies can physically see what you have to offer...they will buy, buy, buy!!
    ----and they will pre-pay. Money is up front...so all you have to do is deliver the finished product to the person in charge of the softball program, etc.

    About presentation...you will have plenty of time to figure that out. I have black plastic photo bags that I buy in bulk---and then I have a custom oval sticker that I put on the bag.
     
  8. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, Michael... it seems you're on track, thinking through the process from start to finish.

    This sort of work is just a bit different in that you'll have to work quickly. Everything should be "nailed down," especially the lighting. This is important to assure ease of printing.

    This type of product is called "Memory Mate" or "Team Mate" photography, providing a group shot with an individual portrait. The filed is very competitive, and much of this work will go to large, out-of-town outfits due to low pricing.

    Since you're just getting into this, I suggest you work with a lab that specializes in this. One such lab is Herff Jones. They've been doing this for decades and will have EVERYTHING you need, including packing, order software, payment/order envelopes, etc. They are on the high side for prices, but as you get oriented in the field, you can seek other sources. For now, they will even help you with advise on how to shoot and what to offer in packages. They even offer equipment rental.

    I hope this helps. Good luck!

    -Pete
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ^^ABOSLUTELY!!!^^

    Maybe even two people the first few times out. As said, one to make sure all the paperwork is in order and to answer questions. Another might help by directing the subjects into position and putting them into the pose.

    -Pete
     
  10. rhondag

    rhondag TPF Noob!

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    as for lighting...I know locally...the sports photography is done outdoors.
    Football and cheerleaders are usually done on the football field with the goal post in as the backdrop...
    softball/baseball pictures are done in the grass of the outfield.
     
  11. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    What do you mean editing my profile?

    Thanks for thinking along the same lines. There are SOOO many posibilites I could put the photos on. I like the pins. I might have Alyssa (the cousin I know on the softball team) so some poses for me and then look at these companies

    Quick is something that I'm acustomed to. It's quick and dirty! I would hate to think that they would get someone out of state instead of me, but if they are cheaper, then that's probably what will happen. I will look at the link you gave me and see what I like. Equipment rental, whether I do the softball or just dance is a must. I really don't want to have to buy all the equipment and then not use it for a while either.

    I think I could find someone as an assistant. I know for the dance, I have talked with my mom in helping. On top of helping me and being her son, she would be getting the free pictures (of course paying whatever it cost to print) of whatever I took of my sister and her daughter.




    All in all, I don't think I am going to go through with the softball after thinking about it. I have contacted the guy who is over it all and he has been in games and is a little hard to talk to. I did not know softball was going on right now. I figured it would be next year and I would have enough time to get some stuff together before next spring when it was ending.

    ~Michael~
     
  12. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    UPDATE and bump:

    My aunt (not the guy) messaged me telling me to call the softball guy. I said I have. Left him messages and everything. I wasn't that interested in doing this, but I just stopped calling. He won't return my calls or antyhing. Now she messages me and says to call him because he wants a DATE! He wants a date to shoot everything.

    I tell her I have been calling and finally just stopped. I say I don't have the right equipment (the lighting and stuff). She returns saying "all you need is a camera, that's what everyone else uses." I'm not exacly sure what other people are doing. Apparently he is desparate. He live in Charlotte and there are PLENTY of other photographers around but he is gung ho on me doing this!

    I tell her I don't have the lighting equipment, the price sheets. She said the cheerleading picture from previous years was like an 8x10, 5x7 and wallets for $13. That's fine but I would love to offer the parents more than just these sizes, even though that's all they will probably get.

    I'm lost. I have been able to call him today since I'm at work, but once I get in touch with him, I have to tell him I don't have the stuff to do it RIGHT!

    ~Michael~
     

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