Stock Car Photography -- Selling Photos on site

Destin

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Alright guys, I know I said I wouldn't be on here for a few weeks because I had to study, however.. I have to get some stuff sorted out for my photography gig this summer -- Shooting Dirt Track Car Racing.

The first race is on 3-17, so I've gotta get moving on this.. it can't wait until after my tests are over.

Here is what I'm thinking I'm going to do:

Take photos, get home, and edit them. Then print out a few of the better ones, as well as 2 or 3 of the winner of each class, then bring those photos back the following week and sell them. If they sell out, or people want different photos or custom editing (text on the photo, etc) then they can place an order to be delivered the following week. I'm also going to sell photos online through my smugmug site.

I'm going to have an assistant running a booth selling photos for me, while I'm out shooting. The assistant is a fellow photographer, so they will also be helping me take photos throughout the night. They will be on commission based pay, but I'm not sure what percentage to put it at, or if I need to have a guaranteed flat rate that they make, as well as commission on top of that. Heck, I'm not even sure how much money I can make at this or if it's worth my time. However, it's going to be fun, and a good learning experience if nothing else, and it will get my name out there for alot of people to see.

Still looking at different options for printing as well... I could do it through my smugmug/ez prints, but then shipping costs me an arm and a leg if I want the prints to be here in time for the following week. And the only local place to get them printed is walmart, or target. We don't have any photo labs locally. Also not sure what size to print off and bring with me to sell, or if I should put text on the photos that I bring with me (drivers name, etc)

As far as pricing, I've got it worked out to this:
If I sell 20 photos per week at an average cost of $7.50 per photo, I'll be making $10 an hour for my time. Not ideal, and I'd like to make more, but it is what it is. My break even point is about $85-90 per week the way I've got it figured out right now.

Basically I'm just throwing this out here for advice, or to see if you guys see any holes in my plan, or things I can do better.
 
What sort of marketing do you have planned?

Are you able to talk directly with the teams/racers? I'd think that they would be someone you could sell to, possibly even selling them larger images/products or maybe digital files that they could use for their own marketing etc.

What about the track or organizing body?

If you are hoping to sell to the fans, do you have an idea of how to market to them (besides just the booth)? Do you know if there will be any issues selling the photos if there are trademarked logos in the photos etc?
 
Most of my sales will be to the drivers of the cars, the booth will be set up right between the stands and the pit areas, next to the driver sign in table.

As far as the track/venue, I will be providing them with a photo every week for their website and for the local newspaper. I don't get paid for these, however the track is giving me the right to be the exclusive photographer... No other photogs will be allowed access to the center of the track and it's the only place to get good photos from.

There are no issues with copyright/trademarks in the photos, the sponsors are all small local businesses.
 
The problem with this I think, is going to be that each driver is only going to want so many pictures of his/her car. What you need to do is get the public in there, and to do that you need car chicks. $5 - 10 to get your picture taken with the winning car and a couple of hot car girls in bikinis (possibly fur-lined if your first race is in March), with on-site printing, and you'll make a whole lot more money.
 
tirediron said:
The problem with this I think, is going to be that each driver is only going to want so many pictures of his/her car. What you need to do is get the public in there, and to do that you need car chicks. $5 - 10 to get your picture taken with the winning car and a couple of hot car girls in bikinis (possibly fur-lined if your first race is in March), with on-site printing, and you'll make a whole lot more money.

You'd be surprised. The drivers want photos of every race they win (there are like 10 different classes every week) for their sponsors to hang up in their businesses and such.

Motocross riders buy photos of themselves every week, and I didn't think they would.
 
Most (many? some?) tracks have an official "Track Photographer" that is the only one allowed to shoot the races for commercial gain. Might want to check on it first.
 
Used to race on a small track many years ago. The track photog would shoot photos, then like you want to do, bring prints out the next week and have them in a small booth. The booth was accessible to both drivers and fans (family in the stands) and seemed to be pretty busy. Drivers do buy more than one or two prints a season, make sure you have a good set up for getting the winners of the trophy dashes and main events. Those are the ones that make it.

Here's a couple from 35 years ago when my dad and I used to race on a small 3/8 mile track, my dad in the first, me when I had hair in the second... and look a the crap quality we bought. lol


401173915.jpg



401173914.jpg
 
SCraig said:
Most (many? some?) tracks have an official "Track Photographer" that is the only one allowed to shoot the races for commercial gain. Might want to check on it first.

That would be me in this case.
 
The drivers want photos of every race they win (there are like 10 different classes every week) for their sponsors to hang up in their businesses and such.
Ten different classes? That is unusual for a local stock car track. Four maybe 5 classes is closer to the norm, and then they usually only run 3 classes each Saturday night.

If the races start at 7 PM, by the time they run heat races for all 3 classes, a trophy dash for the top class that night, and each class's main event it is often approaching midnight.

What time do the races start?
 
The drivers want photos of every race they win (there are like 10 different classes every week) for their sponsors to hang up in their businesses and such.
Ten different classes? That is unusual for a local stock car track. Four maybe 5 classes is closer to the norm, and then they usually only run 3 classes each Saturday night.

If the races start at 7 PM, by the time they run heat races for all 3 classes, a trophy dash for the top class that night, and each class's main event it is often approaching midnight.

What time do the races start?

They start at 5:30, generally over by 10:30. Sorry I did misread, there are 10 classes, but they only run 4-5 per night from what the schedule looks like. Their schedule is a little confusing the way they have it laid out.
 
Does the track have a website that you can either advertise on or post a link to your site?
 
gstaska said:
Does the track have a website that you can either advertise on or post a link to your site?

Yes, and I'll be asking them about that next time I sit down to talk with them.
 
As soon as they leave the track you have lost sales, see if you can hire a dye sub printer and print on site
 
gsgary said:
As soon as they leave the track you have lost sales, see if you can hire a dye sub printer and print on site

Not an option financially.
 

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