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Jump starting business?
  
 
gome1122
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p.1 #1 · Jump starting business?


I was asked a few times last year by parents at the games I go to where they could purchase prints. So I bit the bullet last year and got a 1 year smugmug subscription for $150. Well I've had my website (http://impulseimages.smugmug.com/) up since about August. Since then I haven't had a single sale. What am I doing wrong? I get about 1500 photo views every time I post a new game, but no sales. I'm a high school senior so I only shoot at my high school right now. I post on my facebook page and also on my own timeline that the games are posted. I think that I'm getting views from the players and my friends and that's it. I'm not reaching the people who have money, the parents. How do I help boost sales?


Mar 09, 2014 at 05:01 PM
TooManyShots
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p.1 #2 · Jump starting business?


Is possible that you aren't doing everything wrong. Some of your shots should have been watermarked. You should get more subject isolation. With your volley ball shots, your DOF is too great and the background crowd is almost in complete focus with the subject. With your football shots, you may want to learn how to strobe it. Again, even if you can produce pro quality works, it does not mean people will pay for the prints or the digital downloads. Shooting spec in sports is pretty much dead (you can't just show up, shooting the game, and expecting to make some sales). Normally, you must produce works that very few people can produce just because they have a DSLR. Two, networking with your clients. It helps if you have your sons or daughters playing the game and you can approach to your potential clients as a parent.

I am looking at the venue...is really small and with bad lighting. You would need some expensive pro body and off camera remote strobes to get the lighting right. Even that, you would nee some long, fast lens f2.8 or faster, to blur out the background. To get the pro quality result, you would need to spend some serious money and that's not even a guarantee people would pay for the shots.

Don't listen to people that they would pay for your photos...if they would, they would without telling you that...



Mar 09, 2014 at 05:25 PM
gome1122
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p.1 #3 · Jump starting business?


I'm new to the whole business side of this, so I forgot to watermark some photos.

The Volleyball shots have always been hard at my school. No good area to get a good shot poor lighting, and I have only ever shot like 3 games so I haven't got that down yet.

I'm working on my gear setup too, but I'm getting as much as a high school senior can with having to try and make my truck nice too.

I guess that's what I get for living in a small town then. Not much business.



Mar 09, 2014 at 05:56 PM
fstopperdown
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p.1 #4 · Jump starting business?


Selling images? I never did well with parents or students. I would just as soon give a great image to a parent with hopes that I might land a family portrait job.

Children/sports is a very competitive area of photography, and there are 'togs that do very well. To me it's almost not worth the hassle

One road avenue that you might consider is to find a weekly newspaper and freelance. Typically, they need you more than you need them and will give you plenty of work.

Having your images published each week is good for the ego (not the wallet...) and pushes you to improve. This could be both skill and gear related. You will travel from school to school on different assignments and it might help broaden your appeal.

A press pass is the golden ticket into just about any venue in town. Except for some major college sports, you will have a wealth of shooting opportunities and gain experience.

From there... you market yourself throughout your area. Somebody is shooting kid sports and your portfolio could land you shooting jobs for cheerleading, baseball tourney's etc...

I think you have made a good start. Your images are not too bad, but I agree with the other comments that a fast lens will do wonders for subject isolation.

As to gear...

First purchase... $100 gets you a 50mm f/1.8 lens for whatever system you shoot.For basketball, you can never have enough light in those dreary high school gyms. I would buy a 50mm f/1.8 and if you can afford it... the 85mm f/1.8 for a bit longer reach.

Second purchase... $100 buys Youngnou (spelling?) triggers which are cheap but reliable and an old SB 24 to 28 era flash. Some schools frown on flash during games, and I dislike the look, but coupled with an F/1.8 lens you have both bases covered.


Jumping to isolation and long f/2.8 is expensive. Recently bought a minty Nikon AIS 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF for about $1300, and some beater examples go for less. It's manual focus but pretty smooth and good bang for buck value.

Maybe a Sigma or Tokina AF version might be in the same ballpark.

Don't lose focus because of the trees... it is a big forest to explore.

I'm not a professional, but dink around on the side for my newspaper.

Good luck to you...










Mar 09, 2014 at 08:36 PM
gome1122
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p.1 #5 · Jump starting business?


I've tried doing some intern work, but again with my small town there wasn't much to shoot. And I really am not good at writing articles at all.

As for the purchases, I work my tail off during the summer and was able to afford a 70-200 f/2.8 and that's what I use for just about everything on a 7D. I was also able to pick up a 50 f/1.4 but I don't really like it for basketball, I use my 70-200. I have a 430EX II but no triggers or really good way to use it. My mom said she was going to buy me a mac for graduation and I was thinking about asking for a Canon 300 f/2.8 Non-IS for about $2000 instead.

I'm working on technique though. Looking back at the football photos I know I can do better even now a few months later. So I'm still improving. But I don't really know whether or not to keep the site for $150 a year on a student budget is a lot. I know there is money to be made, I have a few people that I talked to that said they make a good profit from it.



Mar 09, 2014 at 11:09 PM
Eric Mastilak
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p.1 #6 · Jump starting business?


How I started to sell images is I built a relationship with the team I would like to sell to. I gave the team manager and some of the parents some pictures. Soon after people were asking to buy pictures. I also send small watermarked pictures around to give people a little kick in the pants after a game. It goes in in cycles as well. People really want a picture of that championship game, but not so much on a early season game a team lost. My most sold picture is not even an action shot.




  Canon EOS 5D Mark II    EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens    50mm    f/5.6    1/200s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




Mar 11, 2014 at 12:49 PM
P Alesse
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p.1 #7 · Jump starting business?


Welcome to the real business world. Between this post, the 5 before and the 20 plus after that you will receive offering suggestions on how to get sales the bottom line will be this... the industry from your perspective is dead no matter how many tell you to "try this" and "try that". Unless you completely change your paradigm of thinking and find a niche, you will not be pleased with the sales end of this business. If you really want to make a go at it and I mean REALLY want to make a go at it... then plan at least a 10 grand investment, 90% of which will go into innovation and marketing.

And even if everything plays out right
And even if everything falls into place.
And even if everything with a potential hit or miss insignia, hits.

... it will still be a grind.


Re-read your subject line. There is no such thing as jump starting a business if this IS the business. Only jump associated with the photo biz has a ledge in front of it and a well intentioned motivated newbie guy holding a camera behind it thinking that his D4 and 400/2.8 will be make all the difference. It won't.


Decide.



Mar 11, 2014 at 10:52 PM
gome1122
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p.1 #8 · Jump starting business?


P Alesse wrote:
Welcome to the real business world. Between this post, the 5 before and the 20 plus after that you will receive offering suggestions on how to get sales the bottom line will be this... the industry from your perspective is dead no matter how many tell you to "try this" and "try that". Unless you completely change your paradigm of thinking and find a niche, you will not be pleased with the sales end of this business. If you really want to make a go at it and I mean REALLY want to make a go at it... then
...Show more

I'm not looking to make a living from it. I hopped off that train when I looked more into the industry.

I'm simply looking to make a profit from my original investment($150 for the website). A friend that does similar things in the area says he gets enough business in a month to pay for 4 more months. And my other friend that I know makes quite a good profit, I'm not sure how much. But I do know it is a good sum of income for him.



Mar 11, 2014 at 11:40 PM
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p.1 #9 · Jump starting business?


The problem I have seen is that if it's big enough to be seen on the web, it's good enough for most people to use it in social media, they don't care whether or not it has a watermark, and that is all they really want. From what I have seen, most people who make any money shooting sports get paid to come to the event not from the pictures they sell.


Mar 12, 2014 at 01:10 PM
James Broome
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p.1 #10 · Jump starting business?


bobchadwick wrote:
most people who make any money shooting sports get paid to come to the event not from the pictures they sell.


Bingo.

For youth and/or school sports, the income will be from contracts with teams or leagues. You can also pre-sell items to ensure your time and effort are covered. Spec work has been dead for 4+ years - at least.



Mar 12, 2014 at 11:25 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Game Changer
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p.1 #11 · Jump starting business?


bobchadwick wrote:
The problem I have seen is that if it's big enough to be seen on the web, it's good enough for most people to use it in social media, they don't care whether or not it has a watermark, and that is all they really want. From what I have seen, most people who make any money shooting sports get paid to come to the event not from the pictures they sell.



/Thread

And that just about sums it up folks!




Mar 15, 2014 at 12:33 PM
pedwatt
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p.1 #12 · Jump starting business?


Ok I am going to be point blank here. You can call me @$$ or you can take it and grow.

1. When I go your website, the first image I see is a pretty cool shot of a football player, I mean the facial expresion, the pulling of the jersey and everything in that image is amazing BUT it should be in recycle bin. If it is not tack sharp, no matter how amazing, it is trash. Grandma can take blurry.

2. In game shots have a 2 day shelf life, you have to network with the parents and players. Build a facebook presence, post samples and keep the engergy going. As it has already been mention the money in "spec" sports is in the side shoots, not in the action shoots. The Iphone is row 3 is "good" enough for mom. You need to build the network so you do their senior pictures and team pictures.

3. Already been mentioned, but Watermark, watermark, watermark. If they are willing illegally download a mp3 from a billion dollar music label with a legal team, what do you think is going to stop them from hijacking your picture? See image below, that is good enough for Facebook, and action shots only live til the next game. At least with watermarking your brand would be on the image

4. Sports/Motorsports on the amatuer side is a grind. If you don't LOVE what your shooting it is not worth it.

5. Welcome to real world, there are no flowers or easy paths. Put your head down, network like crazy, sell you soul, and maybe maybe one day you can convert it to a pro gig with a pro magazine. If not, the money is not there.Sorry. Doesn't mean you quit, it means you find your own path.

6. No more shooting for money, I am not saying not to sell your images, I am saying when you accept a gig go into knowing you're not going to make a dime. Only accept gigs your going to love, at the local level.

7. You are a PHOTOGRAPHER, no more excuses. Every post you have responded to has been with an excuse. It is your job to step into a stituation, analyze it and master it. If you fail, seek help, analyze that help, and evolve.








Mar 18, 2014 at 06:08 PM
gome1122
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p.1 #13 · Jump starting business?


Alright. well I'll try and address some of your points.

1. I'll argue that I use it because of the expression that it gives. It shows some passion which I like. It's not really blurry, and I don't have top of the line gear by far. It was taken with a beat up 70-200 f/2.8 on a old 1D II and then cropped, so it's not perfect, but It's what I have to work with.

2. I'm working on networking, but As for time I have AP classes, school in general, a job, social life, looking at colleges, stuff like play, musical and any other events I'm in or photographing for the school; I have little time to do a lot with.

3. Watermark I got into late. I would have to upload the photos to put a watermark on the old photos for some reason. I put it on all new photos now. How does it look by the way?

4. I love shooting sports in general. I love seeing the action and reviewing it after. I guess you could say I love it. It's the actual editing that's I have to get used to.

5. Yeah finding this out fast my senior year. I considered going all in and trying to become pro but I decided against that. I was thinking of using college money for stuff like a 1DX and 400 f/2.8 to try and go all in to be pro. That ended quick with research and my mom.

6. Most of the time I shoot now just because it's what I love to do. I'm hoping college can help me get somewhere with maybe money as far as selling images to papers ans such.

7.Still learning and I don't think a photographer can stop learning.

Picture: Yeah I guess you can get the images a little easier than I thought.



Mar 19, 2014 at 02:06 AM
pedwatt
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p.1 #14 · Jump starting business?


1. I disagree, but that conversation is headed towards a death spiral, It is your call.
2. One thing here you may look at doing is shooting for other schools, if they go to your school they may have trouble separating friend from pro.
3. http://help.smugmug.com/customer/portal/articles/93343, read and apply
4. Look for programs to make your editing time quicker and easier ie Lightroom 5 and Photo mechanic
5. The 1Dx is an amazing camera, so is the 6d. A 400 f/2.8 would be a lot of fun, but a 70-200 f/2.8L IS mark2 will become your cornerstone lens in sports. Using 30k worth of gear to capture a $10 image doesn't make sense. Work on that balance.
6. It is March, have you picked your college? If you have, have you contacted the campus newspaper about being their grunt photog in the Fall? Almost no one gets the awesome gigs at the beginning, with newspapers and magazine you have to take the trash and make diamonds to get the cool stuff. Also you will always be competing against guys with better gear, so figure out how to make your gear perform better then they can make theirs. Case in point, I have a buddy that has a Mclaren MP4 12C and my brother has a normal Porche 911. On paper the Mclaren should kill the Porsche, in real life my brother usually has about a 5 second better lap time, he is the better driver.
7. A photog that has stopped learning has either given up or died. I took a moment and looked through quite a few of your post, you ask quite a few questions, but don't seem to post your work here. You want to learn, put your work in front of pros with no agenda. If you don't have the money to pay for the upload and sell membership, open a flickr account and embed your images. http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/928310



Mar 19, 2014 at 03:01 AM
gome1122
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p.1 #15 · Jump starting business?


I did the watermark, but it didn't apply to all the images. I did change the gallery settings so I'll check it out when I can. I am done applying to colleges, but I'm planning college visits and such along with talking to some alumni people about the colleges. It's not just colleges that take my time, I don't have a free day this week. Typing this out just before I have to go back to the school until about 9:30. Anyways, I don;t expect to hit it big right away. I plan on networking and also working my way up if I can. And I do get skill trumps gear. I'm working on that and shooting as much as I can. But pretty dead right now in between seasons. I'm thinking of getting upload and sell, but I'm not really ready to share shots like the one you posted. not winter sports. The gym my high school has uses cycling lights and the only way to get consistant good clean images is to strobe, and I don't have the gear to do that. So I'll wait to post winter sports. But I'll try and post some spring sports if I can.


Mar 19, 2014 at 07:19 PM
mkchang
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p.1 #16 · Jump starting business?


gome1122 wrote:
Alright. well I'll try and address some of your points.

1. I'll argue that I use it because of the expression that it gives. It shows some passion which I like. It's not really blurry, and I don't have top of the line gear by far. It was taken with a beat up 70-200 f/2.8 on a old 1D II and then cropped, so it's not perfect, but It's what I have to work with.


Remember, you are competing with people that have done this for a long time. If you are thinking that a picture is "not perfect" then it doesn't go out for the world to see.

People will look at your site and your pictures are how they will judge you. You won't get any gigs with a "it's not perfect" attitude.

You may only get 1 shot that'll make it in your portfolio in a game. It may 3 or 4 games to get one. You have to be very honest with yourself.



Mar 19, 2014 at 08:06 PM
karrphoto
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p.1 #17 · Jump starting business?


Hell, for basketball you can get off easy with OCF.

Godox sells 2 Ving850 Lithium flashes + receivers + transmitters for $220 or so. A couple of speed clamps and you can at least cover the action in the close court than can't be done by most. As you get more experience and more equipment you can add to lighting and light down court as well. I started off with 2 flashes, no battery packs and now regularly used 8-12 lights to do a basketball game. However that is using PocketWizards with speed cycle, so actual flashes in use at any given time is 4-6. If you want to go even cheaper, old canon 540EZ's are all $45 and pick up 3 Cactus V5 triggers for $90. You'll be buying a lot of AA's (best place for good deals on 36 pack AA is Home Depot for $14, and later invest in some good Rechargeables.)

You really do need to separate yourself from every other mom/dad/guy with a camera and for things like basketball, lighting is one way. However it depends on your state. IN/IL aren't an issue but someone in FL told me it's absolutely not allowed.

And to add to the strobe reasoning is the horrible casts of lights and light cycling. I overpower the light and get to use what I want. Typically shooting in the IS320-640 vs those shooting natural light at 3200-12800 ( we have some dark gyms here, but also some very bright gyms)

4 strobe lit basketball game



Mar 20, 2014 at 01:46 AM
markedman
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p.1 #18 · Jump starting business?


You are going through the learning curve.
Something we all have to experience.
You need to interact with the parents ( buyers ) before you shoot. Introduce yourself as the game photographer. You are at their service to capture the action.
Find out if there is interest . Then work with them . Shoot candids of the player with their family. Even suggest pictures after with their awards. Be sure to print a handout. "Professional photos are being taken at this event by ..... "
View and purchase your photos at : ________. Or get their e-mail address to "let them know when their pics are posted"
Keep in mind this is your business. You are there TO MAKE MONEY! Not cover the event . Go where there is interest $$$!
Shooting action inside is tough. You may have better luck with posed photos with the family, coach or a group of buddies hamming it up for fun.
Keep in mind that you need to get a unique photo that they can't get.
Lastly, don't undervalue your service. Do packages and "Facebook" quality downloads. Not everyone wants prints.
Good shooting.
Mark



Mar 29, 2014 at 04:00 PM
Dubspeed55
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p.1 #19 · Jump starting business?


I do veh graphics,wallpaper prints, and canvas. Got my website up and running. Very few hits, started to use facebook to show work to friends and now sell my work all over USA, by friends of friends seeing my work. Never thought it would work that way but it did. Try giving some sample prints as hand outs when people purchase tickets into games, fliers are a cheap but effective way to promote ones business, never give up.


Apr 03, 2014 at 01:51 AM
shelland
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p.1 #20 · Jump starting business?


I don't sell myself (although I've been considering it), so can't comment on personal experience. But what are typical prices, if there is such a thing? I see a 4x6 is $3.99, which seems steep to me. That could be impacting potential sales? But I could be wrong...


Apr 08, 2014 at 04:41 AM
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