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hotshotz1
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


I am currently putting together a new system with three touch screen stations. I am trying to find viewer station software. I want something that is user friendly for the customers. Looking at the 5 minute software right now but would like to hear what others doing this are using.
We shoot primarily sports such as Little League Tournaments. The three station set up is new to us. We have used a two station manned system in the past but got tired of seeing customers walk away at the end because they do not want to wait.



Apr 02, 2014 at 02:50 AM
P Alesse
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


Hmm... just wondering why you think three stations will yield better results? I'm thinking that if you can swing it, invest in more stations and forgo the touchscreens. My experience has been... have 10 stations, you'll fill 10 stations. Have 20 stations, you'll fill 20 stations. The only way of knowing that you have enough is when there are empty stations. That's when you know for sure. Because for every parent that walks away, there are another 10 you'll never even know about that took a glance over at the sales area from across the field, saw filled stations and didn't even bother to stop by.


Apr 02, 2014 at 09:28 PM
hotshotz1
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


Even if I pick 10 stations I still do not have a software to use.


Apr 04, 2014 at 03:18 AM
luketrot
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


5 Minute Photo and Photo Parata are both popular for what your doing.


Apr 10, 2014 at 07:33 PM
glort
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work



I tried a couple of specialised programs and had trouble with them. I had trouble with the customers using them too.

In the end I just used Jalbum and had orderforms and pens tied to the vstations. They wrote down the frame numbers ( and usualy a lot of potentials they were deciding on as well on the back) and brought the slip to the trailer and that was it.

I know a lot of shooters want to do it all electronicaly but I found keeping it simple, fast and easy for the clients worked far and away best for me. Customers don't want to figure out how to use software and in my experience are pretty easily intimidated by pushing the wrong button. You have to keep them in mind first and foremost.

I agree wholeheartedly with Paul. Anything under 10 stations for that work is prettymuch useless and 20 is gettting closer to the appropriate number. I'm surprised after recognising the problem you are only adding one more screen. I can't see that helping your sales one bit.
I started with 5 stations and by my 3rd time out had 10 and finished up with 30 and still would have liked more. As my trailer was a bit on the small side and weight and space had ran out, I went to laptops which were far and away the better setup.

I got hold of used machines from a charity that onsold ex government computers. They were cheap and turned out to be totally reliable. IF you are thinking using "fashionable" touch screens will be more of a drawcard than conventional or used monitors, I think you are on the wrong track. The touchscreens will be plenty popular with the annoying bored kids that the parents let run around to amuse themselves but when a parent can't walk up to a screen to see something, they walk and so does the money in their pocket.

The software does not have to be specialised or specific to what you are doing but it does need to be simple and user friendly. Jalbum also ticks the affordable box being FREE.



Apr 11, 2014 at 12:24 AM
hotshotz1
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


glort,
Thanks for the advice. I am changing my idea of the number of stations from the recommendations here. Sounds like there are a number of different way for each of us to do the same thing. I have heard from another guy that he had printers connected to each station. I would guess I could connect several computers to a single printer and the have a person bagging the prints. You said you have order forms and pens at the station. How many desk people do you have to download and the service the customers?
As for jalbum I have downloaded it for a trial. Are you using this networked with all of your stations?
Again, I appreciate your advice as it gives me ideas that I believe I can make work for me.



Apr 11, 2014 at 03:16 AM
hotshotz1
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


luketrot,
Thank you for the Photo Parata info. I am taking a look at what they have to offer. The 5 Minute Photo seems to be difficult just to download their trial and the company seems a little put off by my questions.



Apr 11, 2014 at 03:41 AM
John Patrick
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


You need enough viewstations, and it needs to be easy for the customers to find their photos. I aim for 4 mouse clicks, max. If they can't get to their photos in 4 clicks, you've lost the sale for impatient people, and most people are impatient.

Photo organization is a MUST.

John



Apr 11, 2014 at 04:13 PM
glort
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


hotshotz1 wrote:
I have heard from another guy that he had printers connected to each station. I would guess I could connect several computers to a single printer and the have a person bagging the prints.


-To me-, this sounds like a VERY bad Idea for a lot of reasons.
These days everyone seems hell bent on automation and saving labour etc. The irony is that people miss that and love it when they get it. Like Websites, everyone wants them to do all their marketing and sales work for them and often spend a lot of money and time on them. I get on the phone and ring people and constantly win business from other shooters because people love the personal touch and I love the ability to be able to sell them on what I do.

Aside from beoing able to talk to people and be able to upsell and establish a rapport ( which will be of huge benifit to you if you are going to be working with the same group of people on more than one occasion) the technical hassels would be a goddam nightmare. You would either have to go through and colour correct and crop every single frame you put on the stations even though probably 95-98% of them will never be bought. Then you have people that will want to crop or want something removed from the background or...... Ugggh! Sounds like a recipie for disaster to me. Then you have to contend with printers running out of ink or paper or jamming or.... double Agggghhh!


You said you have order forms and pens at the station. How many desk people do you have to download and the service the customers?

At the time I did this ( have since given it away for something 10 times more profitable and easier) I had my 15 yo son as the printer/ server/ downloader/ Jalbum Jockey in the trailer and my 13 yo Daughter taking the orders/ money/ handling the clients etc. My wife and I initially tried to help but the trailer was small and the kids didn't like us in there so honestly, I used to chat to the customers and sit on my backside when the shooting was over which was when we got the most orders.

The crew used to rib me for going off and talking to people but soon realised those people I was chatting to, often about anything bar pictures, always came and bought more than anyone else.
It's called rapport and relationship building. It got to the point with several of our clients that they often didn't even order anymore. We would put all the pics of their kids in a folder ( and we made sure to shoot heaps) and just burn them a disk. They would come up and ask how much ( usually $100) and that was it. With a couple of them, we would do some prints as well and they would usually go through the private gallery we set up for them ( one guy would bring his Ipad and log into his gallery through the Wi-fi ) and order some more. They were VERY good and very regular clients.

When we did the Big state events in the last year I did sports. I set up a table at the other end of the tent to the trailer with a couple of printers and my wife and I would also serve people. The people at the events we did would NEVER come order a photo till it was all over even if they were done and dusted at 10 am that morning. As such it was always a bun rush at the end to try and do all the orders in a max of 90min before they all took off home.


As for jalbum I have downloaded it for a trial. Are you using this networked with all of your stations?

Mainly Yes. I had a mother of an old server I was given that created a gallery that all the Vstations were pointed to. I had another 2 machines which did all the editing and printing work on because the Server was too much of a dinosaur to run editing programs but serving up web size gallery files for 30 machines, the thing was a beast!
I simply ran IE on the Vstations in Kiosk mode and pointed them all to the gallery on the server.

later on we got real cunning when we realised for what -we- were doing, having the pics up 10 seconds after they were shot wasn't always important. Instead of having all the vstations at the trailer, I would put the free standing units outside the venue Kiosk, office, undercover eating/ seating area etc. We would manually load the gallery on to one station and just network them with a switch to whatever machine the gallery was on. The beauty of Jalbum files is you can have thousands of pics in dozens of gallerys and the total size of the whole lot is way under 500Mb. This makes it easy for any old POS machine to serve up the pics fast as. We were using XP at the time so as long as we limited the standalone machines to serve no more than 6 units, we were fine.

The machines just stood there with a sign for the clients to put their selections on the order form and take them over to our trailer to order their prints ofr disks. This got the stations right where people could look at them and avoided the mighty crush and stuffiness of 100 odd people in the one crowded spot.

Usually when we did this, we would be covering a 2-3 day event and wouldn't even sell the pics till the last day. If we were doing a country event where everyone stayed overnight, we'd load the Vstations up so people could browse in the evening. On the last day we had everyone covered and just shot by request. That meant that everything else was on the stations and wasn't going to change. Sometimes we even just put the Jalbum files on a USB drive and networked the remote machines to that. Other times we might just do a new upload every hour. Drop all the files on a USB and take them over to the remote machines. The index would tell people what time or event the galleries were up to so they knew if they weren't up yet to come back later. Never had a problem with that.

You have to think outside the square and have 10 ways to skin the cat up your sleeve because you can't rely on doing things one way every time. I found Jalbum was fantastic like this because it was SO easy to work with in the gallery creation and how you actually set it up on the machines. You could run it off a server, network a standalone group of machines or load it onto each one. Being web based, you could
We also set up private galleries that we could log a machine onto for the specific customers without the gallery showing up on the vstations.

If you have 1 decent machine running win 7, it dosen't have to be a server. Jalbum makes everything so small any machine can act like a server to plenty of others. I'd reccomend a machine to create the galleries and serve them to the other machines and another machine to run PS for editing and do the printing.

I had a LOAD of printers and used a Continous/ Bulk ink system and it was the smartest thing I did. Cut my printing costs down from about a buck per 8x12 to about 3 cents, literally.


Photo organization is a MUST.

Couldn't agree more.

We used to break the galleries down as specificaly as we practicaly could.
Event, grade, age, time, height, class, competitor number or range, club, uniform/ hat colour, ...etc. Just made it so they kept filtering down till they got to what they were looking for and made that the smallest group of pics possible. People don't want to look at 100 kids to find theirs ( and you would be amazed at how many people can't find/ recognise their own kid!!) they want to sort them down to the most specific group. Having found thier kid they will often look for other kids to confirm their child is more pretty/ handsome/ talented/ did better, but initially they want to find their kid(s) as fast as possible.



Apr 12, 2014 at 03:20 PM
 

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luketrot
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


The tech part is easy, making money shooting little league is not. Paul Alesse and his business partner Shane Psaltis are brilliant when it comes to making money shooting baseball. I would be asking them lots of questions if I were in your shoes.


Apr 13, 2014 at 01:12 AM
glort
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


The tech part is easy, making money shooting little league is not.

I agree.
Making money out of any sports these days is a challenge. Hell, making money out of Photography per Se is an uphill battle just from the competition of the endless and never higher numbers of uncle Bobs and tryhards around.
As with everything else,financial success is not about how good a shooter you are, it all comes down to how good a businees person.

I don't think I'm any more than a proficient shooter and more than half of what I offered doing sports was taken by my wife or kids. My son used to keep tally on what was sold from each person shooting. We all did equally averaged out of several events.

What got me a lot of the gigs and a lot of sales to clients was business skills.
Just knowing how to approach the clubs did and still does win me a lot of work and eliminate competition that I sometimes think produces better work at a cheaper price. Most shooters think price & " quality" is the be all and end all in winning a gig but that is the basis of why they either struggle or get no where. When the kids were working the trailer serving clients, their instinct to upsell, suggestive sell, show the clients how pics could be improved and treat them like they were important, went 100 miles in what we took home at the end of the day.

I have to admit, I very rarely if ever gloat to myself about my abilities as a photographer but I regularly laugh and think myself a right smart arse with my ability to win jobs against shooters that are better and or cheaper whom have no business skills.
So many just are not able to look at things from the clients POV and think that the clients hold the exact same values they have. So many shooters think like Customers not clients and have absoloutley no understanding or knowledge of the most fundamental business principals.

Business is Business. The principals and methodologys are the same, you just have to keep them in mind to tweak them to fit the specific market you are in.



Apr 13, 2014 at 11:39 AM
wbulr
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


I have used the 5 Minute software for 3 years. Feel free to give me a call if you would like to discuss. 501-247-1182 Marvin


Apr 15, 2014 at 01:37 PM
misterz407
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


Marvin, I might be calling you tomorrow. I have a few questions for people who use the software:

Do the viewing stations need to have a ton of power or can they get by with 2-4 gigs of RAM? I'm looking at some refurbished units on Newegg and need to make sure that they will fit the bill.

I'm looking to get at least 10 stations up and running.

Thanks for all your help!



Jul 26, 2014 at 02:38 AM
John Patrick
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


For Photo Parata, you only need XP and 1 Gig for the viewstations, as they used IE as the backbone. The cheap Acer One netbooks work great.

John



Jul 26, 2014 at 04:10 AM
misterz407
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


I've already purchased the 5 minute photo with the 2 server deal. I'm locked into that. I'm concerned about the speed from server to the viewing stations. I dont want people to wait forever.

Will this do the job for the viewer??

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883280138



Jul 28, 2014 at 03:25 AM
John Patrick
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


Should be fine for a kiosk. Question is, are you looking to do multi-head on this or one PC per viewstation?

(I got my non-netbooks from a friend that recycled computers, P4s for around $30 each. You should be able to find similar on Craigslist or similar.)

John



Jul 29, 2014 at 12:13 AM
misterz407
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work


One PC per viewing station. The price isnt bad on the units I'm buying. I've ordered 3 to bring them in and test them under major duress. I'm planning on getting 20 of them total by the end of December. Thats the max that 5 minute photo can do with Windows unless I get a server system.

I'll be sure to take some photos when I've got things up and running.



Jul 31, 2014 at 03:01 AM





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