Upload & Sell: Off
| p.1 #9 · Looking for software suggestion for on site event work |
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.