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Old Aug 30, 2006, 8:57 AM   #1
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Hope this is the best forum for good responses. Familiar with a few of the photosharing sites such as flicker, smugmug, etc, I see that some let you not only share, but sell photos.

What is the best site, or is it even possible, when you have an event that may generate hundreds or maybe thousands of shots in a single day, weekend, etc. to organize, advertise and allow people to buy pictures.

Not my specific example, but close enough... Let's say you have a weekend festival. Thousands upon thousands of people partying, having a great time in groups, with friends, family, etc. In my specific example, most would actually be fairly stationary groups, not roving around. All having a great time but not necessarily carrying around their own cameras. Some joker comes around with camera capturing all the festivities and memories. No doubt, anyone would ham it up, pose for individual pictures, group photos, etc.

Now, how to advertise your service and allow these groups to find each other in a collection of hundreds of groups of photos come monday morning. I'd thought of having cards made up advertising the site. Hand to, what seems, the most responsible or interested person in the group.

Could you organize these site by memorable keywords such as a family name? OR hours of the day and each time you hand out a card they know to look in the 11:00am section versus the 1:00pm section.

Or, take their information such as email and match against picture numbers in camera. Then, email one individual representing the entire group letting them know their pictures are ready. How could you organize these potentially hundreds if not thousands of pictures for the subjects to later find, spread the word and buy. Let's say it was 100 hundred groups of 5-10 photos per group.

Hope that's enough info to spark responses. My thoughts are that as a budding amateur photography, even selling spontaneous, "zaps" type images at a quarter, fifty cents, a dollar a piece (maybe price out the "money" shots a little higher and virtually give away the average shots?)... One may look up and have made a few hundred bucks for a weekend's fun style shooting. Just how to do it?

Any thoughts, advice, suggestions?
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Old Aug 30, 2006, 11:44 AM   #2
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Lee,

Two different questions really:

1. How to organize and promote your sales

2. What company to partner with to host and sell photos.

I'll take the 2nd question first. There are two models I'm aware of employed by 3rd party vendors for selling photos. Option 1 is the site handles both the order processing and the shipping - which is what Smugmug does. For this benefit you pay $150 a year for a pro level account and they take 15% off the top of each sale. Until now this required you to always upload full size photos. They have recently made a change that puts a delay on an order. If you choose to use the option you set the # of days to delay the sale. You then upload reduced sized images to save upload time. Then when a sale is made you are notified and can replace the image with a full size image. But you don't have to use the option if you don't want to. In any event, Smugmug has no storage limit so I've got over 50 gig of photos stored there right now.

The other model employed is to work as a cash register only. They take orders via credit or paypal and you are notified. You are responsible for printing and shipping the photos yourself.

The question is: which model do you want to use? Do you want to print/ship yourself or do you want the third party to do it for you.

As to the first question - I really have no idea. There are a lot of dynamics at play here that make it difficult - i.e. people leaving one group to be part of another so I'm not sure a time stamp or name stamp works well. I'm sure someone else here has done something similar.
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Old Aug 30, 2006, 3:21 PM   #3
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Okay, thanks JohnG. Aware that you are a smugmug customer, let's say you were at a big Park Day at your local baseball facility. A hundred teams playing that day. (10 fields, two teams per game, 5 games on each field throughout the afternoon.

All around are activities, fun events, etc. Dunking machines, sumo wrestling in inflated tents, sack races on the football field. All kinds of activities for an annual Park Day. Kids eating their first cotton candy, etc. Mom's would love to have that image forever. You are just having fun as a photographer and may even give the shots away. Is there a way in your smugmug site to at least breakdown:

1) Field one, game one. Field two, game one, etc, etc
2) Sumo wrestling
3) Dunking machine

to organize these shots.

Someone sees you, knows you took their picture and now they want to go find it online. Of course you have to have provided your site. That's where my idea of marketing cards comes into play. That's where expenses mount over and above wear and tear on equipment. That's where, at least I feel, you have to, have to begin charging even a nominal fee for your time, equipment, possible expertise and substituting your time for the parent's time with a camera.

Countless examples. You take a walk in a park. Just practicing but you feel you've captured a PRICELESS moment of mother and child at swingset. You're just practicing but you want to be able to get that picture to the parent without too much work on your part. How to get a web site to them, and, put some of the responsibility on them. Hand them your card, with park and date on back, but can you organize the web site?

You're touring a major city practicing, but capture some great tourist, lover's, parent and child moment. You just so happen to have your marketing cards in your bag and the foresight to have stamped the back of some with "New York August 31, 2006" You give that to the lovers and ask for their names. You record Smith and then go create some page or link just for them... Possible?

But, let's say it's a less wholesome day. Big, big scale festivities. Festival where fun and good times are priceless, but people don't have cameras. You KNOW you can make some bucks charging for a bunch of fools to have memories of the day. You print up cards to hand out to each major group, or even each individual shot you take. You hope they keep the card (narcisism), will go to the site (curiosity), find their picture, and, just maybe shell out a few bucks for the pictures. Yes, let the smugmug's of the world do the printing.

Do you feel capable of organizing your site to accomodate these major events and break them down in such a way that people could find their photos few amongst the many?

Long question for a short answer. But, considering it and wanting to know what all may be involved, if, if, if, the organization side of the equation is even possible.

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Old Aug 30, 2006, 7:40 PM   #4
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Short answer is:

Smugmug provides 3 levels of hierarchy:

Category (and for pro accounts you can create your own categories)

Sub-category (again you create your own)

Gallery

That's it - you get 3 levels of breakdown. if you require more levels than that to organize your photos Smugmug cannot currently accomplish it.

But I have to be honest with you - web based sales are difficult. The types of photos you're describing are mostly impulse buys. It's tough to get people to actually go onto your site and still want to pay. It's why many of the sports photogs do on-site printing - so people can get immediate gratification.

I recently provided a neighbor 50% of my normal rates for a game his son was in - it still took about 6 weeks before he got around to ordering and all that time he raved about how good the shots looked. Now, imagine what it's like to get total strangers to visit your website. At one little league game I shot I handed out about 20 flyers - 3 different people viewed the photos. Every place is different but just a warning that internet sales of event photos can be a difficult venture.
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Old Aug 31, 2006, 7:50 AM   #5
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Waht about Pbase & fotopic.net


any idea ?
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Old Aug 31, 2006, 8:43 AM   #6
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Good answer, John. I appreciate it.

I guess all business ventures (no matter how big or small) start off as a dream. Certainly there are reality checks along the way.

I can completely understand the "impulse" purchase factor. Thought of that as well. One could offer those instant printouts from their car (power inverter, laptop, printer). I've just thought that may be a little too opportunistic, too vulture-like at "kid's" events. I liked the idea of a brochure and a web-site for kid's events. A little more passive with no hard selling. But, is that where everything skids to a halt?!?

I have felt out some kids at a local skate park. Went there really just to test the speed of the camera and learn to shoot action. Had fun. Skaters and bikers LOVED it and took every chance they could to get in front of the camera. Mentioned I may one day be able to offer them cd's of their pictures. They were ecstatic! Now, how much would that be worth? Do you just give teaser cd's and see if they go home and beg parents to foot bill for a one-on-one session? My thoughts really were, go spend a couple of hours, shoot a few hundred pics. Go burn cds, print one good picture and see if the package is worth 10, 15, 20 bucks. Sell 5-10 of those packages and it was a pretty good time. (All I really want to do right now is have fun and finance more gear.)

My point is, kid's love the pictures and, it seems to me, in some areas, money is no object to parents when it comes to their kids activities. If someone can capture those moments better than they can, could it support a small side business. Then, back to how to distribute those pictures and the "impulse" factor.

I like the passive aspect of web-based pictures for kids events, park-based activities where you may appear a vulture if you try to sell. Other events, you could clearly sell printouts on the spot. But, as you mention, in the real world, parents aren't knocking down the door.

THAT IS WHERE I AM SHOCKED. If you, JohnG, presented some of your baseball pictures (those little tykes who can barely catch in some of your pictures - priceless expressions) to me, I'd certainly spend the time to go view and download. I'd spend the money and feel most people I know would too. Some of those shots are priceless. (Of course, extremely visual, maybe that's why I enjoy documenting events and aspire to take my photography to the next level. Maybe not all parents feel the same way about capturing images forever.)

I've dragged on. Maybe a few of us with similar interests need to work together to develop a non-threatening, compelling brochure. That was my original thought any way. They see you and your camera. They are intrigued. "Who is that guy?" You then politely and passively hand out some nicely produced brochures with your best shots insuring that some of the same may exist of their little Janie or Johnny. Just go visit www.... Maybe a few of us could share ideas, templates, layouts, etc and ideas of what works if one has that breakthrough moment. Again, I just see parents spending untold dollars for their kids activities. Well done photos documenting those activities seems a no-brainer. Maybe easier said than done.

Now, my original point, found this link which may be enough to organize my original example. Just concerned with how many of these categories you can have and how easy it may be to collect and organize keywords for strangers.

http://hooverbucshots.smugmug.com/

If anyone is familiar with the MTV documentary "Two A Days" that shows how fanatical my area of the country can be when it comes to sports and supporting their kids. Almost too much. But that's what drives much of my optimism.


















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Old Aug 31, 2006, 8:50 AM   #7
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Oh, one other concern...

When you put those pictures on a web site, what prevents viewers from just right clicking and saving the image. Even if low resolution, they now have the image. That may be enough for most.

Sort of cheesy, but I thought I'd "proof" all pictures anyway. Maybe take the time to inset, the best part of the picture such as the kid's expression. A sort of overlap that shows the quality but makes just "saving it" useless. Without some protection, they've got what they want. All you have is the ability to give them a higher quality shot for future printing, or, printing itself.

We may have lost over 50% of the business right there. You just gave 50% of the population all they wanted: a good image for their computer. In my opinion, the image itself has value!

Is there a better way to protect your image? I hate the cheesy-ness of "proof"ing pictures, but, it was your time and effort. Protect it.

Thoughts?
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Old Aug 31, 2006, 11:59 AM   #8
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Lee,

Smugmug has just started the ability to do custom proofing. Until last month your only choice was a big annoying PROOF across the middle of the photo. You either had it or not.

Now you have the ability to create your own proof. The best part for someone like me (who still uploads original images from the start) is the image used for printing does not contain the 'proof' it is only applied to images as they are displayed. There is the ability to turn right-clicking off - but even that isn't fool proof. People can do a captured screen print and get a display image that way if they want it. They've also included a purchase option for the image file to - a customer pays a price to be able to download an image with astated usage contractwhich some businesses like to do.

Here's a sample of how my proof appears (yours could be whatever you want at whatever opacity - occuring once or repeated like I have - although you don't get to place it yourself - and you really wouldn't want to IMO)


To be honest I haven't looked at a lot of other sites. What I don't like about most of them is they limit you on storage space. I like that I can upload as many files as I want at original size and can control what size photos people can see. For instance, I have private galleries on my professional site to still share family photos with family and friends. Prices are set to the actual print cost and I allow them to access original photo sizes so they can download and print themselves.



Other facilities probably offer a similar method.
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Old Aug 31, 2006, 3:31 PM   #9
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Cool. That sounds like a great, and needed, feature.

I like how your custom proof is subtle enough that the photo can be seen but obtrusive enough that the picture would seem worthless without removing your text.

I'll look into smugmug more. With a young family on the way, that will certainly help in sharing photos amongst family and friends as you mentioned.


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