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Old Aug 20, 2007, 9:21 AM   #1
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i have been working on taking all types of sports shots. and i look a lot at everyone's work here, and i look at magazines, on the internet, everywhere i am trying to find my niche, and get my style down, or at least maybe even get a style, hahahahahahahahahahaha anyway there is a guy here that takes all of the motorcycle track day pics and has been for awhile, and sells them to the guys who race. now when you look at this picture he took i think it is really good but has no motion blur, i mean i can crank up the aperture on my camera and get even sharper shots than this, but whats the point? i don't want you guys to think i'm nit picking, i just wanted your opinion. thanks, john
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Old Aug 20, 2007, 10:00 AM   #2
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John,

I'm not sure what you're asking for here. Do you want us to critique this other guy's work?

Also - I would ask - does he know you're posting his work on forums? If not, that's very taboo - you're violating his copyright by doing so.

That asside, let me say I think that shot is OK but not great. It's a bit soft for my tastes. But here's the dirty little secret regarding selling photos: quality is NOT the most important thing. I wish it were, but it isn't. Sales and marketing are infinitely more important. People can't buy your product if they don't know about it (marketing). Good personality and sales skills are also important. Having a reasonable price and good buying experience is also more important. In general, people who print on-site will sell much more work than people who sell off a website (believe me I know )

Also, people like a comfort level - so if they're used to dealing with one outfit it can be very tough to get them to switch to someone else - even if the quality is a little better (if it's a LOT better that is a different story).

And, of course, connections play a big part. Getting in with the right people (track directors, tournament directors, athletic directors, whoever) is critical - they're the ones that can give you an insid track. I'll be honest - this is my weakest point. I'm not a shmoozer - I'm not a sales guy. And my business suffers greatly because of it. I have a main competitor in my area who does a TON more business than I do. My photos are better quality (not just my biased opinion but opinion of clients who have bought from both) - but she's established better connections and relationships than I have. She's done a better job of marketing. So while I think she's a lesser photographer she's proven to be the better business person so her company does much better than mine. She's also very personable - she spends a lot of time chit-chatting at sporting events with parents (one of the reasons her photography suffers - but that PR does wonders for her business). So, qulity photos is a plus but other factors are probably more important.


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Old Aug 20, 2007, 11:23 AM   #3
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hi johng,

yes he knows i posted and was interested in the feedback as well. i wasn't trying to take his business, i was just wondering what other sports photographers thought about these type of shots, and you are right, it has to do with marketing! look at the pet rock, mood rings, and the pocket fisherman!! i was just wondering! thanks again, john

p.s. i guess its time to get out and do some selling!! hahahahahahaha
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Old Aug 20, 2007, 11:33 AM   #4
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A few points.

Motion blur isn't really needed on this because the photographer has chosen to shoot where the background is not obrusive or distracting.

The photographer has taken a good picture, full frame, and as such the quality is bound to be excellent.

If I was the rider - I'd buy it.

You need to get out there and sell sell sell. Sometimes quality has to be compramised by garuentees that you will get the shot. People like to know they can rely on YOU to get the shot and then once your in, you'd be surprised by the loyalty that people/companies have.

I know for example that I shoot well within my limits when I know I'm selling to people so I KNOW I'll get the shots I need, but will push the boat out, try different things and get slightly better pictures when I'm not - but not consistantly and that's a MUST in sports photography. 1 Good shot does not a photographer make.
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Old Aug 20, 2007, 12:15 PM   #5
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hi stevenC,

"Sometimes quality has to be compramised by garuentees that you will get the shot. People like to know they can rely on YOU to get the shot and then once your in, you'd be surprised by the loyalty that people/companies have.

I know for example that I shoot well within my limits when I know I'm selling to people so I KNOW I'll get the shots I need, but will push the boat out, try different things and get slightly better pictures when I'm not - but not consistantly and that's a MUST in sports photography. 1 Good shot does not a photographer make."

i believe that is what i need to learn!!! thank you very much for that important point!!i believe that is what i was looking for!!
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 9:31 AM   #6
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Is it a great shot?? No, is it a good shot??? No, is it acceptable to sell???? Yes

This shot is let down by bad track position (we all suffer from this in different places) so the lighting is not helping and this is the biggest thing for me. 2nd point is you don't always need motion blur but a little more in the wheels would be nice to see. 3rd point is seems soft and looking at the camera and lens settings I would guess the lens is only a consumer 70-300mm f4-5.6 so not likely to be the fastest focusing and not great at f5.6 in the first place.With your kit you are probably in a stronger position for sharpness.However it is going to sell as it is filling the frame, you can see rider and bike clearly and the background is not distracting.

For me when it comes to motorsport events I try at the lunch break to spend a bit of time with as many drivers as possible, asking how things are going, giving my card (obviously), wishing them well in the rest of the event. Showing interest (and be genuine with this) is a big bonus. I usually tell them where I'm going to be for the rest of the day and they like to find out what I have been getting in the morning. If I've noticed them as they've been going and seen anything I liked then will mention this as well. I can often tell who will be ordering from the responses I get when chatting. I'm also in with quite a few of the local clubs so they use my work on their websites and after events put links back to my work so this helps. Being a people person and being a capable photographer is best but just having people skills can make a big difference as people buy from people. My career is sales negotiating $1,000,000.00 deals so this really helps me out in the photographic world.

Try and get different track positions and think about what the lighting will be at each point for different times of day as this can really make things better, however when wanting to get a lot of usable shots you can't always be fussy and where I shoot I try to be at locations at different times to the other photogs so sometimes one of has the best light sometimes another.

Hope that helps.

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Old Aug 29, 2007, 6:03 PM   #7
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hi mark,

again i truly appreciate your knowlege, and your sharing. i am learning alot with my job, and i am beginning to understand what will sell, what you can get by with, but still, i am working to do the best that i can in all of these situations. also, i strive to get as perfect as i can for our customers! john
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Old Aug 29, 2007, 6:09 PM   #8
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Shooting volume is always a trade off against quality as you have to put a level of safety into the work which will take away from the ultimate effect you get. For example you can't go extreme blur by using slow shutter as you will lose too many and keepers is what it is all about. However, that is not to say that you should not strive to produce the best work possible just to keep shooting in a way that you can ensure you get what you need. Each time I go out I try to push to be a little better while getting the same (or more) keepers. This will ensure that you are up there with the rest or doing better.

Keep on keeping on!!!
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