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Old Sep 12, 2007, 6:14 PM   #1
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Me and a buddy of mine are looking at selling some of our photos, once we get better of course. :G

We have had some interest already and was wondering if anyone has any tips or ideas we should think about when doing this. For example, good sites to host from, space requirements, cost, photo editing softwareand anything else you guys can think of.






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Old Sep 12, 2007, 6:31 PM   #2
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I would be careful when putting a site up as this is what people will see and attribute to you. Make sure that you only put the best work on the site and also ensure that if you are supplying prints to customers that they are of a high quality. If you get any of these wrong you can make a really bad name early on which is hard to get rid of.

Looking through your posts you've not been shooting sportslong so I would invest time in getting experience in shooting so you know when you go out you can come back with the goods. Also I would really consider what kit you have to ensure you have the best chance in different conditions to make your life as easy as possible. I'm sure it's been said but shooting sports is not easy even with the top kit so get practising......

OK now onto hosting, one of the faves is Smugmug, I don't use it but sure others will be able to give extra details. For cost, I would see who else is shooting in your area and what prices they are selling shots for and make sure your quality is similar.

For editing I would look at Photoshop Elements, Paintshop Pro and the daddy Photoshop CS3.

Again, don't rush into this, get it right and you will be better set up for the future.

Good luck,

Mark
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Old Sep 12, 2007, 8:10 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice.

:Goh yes, practice practice practice. We werent thinking of anytime soon. I guess I shouldnt have said specifically selling only sports, it could be anything. We just know it takes time to build upexperience, equipment, photo taking skills andphoto editing skills and figured we better start now thinkng about it.

Software

Cool, I have Photoshop Elements and PSP 10 already, I just need alot more practice on how and what to edit.

Equipment

Canon 30D, Sigma 100-300mm f4 with a HOYA HMC UV(0) filter, Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 with a HOYA HMC UV(0) filter, Sigma 28-300mm f3.5-6.3, with a HOYA HMC UV(0) filter,Sigma1.4x APO, regular tripod, Manfrotto Monopod with tilt head, 4G Sandisk Card, 1G Sandisk card, Two batteries, Lowpro Trekker 200 (which needs upgrading) and No flash yet, but Im working on that.

What else would you suggest? I want the 110-300mm f2.8 but that is years away price wise. Sigma APO 50-150mm f2.8?

There are so many different types of lenses, just not sure which one is versatile enough to do all the things I want to do. :?


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Old Sep 12, 2007, 8:21 PM   #4
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I use PSP 10 so that will do what you need with a bit of practise, I find there is a lot more in it than Elements.

As for lenses, if you are doing night sports then the 70-200mm f2.8 Sigma will do a better job than the 50-150mm f2.8. The 120-300mm f2.8 is lovely and a few of us here use it on a regular basis, well worth the money when you can afford it!!

For now use the 100-300mm f4 for most outdoor sport work, you can't ask for a much sharper lens, Sigma did really well with this one.

When it comes to what you are selling, you are probably best to focus on a particular area so you get proficient in that, if you spread yourself too thin trying to get great at different genres you might find things take a long time. I'm not saying don't shoot other things, we all like to try something new, however for sales they have to be good. For a few years I've only sold sports shots, it is only now that I'm looking at a move to weddings/portraits, however currently I'm only doing bits for friends etc to build up my portfolio and gain experience.

I'm sure you will learn loads here as there are some great people always happy to help.

Happy shooting.
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Old Sep 12, 2007, 8:55 PM   #5
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Cool thanks for the info.

Is there anywhere on herewhere I can find setting tips for like every occasion?

I have some sports settings, baseball, football/soccer, basketball. I have been searching for anything that will give me a baseline on where to start for every different occasion, then just go from there and learn new tricks of my own.
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Old Sep 13, 2007, 3:19 AM   #6
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When it comes to tips, if you look at work posted here for most sports then there will be advice given for someone to improve their shooting technique so if you take that on then you should have a good start point. If you can't find something for a specific sport/situation then just post the question on the relevant forum here and you will be helped out.
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Old Sep 13, 2007, 10:00 AM   #7
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First what exactly are you trying to shoot.
I mean what level of sports. Pro, College, High School?
And also which sports, Football/Baseball/hockey? Basketball/soccer?

For most of these at the pro/college level the people doing them professionally are using lenses in the 400 f/4 to 600 f/5.6 and longer range, and Cameras capable of 8-10fps :-)

The shorter lenses work well if the distances are not too great.
I have the 120-300 f/2.8 and it is heavy to hold for long periods of time.
A monopod is usefull, as a tripod can quickely get in the way.
If you are indoors and the light is low a fast 85mm or 100mm can come in very handy.

Some sports venues do not permit flash!

Poke around sportsshooter for some tips
http://www.sportsshooter.com/

There is also the legal aspect, at the pro/college level you need to get approved and OK'ed by the team owners and management to shoot their team.

At the HighSchool level you just need to get the coach to OK you shooting his team.

smugmug is one of the good place to host from, just be carefull again, posting images of minors on the web can also get you in legal doo doo.

Lots of different aspects to work your way through, but it can be done if you work at it. A lot!


Mark, I just noticed you said you want to start to do weddings :G
Plain Insanity :? :!:
Takes a special personality to be able to handle both the event preasures and the inevitable bridezillas..
But the money can be very good!
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Old Sep 13, 2007, 10:21 AM   #8
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OK,

I just wanted to add some things on top of Mark's advice.

You and your partner need to decide what your photography business is going to be about. If the answer is "All Kinds" you will most likely fail.
Each area of photography takes a good amount of hands-on experience to learn. Trying to jump around to all the different areas is a recipe for disaster.
Also each area requires certain equipment to get reasonable success. The priority of buying that equipment is different depending on what you want to do.
For example - if you wanted to do event or wedding photography here's what I see is missing before you could even start:
external flash and flash bracket. You could go for a little while with the lenses you have but eventually you'll need some more specialty lenses.
If you want to shoot sports - right now you have one legit sports lens - the 100-300. The rest aren't of much use in sports. You have no lens capable of low light outdoors - a 70-200 2.8 is in order there.
You have no lens capable of indoor sports work. I would suggest the 85mm 1.8 lens. You can't shoot sports with budget lenses, sorry. So, if you wanted to do either of these types of photography you don't even have the necessary equipment to START learning. Unless you want to limit the business to good light sports (little league and pee-wee football, soccer).

Now, after you decide what you WANT your business to be - you then have to figure out if there's a market for it. Will people buy what you want to sell?

Let's take sports shooting since it's what I'm familiar with:
The biggest money is to be had from on-site sales for tournaments (baseball, softball, soccer, etc). This requires multiple shooters, runners to take CF cards back to the booth. At least 1 person, preferably 2 processing the cards and organizing them while you keep shooting. The biggest key being trashing all the bad shots. But to be successful here - you need to be VERY proficient as a shooter - framing, exposure, WB needs to be dead on in-camera - there won't be time for levels and cropping in PP. I've been shooting sports for several years and I'm not there yet.
So you need a lot more people, you need a booth, banner(s), several laptops for people to review on - people don't want to wait 20 minutes to view their photos - AND at least 1, probably 2 pro quality photo printers - not the $170 ink-jets.

The second type of work is contract work - trying to get contracts with leagues or teams to be official photographer.
The third type is speculative. Shooting events because someone asked you to or just on speculation and handing out flyers to get orders. This last way is very hard to make decent money on. Let's say you have a parent that wants you to shoot a little league game - you spend 1.5 hours there plus another 1/2 hour travel and you show up 1/2 hour early - 2.5 hours. Then you spend another 2 hours processing the photos - 4.5 hours spent. That parent is happy and they order $20 worth of stuff. Maybe other parents order, maybe they don't. If not you just made an hourly wage of $4.50
The first question is: do the other parents even know you're there? Then the next question is: do they care? In my experience parents fall into 3 categories:
1. Will buy any photo their child is in up to a certain dollar amount
2. Will buy 1 maybe 2 great photos their child is in - but aren't interested in average sports shots - these are the types that just want a picture of their child smiling so they buy the canned stuff the studios do for the team shots. They're only interested in an action shot if it's truly incredible
3. Won't spend over $1 for a photo - a photo isn't worth any money to them. They either take their own shots with their point-n-shoot or just don't care.

So, a team of 12 kids has MAYBE 1 parent in group 1 - maybe 2 parents in group 2 - the majority are in group 3. If that group 1 parent doesn't know your stuff is there you'll never have a sale.

In addition this model is tough because people forget very fast. Hand out 15 business cards - maybe 3 actually check your site.

There is another type of work - doing the team photos. This is the lucrative business - where you show up for a couple hours and take posed shots and sell packages to the parents. It is almost always a contract with the league - usually owned by a studio. So you have to figure out who in the league sets up those contracts and convince them to use you instead. This can be tough to do. It's fairly easy photography to do - so skill isn't much of a factor. What is a factor is coming up with innovative products every year or two. It started about 4 years ago with trading cards, bogus magazine covers (be careful there - there are copyright issues), etc.

Now, the best way is if you're already involved with an organization - have kids in a soccer league or baseball league (or better yet a travel team organization). This is a definite 'IN'. If you're on the outside looking in - it's going to be tough to get contracts and to do effective marketing. And marketing is essential to your success.

So, bottom line is: there is an enormous jump from just taking some photos to trying to make money from it. Everyone has a digital camera now - so if you want people to pay you, the product has to be better than what they or another parent can provide.

So, all the business stuff asside - we're back to Mark's point. You need to be proficient BEFORE you start the business. You won't get a chance to make a first impression again. So if your work is mediocre - even if you get some business at first - if another would-be photographer sees your work and his/hers is better they'll move in. That can be tough to recover from.

The other photography businesses tend to be either wedding/event or portrait. Wedding/evet work takes a lot of practice - people will want to see whole albums and proof books not just a single great shot. They want to see that you take 200 great shots at a wedding. And they want to see quality prints. not only a portfolio but some larger prints -16x20, 20x30 etc. So you should have some of those available for people to see as well.
Mark can testify better than I though that in many ways wedding photography is MUCH tougher than sports work. In sports I just have to expose for faces, in weddings you need the whole scene exposed properly - you need to be a master of flash photogrphy. You also have to have an artistic eye for poses and angles that people want.

Portrait work - you need studio space - plus lighting equipment, backdrops, props, etc.

So, once all that is out of the way - are there websites to sell your work? Yes. I use smugmug. It's $150 a year and they take 15% of your profits. But they also make you file tax forms so your revenue is reported to the IRS - so say goodbye to another 30% of your profits (they don't deduct the taxes when they pay you). So, selling from the web comes at a cost.

Finally - with regards to tips for all sports. My advice is: learn each sport as you go. This is a hands-on business. There are some guidelines to give you and some things to watch out for in each sport but you need to be shooting that sport to really understand and learn the advice. So my advice is: for each sport you start shooting - post samples and ask for critique. We're pretty good in the sports forum with giving good, honest feedback. Some people don't like that because it's honest. Are we the best sports shooters out there? Hardly. If we were - we'd be out making money rather than posting. But, in my experience the true pros very rarely offer feedback. Fred Miranda's site is probably the best site to interact with pros (if you're not a member you can't post on sportsshooter.com) - but again, it's a tough crowd to get any feedback from.

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Old Sep 13, 2007, 10:26 AM   #9
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JohnG wrote:
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OK,

I just wanted to add some things on top of Mark's advice.
As soon as I saw that I knew something big was about to be written and I wasn't disappointed LOL.

Oh John I found your pic on your site yesterday...... for some reason I imagined you to be older and with dark hair LOL. I guess the older was from you having children etc but the hair no idea!!
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Old Sep 13, 2007, 10:27 AM   #10
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Mark1616 wrote:
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As soon as I saw that I knew something big was about to be written and I wasn't disappointed LOL.
I'm a man of few words - what can I say :blah:

Yeah - it's interesting the mental images we carry around about people we talk to on the phone or chat with on the web.
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