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Old Apr 6, 2009, 8:22 PM   #1
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So I listened to your feedback on camera choices and went out and spent way more than I planned to. I ended up with the Canon 40D with the 17-85mm kit lens and also purchased the 70-300mm IS USM. I went to my daughter first track meet in a dimly lit field house and of course can back with a pile of blurred pictures. After finding out a number of these meets go into the evening too, I then bought the 70-200 2.8 & the nifty fifty (I am starting to think I am going to need some kind of a support group or something). Fortunately I had a large tax return and decide to do my part to stimulate the economy.



I volunteered to take photos for her track team's year end banquet. They do a slide show about 25 minutes long so I am thinking I will need about 500 – 600 decent shots. We had the first out door meet this weekend under very cloudy skis. Because of the weather I used the 70-200. Shot about 900 photos and had about 185 that were worth holding onto (more than I expected). Over all I was pretty happy with the results I got for the first time with a digital SLR and shooting this type of event. I posted a small selection on the team's web site and any feed back you have would be welcome.



A few things I learned alot over the weekend and by doing more searches on this site.

-Take more photos in the portrait position instead of landscape. I cut off a lot of legs, is it important to get the full body?

-At times the 70-200 was not quite long enough. Will I get similar results with the 70-300mm in full sunlight?

-Stick to the aperture priority and go for a much higher shutter speed. Should I enable the custom function 1-6 safety shift to automatically adjust Tv/Av if required?

-I set the white balance to cloudy, should I just leave this on auto or mach the setting to the type of day?

-Any thing else I am missing?
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Old Apr 7, 2009, 9:08 AM   #2
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I noticed that Dynamic range leaves something to be desired for that one (highlights on the girls front are blown so that you don't have any detail/texture in the white areas, and detail is lost in the shadows, too. For example, you can still some some color/texture on the top of the girl's right shoulder and arm, but all detail is lost on the lower areas (turned to black).

I see you were using Paint Shop Pro from the EXIF. So, if you bumped up contrast a lot, that could explain it (causing bright areas to be brighter, and darker areas to be darker). That can add "punch" to an image, but you can lose a lot of detail if you're not careful. If you plan on editing images later, you may want to lower the in camera contrast settings for more retained detail to begin with.

I moved your thread down to our Sports & Action Photos Forum, where some of our members that shoot a lot of sports (JohnG, Mark1616, Bluesman Graham and others) can give you some tips.

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Old Apr 7, 2009, 9:46 AM   #3
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Jim,



Thanks for the pointers on the image adjustment. The photo editing is probably one of the areas I still feel the most lost. I like the basic Digital Photo Professional that came with the camera because it is easy to use. I down loaded a trial version of Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 but it seems slower to make adjustments on my PC and I have more trouble adjusting the image.



Tom
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Old Apr 13, 2009, 12:04 PM   #4
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One other comment I'll make since you mentioned volunteering to take photos throughout the season for the slide show. If you were an accountent would you volunteer to do the Athletic Director's taxes for free? I realize photography is a hobby for most people - but things like that slideshow are often paid ventures. You do yourself a disservice by giving away the product for free and you do other sportssooters a disservice by diminishing the value of the service / product by giving it away for free.

It may sound like this touches a nerve with me - and that's because it does. I love sports photography and love helping others learn and explore it. But at the same time I make money from it. And it's tough enough to make money. Now with more and more parents buying $2000-4000 cameras/lenses they're capable of getting better shots (which is great except when they give those products/services away to other parents). Add to that, they get even better results using advice from seasoned shooters on the web and they get results good enough that for free parents will take them over paying for professional photos. Just something to think about and consider when deciding how much free work to give away. The more people that do that, the less reason there is for those of us with professional experience to provide our advice and experience. It's odd but people only seem to do it with sports. Most people wouldn't dream of shooting a wedding for free or even doing portraits for free. Anyway, off my soap box now, but please consider it.

John
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Old Apr 13, 2009, 4:02 PM   #5
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Hi John,



Thank you very much for you comments on the photo. I have a couple more meets this weekend and will try to post another shoot after I make some changes.



Also thanks for your comment on charging for photos.The reason I am volunteering is for photos is the track team asks parents to help out with various aspects of the meets like working concessions, running events ect. Some one else gets the job of compiling the slide show. I also would not feel comfortable changing at this point since this is my first try at this type of thing and am not confident that I would achieve a good out come. I would like to gain some experience first, but have been thinking it would be nice to be able to help fund a photo addition at some point.



I sized down the images on the web site to save disk space but also to limit the printability of the images. I considered trying to set something up where parents could purchase the images but have not found an inexpressive site that I thought would work well for that type of thing. I really don't want the hassle factor of printing and handing out pictures. If you have any suggestion on selling photos I would be interested in hearing about them. Most of what I have found is that it is pretty difficult to make money selling photos.



Tom
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Old Apr 14, 2009, 12:12 PM   #6
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schent1 wrote:
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Most of what I have found is that it is pretty difficult to make money selling photos.
Tom - the primary reason it's tough is because parents are buying better equipment and still giving away the product/service. Again, would you buy a truck and deliver mulch to all the families on the team? If you did, it would be tough for landscapers to make money too (even if you had a smaller truck and lower grade mulch - the 'free' part goes a long way). Or would you buy oil and change everyone's oil? Sure taking the car to a garage means a lube and higher grade oil and some other features you aren't providing. But people will take the free stuff even though the product/service isn't of as high a quality.

And, let's say in the oil case you were on the internet asking auto mechanics how to do a better job so you could continue to provide this free service to your community. How many mechanics are going to jump up and help you improve?

Or, look at it this way: If there were two beer stands and one is giving away free Strohs and the other one selling Heinekin - how many people are going to drink Strohs just because it's free?

But that's exactly what's happening to sports photography. It's pretty much unstoppable - but it's a big reason why seasoned shooters have stopped providing advice

The comparisons are a little silly in one respect - after all, you get enjoyment out of the photography. But on the other hand, the more people like you I help get better, the harder it is for me to make money.


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Old Apr 14, 2009, 1:36 PM   #7
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Hi John,



Again, I understand and appreciate your comments. My father sold beautiful back and white photography at local art fairs that reminded most people of the work that Ansel Adams would do. I remember one guy walking by commenting that maybe he would go out and do some black and white photos, of course really having no any idea what goes into it.



But how do you go from not very good and no reputation to earning a fair price for your work? For example if you wanted to shoot a wedding, do you tell someone you have never done this before but would like to give it a try and by the way I would like a $1000? Or do you find opportunities to learn and get exposure.



For me shooting for my daughters track team is a great opportunity to learn and get exposure. I can post some of them on the team web site for free which is a great chance for people to see my work. If people see the photos on the web site of their daughter and would like to get a copy I would love to tell be able to them to check out my web site where they could buy a copy. I have no intent of going out and shooting every local sports team and handing out photos for free, but maybe someone will see my work and ask me to do there event and I can charge for that.



I have done multiple searches on "selling photos online" on this site and the internet in general. I have searched for web sites that could be used to sell photos where they would take a percentage of sales. I would love to be able to sell photos to earn a little extra money. I do not have expectations that I would be quitting my day job any time soon.

Can you point me in a direction that provides an opportunity to sell my work? Are there websites where you can set your own price and that don't charge a monthly fee? What are the options?



Thanks



Tom
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Old Apr 14, 2009, 1:51 PM   #8
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Tom - no problem getting practice by shooting the track team. No problem having a few photos posted on a website (sized for web use but not printing). THat's a great approach to get better. The issue I have is when you provide a real product like the slideshow - covering multiple games of multiple athletes. That's a productworth quite a lot of money. It's like you shooting the senior class yearbook photos vs. giving a candid photo for use in the yearbook. You can practice and market without giving away the house - that slideshow is giving away the house. Give them that for free year one and then try charging them for it year two.

It comes down to what your ultimate goals are. If your goals are just to get better, my point is, don't trade away product and diminish the ability of others to earn a living just for access. I.E. most pros will gnash their teeth at people willing to 'work for a pass' for an event. That makes it tough for them to get paid to shoot that same event. So, posting a couple shots on the team site is a great way to get people to see your work. But giving people free slideshows or free disks of images is bad for the industry.

As for selling - there are multiple models - you don't have to do online sales.

You're just starting out though - you need experience before making money. So your challenge is "how do I get experience as a SHOOTER - not as a seller". See if the coach / AD will simply allow you on the field to take photos - establish a relationship. If not, take them from the fence. Don't worry yet about making money. But don't trade away valuable product/service just to get access to shoot. You might be able to get that access for free - especially for track/field. After you have the experience - THEN offer to provide a slide show for a team 'discount'. Just don't give it away just to get access to learn.

So, in summary - I'm not saying you should charge right out of the gate. You need to learn first. Just don't give away product just for access so you can learn. That will make it difficult or impossible for you or anyone else to make money providing that service because why should they pay when they can get it for free?
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Old Apr 16, 2009, 8:17 AM   #9
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Nice discussion gents.
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Old Apr 16, 2009, 4:28 PM   #10
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JohnG wrote:
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So, in summary - I'm not saying you should charge right out of the gate. You need to learn first. Just don't give away product just for access so you can learn.
John

I totally agree with you here for beginners in photography. I myself last year found that I was being questioned at games in regards to selling photos etc but when I got home with them and was really harsh on myself andI told myself I couldnt sell 90% of my photos because they just weren't good enough. I didnt want to to get my name out there for bad work so I held onto them and worked out new techniques etc and have become much better not IMO but others...
So far this year Ive been asked to work at a local magazine doing sports shots on the weekends and hopefully this will allow me to get better and with the pro-photographer giving me feedback on the shots I take for the mag each month.

Tom - Dont put yourself on the chopping block too early. Some people may like your photos and other may go URGH! Give yourself time, hold onto your photos, practice, learn to use Adobe and Corel, make your photos better and then once you have a shoot and think WOW these are really good then get ready to sell photos.
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