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Old Jun 3, 2008, 10:49 AM   #1
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I'm far from a professional photographer but don't want to post photos where people can copy for free or purchase for practically nothing. I have people ask me all the time to take a picture of their son at a sporting event and email it to them. I would rather have them on a website where people can view and purchase if they want. I would like a little something for my efforts.

I want to get better at taking shots and want more equipment (like everyone else). I want to post my pictures for sale where others can purchase pics and they can not be copied off the website for personal use.

I know most professional photographers have websites. What could someone like me use as a tool to sell photos and what is a fair price to charge?

If there is already a posted topic that has this information, sorry and please post the link. I didn't see it.
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Old Jun 3, 2008, 1:57 PM   #2
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On second thought, this is probably a post that people would have mixed feelings on.

One, if I post on a website where anyone could copy the picture or purchase the picture for the minimal fees the website charges, then that is really hurting the professional who may be at the same game taking pictures. Not hurting the professional who is at the same game but their profession in general.

Two, since I'm not professional I'm not justified in charging much for the picture, so what's the point in charging at all. I also have mixed feelings about making pictures available on the internet that the subjects are not even aware is on the internet.

Thoughts or opinions.
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Old Jun 11, 2008, 8:48 AM   #3
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Yes.... giving away photos (or charging a small amount for them) can be a "touchy" subject with some of the pro shooters, since that can cut into their income.

Here's a recent thread with some discussion on that issue:


As for a web based store front for selling photos, you may find this thread to be helpful:

Photo Storefront Advice

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Old Jun 11, 2008, 10:24 AM   #4
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if i read your post the correct way this may be of help

what i think you want to do is to have somewhere where people can go and look at the shots then if they want they can order from you the images they want?

first of never put high res images on the net without a big watermark, id even put a watermark on the small ones, you cannot ever stop someone copying a pic of the net, as all u need to do is do a screen grab and you have got everything on sceen inc the image.

unless you can build and run your own site, something like flikr may do you just fine. just have some cards made with where they can see images.

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Old Jun 11, 2008, 11:13 AM   #5
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A couple issues here.

First the simple one - i use smugmug to host my for-sale site. They provide watermarking, ability to set viewable image size, pricing, what products can be ordered. They provide unlimited storage and handle the order processing, printing (through ezprints) and delivery. BUT, it costs $150 for a pro level account (the only account where you can sell for profit) and they take 15% of your profits. There are other sites which host, handle cash register but not order fulfillment.

The second issue is near and dear to my heart. It is sadly why I have for the most part stopped my long standing habit of providing sports shooting advice. I was happy to help others who expressed a love for photography or even wanted to get into the business. But, there is a very, very large trend going on of parents and enthusiasts buying better and better gear (essential for sports photography) and still giving away photos or selling them at cost. Sadly, there are an enormous amount of these people learning the craft but showing no respect for the industry. So, I no longer provide much public advice because I don't like the idea of my advice allowing these people to undercut working professionals.

As for how to proceed if you eventually want to earn money - it's like any other career. If you want to be an electrician you don't provide free electrical work to customers. You learn how to do the job first and then charge a respectable rate right from the start (sure your rate goes up as you get better but you don't start off giving away the product for free). Think of it this way also - let's say you're my potential customer. For a year or two I give you a product for free or at cost. Suddenly I tell you I'm going to charge you $10 for the photo. You're very likely to say "I dont think so - I was getting virtually that same product for free - yeah the shots this year are a little better but last years free shots were good enough - this other guy is giving free photos away so I'll stick with the free stuff thanks".

So - how to learn and get better to the point where you CAN charge and earn money? PRACTICE. Get permission to shoot being honest with the coach/athletic director. You can also check around for small local papers - weeklys or small dailys and see if they hire freelancers. Or if there's a working pro around, see if you can work out an internship arrangement. You may not get paid or paid well but you will be TAUGHT (dont take an internship where you're not being taught). This is different than giving away the product for free. You're getting knowledge in exchange - just like any other apprenticeship. The trade benefits because another person has learned quality work but without disrupting the earning potential of a pro.

You don't HAVE to sell work. But, IMO you shouldn't give it away either. And it isn't just affecting event sports shooters either. Newspaper photogs are losing jobs now too because there is an army of people with disposable income that have expensive DSLRs and lenses now. So papers can get a few hundred submissions from parents/hobbyists who just want the thrill of their name in the paper. And a couple of those will be good enough to print.

Best of luck in your search. If you want more information or advice, please feel free to PM me and I'll be glad to provide what I can. Although I should point out I am not a full time sports shooter - it's a 2nd job for me and not one I can devote a lot of time to. But still glad to provide what input I can.

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Old Jun 11, 2008, 1:58 PM   #6
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Yes, all three of you understood my posts. :G

Really good feedback and I appreciate the candid responses. JimC., that thread you provided a link to was what really got me thinking. JohnG. makes some very valid points in his post and I respect that. Smugmug sounds like what I was looking for, just more expensive than I expected. The internship arrangement sounds interesting and one that I hadn't thought of before.

I currently have a son playing baseball and coaches will not allow parents on the field. I enjoy the game and taking pictures and can see myself continue shooting after my son has moved on. Might be a good way to supplement retirement down the road. Anyway I enjoy the website here and respect the professionals in the industry.

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Old Dec 7, 2008, 11:09 AM   #7
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I uploaded my photos to the www.onlinephotographers.org and afterfive months I got six clients. So if it is hobby for You - try this website, if You want to earn much money try to upload as many Photos Stock as possible.
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