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Best way to sell photos:online or on site?

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by Jeff Mims, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    I'm talking highschool level and below.

    I was at a softball tournament today, chatted with a couple of other photographers. One placed a poster on the concession stand (good placement)
    to advertise her web site, and services..and included contact info and sample sports photo.
    The other photographer said he never made much off a website, but sells his stuff mostly on site. (at tournaments). In multi day tournaments, he has 5x7s in little cardboard frames, for sale the next day on a table. According to him, he's done quite well. Of course, he offers other sizes, and takes orders, but sells a lot of the smaller to the kids themselves.
    An untapped market..in my area? I get the feeling this might work for me...sell the kids a 5x7, the parents see it..maybe they order larger sizes..???
    Sell on site, use a website...do both?
    What is the best way to market and sell your photos?
  2. I have sold alot of pics via smugmug and handing out business cards but this only works at events where the majority of fans are parents (like soccer and recently swimming). My problem w/ FB & BB is the fans are mostly fans and not parents and are too far away from me in the stands. Of course I am only trying to generate revenue to pay for equipment and really don't want this to ever be 'a job'. Hope that helps Jeff.
  3. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    Yes it helps. Thanks for your input.
    Business cards! That is something I've not done yet.
    So is it a matter of marketing, and how you market..depends on the market you are in? (that one is delivering consistent quality, is presumed here)

    I used to think the impossible dream was making enough to pay for my equipment then some..(a self-supporting hobby). But I've been meeting people who are doing just that very thing...and aren't full time pros, but have a full time job in additional to photography.
    So I have hope.:smile:
  4. [IMO]
    there is no doubt that parents will buy lots of pics of their kids. I am at 900+ pics since last October and I didn't sell any fb or bb, it was all soccer & some swimming lately.
    The answer is simple, get the message out there.
    I think the best money is in private league (non school) soccer. The boys and girls play fall & spring so there are hundreds of games to shoot. Offer to give the team's website free pics. Offer to give the local paper free pics. In fact anyone that will print your name and website under the pic should get a free pic. I have pics on the shrine bowl site, the NC zoo, 2 local soccer orgs. Meet the team manager. Start inexpensive. My 1st year has been $4/6/8 for 4x6,5x8, and 8x10's. I will go up this fall and may drop the 4x6's. Remember it's not for the money. Enjoy the look in the parents eyes when they thank you for doing this. And keep spening ALL the money you make on new lenses and cam bodies (it will drive uncle sam nuts and make you very happy).
    Have FUN !
  5. "Start inexpensive" - BS

    Start with what your photos are worth. Research what other photogs that are doing the same thing in your area (and around the country if you like) are charging and then figure out if your quality matches theirs.

    "Remember it's not for the money." - Except for the guys that are doing it for a living and have to compete with yet another "just for fun business" killing the value of the market.

    And just to be upfront. Yes, I was the guy that came in with a D70 and a quantaray 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 lens that thought I could do the same thing. So I am a reformed offender. I took the time to step back, look at the arguements, find a mentor to teach me photography, and researched what the true value of getting great images is. I'm currently not the best in the area, but I learn something from every event that I take on.

    I consistantly hear "Why are you so expensive?" - My response is "Compared to who?" which 98% of the time doesn't get answered. The other 2% is one of my very local competitors. Doesn't bother me to watch them pick the smallest size I offer, especially when I bring up the competitors website and show them that the print that they just purchased was only $1 more and the quality was better.

    This is just my opinion. If nothing else I hope that it gives everyone something to think about. And believe me, this isn't anything that hasn't been stated before by a ton of other people...


  6. nipprdog


    Jun 8, 2006
    Jeff, I started in May shooting little kids baseball and softball at a small, local county league. the season ended in mid July. had a small display at the concession stand. passed out cards to parents. I learned quickly not to give the cards to the coaches. :wink: It started slow, but when it was over, I sold over 550 pics. I made more than enough to cover the cost of the D200 I'm picking up this week. :biggrin:

    my take on pricing; I was at $5,$7,$11 (4x6, 5x7, 8x10). like Gary, I once heard the "why so much?" statement. actually, I didn't here it directly. my neighbor heard it from one of the other parents on his team. his reply was "Is he charging you to come out and take these pictures?" :wink: what I heard more was, "If I order several prints, do I get a discount?" NO. I politely explain to them that I spend too much of my free time (if not all:wink:)  providing this service to take a cut. for every hour at the diamond, I spend an equal amount, if not more, on the computer.

    like Randy said, the comments you'll get from parents are very, very rewarding. like the one I recently got in an email from that league's director;
    "Having you out at our ball park this summer definitely added value to our program. Thanks! I hope you enjoyed it and made some money."
  7. Jeff
    When working for myself and the company I work for it is all done through online sales.

    If you as an individual are shooting a game the logistics of printing becomes daunting, you mus have electricity and table or tent. Since you are out shooting then you must have an assistant to take your cards process your pics put them on a viewing monitor and then print and transact cash, and since you are not setup to process credit/debit cards might miss some sales.

    I beleive it is best to take those energies into "carding" the fields where you are shooting. Have someone hand out flyers/business cards or whatever to all the crowd with your website address and all pertinent business info on it.

    Get the picture sup to your web site as soon as possible aso you dont miss any impulse buying. Make sure your website is set up as a storefront so the folks can do all ordering online. The large company I work for uses Photo Manager and several folks use digital express or as Randy mentioned Smug Mug pro .

    Again dont give your work away charge what others in your area are charging you have a lot of $$$ invested in your equipment and your time is valuable add up your shooting time processing time and business time and you will soon see why others charge what they do for their prints.
    hope this helps and again this is just my .02's and the is all it is probably worth.
  8. guys like you make me LOL
  9. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    "I know...nothing!" -Sgt Schultz; Hogan's Heroes

    That sums it up for me, as for sports marketing. I'm trying to learn though.
    On a more local level, I have one guy who sells 5x7's on site. What he does is shoot one day, has the photos processed/printed but not on site, and has then back on site within a couple of hours, or the next day of multi-tournament.

    Another guy I know started covering softball/baseball....and for a tournament, he burns a CD on site, and sells the CD, with all rights. Don't recall the exact price. At first..I thought he was dumb to do that. No repeat sales. However, like me..he is in small town/rural market. I don't believe in our market there will be multiple orders for the same photo..unless is was somthing really spectactular. Just a standard batting stance, or base running photo will probably just sell once.
    This guy made several thousand over a season...which is several thousand more than I made.
    Still...I'm not sure about selling the CD w/all rights. Plus he takes a laptop, has help, and a table..etc..set up on site. I'm not set up for that.
    Like Mike Mac says..you have to have a lot help for that.
    So I'm open to ideas....and thanks for all the input so far. It is very much appreciated.
  10. Seems like there are a few of me around ...

    And thats ok, everyone has their own "thing" ...


  11. niknd501


    May 13, 2006
    Jeff for what it's worth...I sell my photos online also. There is a pretty big company that is about 40 miles away that brings in trailers of stuff..Tent, tables, laptops the whole shebang. I am just me - I cannot ever seeing myself being at that point. I try to get to the coaches , parent reps etc and give them cards to hand out to thier parents. I also wear a shirt that has my name and website on it...That generates a lot of questions during the games also. I try and have pictures up on my site with 24-48 hours...The last tournament I did I just took Monday off from my "real" job and got the photos all processed.

    As far as prices are concerned I tried to stick with what other people are charging in my area.. I am not going to get wealthy doing this but if I can make some money to help offset some gear and give my kids some spending money at college I feel it is worth it.
  12. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    I agree with the start inexpensive, but part of it has to do with knowing your particular market around here. I can only speak to my area, of course.
    If I come out priced the same as the "pros", people will say...why should I buy from you, I can get a better shot from the pro?
    But...if I charge too little, I get people who are looking for free, or next to free photos..and others will say...if he was any good..he wouldn't be so cheap. :smile:
    I hear people complain all the time about the local pro (though he doesn't do sports, just team shots...etc) He's primarily a portrait/wedding/studio photographer. He's expensive, no question. If I want my family's portrait done...I'm going to him. Why? He's the best! Period.
    I know of several wedding photographers who aren't pros, charge a lot less than him. Yet..his market hasn't been damaged. First off, some people are not going to use him (for $$$ reasons) even if there were no other wedding photographers in the area.
    Second, his quality of work is FAR better than most of the amatuers who shoot..and charge less. Everyone knows this.
    So he isn't losing business..that he never would have gotten in the first place. And he's doing just fine..he has a full studio, full staff, and he's 2nd generation, and now his son is working with him full time. IOW, they've been sucessful for more than 40 years. Even with all the amatuers and lowball pricing.
  13. Lots of guys like me around also but most of us don't BS the opinions of guys like you....
    Almost every event I shoot i am the only shooter so I doubt anything i do has any effect on the local pros.
    In fact most of my parents are grateful anybody shows up to provide them the memories. Most can barely afford the club dues let alone pay $10 for a 4x6 memory.
  14. I try to remember that I shoot in the south, many times in the country and the parents are often lower middle class folks who don't make alot of money. Sure I can charge $10 for a 4x6 and sell none or I can charge $4 and sell hundreds. IMO, if the money mattered I wouldn't be doing this at all.
  15. For the record, let me state that for the BS portion of the post, I do apologize, however I still strongly disagree with the quote that got BS'ed.

    Never said that anything that you did had any effect on the local pros. However the advice that your giving *may* have an effect on a pro somewhere else, or just the mentality of those people. Would you continue to show up and shoot for this folks if another guy came in charging $2 for a 4x6? Thats half of what you charge ... Quality? Perhaps not as good as you, but damn, I can get twice as many from the cheap guy and its "almost" as good. All of a sudden, your not selling "hundreds" anymore ... Still worth your time to go out and shoot?

    Just my not so humble opinion...
  16. topher04r1

    topher04r1 Guest

    If I remember right guy asked for help with his marketing in hope of perhaps selling more of his sports action photos, with that in mind let’s not ruin his thread by bickering back and forth over our individual markets and who’s stealing from what pro….each market is Different and your pricing may be completely different from a market just 45 minutes away….. Price is something set not only by the quality of your work but it is also regulated by what the market will support.

    Jeff, first off I think you have some good shots on your webpage and think you definitely have the potential to offset some of your camera equipment and even make some $$ if that’s what your looking to do. As far as marketing goes there are several things to think about. My best advise is to sit down and really think about your goals and what you want to achieve this next year…. Make a plan and map out how you’re going to achieve that goal.

    I’ve got large vinyl banners for sports fields, 4x6 post cards (prints made easy makes GREAT ones) and some 20x30 posters that I can place where I need them, whether it be by concession stands or the entrance of the fields….Recently, I’ve been trying to do a lot of web marketing as well and what I mean by that is I’ve been adding captions to all my photo’s and using keywords for good SEP (search engine placement). Another good way to web market would be to do press releases if you are going to cover any sort of particular event. This will help maximize your exposure to online hits when somebody for example types you in or the tournament in they will get information about you/your company shooting the event….The biggest thing that I think I can recommend though Jeff would be to big a good rapport with the actual clubs. I found that by going through the clubs and working with there board of directors I have gotten much further than just showing up at fields and shooting games.

    I’d be happy to share some more ideas with you or talk with you further if you have any questions. Just drop me an e-mail and we can go from there.

    Enjoy your day,
  17. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    You just nailed my thoughts and situation. I don't want to set up a huge trailer, with tents ..laptops..etc. I'm not saying, never ever..just not right now.
    I like your idea of the T-shirt. I'm already planning on cards to hand out.
    Yesterday a lady photographer had a couple of posters on the concession stand right next to the service windows. Had her name, contact info, website...and a sample photo. I bet she get's some sales.
    I'm think I'm getting an idea of what you guys are talking about. Brand recognition. People can't buy from you if they don't know you or your work.
    I'm slowly catching on.
    Thanks Rod, I really appreciate your input. (and everyone elses' as well)
  18. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    Great advice Topher, Thanks so much. The part about web marketing is something I've not even thought of. (there's so much I don't know)
    Thanks for the kind words about my website. I'm working steadily to improve.
    I hope to have some new shots up in the next day or so. Got do some tweaking, and pp.
  19. niknd501


    May 13, 2006

    You are on the right track I think....I also put up a poster by the concession stand.....And made some 8X10 fliers to put up by the tournament brackets they had posted....

    Here is my poster . . not made by me but by a good friend that helped me out !

    ( and yes I have permission from the parents to use the images on my poster )

  20. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    Now..I like that. It's clean, eye catching..I get the info I want in one glance.
    Simple, clean efficient. Who ever did that for you did a good job.
    Of course..the photos are good too!
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