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Best way to sell your sports images?

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by Jeff Mims, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    Assuming we are talking about selling to Parents.

    I have an online site (Smugmug) and yet in my market, (small town) it doesn't seem to generate a lot. I do have parents approach me, asking to buy my photos.
    I'm considering just using pbase as a shopping gallery, and having parents contact me directly, and I can order from Mpix (which I've been VERY pleased with).
    This gives me more control over my pricing, and I don't have to pay 15% on every sale to Mpix. Of course, I lose credit card sales, but that may not be an issue.

    Again, I realize markets are different, and in my case it's a small town. What has helped market my images more than anything is having the local paper publish my stuff.

    So does a combo pbase (where they can view pics) then contact me, make sense?
    Stick with smugmug? (or the like)
    Thoughts, suggestions, comments?
  2. i have alot of succes w/ soccer and only soccer.
    I have found that handing out cards at 1/2 time works well. Be very friendly and chaty. At a tourn shoot a 1/2 game then hand out cards then go to another field and shoot the 2nd half and hand out cards again. Parents only buy a few shots of their kid. Shoot the ball but also get head shots. Try to get head shots of every kid on the field. Shoot dogs on the sidelines (don't laff, dog shoots sell very well).
    I never hand out cards during a game, it only bothers parents trying to watch.
    Shoot alot, offer 1 inexpensive size like a 4x6. Use watermarks. Offer free pics to the team, the local paper, anywehre that will list your website.

    btw i use smugmug and i like it and so do my parents. When you get going good you will not want parents contacting you. Let smugmug handle it all, it keeps it fun
  3. Check out Topher's thread about SmugMug alternatives and GBRandy's thread about ExposureManager, some good discussion there...I'm an ExposureManager user myself for selling pics.

    I don't actively push my pics as it's more a hobby, but have sold over $400 of pics this spring from both my daughter's LAX games. This helps me to defray the cost of the hosting, takes me out of the picture printing biz, and funds some small toys (like my TC). Next year, tho', I may get a bit more proactive, and do as Randy suggests, some good tips. To add, like the dogs, some parents like stationary pics of their kids. I sold quite a few of their daughter just standing there, sometimes alone, sometimes w/ a group of kids; they also like huddles, tapping the keeper, etc.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  4. killer avatar Chris, just when I thought everyone forgot about them
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  5. thanks Randy....I'm showing my age :biggrin:
  6. Another thing that ExposureManager offers is self-fulfillment, where you can deliver the pics. I'm not 100% sure as to how it works and how cost-effective it is, but their website (under Support) has more info.
  7. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    THanks everyone. I think Randy made a strong point, about not wanting parents contacting me..after I get going. I may stay with smugmug..I haven't decided yet.
    I'm just curious..how many parents would buy photos off the net? Hard to say, as each market will vary.
    This past year, I was just trying to get established. I gave some photos away, got published in the local paper, gave some to the team, the school. In short, I did active advertising. Now I have parents coming to me wanting to buy photos of their kids.
    I think it's time to start pushing smugmug...or some other avenue to handle some sales.
    I enjoy what I'm doing, but I simply can't afford to give everyone a picture. (and wouldn't do so..if I could afford to).
    But I've created some demand, now I want to get the sales end moving.

    And Chris...I recognize that avatar. I hate to admit I'm old enough to recognize it, and even had a couple of their records (albums and 8 tracks):smile:
  8. acena


    Mar 14, 2006
    New Jersey
    There is not a single best way, but you have to work it all the time. Handing out cards before the game and between periods is one way. You can either do it yourself or I can usually find a parent to do it for me. It actually works best because they know who the other parents are on the team. Bring a portfolio book too so people can see your final product. Don't show any small prints. A monkey can make an image look good on the web or as a 4x6, but you will notice the quality differences between a good photog and a POS photog starting at about 11x14 preferably 16x20. Also, advertise on the various forums.

    You will soon find which sports and which schools are profitable. There is one school where I only go to soccer games, another where I only go to lacrosse and there are others where I can make money at just about any game. It all depends. There are also schools where I make nothing in any sport. Those schools are on my "money up-front" list. No dough no show! Actually one of these schools pays me up front to shoot three games, buys a slideshow, has me do team and individual portraits as well as senior gifts, but none of the parents buy actions shots throughout the year. Go figure?

    After a while you can stop handing out cards. My site gets between 500 and 1000 hits a day. My best day is almost 3,400 when I shot two rival prep schools. This was my best year and I only hand out cards when someone asks me for it. The key is to find a way to attract the right people to your site on a regular basis.
  9. LOL, the Quadrophonic one?
  10. parents under 65 (which is most parents for U16's) seem to be fine buying on the net...i had one father ask me why carolina-sportsphotography.com was not on the computer (he wasn't entering 'www.').....
    That reminds me...c/o godaddy.com and get a non smugmug url....smugmug never helped me, mots would ask what it was...pick a catchy name easy to remember...email me if u need any help getting the url or changing smugmug
  11. Quadrophonic...i'll never forget that technological breakthru...those were the daze
  12. acena


    Mar 14, 2006
    New Jersey
    Some offer free stuff. I don't really do it up front, but I do reward regular customers. If someone places a large order without trying to haggle for a discount, I will usually send them something extra. But if they try to haggle first, I usually don't give them anything. I had a parent order a custom collage and he wanted two 20x30s, which I charged him $330 or $240 for the first 20x30 and $90 for the subsequent ones. Since he is a regular advocate of my services, I upgraded one of his prints to one that was mounted on masonite and laminated. I normally charge $50 for that service. At the end of the season, I will usually send someone who has ordered from me multiple times a special print I normally do not offer on-line. i.e. a 10x20 or a 12x36. I had a coach call to purchase a bunch of 8x10s for the locker room. He was ready to pay but at the last minute I told him not to bother giving me his credit card. It's kinda weird, but I like giving to those who do not ask for it, but I don't like to give anything to those who ask.
  13. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Yep you got it, I will help many folks who never ask, who pay on time, and those who never try to get everything for free.

    I love folks who want 10-20% off of a $50.00 order and are mad when they hear that I offered a nice discount to a $500 order or I throw in a few extra 5x7 or 6x9 when they order a couple of 20-30 prints. :wink:

    I also give an educator discount to my fellow teachers, but you have to watch that, sometimes they find out from friends and say they are a teacher and they aren't but I usually find out through general chit chat that they are bogus. Hasn't happened recently, thankfully, that is always an awkward moment.


  14. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    Actually, that's what I've done. In fact, I used Godaddy.com...the site is listed in my signature. (mimsphotos..) You don't even have to key in www.
    It's still being revised, so any advice comments would be welcomed.

  15. Jeff Mims

    Jeff Mims

    May 25, 2005
    I'm just getting started, but I share that attitude. I gave away photos this year. I made little (5x7) memory books for the three seniors on the softball team. I also gave a few 11x14s and 8x10s away to parents I knew, if I had a good shot of their child in action. And every time, the parents have offered to pay me for them. I just told them, it was with my compliments.
    I felt like this accomplished more than advertising. This was my first year, and in a small town, some sports like..track and field, baseball, and softball had not been covered much in the local paper. Till the paper started using my shots. Now people know who I am, have seen my work and I have been approached about selling my work.

    So this year, I plan to just offer them for sale, if anyone wants them. I've told a few people, I'd love to do so, but just can't afford to give everyone prints. And the response has been positive...that they would happily pay for any quality shots. Of course..now I have to deliver some quality shots.:smile:

    I think I'm going to stay with the smugmug route for now. We'll see how it goes.
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