Looking for another online solution for sports

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Well, I'm gonna throw in the towel with Printroom. For any unfamiliar with their problems, search "Printroom" on fredmiranda.com or ripoffreport.com.

In fact, I'm thinking about a total change in my biz model. The shooting, uploading, and waiting for parents to buy just ain't gettin' it any more. I know, I know. Why did it take me so long to figure this out.

Anyhoo, I'm thinking about this - shooting several games for whatever team then getting myself invited to the end-of-season banquet and showing up with a stack of 5x7s. Collect their money, remit sales tax, and I'm done.

As such, I think what I want is something like Carbonmade. Basically, an online portfolio, an "about" page of sorts, and my domain, e.g., www.mywebsite.com. Well, Carbonmade has all that for $12 a month. There must be something less expensive.

Thanks for reading.
 
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I attended a workshop that was taught by a sports photographer from SEPCON. He is doing something very similair.

He photographs the event (his example was little league baseball) and then prints 1 5x7 of all of photos. He puts the 5x7s in a binder and passes them around to the parents at the next game.

Parents find the ones they want, remove them and puts the payment in the envelope that remains with the album.

He does not do on-line sales and does not take orders for other sizes. He has been doing this for years and has tried different options over the years and this method seems to work best and is the most profitable.

I'm thinking of trying it at one of my spring events and see how it works.
 
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Thanks for stopping by, James!

That is exactly the direction I was thinking about and exactly what I wanted to hear!

Yay!

That said, I'm starting to get some traction with my posters and I'll certainly continue to do that.

So, given all that, I just need an online portfolio and "About" page.

BTW, what is "SEPCON?"
 
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SEP
The Society of Sport and Event Photographers (SEP) created SEPCON (co-located with Imaging USA), one of the first and longest running events focused on the needs of professional sport and event photographers

http://sepsociety.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

The guy that taught the class has like 4-5 photographers working for him. This guy knows what he is doing. Use to be a photographer for SI if I remember correctly. I think he is in the San Fran area.
 
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Well, I'm gonna throw in the towel with Printroom. For any unfamiliar with their problems, search "Printroom" on fredmiranda.com or ripoffreport.com.

In fact, I'm thinking about a total change in my biz model. The shooting, uploading, and waiting for parents to buy just ain't gettin' it any more. I know, I know. Why did it take me so long to figure this out.

Anyhoo, I'm thinking about this - shooting several games for whatever team then getting myself invited to the end-of-season banquet and showing up with a stack of 5x7s. Collect their money, remit sales tax, and I'm done.

As such, I think what I want is something like Carbonmade. Basically, an online portfolio, an "about" page of sorts, and my domain, e.g., www.mywebsite.com. Well, Carbonmade has all that for $12 a month. There must be something less expensive.

Thanks for reading.

the sports spec shooting business used to work but started to crumble as the economy did. I am temporarily done shooting sports until i find a better way.

The getting invited to the banquet is the trick i think, let us know how that works. I'm thinking the team mom or whoever did the shooting for the team will be there giving away free pics (not good pics but free)
 
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I had a mom contact me about using photos for their high school soccer banquet. I was not too sure how I'd price it so I told her I'd sell her the digital images for $1.00 a piece thinking they would by a nice selection.

Didn't buy a single one - I am thinking they wanted me to give the images for free. Never understood that as I covered almost every game and there hardly was anyone else shooting from the sidelines.
 
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I shot the local softball and baseball team all-star tournaments for three years (before I moved). My wife sat by the concession stand with a table and three viewing laptops for parents to look at. She had her own laptop and a canon selphy 4x6 photo printer. The first game she hardly does anything but answer questions. The next games she prints pictures non-stop. I upload the pictures to my lifepics site and invite the parents to go online to look. Sometimes they do but I find that if they don't buy at the game, they don't buy at all. I price the pictures at $4/ea for the first two, $3/ea for the next 3 and $2.50/ea after that. I also provide incentive in that if they come back at a second game they can pick up in the price break where they left off. They love it. Last season we covered four tournaments and pocketed $3000.
BTW, the viewing laptops are basic $300 models and the printer cost about $100. A pack of ribbon+ink for 106 prints is about $35.
 
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Hey Dennis,

I've had some excellent results with my current business model ... not sure if it will work for you but just thought I'd share.

I"ve never really gotten into the shooting on spec model - I only do it 3 or 4 times a year and even then I've established some contacts/clients so I've always ended up with enough sales to make it worth my while.

What has worked really well for me for tournaments or regular season games is to have teams hire me. I charge $250 to shoot the game and all players are photographed and the families split the bill (normally works out to about $20/family). Photos are uploaded to a private gallery and parents can then pick up to 3 photos - cropped to the size of their choice and I also include some creative layouts like magazine covers etc. I email the finished products to the families so they can print as many as they like, email to family, post on Facebook ... whatever. I don't have to provide prints so my profits don't take a hit. I also allow parents to purchase additional photos for $15/each regardless of the size. I pulled in $1500 a couple of weeks ago in which I shot 6 teams over a two day period (total 8 hours of shooting at the rink) and the only form of advertising was that I sent an email to the teams playing in the tournament (sent a flyer with samples & a link to my site). As an added incentive for teams to hire me is that I'll take a team photo and I'll also come out and shoot the medal game & ceremony if the team makes it to the finals.

Some tournament organizers have asked me to come out but they only wanted companies who shoot on spec simply because having a table/computers makes it seem as though the tournament is offering a service to the teams ... but these companies end up making squat in terms of sales and they also have to make a donation to the tournament organizers as it's also a fundraiser for the tournament ... poor sales results in a minimal donation. I know in advance of the tournament how much I need to donate as my bookings = guaranteed revenue. I had the tournament organizers a cheque before the tournament even starts! Some tournament organizers LOVE this model ... others just don't see the benefits.

I've used this model with about 15-20 teams in the past year and it's been very lucrative. The best part is getting paid up front and the next best thing is the additional referrals as the parents often have another kid playing sports and end up asking me to come out to get photos for their other kid's team. The teams like the fact that I deal with each family individually once the photos are in the gallery as this means the coaches/manager is not saddled with another duty. The only downside is that it takes some people such a long time to get around to placing their orders, even with a deadline ... but I've already got their money so ...

The few times that I shoot on spec, mostly equestrian events, I've hired a student from my school to load photos onto my iMac & then transfer them to my iPad. Clients can then find their session/ring and then look for their photos & place orders on the spot. The iPad was a slick way to allow people to view the photos & if I were doing more spec shooting I'd likely pick up a couple more iPads ... but the pre-paid method is the way to go.

Hope this helps.

Take care,

Brent
 
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Thanks for your input, Brent.

I know this is a very common model...

...I charge $250 to shoot the game and all players are photographed and the families split the bill...

but what has always worried me is getting a shot every player. Do you guarantee this or do you have a disclaimer that you'll try to get a shot of everyone?

Finally, if you guarantee a shot of everyone, then, on average, how many games do you have to shot to make good on your promise?
 
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Thanks for your input, Brent.

I know this is a very common model...



but what has always worried me is getting a shot every player. Do you guarantee this or do you have a disclaimer that you'll try to get a shot of everyone?

This bothers me too. You almost have to keep track of every player to make certain you have enough shots to fulfill your contract. I had an unhappy mother ask me why there were no photos of her son after I shot a game on spec. Turns out her son wasn't even at that game! It took 2 phone calls to figure this one out.:mad:
 
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This bothers me too. You almost have to keep track of every player to make certain you have enough shots to fulfill your contract. I had an unhappy mother ask me why there were no photos of her son after I shot a game on spec. Turns out her son wasn't even at that game! It took 2 phone calls to figure this one out.:mad:

if i had to remember who to shoot and sometimes not shoot the action i wouldn't shoot anymore.... a big part of the fun for me is the game and each team has a few players that dominate the action and those players turn up in more pics. If you have to 'think' too much before you fire it will IMO effect your timing and anticipation and will result in pics that are not peak action.
 
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if i had to remember who to shoot and sometimes not shoot the action i wouldn't shoot anymore.... a big part of the fun for me is the game and each team has a few players that dominate the action and those players turn up in more pics. If you have to 'think' too much before you fire it will IMO effect your timing and anticipation and will result in pics that are not peak action.

But don't you make a mental note to try and capture as many of the players as you can?

I agree that the fun for me is to follow the action and try and get the best action shots I can capture. In soccer, the same players tend to get into these photos most often. I also like to position myself behind one goal to capture the action coming towards me. This tends to favor the offensive players since they fill my viewfinder more easily. I'm constantly reminding myself to shoot defenders and mid-fielders even if they are not in the peak of the action just to get photos of these kids.
 
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But don't you make a mental note to try and capture as many of the players as you can?

I agree that the fun for me is to follow the action and try and get the best action shots I can capture. In soccer, the same players tend to get into these photos most often. I also like to position myself behind one goal to capture the action coming towards me. This tends to favor the offensive players since they fill my viewfinder more easily. I'm constantly reminding myself to shoot defenders and mid-fielders even if they are not in the peak of the action just to get photos of these kids.

nope

i also shoot from behind the end line (same place the whole game so I get each team's offense).....

lately it doesn't seem to matter what you shoot....
as an experiment i dropped my prices 50% for the game I shot on Saturday, $1.99 for 5x7's......no sales yet and not many gallery hits (i gave each parent a business card).....times are very hard in Charlotte and not only do parents not have money to spend on pics (especially after they have to pay club dues) they don't even wanna look at the pics and be tempted.

I'm shooting now for fun and to stay in shooting shape......shooting soccer is great practice for shooting BIF:smile:
 
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Age and photographic novelty play a major role for me.

I've shot my older daughter's club team for the past 5 years. The "wow" factor of quality action photos has worn off at this time for the parents of these 16 year olds. The girls still all love looking at the photos after games, so I continue to shoot for my pleasure. Clearly the novelty has worn off with these parents.

Want to sell a lot of photos? You have to arrange to shoot the youngest players. Get in and shoot the kids who are on their first soccer team. Not the same kind of action, but the cute factor is compelling. Parents of a first time player, particularly if it's their first child, will scoop up quality action photos of their darling soccer stars.
 
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Randy & Mitchell

Thanks for adding to this.

That this remains fun is very important to me. As such, I can't see myself doing what Brent does. It's a hobby and I hope to remain as a hobby in a couple years when I retire. Gotta have something to get me out of the house. My wife and I both agree: for better or worse, but not for lunch! :biggrin:

About going to the end of season banquet, I now have one data point on that. Swim/dive, had a display set up, and the coach bought 6 of my posters to put up in the school to promote his program. I passed out a few biz cards and a couple parents inquired about posters, but no follow up at all after a week. Sooooo, I'm still thinking that I would do better showing up with a stack of 5x7s.

Hopefully, those posters will generate interest among other coaches.

Another thought that I'll try on another school is to cater to the seniors. That is, give the seniors' parents a coupon good for a free 5x7. That should at least get them to my site and, hopefully, order more than the freebie. Also, put a bug in their ear that posters would make a nice senior gift.
 
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Age and photographic novelty play a major role for me.

I've shot my older daughter's club team for the past 5 years. The "wow" factor of quality action photos has worn off at this time for the parents of these 16 year olds. The girls still all love looking at the photos after games, so I continue to shoot for my pleasure. Clearly the novelty has worn off with these parents.

Want to sell a lot of photos? You have to arrange to shoot the youngest players. Get in and shoot the kids who are on their first soccer team. Not the same kind of action, but the cute factor is compelling. Parents of a first time player, particularly if it's their first child, will scoop up quality action photos of their darling soccer stars.

great point(s)
 
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A few years ago I shot Some Teener League baseball games. I shot the games and then came back a few games later with an album with printed 4x6's, passed the album around and the parents bought from the album. I also uploaded them to a website but didn't sell ONE image! You have to get them while the images are in front of them or they don't buy.
 
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Hey Guys,

This is a part time gig for me as I teach high school history as my day job. My hobby has turned into a great secondary source of income & I started this business because I was sick & tired of purchasing junk from some of the other local companies & their cookie cutter methods. So this is still a lot of fun for me but I'm making some decent money too.

When I shoot the teams in my daughter's ringette association I have parents pre-order/pre-pay. I have the list of names/jersey numbers with me and I write down what kind of layout (magazine cover, collage, etc) that they want along with the package ... that way I know I have to get more photos of player X vs player Y and I don't waste time taking photos of those who don't order photos. I choose the photos to fill the orders & I've only had one parent in the three years I've been doing this not like the photo that was delivered & that was because there was another player in the photo ... peak action with her daughter controlling the play & someone tried to check her ... oh well, swapped photos to a more "stock" photo look & mom was thrilled. I'm almost always able to get all the photos I need from one game but if I find that I need some additional shots, or some orders come late, I'll get back to the rink to get the shots I need ... with two girls playing, I'm already living at the rinks so it's not as though I'm making special trips. In general, the older kids tend not to order as many photos - they've been there, done that. But some of the families are repeat clients so I still wind up with some orders. The younger the kids, the more orders I get.

The other model that I use where I charge $250/game has not posed a problem in terms of getting enough shots of each player. Normally, there are only 12-15 players on a team and even though some kids do dominate, I've been lucky enough to be able to get shots of all players - soccer, softball, hockey, ringette - without any real issues. For ringette, it's easy to get photos of the players with the ring because it's on their stick ... unlike hockey or soccer where the object can be shot/kicked away as soon as it arrives, ringette actually allows for players to control/possess the ring for 2-10 seconds at a time so it's pretty easy to come away with a number of shots for each player. Even the stuff that we say won't work (no face, no ball = no sale) does sell at times because some parents love seeing the name stitched on the back of the jersey or seeing the little kid kick third base instead of participating in the game (I sponsored a t-ball team a couple of years back & I was shooting the team when one kid decided to kick the base ... got the shot with her back to me & my company name showing on her shirt!! Sold a bunch of those photos).

Prior to shooting the game I let it be known with the coaches & parents that some kids just don't GET the ball/puck/ring and that sometimes I can't get the shot as it was at the opposite end of the field ... so they know that there's no guarantee BUT I'll do whatever I can to try and get the shot and the parents of the teams that I've shot so far have been great with this. I also ask the coaches of the younger teams who some of the weaker players are so I can try my hardest to get a couple of photos of them. One parent inquired as to what I would do if they simply did not like any of the photos. I said if they truly felt that the images did not convey the personality, heart, enthusiasm or skill of their child I would give them back their portion of my fee (this father was satisfied & once he saw the photos he ordered $50 worth of additional photos). Only twice have I had to go back and shoot a second game - once because the player was absent (I also ask for a spreadsheet of the players names, numbers & parent email addresses & the manager & I try to pick a game when we know that all players will be in attendance, especially for soccer teams as vacations tend to get in the way) and because one player was injured during the game. So, yes it is a bit maddening trying to remember if I got enough shots of each kid but I'm only shooting one of the teams so I don't have to worry about all the kids on the ice/field.

For me, getting paid up front is huge as trying to hand out cards and hope that people go to my site ... well, it doesn't really work. The equestrian shows that I've covered have had announcements stating that I was onsite & I had photo samples, signs, even had my iPad with the photos on it for people to see & place orders ... still made $800 in sales at one of the shows, but that's over two days & could have been more if I was able to get more people to see the photos & order while at the event vs hoping someone would bother to check out my website. Marketing/business end of things should take up 90% of your energy & only 10% is the shooting ... getting people to see the photos is the age old issue when shooting sports.

Take care,

Brent
 
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