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wish to sell tournament photos online, need advice

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by wv1973, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. wv1973


    Apr 14, 2006
    Montreal, Quebec
    I was asked by the organizers of a tournament to shoot some shots so parents could purchase pictures of their kids. All in all it went pretty well, however I have a total of about 2000 pics from all 3 days. Many of the parents would like to view the pictures online to then be able to purchase digital copies.

    My question for you is there any online solutions or website templates that would allow me to upload my pictures, allow for a gallery for parents to search for their pics and then place orders? Preferable something that has e-commerce functionality built in.

    My other alternative is to simply put up a gallery, have the parents e-mail me with their photo numbers and process payments via paypal. Oh and another one I was looking at was smugmug... what are your opinions on this service, any complications using them if I am based in Canada.

    Your advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2007
  2. smugmug is great for this but it would take days to upload 2000 pictures.
  3. I agree with Andy. It would take an enormous amount of time to upload 2000 images. You need to edit that down to maybe half a dozen of the very best images of each individual.

    Another option is to offer a CD to the parents that contains the photos of their child or children, and let them do all the work of making the prints. Price the CD high enough to cover ALL your time, the cost of the disks (plus a markup), and the loss in direct sales of prints. Historically, parents have spent $50-75 for prints in my area. Would you consider that amount to be enough per CD for your time and materials?

    Remember that "time" includes capture time, raw adjustment time, JPG creation time, sorting and separation time, CD burning time, and CD labeling time. I find that people often short change themselves because they do not adequately consider all the "time" involved in "taking photographs".

    If people balk at your price, nicely educate them as to how much time goes into preparing those photographs. Tell them you spent all three days taking the photographs. Tell them how many hours you spent processing all 2000 photographs. Tell them all the steps required to process the photographs. They will come to appreciate your work, they will be convinced the price is fair, and they will buy the CD. If they are still not convinced and choose to pass, it is their loss. Don't take it personally.

    Also, I would not burn the individual CD's until they are paid for in full. No point investing more "time" for no sale.
  4. wv1973


    Apr 14, 2006
    Montreal, Quebec
    Thank you for the advice.

    What I have decided to do is a web photo gallery created with photo shop in a lower quality format to save on upload time and server space. For the different clubs that were represented I was planning on creating a proof CD and sending it to them, however this CD would have a few pricing levels. I was thinking of 500.00 for the entire event with high res images. Then perhaps another 2 lower priced CD packages with less images on them. Have not quite figured out the pricing structure yet.... Gotta decide fast too.

    In terms of payments, this is another challenge. I was considering smugmug for their ability to process payments, but the problem is they only price in US dollars and I am in Canada. Another alternative was to ask for online payments via PayPal, but I know many people don't want anything to do with PayPal. So I guess the only 2 alternatives I have is for people to mail or drop off checks and I send via e-mail or mail CD's their digital prints.

    I must say this whole experience has been quite a learning experience and I guarantee I'll be better prepared for the next time.

    Any other comments and suggestions are always welcome.
  5. I've done the CD thing myself and found that it didn't work too well. Parents bought a CD and then made copies. So unless you have tons of shots of each player, you might have a problem selling the shots to numerous parents.

    I shoot baseball/softball/basketball/football games. I limit my shooting to about 200 shots/game. I then go through all the shots and post-process them and send them to my smugmug site. I can usually process about 100 or more shots a day. You'll have to do some serious editing with 2000 shots. The best advice I can offer if you choose this route is to only post the BEST shots. If something isn't exactly right, don't put it on your site. Your name and reputation is attached to the site, so you want to put your best foot forward. Put up good shots and your a good photographer. Put up bad ones and your just a guy with a camera.

    Also, if you choose an online photo hosting site, put an expiration date on the galleries. If people can access the shots anytime, why would they buy them? Free milk and a cow syndrome. That's the best advice I can offer. Hope it helps.
  6. Compulsion


    May 1, 2007
    Sterling, VA
  7. Zenfolio might be another alternative. You get unlimited space for $40 a year, and they now offer online printing services through Mpix and EZ-Prints Lab so you don't get involved in the handling of prints and shipping. I'm not sure if you can set your own pricing structure. Both print labs are based in the US, but support shipping to Canada.
  8. wv1973


    Apr 14, 2006
    Montreal, Quebec
    Thanks again for all the great input. Alot to mull over, a few orders have begun to come in and thankfully they are all in my general area so they can come to me, but I'm breaking my head about the whole CD thing and how to price the whole lot.

    My colleague who shot with me wants to price it at 500.00 for the 2000 pictures, but I think this is much too steep. Especially when were trying to make a name for ourselves. On the other side of the fence I don't want to price this too cheap either and make it harder for myself later on when I try to go after the bigger bucks.

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