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Greetings from the new guy [Archive] - Event Photographer Society Forum

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01-09-2009, 06:07 AM
Hello

I am a new member from Ontario Canada. I retired after 30 years in the nuclear industry with photography as a hobby. I needed to keep myself buzy so I have decided to attempt photography full time. My plan was taking event photographs and selling the images online.

First I created my website, http://www.presentphotography.com, and then went to my first event.

The event was a motocross race near Ottawa attended by ~2000 people. I passed out flyers letting people know who I was, where my website is, when the photos will be posted and how to find their photos. I recieved very positive feedback form everyone who received my flyer. There were no other pro photographers taking photo's which supprised me. Things looked bright for my first event.

I entered each racer's number so they could search for their images (700+ images).

I uploaded all of the images and waited some action. 100 people visited my site and looked around but no body purchased anything. Needless to day a bit of a letdown. I was trying do events with out an assistant selling and printing on site but it appears this may be the only way to do things. Faces are obscured by the helmat's....is this a limiting factor?

I am using a Nikon D200 with a 18-200mm lense which did show its limitations. I know the camera is not greatest but I was able to get close to the riders which helped. Profit from this event was going to upgrade my equipment.

Very Happy I found this site. Any guidance would be appreciated to improve the business plan.

Cheers
Russ
http://www.presentphotogaphy.com

01-09-2009, 12:24 PM
Hi, and welcome to the forum.

I found a similar thing when I started out, people rarely visited the website to see the photos. Printing on-site and having a regular presence certainly helps get people to the website. You gotta stick at it.

Regarding kit, I would upgrade your lense to something like the 70 or 80-200 f/2.8 or similar. That's my workhorse!

Also your gallery isn't instantly findable from the homepage. It's not obvious that you do event photography. Maybe a button saying "find your event photos here" or similar, linking straight to your event galleries would help?

When I did get to the gallery I got a lot of errors (not loading images) and it was VERy slow for me. Quite a lot of the features don't seem to work either (zoom for example).

Sorry to say, but if I have given up after 5 mins your customers will have given up after 5 seconds.

It's not easy to get it right, I haven't yet, but I keep making changes each time, improving little things day by day. It's not an easy job, but I love it :D

01-09-2009, 01:34 PM
Thanks Martin for your feedback,
it is reassuring that given more effort things should start happening. I will go for better glass as you suggest.

The web site works fine from my end probably due to my high speed internet connection. Separating each race class into seperate gallery's will be the first change I will try. This should improve the load time a lot. You are correct people did not spend a lot of time on the site. I thought it was due to the search feature making it easy to find their images. As long as I keep learning progress is being made.

For you info...I installed Google Analytics on my website to track visitors. It is free and gives you tons of information about activity on your site.

Thanks Again
Russ

01-09-2009, 04:52 PM
Hi Russ,

I have Google Analytics on my other website, but not my event site. Unfortunately the code seemed to make the site hang so I remved it. No problem with my other site as I say, so strange.

I would say that the reason customers leave so quickly is teh waiting time.

I did wait...and had a look at your gallery. I do think that you could benefit from a faster lens such as the 80-200 f/2.8 or similar. You'll notice an improvement in focusing if nothing else.

I have sent you a PM regarding the website speed. Seperating the groups would be a good idea in my opinion.

Best of luck, enjoy the forum, there's a tonne of info on it!

Cheers, Martin

richard ham
01-09-2009, 07:23 PM
Hi Russ,
Firstly, welcome to the forum. You will no doubt be able to learn a great deal from others in the field as I do.
I did take a quick peak at your site, and then I made myself a cup of tea and returned to find your site no longer available for a few minutes.
That would be my first concern regarding orders. Are you taking payment on-line and have you tested that it works? How much down time is your site experiencing?
Also, when i could access the site I found it quite slow in displaying images. Unless I can find my image within the first few minutes, i don't have the patients to search through hundreds of them if the site is slow to load. This shouldn’t be an issue if they can search for their rider number but have you checked that this works?
Google analytics is a free site which will provide you with a lot of data on site visitors to establish how many people visit and where they go on your site.
This will tell you if people are "bouncing" (entering your site and leaving again without browsing) and should give you a starting point.

The D200 should handle this sort of work fine. It's 5fps should be man enough for the job (I hope Steph doesn't disagree!).
The 18-200 is a great lens but you will be shooting at 5.6 at the long end as you know. Judging by the images I did manage to see this wasn't an issue as there was little in the backgrounds to see anyway. Faster glass would be the first thing to spend money on imo.

Don't be disillusioned by your first attempt. The first time I did a large swimming event I didn't sell a single picture. I then did a smaller swimming club event a few weeks later and managed internet sales of £450. I still haven't figured that one out.

Exposure at the event is critical (of you, not image exposure).
Is EVERYONE getting a flyer or a card? What about their mums/dads/granny etc.
I have a 7mtr flag printed with "PHOTOS" and my web address. This can be erected next to a small table with a sign and business cards on to catch people you may have missed. The flag, pole (lightweight expandable type) and printing cost me £55.

With so many people owning a compact or dslr, i always strive to show what they CAN'T achieve with their kit. This may be by getting to a shooting position they can't get to if you are their as official photographer, or by using f2.8-f4 fast glass to freeze action shots and blur backgrounds.
Also, consider what would sell. Ask competitors what sort of image they would like to see on their wall. For example, image "09motoamnational4-013" is a winner. It's an air bourne high drama shot which Mum and dad can't get this from the side-lines and should be a good seller. I would have concentrated on getting more of these shots myself.

04-09-2009, 03:41 AM
Thanks Richard for the welcome..this is a great site and it feels like everyone is a friend.

My webhost has only been down for a short period twice in the past year. I had a closer look at my gallery setting and believe the issue is the high quality images I am uploading. I can adjust the size of the thumbnail and the associated image. Growing pains for sure. I will upload all of the images again with a lower resolution and see how it works.

I am taking payment through Paypal and have tested to verify that it works. I lied about not selling any photos....I must have purchased 12 during my testing. I have temporarly turned off Paypal until I get the bugs out.

I did enter each competator's number to make it easy to find the photos. This was very time consuming so next time I will group gallerys by each class. This will reduce the number of images loading by 90%.

Google Analyitics did as suppected report a lot of bounce confirming that I need to improve here.

New glass is number one for sure. I am leaning toward to 70-200mm Nikon F2.8.

Regarding my personnal exposure at the race things went pritty well. When the race paused for a bit I walked around the track distributing a flyer that explain who I was, where my website was and how to use the website. I forgot to tell them to get lunch while it was loading. I was well receiver and even had people chasing me down for the flyers. Looked like it was going to be a winner until I got home.

Regarding advertising I did have what I think is a bright Idea. The weekend was very wet so I spent most of the day under my umbrella. Printing my company name on the umbrella would get excellent exposure and keep me cool during the hot sunny days as well.

I did get some excellent drama shots but I am sure you did not see them with the long upload time. They are in some of the last 80 photos..captured two seperate sequenced crashes which actually sent 10 people to hospital as well as a lot of bike air time. As I said before I will upload small images again and see how things go.

Thanks very much for the input...Russ