View Full Version : Trackday Photogs- Workflow?
6th of May 2009 (Wed), 06:58
I'm not even sure how to go about searching for this type of answer so I'm hoping this hasnt been beat to death already.
Amateur photog here looking to break into the trackday biz (part time for now) and Im curious about the average pro photog's workflow on AND off the roadcourse. Any guidance/help would be appreciated!!!
On track, Im talking about your attack plan:
picking your shoot spots? (esp. if it's your first visit)
method of picking which body/lens for a specific shot?
when to move on to the next corner/spot?
your method of keeping track of all particpants? (this one's important to me, I find myself questioning whether I caught every racer, you only get so many laps or minutes per group)
Off the track, do you:
if yes, manually or batch? (asking cuz I find if the exposure is different within the batch it doesnt seem to work well as a whole.)
do you bother to sort? (Ive noticed the average trackday particpant doesnt want to waste their time sorting through hundreds+ of photo's looking for their images)
any programs out there that allow us to sort by race number? (saw Apples iPhoto advertisement about facial recognition, have no clue how it works but anyone know if it'd work with a number plate?)
In the old days it was all about trial and error but know in the internet age Im hoping to learn faster by those who know better.
I've shot two events so far, at the last event, I was planning on just using my camera but a friend who was racing had brought his 30D and offered it to me so I could have two bodies ready to go. I decided to try it, put a w/a lens on one and my prime on the other and gave it a go. Altho I liked having the option to swap from one to the other, I found myself being clueless when to appropriately switch from one to the other without missing shots. Hence this thread....:)
So if yall wouldnt mind sharing, Id love to hear the method of your madness!
6th of May 2009 (Wed), 11:44
What kind of motorsports are you wanting to cover?
Here's a few questions answered from an mx point of view,
new track i will always walk, normally with my son who does the racing, having ridden for a few years, always look out for where the action will be.
Cameras.. at the moment i normally carry two, one is the work horse fitted with a 70-200 f2.8, the other recently carries a fisheye for a bit of fun.
Normally will have 10 points picked out, moving between points once all the riders have passed, if your lucky, cover two points in one lap. you wont catch every rider at every point, especially the lapped ones.
As for covering groups or races, we normally have five race groups, so five cards labelled for each group. no sorting.
As for printing, edit bad ones while on track, print rest to contact sheets, adjust images as people order, keep your ordered ones in seperate file.
When i get home batch process, straight to internet, i do not adjust my gallery shots, they are straight from camera. They are adjusted when ordered.
Hope that helps
6th of May 2009 (Wed), 12:07
1. Go to track.
2. Take pictures.
3. Copy files to computer.
You might wonder where all of the complicated rules and concepts may be. Problem is, no two tracks are the same, so you can't lay out every possibility in advance. You have to make it up as you go along.
Example: you might think you need to find a place which has a clear view of a track without a fence in the way. But sometimes, you need to shoot through a fence, so you need to handle that as best as possible.
You might think you need a telephoto lens, but distances differ. At a sprint car race last year, there were good frame-filling images available with an 18mm focal length - yes, that close.
As a general idea, the best images usually are of a car coming at you to passing you. However, there's always a chance of unexpected action or good compositions with the vehicles heading away from you. So, you need to learn how to recognize those situations and take advantage of them.
Keeping track of racers? Get a program or an entry list. Exposure? Get it right in the camera -- it can be done. Sorting? How many people do you have working for you? The only way to do that properly is to have a photo editor reviewing each shot, but that won't happen unless you have a setup from a major newspaper shooting a huge event on a deadline. (http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/2212) Otherwise, take a printer and a computer with you, and have an assistant make contact sheets as each memory card is filled.
Sales? They're best made at the event. People won't be as interested after they've gone home. Having done event picture sales: people will say they're interested in buying prints after an event is over, but usually, they're not.
Post-editing workflow? Little or none. That delays making prints for customers. At an event, they want instant gratification, not the ultimate art. Speed counts more than editing skill or technical perfection. Get it right in the camera. If a customer learns they need to wait more than five or ten minutes for a print, they'll probably give up and leave. It may not be the reaction you want -- you may have an urge to make detailed exposure changes and edits -- but customers aren't that patient or understanding, not matter how you try to explain why they need to wait.
6th of May 2009 (Wed), 19:52
Thnx for the reply gentlemen, every bit counts.
old git- Im speaking primarily of motorcycle roadracing but wouldnt mind getting into cars too.
DC fan- regarding sales.....you're definitely not the first person to say sales are done best on-site. The tracks you visit, do they charge you for a vendor's fee? If yes, how much is it in your neck of the woods?
Im gonna have to dbl check the rate here but if Ive heard correctly my local course charges approximately $250.......Ive done 2 events, sold one PhotoCD at each event, which would have had me deeper in the red if I paid the fee.
I dont think it was poor work :D cuz I keep getting compliments on my images and low prices but yet ppl just dont seem too interested.
As a trackday attendee myself, Ive always found myself getting into 'get home asap' mode at the end of the day so I always prefered looking at my pics at home.
7th of May 2009 (Thu), 19:02
It would be unusual for a track not to want some sort of "consideration." How much is up to the track.
10th of May 2009 (Sun), 09:52
-I run two cameras.
-Create Folders within each camera that match up
-Use the race schedule and mark the coordinating file numbers to each race.
-Then Change folders on each camera between races (takes just a few seconds)
-Upload all the folders, and combine matching folders from each camera into one folder for that race.
-Batch rename the files
-Batch re size by photo orientation
-Upload into galleries on site.
There are about 100 photos per class/race and fewer 'other' riders. Plus with thumbs the riders can pick themselves out of the group by their team color bikes.
My last race, the first of this season, I was a bit rusty and forgot to do my folders until half way through. I ended up just organizing my rider number. I am going to post up a new gallery for this weekends races, check on my site on monday to get an idea of how the finished product looks.
10th of May 2009 (Sun), 14:11
Jadam- THANK YOU!
This is the kind of information I was hoping ppl would be patient enough to share with me. From here, I can compare, drop or pick up steps/ideas that I havent tried yet. I like the folder tip between cameras, will have to remember that one!
21st of September 2009 (Mon), 23:25
Jadam... great info. Never thought about creating folders in the camera to help organize.
22nd of September 2009 (Tue), 09:17
Great thread fortisi! Reading with interest myself as I just seem to point, click and never get around to doing much with the many hundreds of photos I walk away with!
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