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Old 26th of May 2011 (Thu)   #16
vcrampton
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gym Star Photos View Post
I would not rely on parents going to the website to order. You have to get the paid orders before they leave the rink. I know paper order forms are not the preferred choice, but do what you have to do to get the orders right then. If you have the budget for it, you can rent event software for a week, but you will need at least 2 computers to use.
Diddo, Diddo, Diddo. Once people leave the rink you won't be guarenteed anything. People will take cards and flyers, but that is not a guarentee by any means. Get the commitment on the spot. Honestly, I don't even offer online sales for tournament photos anymore. Parents either buy them onsite or not at all. It forces their hand, and, more often than not, they decide to go ahead and buy. Since your just starting out, on-site printing is probably not an option, but it is something to consider down the road.

If you need some event software, check out 5minutephoto.com. The software is solid, plus they have a one week license option. It's really just like renting the software for a week.
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Old 26th of May 2011 (Thu)   #17
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

Thanks for the feedback Vince. Your thoughts opened up a whole different topic of discussion (which I will be starting a thread on) and I'm really appreciative of that.

It's looking more and more like on-demand prints will be the best way to go.
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Old 26th of May 2011 (Thu)   #18
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

I would not even consider having potential customers viewing all photos on site. The amount of photos would be staggering, even for one game. Many of those photos will be junk not worthy of editing. My work flow for an event like this would be to pass out business cards, place cards at the concession stands, and see if the announcer would give a brief announcement that photos of the games will be available in several days at such and such a website.

After each game, I would go through all the photos, and pitch everything which is not a great shot. You will be known by what you have thrown so to speak. After dumping everything not worthy of posting or editing, I would open the keepers in batches in raw. Adjust the white balance, exposure, black point, recovery, fill light etc. in raw. Check for noise, and correct this in raw also. Straighten in raw if the photo needs it. After making corrections the first one in the batch, record the settings, and sync the rest of the images in the batch. Once back in the editor, I would write an action for final corrections, such as a curves adjustment, sharpening and so forth. Run this action on the batch, and go to the next batch.

The one thing I would stay away from is to allow the customers to view shots right off the card. Your name will end up being associated with photos which if you had viewed would have been dumped. If you hand out or make business cards available at the games, and write a decent search string when you post them to your website, the customers will find them.
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #19
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CiM_Photography View Post
My current game plan is to shoot in JPG with a custom WB (determined prior) and Manual Exposure to eleminate variability issues. This way, when photos are offloaded onto the terminal, no processing is required other than deletion of junk photos (mis-focus/fires). Images will be loaded into folders that are categorized by Day->Rink->Game->Period/OT so they are easily searchable. They will be displayed on rink-specific displays (1 display per rink) using some slideshow software, following each period so parents can view the image quality and composition.

Cards will be given directing parents to the website where they will be uploaded that night for photo sales and merchandise items.

I just need to triple check my thought process and make sure this is all standard and that I'm not omitting anything severe...
Jeremy,
This was exactly the point to my post, your intended thought process is not the "standard" way most of us do events.
Shooting jpeg is good, shooting in manual good, custom white balance will not do you much good unless you shoot at or below 1/60 of a sec with the cycling light you will always have color shifts and 1/60 will obviously not be sufficant to stop the action.
We generally have no less than 10 onsite view screens for an event of this size. Parents,grand parents, kids everyone has things to do they will not wait around to take turns at 1-2 view stations. theres church, dinner, shopping,sisters recitle, ect. life.
You canot have to many view stations, period. I know you probebly dont want to sink a lot of $ into equipment at first as you dont know how it will all turn out. While you dont need to get the prints to them imeadately you do need to capture the sale at the event for the best results.
I use photo parata and also work with another local here that uses 5 minute photo, both work great. And yes you can rent the software but that will not help you with view screens which are a key part of either system.
You should set up one booth in an area that is hard to miss, prefrebly near the food or exit/entrance and in between both rinks if possible. Get some anouncements over the PA system if possible. Have someone working the crowd letting them know you are there and what you are doing and where to find your booth.
You can try the website only idea, but I think you will be disatisfied of the outcome. Again I could be mistaken, but I do not think so.
I am not trying to discourage you but I can tell you what works the best at most of mine and other events that I shoot as a hired gun, and I've worked some pretty big events.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gym Star Photos View Post
I would not rely on parents going to the website to order. You have to get the paid orders before they leave the rink. I know paper order forms are not the preferred choice, but do what you have to do to get the orders right then. If you have the budget for it, you can rent event software for a week, but you will need at least 2 computers to use. If you have to, borrow a few computers from close friends.... just get the photos in front of the parents so they can order them when they see them! Also, make sure they know you are there! Put yourself in a spot where they MUST pass by you to get in and out if you can.
You should have time to cull photos on the fly when the action moves to the other end of the rink, which will help your booth personnel if things do get busy. Having said that, its still good to have that additional person taking orders or helping parents find their photos.

Lance.
^^^^^^THIS ^^^^^^
vvvvvvv NOT THIS vvvvvvv

Quote:
Originally Posted by kgarvelink View Post
I would not even consider having potential customers viewing all photos on site. The amount of photos would be staggering, even for one game. Many of those photos will be junk not worthy of editing. My work flow for an event like this would be to pass out business cards, place cards at the concession stands, and see if the announcer would give a brief announcement that photos of the games will be available in several days at such and such a website.

After each game, I would go through all the photos, and pitch everything which is not a great shot. You will be known by what you have thrown so to speak. After dumping everything not worthy of posting or editing, I would open the keepers in batches in raw. Adjust the white balance, exposure, black point, recovery, fill light etc. in raw. Check for noise, and correct this in raw also. Straighten in raw if the photo needs it. After making corrections the first one in the batch, record the settings, and sync the rest of the images in the batch. Once back in the editor, I would write an action for final corrections, such as a curves adjustment, sharpening and so forth. Run this action on the batch, and go to the next batch.

The one thing I would stay away from is to allow the customers to view shots right off the card. Your name will end up being associated with photos which if you had viewed would have been dumped. If you hand out or make business cards available at the games, and write a decent search string when you post them to your website, the customers will find them.
Sorry kgarvelink, this would be an exercise in futility. Your eye's will bug out of your head and you will never get through all of the photos in time to post prior to the sun comming up the next day and need to go back and shoot more.
As you mentioned " The amount of photos would be staggering, even for one game." You are absoultely correct.
If you end up with many of the photos being "JUNK" then he should'nt be doing this in the first place, or hes using the wrong photog's, you need to know how to shoot the sport or be a decent sports action photog before even tackeling this type of event. And people will not wait several days to look at the images. Life will happen and they will forget.
Handing out cards or flyers and putting some at the concession stands is a good idea though.
Batch edits will not work for the cyceling lights he will be shooting under and I couldnt even imagin shooting this in RAW just for the amount of space it will eat up.
Get it right in the camera the best you can, and do minimal edits prior to making prints if you do not choose to sell digital.
I work for one particular event company and we generate 350k-400k shots in two days time. You just cant tinker with that many images, theres not enough time in a day. And yes we do get some duds but most of the images are golden and if you can find time to chimp and cull at a cheer event, I would think you would have plenty of time at a hockey game.
And this company flys us in from all corners of the country, my point being you need to have good photogs for these events to get decent shots.
Again, get it right (exposer) in the camera, get it to the customer as fast as you can, and get the money before they leave the event.
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #20
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

Apparently Jeff has reached the level where he is able to shoot sports events in burst mode, and each one is a keeper. I envy him that. 350k-450k shots, and all are keepers. All should therefore be posted, and we should expect customers to be willing to wade through 450k shots to find that one special shot of their athelete. I hope the customers have plenty of vacation time on the books.

I did not say to shoot in raw, I said to open the images in raw, and batch process in raw. The overall settings for each shot should be very similar, allowing one to edit mulitple files by synching in raw.

I think the overal dispute here is volume vs. quality. I think we do our profession a disservice by "spray and pray" techniques. If there is any shooter out there who can cover a sporting event, shoot over 500 images with each one being worthy of posting, or being labeled a keeper, I have yet to meet him or her. Should you quickly post 500 images, some of dubious quality, or whittle them down and post 150 exceptional shots? My vote goes to the 150. The digital world is already full of junk images.
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #21
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

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Apparently Jeff has reached the level where he is able to shoot sports events in burst mode, and each one is a keeper. I envy him that. 350k-450k shots, and all are keepers. All should therefore be posted, and we should expect customers to be willing to wade through 450k shots to find that one special shot of their athelete. I hope the customers have plenty of vacation time on the books.
I don't want it to seem like I am speaking for Jeff, because I don't know Jeff. From what I have seen on the forum he seems like a good guy. kgarvelink, I don't think you know the situation at hand well enough bring out the "volume vs. quality" argument. If Jeff's photography group is being flown out to tournaments, it is probably pretty safe to assume that these are very large tournaments. For example, I know of baseball tournaments that have 1000-1500 teams (there are some bigger ones). If each team has at least 12 players, you are looking at 12,000 athletes minimum. Most teams will have more than that. By the time you take pictures of players batting, swinging, running, throwing, fielding, pitching, celebrating, candidding (not a word, but you get the point), coaches coaching... point being, it tends to add up. I don't think 350k-400k is too much in a situation like that. Not to mention they might also do team photos.

When I do a tournament, I organize photos by team. Barracudas, Bulls, Dragons, etc. So the parents wouldn't be digging through 300k-400k of photos. They would be digging through their team's photos and that is it. Not to mention that most of the time, parents enjoy viewing the photos of their child's teamates. You make it seem like this arguous chore, but it's just not like that.

On the "RAW" topic - Before I started doing tournaments I talked to several tournament photographers and all of them were opposed to using RAW. It's just not realistic.
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #22
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

Vince & Jeff - thank you so much for taking the time to explain this all. I'm not a noob to techniques, but this really irons out the wrinkles in my thought process.

Also regarding cycling lights - you should see this place! Brand new fixtures and the white balance is amazing. I know there will be SOME cycling, but really it's just so little - and the place is freaking bright! Here's a photo from their site:
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #23
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

That's a nice looking rink. Much brighter than I expected. Most rinks are dimly lit caves. You should get some great shots.
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #24
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

My thoughts exactly!
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #25
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

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Originally Posted by CiM_Photography View Post
Vince & Jeff - thank you so much for taking the time to explain this all. I'm not a noob to techniques, but this really irons out the wrinkles in my thought process.

Also regarding cycling lights - you should see this place! Brand new fixtures and the white balance is amazing. I know there will be SOME cycling, but really it's just so little - and the place is freaking bright! Here's a photo from their site:

Sweet !
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #26
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

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Originally Posted by kgarvelink View Post
Apparently Jeff has reached the level where he is able to shoot sports events in burst mode, and each one is a keeper. I envy him that. 350k-450k shots, and all are keepers. All should therefore be posted, and we should expect customers to be willing to wade through 450k shots to find that one special shot of their athelete. I hope the customers have plenty of vacation time on the books.

I did not say to shoot in raw, I said to open the images in raw, and batch process in raw. The overall settings for each shot should be very similar, allowing one to edit mulitple files by synching in raw.

I think the overal dispute here is volume vs. quality. I think we do our profession a disservice by "spray and pray" techniques. If there is any shooter out there who can cover a sporting event, shoot over 500 images with each one being worthy of posting, or being labeled a keeper, I have yet to meet him or her. Should you quickly post 500 images, some of dubious quality, or whittle them down and post 150 exceptional shots? My vote goes to the 150. The digital world is already full of junk images.
kgarvelink,
I donít want to get into a pi$$ing match with you about event photography, especially when you may or may not be familiar with it, or the programs designed to categorize and make it easy for customers to find there 3-4 or even 5 routines/games per weekend.
As Vince mentioned there are programs to handle this type of workflow, the info is out there just Google event photography software.
I rarely shoot more than a 2-3 shot bursts and that is usually during a basket toss or stunt during cheer, who am I to choose what a parent will deem the best shot but I strive for peak action timing.
Given enough view stations customer will not be on the VS more than 10-15 minutes, in fact you donít want anyone there any longer than they have to be that way your not tying up your view stations and allowing new customers on them.
Yes all should be posted, you would be surprised by the images that will be purchased and the ones that I/you would deem great shots go un-purchased. Itís a profit deal, and you must be able to pay for this equipment that has to be purchased to do these events properly.
350-400k images is divided amongst 20-25 (seasoned sports)photogs these are huge events I'm talking about not all are like this by any means. All or most are keepers after chimping and culling. Thatís not to say they are all portfolio shots but they are marketable images ready to purchase.
I'm not familiar with your workflow but you can batch sync Jpegs as easy as RAW. ? I would love to hear your explanation of this possibly in another thread perhaps as we would be getting OT, which we are close to already.
I do agree there are plenty of junk images out there. Some people should not be shooting sports in particular at all, let alone other types of photography.
If your system works for you, thatís great, however the OP asked if his thoughts were standard in this type of setting, it is of my experience that it is not, and I thought I would give him my perspective.
Honestly I started out doing the same thing you are proposing by editing all my images prior to posting itís just not feasible. In some cases it is and is required, as when shooting for Maxpreps. In event photography where you need to capture that customer and the impulse buy, it is not.
I can appreciate your take on how to do it, and there is always more than one way to do things and I mentioned that I would love to see how it all works out for him if he can utilize LR for this.
I love LR and would much rather not have to buy all this expensive equipment and software to do this if there is another way.

Jeremy,
Looks like you have an awesome venue for this, and I wish you luck. I also look forward to seeing how it turns out, and how you handle your sales and viewing as well as seeing some of your work, good luck.
If I can help, or answer any of your questions or thoughts just ask. I try to keep an open mind and advise on things I have personal knowledge of, and have open ears to things that I do not. POTN has been a great place to learn and share. However some great experienced photographers have also left here, and or choose not to share there experience due to circumstances that arise here from time to time.
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #27
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

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I was thinking that a good way to show capabilities would be to invest in the actual printed product itself, using images I've taken during practice games.

Yes, that's a lot of hockey indeed. 14 hours each day, 4 days. That's 3 times per year by the way....

Quote:
Originally Posted by CiM_Photography View Post
I wasn't clear in my first post on a few things, so allow me to clear some stuff up.


The abovementioned Tournament is an ongoing thing - not just a one-time event. I do plan on staying with the arena for some time to make sure I maximize my profits. This includes attending their practice games in the coming month.


My current game plan is to shoot in JPG with a custom WB (determined prior) and Manual Exposure to eleminate variability issues. This way, when photos are offloaded onto the terminal, no processing is required other than deletion of junk photos (mis-focus/fires).
Even if you're giddy about the ambient light being better than average, are you shooting with your 5D classic and 40D? Which of your lenses? 24-70? 50/1.8? 18-55 kit lens?

I don't see any sports photos on your website. What was your keeper rate on the practice games you've shot? Will you be shooting through the glass, through a peep hole, from the stands, or from the bench?

I admire your confidence in being able "to shoot in JPG with a custom WB (determined prior) and Manual Exposure to eleminate variability issues. This way, when photos are offloaded onto the terminal, no processing is required".

But since this is a recurring event with a consistent group of local teams, players, and parents, I'd spend a little more time culling through your shots and building a well-organized collection of keepers, instead of trying to rush hundreds of shots minutes after (or during) a hundred games.

Jeff's got a lot of experience shooting massive quantities of dance/cheer shots and a lot of viewing station staff support to get them uploaded to viewing stations before the kids and parents head home. Cheerleading/dancing is a little different than hockey... your subjects aren't on a well lit stage, facing an audience, and following a routine. He's probably gets 90%+ sellable keepers of faces and action during a routine. And he's probably not shooting with a 40D or a 5Dc.

Unless you had a lot more luck at hockey games than I did, I wouldn't want parents to see half of what I shot. IMHO, 90%+ of your uploaded/sellable shots should have face and puck.
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #28
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

I agree. Do not post too many shots it will be overwhelming for the parents. I did this last year with little league football because I was trying to ensure all kids were represented, plus I did not group the kids photos together and as a result the kids photos were all over the gallery. It won't happen again this season.

As far as PP, I had a statement under every photo that said the photos were an unedited version and that when ordered it will be cropped, sharpened, color corrected, etc etc.

Another thing I did that I don't plan to do this season is do all printing in house. I think my sales were flat because most parents wanted to use credit cards, but I only accepted cash. So I plan to set up the Zen account so they can order directly from it. Since, I did all prints in house, I shot Raw and Jpeg, so that I could upload the Jpegs quickly for viewing and had the Raw files to edit when a photo(s) were ordered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slimenta View Post
...Simply posting all pics will hurt as you will expect people to wade through way too many pics.

I do not see how you can avoid some post processing unless you are willing to accept poor quality. You must crop even if your exposure and all else is perfect. Do a loose crop, as opposed to what you would do for print media for a 4 x 6 size and that will allow most 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 prints.

I agree here, too. Get them to buy on impulse (ie on the spot) especially since you will have the computers set up. They may or may not go to your site because it may seem to be a chore to them.

But most importantly, you must know that some parents are cheap, bottom line. So don't be surprise if they bark at your prices because it's never cheap enough.

Ex. I had a parent tell me they could get a 4x6 at Sams for like $.20 or something. I said yeah, but you don't have an image to print and that will cost you.

Try the online ordering thing and see how it work out. You just have to be on your saleman job and make sure they know where to find the images. Hell pay a kid to place flyers in the windshields, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gym Star Photos View Post
I would not rely on parents going to the website to order. You have to get the paid orders before they leave the rink. I know paper order forms are not the preferred choice, but do what you have to do to get the orders right then. If you have the budget for it, you can rent event software for a week, but you will need at least 2 computers to use. If you have to, borrow a few computers from close friends.... just get the photos in front of the parents so they can order them when they see them! Also, make sure they know you are there! Put yourself in a spot where they MUST pass by you to get in and out if you can.
You should have time to cull photos on the fly when the action moves to the other end of the rink, which will help your booth personnel if things do get busy. Having said that, its still good to have that additional person taking orders or helping parents find their photos.

Lance.
Also, you may want to get at least a 70-200 2.8 lens in your arsenal.
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #29
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

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Another thing I did that I don't plan to do this season is do all printing in house. I think my sales were flat because most parents wanted to use credit cards, but I only accepted cash. So I plan to set up the Zen account so they can order directly from it. Since, I did all prints in house, I shot Raw and Jpeg, so that I could upload the Jpegs quickly for viewing and had the Raw files to edit when a photo(s) were ordered.
Get an iphone, android or an iPad. You can write it off as a business expense, plus you can use one of these cool little tools to accept Cradit Cards. ------vvvvvvvvvv

https://squareup.com/

http://mophie.intuit.com/

You should definitely find a way to accept CCs.
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Old 27th of May 2011 (Fri)   #30
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Default Re: Tournament shooting - workflow and base equipment?

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kgarvelink,
I donít want to get into a pi$$ing match with you about event photography, especially when you may or may not be familiar with it, or the programs designed to categorize and make it easy for customers to find there 3-4 or even 5 routines/games per weekend.
As Vince mentioned there are programs to handle this type of workflow, the info is out there just Google event photography software.
I rarely shoot more than a 2-3 shot bursts and that is usually during a basket toss or stunt during cheer, who am I to choose what a parent will deem the best shot but I strive for peak action timing.
Given enough view stations customer will not be on the VS more than 10-15 minutes, in fact you donít want anyone there any longer than they have to be that way your not tying up your view stations and allowing new customers on them.
Yes all should be posted, you would be surprised by the images that will be purchased and the ones that I/you would deem great shots go un-purchased. Itís a profit deal, and you must be able to pay for this equipment that has to be purchased to do these events properly.
350-400k images is divided amongst 20-25 (seasoned sports)photogs these are huge events I'm talking about not all are like this by any means. All or most are keepers after chimping and culling. Thatís not to say they are all portfolio shots but they are marketable images ready to purchase.
I'm not familiar with your workflow but you can batch sync Jpegs as easy as RAW. ? I would love to hear your explanation of this possibly in another thread perhaps as we would be getting OT, which we are close to already.
I do agree there are plenty of junk images out there. Some people should not be shooting sports in particular at all, let alone other types of photography.
If your system works for you, thatís great, however the OP asked if his thoughts were standard in this type of setting, it is of my experience that it is not, and I thought I would give him my perspective.
Honestly I started out doing the same thing you are proposing by editing all my images prior to posting itís just not feasible. In some cases it is and is required, as when shooting for Maxpreps. In event photography where you need to capture that customer and the impulse buy, it is not.
I can appreciate your take on how to do it, and there is always more than one way to do things and I mentioned that I would love to see how it all works out for him if he can utilize LR for this.
I love LR and would much rather not have to buy all this expensive equipment and software to do this if there is another way.

Jeremy,
Looks like you have an awesome venue for this, and I wish you luck. I also look forward to seeing how it turns out, and how you handle your sales and viewing as well as seeing some of your work, good luck.
If I can help, or answer any of your questions or thoughts just ask. I try to keep an open mind and advise on things I have personal knowledge of, and have open ears to things that I do not. POTN has been a great place to learn and share. However some great experienced photographers have also left here, and or choose not to share there experience due to circumstances that arise here from time to time.
J. Napier: I did not intend to offend you. From your writings, it appears you have a well thought out system which serves you well. I do think that most would not have the resources to set up the system you are employing however, including multiple vs for customers to visit. I also concede that the immediate availabilty of prints is an advantage which probably results in higher sales, although there may be a decline in image quality due to the limited post process time devoted to the images.
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