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How to start selling ball game pictures to parents?

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Thread started 13 Sep 2007 (Thursday) 14:40   
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gnnbtrn
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My kid just started to play soccer (football for the rest of the world).
He had just a few games, and I'm very proud that he scored his first goal!
Of course, I had my camera and took a couple shots. Some parents came back to me and complimented the pictures, nobody asked for the prints though.
I'm thinking can I sell the prints? What would be a fair price? should I print them and offer to parents, or ask them to order?

Here is some pictures I took:

IMAGE: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1151/1354501624_10f7f700c8_o.jpg


IMAGE: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1279/1353504381_fad65330db_o.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1322/1358541828_9be0db8ca5_o.jpg

I personally like the pictures, but is it really worth trying to sell some of them or my child family album is all where they should be?

Post #1, Sep 13, 2007 14:40:42


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mcmadkat
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Don't you have to have a model release for each kid in the photo?

Post #2, Sep 13, 2007 14:43:31



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dmwierz
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Genna,

Is it really worth trying to sell some of them or my child family album is all where they should be?

The only people who can answer your question are the parents themselves. I've been shooting kids stuff for a few years and still can't figure out why one shot sells and another doesn't. Sometimes I get what I consider to be a great shot of a kid, with a close-up of his face showing the "thrill of victory", and the parent buys the one of his back, 30 yards distant, running away.

Your shots show good action and have the players' faces and all, but I would suggest you work a little on your timing so that you not only are getting faces (and ball, and action) but also the kid's eyes, because it's the EYES that really pull at the parent's pocketbooks.

Having said that, I'd think any parent would be happy to have the shots you posted as they're much, much better than they would or could get themselves.

Also, regarding prices, this varies quite a bit, but a typical 4x6 goes for from $5 to $8 per print. What did you have in mind in terms of product offerings?

Oh, and BTW, you don't need a model release since you're not using these to sell anything else (like in a print or broadcast media ad) and since they were presumably taken at a public venue and event, where anyone could attend.

Dennis

Post #3, Sep 13, 2007 14:49:51


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Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

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gnnbtrn
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mcmadkat wrote in post #3923078external link
Don't you have to have a model release for each kid in the photo?

Don't think so, the pictures were taken at a public place.

Post #4, Sep 13, 2007 14:50:22


[o]Canon 1Ds Mark II = My Flikrexternal link
(o) EF 24-70mm f/2.8L; EF 70-200mm f/2.8L; EF 85mm f/1.8; Sigma 12-24mm f/3.5-4.5
|*| Canon 580EX II; Nikon SB-26; CRT-301
/|\ Manfrotto 055B; Kirk BH-3

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gnnbtrn
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dmwierz wrote in post #3923126external link
Genna,

The only people who can answer your question are the parents themselves. I've been shooting kids stuff for a few years and still can't figure out why one shot sells and another doesn't. Sometimes I get what I consider to be a great shot of a kid, with a close-up of his face showing the "thrill of victory", and the parent buys the one of his back, 30 yards distant, running away.

Your shots show good action and have the players' faces and all, but I would suggest you work a little on your timing so that you not only are getting faces (and ball, and action) but also the kid's eyes, because it's the EYES that really pull at the parent's pocketbooks.

Having said that, I'd think any parent would be happy to have the shots you posted as they're much, much better than they would or could get themselves.

Also, regarding prices, this varies quite a bit, but a typical 4x6 goes for from $5 to $8 per print. What did you have in mind in terms of product offerings?

Oh, and BTW, you don't need a model release since you're not using these to sell anything else (like in a print or broadcast media ad) and since they were presumably taken at a public venue and event, where anyone could attend.

Dennis


Thanks Dennis for advice, next time I'll go lower and shoot from the ground to get the eyes.
I've thought to give away some 4x6 prints, and at the time ask the parents what they'd like the CD to print themselves or order prints from me.

Post #5, Sep 13, 2007 14:58:16


[o]Canon 1Ds Mark II = My Flikrexternal link
(o) EF 24-70mm f/2.8L; EF 70-200mm f/2.8L; EF 85mm f/1.8; Sigma 12-24mm f/3.5-4.5
|*| Canon 580EX II; Nikon SB-26; CRT-301
/|\ Manfrotto 055B; Kirk BH-3

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dmwierz
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Thanks Dennis for advice, next time I'll go lower and shoot from the ground to get the eyes.
I've thought to give away some 4x6 prints, and at the time ask the parents what they'd like the CD to print themselves or order prints from me.

Genna, all I can say is to fight the urge to give away your prints if you have any thoughts of selling anything to these same parents later. By charging a fair price for your work, you are establishing yourself as a serious photographer in their eyes, and when/if you choose to market a CD to them later, it will be MUCH easier to charge for it.

People just starting out frequently feel uncomfortable charging for their work, especially if it's to friends or other parents, but think about this: could the other parents have taken the shots you did? Probably not. You have the skills and equipment that are worth more than free, so you should establish this up front.

You're probably going to ask what is a typical fee for a game's worth of images? Honestly, even when I was in my first year of shooting it would have not been unusual for a team to pay me $350 for this, and now it's more than this. What they get for this money is a guaranteed minimum 5 "magazine quality" action shots of each player (providing the kid actually plays - if not, I get the player on the bench, or in warm-ups etc), professionally edited and suitable for printing up to poster size. With each team having around 20 players (more for football, for which I charge more), this works out to only $20 or so per player, which if you think of it, really isn't bad at all.

Anyway, this is probably more than you wanted to know, but in summary, don't be afraid to charge for even the initial prints. If $8 or even $5 seems too much, charge $3...

Post #6, Sep 13, 2007 15:14:07 as a reply to gnnbtrn's post 15 minutes earlier.


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Dennis "
Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

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cosworth
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My biggest success is selling by team(s). I tell the prospects that I will do it for X and will supply the entire team and they can split it. I shoot the TEAM, with specialized attention. If I'm lucky I also have the opposing team at the same time.

The person who is on site printing on demand taking orders for shots and having to employ 2-3 shooters at tournaments seems to have WAY too much overhead. I deliver prints or a DVD to the team a week later with zero stress. I walk in, shoot and leave.

Be aware though, that it's not everyone gives you $30 and you hand over a DVD. THE WHOLE team pools the cash and gives you the total before prints or DVD. That way you avoid someone paying you $30 for a dvd that gets copied 20 times or just passed around. Charge more for the DVD of course and reduced, print size jpg only.

Post #7, Sep 13, 2007 15:23:32


people will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional
Full frame and some primes.

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dmwierz
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Jason - Yes, that's a very effective way to sell. I'll tell interested folks that the price of a CD/DVD is $XXX, and suggest they solicit money from as many players/parents as possible. The more participation they get, the less the per-person charge is. If someone doesn't pay, I might still shoot the player (in case they change their mind and come back to me later - this has never happened, BTW), but I won't edit them or deliver images of non-participants on the CD.

I'll also shoot the other team for "stock" and approach them later to see if they'd be interested in buying a team CD/DVD.

In any event, the money is due 60% up front and 40% upon completion of the game - literally AT the game. Until they pay the balance, I don't even START to edit their shots. In these cases, I almost never sell prints, so there is no need to provide proofs or contact sheets. The parents take the files, or sometimes the CD/DVD to Costco or wherever and print the files themselves.

I offer a no questions asked, money-back guarantee to any parent who doesn't love the photo's of their kid.

Interestingly, I have never had a team complain that my fees are too high - even those that only had a handful of participants. In fact, my first independent customer was an individual mother who paid the entire fee herself. She was so happy that she called me on the phone crying, with her football player son in the background looking at the pictures. This was back when I had a "real" job, and this occurrence was one of the first times I realized what a cool thing it was to take pictures for a living (the only times I had ever made anyone cry at work prior to this was for the wrong reasons, being a boss, and all).

Post #8, Sep 13, 2007 15:59:12


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hawk911
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great thread, as I'm in the same game. I want to shoot HS sports, and provide an outlet for parents that might be interested in the shots. I plan to develop a website and use a decent print house so the quality of the print will reflect the quality of the images. I want to keep a professional approach, and image so my work is not in question.

That's my goal, not what I currently do.

Post #9, Sep 13, 2007 16:23:40


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superdiver
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I use smugmug (note, i am NOT trying to make a living at this) and it works out great!

I just tell the parents where to look for the pictures. Get a GoDaddy.com name that they can remember that will direct them to your site. I didnt have one at first and it didnt work well....ASK ME HOW I KNOW....LOL

Then they buy if they want...and word gets around fast!

Post #10, Sep 13, 2007 16:59:16


40D, davidalbertsonphotography.com
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ddphoto
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I tried to do that in our mtb kids league, tried to have a on-line album to have the proofs available so you order what you like and didn't worked.

Tried printing and sold some but ended up with some left overs, not bad considering I made an income on the prints.

At the last race I made a season cd, that worked the best but took a lot of time and effort on my part. No PP was done to any of the pics but transferring the day photos, sorting them by number plate and burning the cd with the customer waiting wasn't fun.

I started at $4/picture, ended at $3 because another photographer lowered his prices and $5 per CD.

Have given prints for free and as advised before stay away from it. They will want all their pics from free from then on.

Post #11, Sep 13, 2007 18:38:41


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jcpoulin
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I have 2 avenues.....I have my smugmug site which I am in the process of expanding. This is a showcase style site. Lately, the past two horseshows I've done, I have put together a DVD of all the riders and sold the disc as a whole. I let them print as they wish and the parents have loved this...they get the whole show plus their kids! Duplication is easy and I offer to help them with printing if they wish as I prefer my stuff printed with MPIX. If I print, I mark these up a bit as well. I am giving away my digital negatives but this does not bother me at all. I paid for my last daughters show with the proceeds of the CD's and I gained exposure....many asked about weddings and other events so potential opportunities exist. If you are a money hound up front...you may turn off people.

Post #12, Sep 13, 2007 19:05:57


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eigga
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Get a website and pass out business cards. I have found getting people to the site is the hardest part, once they are there the images sell! I started by sending examples of my work to various leagues. Once you get one team and provide a good product the parents talk and share. I dont ever give out free stuff but I always take examples of my work with me. I have a 20x30 of each sport I cover that I tag along. Although it is sometimes annoying it makes me $$. I photoshop the best of the best of my images of that sport on the 20x30.

Good Luck you images look good!

Post #13, Sep 13, 2007 20:36:48 as a reply to jcpoulin's post 1 hour earlier.


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warrior6901
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Similar to others in that I give the athletic director my card with my shutterfly address on the back and they can go there to view/purchase the pics. This has worked well for game action shots and it is amazing the number of hits after an event that they know I have photographed. It has helped my situation that I am a retired administrator from the local school division and am now doing all the athletic pictures(team and individual shots) as well as providing pictures for the yearbook. I don't put the team/individual shots on the website...I only take prepaid orders for those and guarantee the pictures or $ is refunded or picture is adjusted. In the packages for parent choice, I do include an option for a cd purchase that has only their individual picture on the cd. They can purchase this and of course print any number and size they want. I am also going to do the same this fall with a local D3 college team and am really looking forward to this opportunity. Word really spreads quickly.

Post #14, Sep 13, 2007 21:24:49 as a reply to eigga's post 48 minutes earlier.


"The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

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hawk911
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The site stuff is great, but what about permission/rights to sell the prints in the first place? I'm in Wisconsin, if anyone here can comment on my state specifically.

Post #15, Sep 13, 2007 22:08:37


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