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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Motorsports Talk 
Thread started 25 Dec 2014 (Thursday) 09:40
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Track photographer for local short track

 
LevelPebble
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Dec 25, 2014 09:40 |  #1

After several years of taking shots for my own pleasure and gradually improving my equipment & skills (sometimes it seems like for every two steps forward, I take one back), I am now the "official" track photographer for my local short track. Filled in some last year, and they were happy enough that I will be doing it full time next season.

It is a 1/4 mile paved oval and my role is to capture both on track and victory lane images for both the track management as well as selling directly to the racers/fans. No limitations on access other than my own common sense. Been trying to upgrade my equipment over time, but at this time still shooting with a T1i and a 70-200 f4l non is zoom.

I have been going there for a couple decades as a fan and also reported on the track for a regional weekly racing publication a few years ago. I am very active in the local racing scene & friends with quite a few of the drivers/officials etc., so excited to be an official part of the "family"

While I will be selling pictures for $$, that really isn't my primary motivation. This track has been my entertainment for many years and the track management has treated me very well, so this is more about giving back and supporting the track by being there every week.

This is only a hobby for me, so if I make enough to buy new equipment and cover expenses, I will be OK with that. Frankly, many of these drivers are racing on a shoestring, so if the price point is too high (in their opinion), they just won't buy anything. If the choice is buying pictures or a race tire, the tire is going to win out every time.


Motorsports Photographer for ARCA at Flat Rock/Toledo Speedway

  
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JJD.Photography
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Dec 25, 2014 22:28 |  #2

Congrats on getting the title! Any of your shots posted?


His And Her Photographs (external link)
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LevelPebble
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Dec 25, 2014 22:39 |  #3

On my FB page Level Pebble Racing Pics. Tried to post here, but have Windows Vista still and it doesn't support any IE since 9.

Had the option from wife to buy new computer, but picked new lens instead. :-)


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WellsRacingPhotos
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Dec 26, 2014 06:36 |  #4

Congrats, I was the official photographer for a local track my second year of shooting and was able to be the official photog for the Southern All Stars Dirt Racing Series for a couple of years as well...Wasn't my cup of tea being at the same place every weekend. Good luck!


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DC ­ Fan
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Dec 26, 2014 06:54 |  #5

LevelPebble wrote in post #17350167 (external link)
After several years of taking shots for my own pleasure and gradually improving my equipment & skills (sometimes it seems like for every two steps forward, I take one back), I am now the "official" track photographer for my local short track. Filled in some last year, and they were happy enough that I will be doing it full time next season.

It is a 1/4 mile paved oval and my role is to capture both on track and victory lane images for both the track management as well as selling directly to the racers/fans. No limitations on access other than my own common sense. Been trying to upgrade my equipment over time, but at this time still shooting with a T1i and a 70-200 f4l non is zoom.

I have been going there for a couple decades as a fan and also reported on the track for a regional weekly racing publication a few years ago. I am very active in the local racing scene & friends with quite a few of the drivers/officials etc., so excited to be an official part of the "family"

While I will be selling pictures for $$, that really isn't my primary motivation. This track has been my entertainment for many years and the track management has treated me very well, so this is more about giving back and supporting the track by being there every week.

This is only a hobby for me, so if I make enough to buy new equipment and cover expenses, I will be OK with that. Frankly, many of these drivers are racing on a shoestring, so if the price point is too high (in their opinion), they just won't buy anything. If the choice is buying pictures or a race tire, the tire is going to win out every time.

You are about to learn some very valuable real-world lessons on photography, sales and pleasing customers.

What you'll find out is what real people actually want, from price, availability of product and content of that product.

Don't be surprised if the technical preferences you've seen expressed by hobbyist photographers on this forum are not wanted by actual track customers. Also, don't be surprised if the main factors in making sales are the price and speed at which you can make product available.

The instant gratification world of a race track customer is not the same as a forum user.




  
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LevelPebble
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Dec 26, 2014 09:12 |  #6

DC Fan wrote in post #17351154 (external link)
You are about to learn some very valuable real-world lessons on photography, sales and pleasing customers.

What you'll find out is what real people actually want, from price, availability of product and content of that product.

Don't be surprised if the technical preferences you've seen expressed by hobbyist photographers on this forum are not wanted by actual track customers. Also, don't be surprised if the main factors in making sales are the price and speed at which you can make product available.

The instant gratification world of a race track customer is not the same as a forum user.

Your comments are spot on. Short Track racing has been my passion as a fan for over 25 yrs. and I have done some print media coverage of this same track, so I already know a lot of the racers and staff.

While I have made a lot of improvements in my skills the last couple years, I have found that my customers are more interested in clear sharp shots than extreme motion blur.

I don't want to disappoint someone by telling them none of my shots of their car are suitable in my quest to get the "perfect" shot, so shutter speed is a balance.

This particular track has treated me very well the last several years. I had been a ticket buying fan in the stands until 2009 when I got the opportunity to do some print media work. The publication only lasted that one season , however they continued to provide free admission with total access ever since, as they consider me as part of the "family".


Motorsports Photographer for ARCA at Flat Rock/Toledo Speedway

  
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LevelPebble
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Post edited over 5 years ago by LevelPebble.
     
Dec 30, 2014 19:10 |  #7

Here is an example of the shots I get at my "home" track. Still learning every day, but having a blast. Shot at 1/250, but these cars turn laps under 12 sec., so they travel around the quarter mile oval pretty darn quick.

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Motorsports Photographer for ARCA at Flat Rock/Toledo Speedway

  
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Road ­ Dog
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Jan 05, 2015 19:30 |  #8

I was a track photographer for a short spell at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon.

I had a blast; I'm sure you are, too!


Just shut up and smile...
My Current Line-Up

  
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LevelPebble
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Jan 05, 2015 19:40 |  #9

The best part is that I am the first one to Victory Lane when one of my friends wins.

Plus always great hearing comments from the racers on how much they like my pictures and appreciate me being there.


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JacobPhoto
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Jan 23, 2015 23:47 |  #10

LevelPebble wrote in post #17368046 (external link)
Plus always great hearing comments from the racers on how much they like my pictures and appreciate me being there.

I "appreciate" when I flip the switch and the light actually turns on. Unfortunately, the electric company doesn't accept appreciation as a form of payment. Until they do, my time must be compensated. Hopefully you discover that novelty soon.


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LevelPebble
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Jan 25, 2015 14:07 |  #11

JacobPhoto wrote in post #17397281 (external link)
I "appreciate" when I flip the switch and the light actually turns on. Unfortunately, the electric company doesn't accept appreciation as a form of payment. Until they do, my time must be compensated. Hopefully you discover that novelty soon.


Actually, if I ever were to approach photography like you say, it would cease to be enjoyable. My time is compensated greatly, just in ways that are much more rewarding than just monetarily.

Apparently you didn't read what I wrote concerning my motivations. I work as an Engineer at an automotive supplier for a living; short track racing has been my fun on the weekends for much of my life ;(spent much of it buying a ticket and sitting in the stands) Photography is a subset of my love for racing; I photograph very little else.

I get to spend the weekends with great friends (drivers, crew members, track management,officials, fans) doing what I love, with full track access. And for all that, not only do I never spend a dime, I actually make a few $$ sellling pictures. Much cooler than paying to get in and sitting in the stands watching, don't you think?

Oh, and when someone I enjoy watching race does (or does not) buy a picture, it will never cease to be gratifying to hear compliments on the quality of my work.


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Track photographer for local short track
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