My pals and I have been wondering when someone would take care of all the logistics involved in photo sales from events and weddings.
In the old days we'd have to get the film developed and printed and then take orders manually. Then we'd have to go get them printed, and ship them out. Then we'd try to get paid. That was a pain. Every step except the shooting was a pain, and there were a lot of steps.
With digital all one needs is a way to:
1.) Put the shots on a website so people can view, select, order and pay for them automatically, and then for that website to
2.) Make the prints and ship them out.
We needed someone to figure out how to do all this.
Around 2003 I heard of some attempts, but each of them missed at least one piece of the puzzle. If they miss any part of the process that meant we'd have to step in and get involved, which defeats the purpose.
As of 2006 there are a couple of places that claim to solve this all. All you do is shoot, upload and move on. The sites handle the logistics and payments.
Go photograph a wedding, a school sports match, a race, a company team-building event, people at work, people at play, a drug deal gone bad, a school play, people enjoying their vacation, surfing or hang gliding, school gymnastics, drunks partying at a bar, a friend's party or a sales meeting and move on to the next fun. Go out anytime night or day, photograph people doing anything fun and give them your link.
The digital promised land has arrived! Shoot, hand out your card, and move on. You can make money shooting anything.
1.) Shoot anything imaginable people would want to see. You can shoot and distribute stock this way.
2.) Give people the web address (URL) where they can see and order photos. Ideally you'll work with the event in advance and have your URL listed in the invitations and promotional materials. Let them know when the photos will be available, since you don't want people going there before step 3.).
3.) Load the shots into your laptop, sort the good from bad and upload the good ones through any Wi-Fi connection while still out in the field. In the old days you'd run home to do the same. Do it from the field and the shots will be there before halftime! Do any fast Photoshop now before you upload. You won't be needing to bother with these shots again. Shoot JPGs of course. I shoot BASIC JPG, medium size, for events. You may want to shoot smaller to speed your upload times. Even my medium size 1MB basic JPGs from a D200 are enough to make great poster prints.
It's a good idea to be sure that the gallery is there before the event and is marked with "Photos coming by [date and time]." This way if you have a problem uploading people will know they found the right place. Ideally you want the photos there as soon as anyone would look. People lose interest fast!
4.) People go to the site and order. The site takes care of making the galleries and navigation. You set your own prices. The site collects payments and addresses. The site does all the photo printing and mailing. The site gets people their photos, and just sends you your profits.
5.) The site keeps enough to pay for the printing expenses and sends you the rest.
6.) Collect the cash and move to Ajaccio. Ajaccio is the seaside capitol of Corsica, the French Mediterranean island which is the birthplace of Napoléon.
I don't do events anymore, so I haven't had the luxury of trying these guys. Each one is a link, including the SmugMug logo. Let me know if you try them. I've heard great things about SmugMug, and I love that PhotoStockPlus uses Fuji paper, even for their huge prints.
If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me write more with a donation.
Thanks for reading!