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Cheers Pete. Local road race on tomorrow with a wicked hill right in the middle of each lap, so might just go sit at the top and catch them at the worst point
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Diversifying is definitely the way forward. Until you get well known within one genre of photography, it's tough to make a living out it.
Also, I've certainly always found that the more I put into it, the more I get out. Have you tried writing to every cycling mag/blog on the planet and selling yourself and your work? Done the same with cycling events, Cyclo Sportives, BMX trials, speedway events etc. etc. in the UK and even throughout Europe? If they like your stuff enough, they will pay you more than enough to cover travel expenses.
Sounds like hard/tedious work, and it is, but that's the nature of the business until you get your name out there!
Yep, wrote to all the magazines, but they have their own photographers covering events, although I am now contacted occasionally by one of them for shots. I suppose the sport I cover is a small domestic sport, it's never going to be a main living, but I do enjoy it and am involved in other ways with it as well with our local cycling club.
I'm lucky, it's not my main source of income, so I'm just going to keep going and just do events that I enjoy
Just realised it's been nearly a year since I posted this topic. So I thought I'd update, I've still got the website, I'm still shooting cycling, but have culled the events I go out to now, so that I go to events that I enjoy and that are organised by people I know. The orders haven't been large, but I seem to get more from those events by covering less events, if that makes sense But the orders are still mainly coming from the senior riders.
I did a 6th form prom as well this year and although it was good experience organising and photographing groups and they all said they loved the images, I didn't get a single order! But several were ripped off the site are now used as profile images on facebook with my copyright stuck right across the middle, so I think what was being said last year was right, a lot of people, especially young people are happy with low quality, low resolution images that they can stick on social networks. But lesson learnt and I won't be doing another one!
I'm still in the camera club I joined & looking at my portfolio over the last 12 months, I've done some different work for me and am enjoying it again.
I wonder if the web is killing print sales. Are people just happy to see the photos on websites and not pay for prints?
Quote: people are happy with low quality, low resolution images that they can stick on social networks
Quote: I wonder if the web is killing print sales. Are people just happy to see the photos on websites and not pay for prints?
And I personally haven't printed anything for nearly 3 years. I certainly wouldn't bother, in the future, with standard size prints - only enlargements to hang on the wall... and I have quite enough of those now - in every room!
Quote: I go to events that I enjoy and that are organised by people I know
That seems to be the answer. Go to an event because you enjoy it with any sales to be treated as the icing on the cake.
I think sometimes that can be true, people do like looking at images from races. But luckily some still like an image that they can hold. I did introduce on my website this season an image sized for use on social networking sites and it has proved quite popular, especially at a race I covered that was also a university championship.
CB - That's just how I am looking at things now, sales are icing on the cake of life
With a picture I took recently, I was asked for the full-sized file once they had seen a small version of it on the web. Clearly that was required for printing.
Looking at it from the cyclists' point of view (and I both ride and shoot, but rarely at the same time ...), if you do a handful of Sportive events through the year, there's usually someone taking shots along the way. So you go to their website and there's the ususal raft of pics of everyone, usually just one person per shot, usually front three quarter view, sometimes with an interesting background, mostly not... and then you look at the next event, and you see the same types of picture. Once you've bought one (being charitable!) you're not getting anything different next time round.
I rarely see anything different that would make me buy a pic. The best shots for me have been in the rare public road mass starts (Brian Robinson in Huddersfield is one) where you get some good large group riding, and sometimes pics at the top of obviously very steep climbs, but they seem to be few and far between. I don't know what the answer is - black and whites? more "artistic" (but still showing the bib number!)? more groups? panoramas and long shots rather than portrait? But they're all going to take more time and effort and are probably higher risk. How about shooting tethered and emailing pics back to a computer at the finish line for a real time slide show?
For these more "fun" events as opposed to true races or time trials, the attraction is the scenery and the people almost as much as the finish time, and the event photography doesn't reflect that for context me.
PS I'm not commenting on Whipspeed's work - I haven't seen the website - this is more a consumer eye view in general.
Thanks Nick, and it can and is a problem with Time Trial images, it's difficult to get a different angle on things, I've put previously, my husband has raced for years and only ever bought one shot. There are only so many ways of showing a rider on a dual carriageway Trying for different angles as well, when you are expected to get a shot of every single rider going past just once can be very tricky, so races with several laps are much better as more chances to get a shot.
Road Racing is better for more artistic type images, where you have a bunch, so get patterns in the way that they are on the road and you can include some scenery or shoot behind roadside flowers or show a climb if going up a hill (I get ribbed about this by the riders as they usually tell me that they saw me at the top of another bloody hill!).
Luckily though, I enjoy the events and have a lot of friends who race, so it's quite as much social as business & as I've been typing this, someone has ordered 2 10x8 mounted prints of themselves .
Quote: ... you are expected to get a shot of every single rider going past .
But who's doing the expecting here? Clearly not the paying public, only the non-paying ones. IOr is this the event organisers trying to second guess your market? Will they only publicise your website if you take pics of everyone?
Congrats on the 10x8's! Value add and differentiation is the way to go every time!!
The riders I suppose are expecting an image. But I always feel if I've been booked for a time trial that I should get an image of every rider (they look at you with such a disappointed expression on their faces if they are missed). With road racing it's different as you can't get every rider in the bunch.
I worked as a Scientific Photographer for the Geology Dept. University College London for 8 years, starting at £12 a week and ending up in 1970 at £27 a week and I had to provide Photomicrographs, Macrophotography of minute fossils, loads of B&W and Colour self-processed Ferraniacolor slides for lectures and now there is NO Staff Photographer I heard -- the Students have to do it all themselves as 'Photography is a LOW SKILL OCCUPATION' !
People don't realise that these things take skill to produce, that you spend a lot of time and money to practice your craft, ok modern digital cameras can produce ok and even fairly good results on fully automatic settings in the right conditions, but it goes wrong when those conditions are not right. I had one person say to me at a national event that he'd taken one image that day and given up as the weather was to dark and wet, he was advertising and selling images, but could only produce the goods on a sunny day on auto & not on a wet autumn afternoon, when it was dark and raining.
Quote: People don't realise that these things take skill to produce, that you spend a lot of time and money to practice your craft
They don't realise - and (in general) they don't care! All they want is a small image to put on Facebook or whatever. And then on to the next image, so to speak.
Photography is a disposable commodity these days. Wedding photography is the only area which is holding up - but one wonders how long that will last.......
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