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Social Event Photography

One of the many ways you can earn money as a photographer is to specialise on events. Sports, Charity Balls, Schools proms and all sorts of other events where people make memories can be beneficial business. The amazing thing is that all you need is a good camera, lots of memory cards and some business cards at one end of the market or a potable studio and printer at the other. Oh and you need to be a good photographer as well, it does help.

Where to Take Photos

It’s vitally important that you get creative on where to take photos. The best possible events are events where people want to keep the memories alive. Extra points can be had if the event is the type of happening where people demand extra high quality, or if you can offer something which means that the people couldn’t have taken the photos themselves.

People are making a lot of money off photographing football. Here in England, kids are dreaming of being the next Beckham or Best and their parents are often very encouraging of their sporting efforts. What the photographer does is that he calls up the team manager, ensures it is okay to take photos at a football game. They then attend the game and takes pictures .

When the photographer shows up with a huge 600mm lens – same as all the parents have seen on TV – they are taken seriously and they take great care in making sure they’ll get a couple of action shots of every kid on the field. At the end of the game, they hand out flyers (printed cheaply from an internet printing company.) Later in the evening, they’ll upload all the photos to an event photography website and sells the prints. The only costs incurred is the petrol for driving to the game and the flyers, which cost next to nothing.

At bigger tournaments, they can shoot 8-9 teams in a single day, hand out around 100 flyers and in the longer term sell around £300-500 worth of photos. Not bad for a day’s work.

Wedding photography can be done using the same event photography model.

You arrange to shoot the wedding reportage-style and make sure that you capture everybody. People smoking cigars and drinking along with all the ‘official’ photos you do. You can charge the set fee for photographing the wedding and in addition you can arrange for your website to be printed on the wedding invitation (offer the happy couple a 30% discount to get the URL on the invitation and on any other paperwork they distribute, then make sure to mention to everyone you photograph that they can buy the photos on-line on the URL on the invite).

It’s a money making business and in addition you are offering a service most photographers don’t being the option of letting anybody get copies of the prints quickly and conveniently.

The key point is to find a niche market where you can do well by being the best photographer in the room and offering an convenient way for people to buy your photos. Horse shows, car shows, livestock competitions, fashion shows, plays, festivals, portraiture – everywhere there is a market, you can try and do event photography. In addition, for many of the events, you can make money by selling your best images as stock!

Marketing the Pictures

You can get great success by having flyers printed – simple A5 flyers in full colour, with 2-3 of the best photos, and an internet site.. Mention who you are, mention how easy and economic it is to buy images from you and hand them out to anyone who might want to buy your pictures .

If you can get a commission as an ‘official photographer’, it’s worth setting up a booth at the event as well. Hire someone to sit there with a printer and a computer and print out the best photos there and then, allowing people to buy them, but make sure to have a stock of business cards or flyers as well, to allow people to buy the images at their leisure, at home, via the internet.

How to Sell the Images

The mechanics of selling photos can be quite complicated. Back when many started doing concert photography, they decided to have a go at doing it all themselves – and Rockprints is a testament to that (incidentally, Rockprints was designed by the same guy who did the current Photocritic design – Martin Jacobsen). Most ended up using commonly available gallery software called Coppermine and hacked the hell out of it so they could use it to sell photographs via on line print web sites.

Much has happened since then those days. There are much more efficient ways of selling work as an event photographer.

There are quite a few specialised sites on line , who help you out by providing ways of selling pictures .

Luckily, there are plenty of solutions out there to choose from so you find one that suits you best. Photo Stock Plus offer a ‘events-photography-in-a-box’ solution, which works very well.

The company takes a fee up-front each year. For your money, you typically get a 500MB printing account, which can store up to say 10,000 images. All you need to do is to use the uploading tool (which also watermarks and resizes your photos for you, saving you a metric tonne of time) to create events galleries, and you’re up and running.

A Final Word of Warning

Event photography is damn hard work. No, seriously. You’ll be constantly on your tip toes, trying to get the best images, fielding questions from people around you, handing out flyers, travelling to locations, copying images, preparing galleries, etc. You’ll hate it until you’ve managed to get used to the pace of the work and managed to work out a good workflow.

On the other hand, there is a lot of money to be made if you are content with put in the hours.

Event photographers can earn a good salary from this kind of work.

Most of the event photographers have a similar setup to this whenever they do weddings, to maximise their income.

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