Making Money From Your Images; An Online Event Photography Solution
"I've done the calculations time and again," Gomez says, "and I couldn't run my own site for anywhere near the cost."
The photographic career of Jody Gomez started off simply enough, as a spectator parent when her son began riding steers. Frustrated by the poor quality of the pictures snapped and sold by another parent, Gomez began taking her own photographs, starting off with an entry-level 35mm Canon Rebel. In short order, Gomez was installed as the official photographer for the California Junior Bull Riders Association, which led directly to more bull riding coverage and other opportunities. As the work started rolling in, Gomez reinvested in her company's success.
Today, she uses high-end D-SLRs to shoot everything from weddings and concerts
to large events like San Diego Padres games and football matches for Pop Warner,
the nation's largest youth football organization. For all her high-profile
event work, however, Gomez finds that "the bread and butter is still in
the everyday event shooting."
To help ensure she has enough time to get out and shoot those everyday events that generate a significant part of her cash flow, Gomez signed up with an online photo sales service in late 2005. "After two years of online sales, I can unequivocally say that if you are not selling online, you are wasting a lot of time that could be spent behind the lens, taking more shots."
The online sales service Gomez uses is functionally identical to that recently
launched by this magazine, www.shutterbugstorefront.com.
Gomez detailed some of the features she relies on to make her business run as
smoothly and profitably as possible.
A primary consideration, of course, is getting the photos online, so they can be seen and prints ordered. "I have the ability to upload quickly," by first uploading every photo in a smaller size for online display. Then, when a customer settles on prints of particular photos, Gomez can "upload the optimized files when an order is placed." This workflow ensures Gomez's limited time is spent where it matters; rather than color correcting, cropping, and otherwise massaging every print, she can focus only on the prints actually purchased, while making every photo snapped available to her clientele.
Selling photographs is what it's all about and Gomez says her online
sales site is "one of the best marketing resources available." Event
participants know Gomez; she uses business cards so families know where to purchase
prints and gifts.
Once a photograph is selected by one of Gomez's customers, the service allows her to effortlessly "offer multiple products in a variety of finishes," from the customary 4x6" glossy to popular gift items such as mugs, T-shirts, and even puzzles, with no inventory requirements. All the orders are fulfilled by a pro lab, which handles production, any necessary adjustments, quality control, and shipping.
In addition, vouchers can be used to pre-sell events. You sell a voucher at
the event. It guides the customer to your website and they can order their choice
of photos they've prepaid for. You can also set up package pricing, provide
coupons, and more.