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Learning the Ropes of Successful Event Photography

While I actually began shooting car shows nearly two years ago as a hobby, as more people came to learn of my photography from various car shows around the Gulf Coast, we began to have requests to shoot individual’s cars and requests to attend and shoot specific car shows.

It has been a learning experience for us along the way. Over time, we have learned a key to maximize sales is to be able to capture images of the vehicles as they enter the event, especially if a nice, memorable backdrop, that has no distractions such as crowds of people, is used.

This is easy to do when setting up a personalized photo shoot for individuals or for car clubs, such as the example below of a Dodge Magnum R/T from Fort Pickens at Pensacola Beach, FL.

Dodge Magnum R/T

 

Some car show venues work out well too. Below is an image of a Dodge Viper ACR captured at the 2012 Mopars at the Battleship, in Mobile, AL. This was the first show we shot in which every vehicle passed through a specific area to have their pictures taken.

Dodge Viper ACR

Printing Photos at Events

A second part of success for our event photography has been the ability to provide instant gratification. Allowing vehicle owners to take prints home with them the day of the event provides a huge boost in sales. Posting the images in an online gallery in hopes of selling prints after the show is not very lucrative. While most people have good intentions of visiting the website the following week to look at the images and place an order, the fact is life gets in the way. People are busy and have limited time and attention spans. Unless they purchase on site, the day of the show, they are not likely to purchase at all.

For on-site printing, we first started with a 4×6 photo printer; the Epson PictureMate Charm Compact Photo Printer PM225. We sold a lot of prints, but prints of that size can only generate a little revenue, and some folks would still comment that they would purchase larger prints from our website. Large prints from these events still did not sell well online.

With this in mind, we invested in a large format printer that we take to events. We chose the Epson Stylus Pro 4900 which gives us the flexibility to use roll or cut sheet paper, from letter size up to 17″ wide. Currently the sizes we promote and sell on site are 4×6, 8×10, 11×16 and 16×24. While transporting and setting up this 115lb printer is a chore, it has proved very successful. As a matter of fact, the first event we had this printer on hand was a car show that had one of the smallest turn-outs of any that we had ever participated in. This event ended up being our highest grossing event to date.

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All this said, we still post event images in online galleries. Some event photographers I have communicated with say that doing so is a total waste of time. I disagree though. Uploading the images to our website doesn’t take that much effort, and now that we have a full year under our belt, we have learned of an added benefit of posting the images online. Over the holidays, we had numerous online sales of prints from galleries of events as far back as April. I assume these were gifts from the significant others of the vehicle’s owners. If I had not published these galleries, these sales would never have occurred.

Until next time, here is a closing shot of a Dodge Charger leading a pack of other Mopars through a turn at the Middle Georgia Motor Speedway at an event we shot up in Georgia last summer. Enjoy!

 

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You can see more of my work on the Deep South Focus website.

About the author

Jon Jeffress

“There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.”

1 comment

  1. Maggey

    Pretty awesome stuff Jon! So happy for your success.

    Hope you all continue to do well!!

    Maggey

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