What is high volume event photography?
Photography is a niche with many niches inside itself. At its core, it's about capturing a moment in time that can be cherished and recalled visually for a lifetime and beyond. When we think of high volume photo shoots, these often involve thousands of people and have some very unique challenges. You're trying to capture everyone in the course of a few hours, a day, a weekend or a week. Sometimes you are capturing action, sometimes it's capturing a quick pose and sometimes it's a start or finish. It's essential to have good timing and the ability to reset over and over again quickly. Any slow downs in your workflow can have disastrous outcomes to your bottom line and your professional image. Being experienced and highly regarded in your field carries a lot of weight when people are depending on you to capture moments at their prestigious events.
One of the most important things to get right when doing high volume event photography is your workflow. Obviously above all else you need to get the shot and that means having enough qualified staff shooting with the right tools. But you also need to control crowds and direct them in an organized fashion that allows for quick viewing and ordering capabilities. The entire process of delivering photos to a viewable format as quickly as possible is a very key component of a successful event.
High volume photography niches
There are many volume photography niches, but the main ones we will focus on in this article are the ones that are shot on spec, as this is a common theme for high volume events. That means you are getting paid for results achieved from orders placed based on the participants' photographs.
The following are some examples of high volume photography event types that are commonly shot on spec:
- Sports tournaments - Dance, Wrestling, Gymnastics…
- Action photography - Equine, Soccer, Baseball, Lacrosse…
- Race photography - Bike races, Marathons, Mud runs…
- Front gate photography - Attractions, Amusement parks, Aquariums, Zoos…
- Convention photography - Ceremonies, Local groups, Business ceremonies…
- Ski resort mountain photo - Skill hill, Tubing, Heli skiing, Cat skiing…
- Regional events - Pumpkin picking, Apple picking…
- Animal encounter photography - Dolphin encounters, Zoo animal interaction…
- Holiday pop up photo shoots - Santa photo, Easter photos, light shows
Planning for high volume photography events
There are standard elements needed to successfully profit from high volume photography events. When you are working with a staff and a limited time to capture a large group, you need a strong workflow that guarantees you results. You will need to be prepared and being prepared starts with planning.
Every event photographer has had to endure a grueling event over a weekend that ended in fewer sales than expected. It's a good idea to assess each job and its value before taking it on. Respect your bottom line! What is your cost to shoot the event and what do you expect to see in sales return?“The key to being successful is knowing your market and the tricks that make you the highest possible returns from each photo taken”
- Will you have to pay for the event to be an official photographer?
It is fairly common to pay an event a percentage of sales. Some events even require you to pay a flat fee to be at the event in advance.
- What kind of internet do you have access to onsite, will you need to prepare for your own internet connection setup?
Sometimes you are in a location where you can rent wired internet, sometimes you will use your own and sometimes it makes sense to have a satellite connection. You need to consider backup strategies and how you will be able to present your work.
- Will there be other photographers at the event?
It's always ideal if you can be the only photographer but that isn't always the case and you may need to plan how to give yourself a competitive advantage over your competition
How will you sell your photos?Will you have pre purchase options, onsite purchasing and after event purchasing or a hybrid model?
Will you be selling photos onsite, online or both?
Photoeventplus.com has options for selling on site as well as selling online. These days people are happy to order with their own phone, so as long as you can upload at the event, people can start buying right away.
- Will you be selling digital products, prints and possibly other products as well?
You can mix and match self fulfill products with online products to have a more complete product line. Also many specialty products like borders and custom memory mates can be created with clients' phones or in the comfort of their own homes.
How much staff will you need for the event?
You need enough people to be sure you can capture all the relevant photos. You may also need extra staff to handle ordering and fulfillment depending on your setup.
- Selling online can alleviate a lot of staff needs and get photos in your clients hands faster than ever before
Statistics show that up to 70% of photo orders are coming from phones now. So having a solution that allows people to place their own orders quickly is an excellent way to keep clients happy, maximize sales and cut down on wait times and staffing costs.
- Selling on site requires a proper amount of staff to guide users
If you are collecting funds onsite and possibly printing or delivering you are going to need a lot more help. Ensuring clients have a smooth and easy ordering experience is critical to having a successful event. People just don't want to wait in lines anymore, so make sure you have options that alleviate that for people. Have cards or clear signage letting people know how to place orders online.
What setup considerations do you need?
Depending on how you are selling photos at the event, the levels of complexity change a lot. Selling online is by far the easiest and often the most profitable once you deduct all your expenses of a bloated setup.
- Will you need an onsite point of sale system, order forms, invoices systems and or other workflow tools.
- If you are selling onsite, viewing stations, tablets and computers are all considerations.
- Will you need printers, USB flash drives or just allow clients to order from their phones?
- Will you accept payments onsite, or online only? If you're selling onsite without the use of an ecommerce website you will need something that allows you to process credit cards like Square or Stripe.
Product lines and packagesVery often the best solution for special events is to have a custom branded product prepared in advance. A showcase piece that is the must have item.
- Will you be doing custom designs, logos or bordered products?
- Digital files, prints, specialty products
- All photo package
Marketing your photos to achieve the highest sales at your events
How you sell your products is going to be one of the most important keys to success for your final results. Creating a sense or urgency is always important. This can be done in many different ways.
- Will you have access to an email list to pre-sell or at least follow up with clients after the event.
- Printed materials promoting your website and purchase options are an essential tool. Signs, coupons, samples etc…
- Will you have a pre sale item, perhaps people must pay to even get photographed
- Event only purchase options are great at ensuring onsite sales
- Expiring galleries create a sense of urgency
- Discount coupons distributed at the event are a great incentive piece
- QR codes can be created that lead people directly to the online gallery
- Email collection with automated email follow ups are great at pushing sales
- Early bird specials are very effective (galleries whos pricing go up after the event)
The beauty of Photoeventplus.com, the internet and online photo ordering
Using a service to sell photos online: There is no doubt that the level of sophistication needed to run a successful online photo ordering service is immense. You need a lot of things to work well to make it all come together. Even so… a well oiled machine is one that runs smoothly and with little effort. You are going to need a reliable photo website with strong security protocols. Image download agreements, watermarking capabilities, support and fulfillment services. It's also critical to have direct contact with people that can guide you through marketing elements and special needs that come up.
"We have been providing boutique ecommerce services to high volume photographers since 2004. We take care working with each client's unique needs and provide you with the key tools that make your high volume events profitable."
Some key elements include:
- Responsive galleries that have been optimized for mobile devices and screens.
- Lab services so that you can take advantage of a large array of photographic prints and products.
- Self fulfillment options that allow you to integrate your products with a high volume workflow solution.
- Incredibly fast uploading capabilities when you need to upload tens of thousands of images quickly.
- Security features, like email login, password protection and confirmed acceptance of terms for client viewing.
- Branding for your site and your products.
- An effective ecommerce enabled shopping cart.
- Marketing tools like coupons, discounts and special offers.
- The ability to create a sense or urgency with early bird specials and expiring galleries.
- Support for your business, your photographers and your clients when you're slammed and things need attention right away.
Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss your high volume photography needs. We are always available for a chat and look forward to helping improve your workflows and increase your profits at your next event.