Shooting sports and events can be a tad scary for even the most experienced photographer. I mean, what could possibly go wrong when photographing a rowdy group of 18 players and impatient coaches plus a proud group of moms anxiously waiting to see the perfect picture of their little MVP? It just so happens that these very shoots are my bread and butter and I’m excited to give you a few helpful hints to lead you to a successful session.
7 Tips for Winning at Sports & Events Photography
1. Samples, Samples, Samples – Order samples of the products you offer to your customers and make them available the day of the shoot. The more options that your clients can physically touch and see, the better your chances are of selling more product. Let’s think of it this way, would you rather buy a car online or go to the lot and take a test drive? Long story short: samples = sales.
2. Consistency – Be consistent across the sports you cover, especially if you are in a smaller market where you have repeat customers for a variety of different seasons. Offer the same lineup of products, keep your pricing consistent and offer a reliable ordering process to make your customers’ lives easier.
3. Hustle, Don’t Hurry – Have a plan for your shoot and execute it at as quickly as possible. Coaches and players do not want to spend an unnecessary amount of time on pictures (especially team shoots). Be prepared with your equipment and snap your images at an uptempo rate, but don’t rush and make mistakes. Repetition will improve your efficiency. Remember, kids choose to play sports so they can do just that… play. Don’t be the slow photographer that holds them up from playtime.
4. Signature Item – Do you have a signature item? Find a unique item that sets you apart from your competition. At J7 Images, we developed team posters using the 12”x 18” 2 sided posters. The posters are offered for every sport or event that we cover and our customers have started poster collections. The posters also serve as a great marketing tool for our business. Most important note: Get feedback from your customers, find out which cool/niche products actually sell and own it.
5. Steal Like an Artist – Pay attention to photographers that you admire and try something similar. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you can add your own distinct twist and style to create images that you’re proud of. Matt Hernandez at Matt Hernandez Creative is one of our favorites to follow. Find 5-10 photographers and follow what they do. If you want to know more about this concept, check out this book.
6. Show Your Work – Use social media to show off the images that you are working on or give previews of special shoots that you’re excited about. We often share photos of our computer screen when we are designing posters to create anticipation for customers. Author Austin Kleon has also just released a great book on this concept as well.
7. Get Familiar with Your Lab – We could not do half the things we do without the products and services offered by Miller’s. Ordering is easy, turnaround time is exceptional and overnight shipping is key to the success of our business. Your lab should make your job easier, so be sure to spend time geting familiar with the services and staff at your lab.