Print fulfillment options?

Discussion in 'Reality Check' started by majaphoto, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. majaphoto

    majaphoto
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    Ok, my head is spinning from reading all the options out there... but what do you folks recommend for a print fulfillment set-up? I'm a noob to this sort of thing, but have a gig lined up for the summer where I am hoping to sell photos to the competitors at some sports events. I haven't ruled out doing my own fulfillment, and have heard there's a decent Lightroom gallery plug-in that emails you client selections. But I'm thinking a third-party fulfillment situation would make things easiest while I focus on getting the shots. Here are some specifics:

    1) Galleries can be public (no passwords needed)
    2) I need a main page where all of my galleries are listed and updated after I upload each new event.
    3) I want this to be hosted on my own domain, so no "me.smugmug.com"
    4) Would like to offer full range of print sizes plus some possible mounting options, but no mugs, mousepads etc.
    5) Would prefer a canadian site, but am open to any US site that you can recommend that ships quickly and without any customs issues.

    If you've got any advice to share, I'm all ears!
     
  2. tracker

    none

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    You can use your own domain at smugmug.com, you have to set it up with your host.

    Like prints.yourdomain.com or hell, you could even dump yourdomain.com on smugmug.

    http://www.smugmug.com/help/power-custom-domain

    But if you can hire a print monkey, on-site sales will eclipse on-line sales. It's easier to get that $20 in the pocket than $20 off the Visa. That has been my experience, anyhow.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  3. Eclipse

    countrygal

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    So true, so true. I shot a number of horse shows and two cattle shows last year and didn't sell enough to cover my time via my on-line site. Hind-sight being what it is, perhaps I should have been set up to print out at least 4 x 6 and sell while the proverbial iron was hot. BUT, if you have to have an assistant sitting there handling the printing and selling - there goes the profit because these things don't sell for big bucks. It's a tough call.
     
  4. HatMan

    Pentaxian Extraordinaire

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    x2!

    I've done it and once they leave, it's got to be one hell of a shot and you need them to remember you to get them to even bother to look at your site.

    I do on-site prints as well as on-line. I'm just fortunate enough that I've been at the same thing for a little while now and the competitors actually come to find me. That's the hard part...

    I did a major provincial hockey tourney about a year ago in New Glasgow. I paid for the trip (I did it as a favour for a friend who organized the tourney) with on-site print sales, but the on-line sales were $0.
     
  5. Eclipse

    countrygal

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    Just curious - what sizes do you offer on-site? And, do you have an assistant or do you try and do it all yourself during or at the end of a very long, tiring day?
    What about editing? Do you do much? Or is it virtually SOOC?

    That's always the dilemma, isn't it? Show all and hope for the best - or make people wait to see the selected and edited versions?

    I'm considering a new 'model' for this year: people can pre-book me to catch their rides - rather than shooting a whole class and hoping for the best. Think that will work?
     
  6. HatMan

    Pentaxian Extraordinaire

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    I have an Epson R1800 and can do up to 13"x19" prints on-site. I bought it for that reason.

    I also employ my teenage daughter and son to handle the printing - which works well for them for pocket money and for my income taxes too! ;)

    I can't give away too many trade secrets :) but I delete the obvious bad ones in the camera and between races drop off memory cards which they then import into Lightroom. They've been instructed on basic techniques to brighten (I also have several presets that they can apply) and what to look for when cropping for a print. The results are exported to a folder as a web gallery and I have two laptop computers networked so that customers can browse the galleries and write down the numbers of the images they want as prints.

    I'm working on incorporating a POS system that will let them directly select prints in various sizes and simply print a report that the kids can print from. Trouble is there is no internet at the track, so I can't use my web based PayPal cart to handle credit cards.

    Personally, I just wander around and talk to the riders and pass out cards so they remember me. I've tried the "pre-booking" at hockey and volleyball and it's just a nightmare... I take pics of everyone and try extra hard if one of them approaches me and asks for something specific. Like I said earlier, I've been at this for 4 years now and they usually come looking for me now.
     
  7. majaphoto

    majaphoto
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    Hmm! Thanks for all the replies... it looks like this post-event print sales world is a tough market to master!
     
  8. Eclipse

    countrygal

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    Thanks very much. There's a lot to consider, isn't there?
     
  9. HatMan

    Pentaxian Extraordinaire

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    Yup. :brows:
     

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