In the fast-paced and competitive world of photography, where the quest for new clients and increased revenue is a perpetual journey, diversifying income streams becomes crucial for sustainability and growth. For many photographers, the idea of becoming an event photographer presents an enticing prospect. The term “Event Photographer” encompasses a broad spectrum, ranging from capturing moments at black-tie dinners and awards nights to documenting the vibrant scenes of Comic-Con or various sporting events. This article delves into the possibilities and practicalities of venturing into event photography, exploring the essential tools, techniques, and strategies to succeed in this dynamic niche.
For photographers contemplating a shift towards social events such as awards nights and dinner- dances, the transition is relatively seamless. Armed with a camera, lights, and a backdrop, photographers possess the fundamental equipment needed for event coverage. To this arsenal, the only essential additions are a printer and a computer equipped with suitable software. However, the choice of printer is a critical decision that can significantly impact the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the operation.
In the realm of event photography, where volume and speed are paramount, traditional inkjet printers may fall short. The preferable solution is a dye-sublimation printer like the Citizen CX-02. Renowned for their portability, reliability, speed, and cost-effectiveness, dye-sub printers utilise a heated head to transfer ink from a ribbon onto a roll of paper. Each print is automatically cut to size, ensuring a streamlined and efficient printing process. The bundled nature of the media pack, containing both ribbons and paper, facilitates cost calculation, enabling photographers to determine the exact cost per print. Prints from a dye-sub printer are far more resilient than their inkjet counterparts as they are both dry and waterproof instantly.
Complementing the hardware, a robust software system is indispensable for driving the printer and optimising the workflow. While popular choices like Lightroom or Capture One offer extensive photo editing capabilities, they may not be tailored specifically for the event photographer. Enter Darkroom Core, a Windows application with a proven track record in enhancing event photographers’ performance. Its unparalleled speed from camera to print and user-friendly interface make it an invaluable asset. In a matter of minutes, even a novice sales assistant can grasp the essentials, streamlining the operational learning curve. Unfortunately, Darkroom is only available for Windows but I have successfully run it on Apple Mac hardware using both BootCamp and Parallels.
Darkroom Core not only facilitates tethering the camera to the computer for seamless printing but also distinguishes itself by efficiently handling green screen photography. This feature, often dismissed as a gimmick by purists, proves highly effective in certain event contexts. Themed corporate events, Cosplay gatherings, and Comic-Cons, in particular, benefit from the flexibility and creativity afforded by green screen technology. Darkroom’s swift and accurate extraction of subjects from backgrounds, along with the rapid replacement of digital backgrounds, adds a layer of dynamism to event photography.
One standout feature of Darkroom Core is its capability to incorporate custom borders, elevating the photographer’s offerings from mere prints to cherished memories. During the summer months, I photograph a large number of showjumping events and my biggest selling product is a five image montage which commands a far higher price than a single print. Despite using only a single sheet of paper in consumable costs, the perceived value and emotional resonance of a montage allow photographers to charge more, thereby maximising revenue from each event.
In conclusion, the world of event photography opens up a realm of possibilities for photographers seeking to diversify their income streams. The strategic incorporation of specialised equipment like dye-sublimation printers, coupled with purpose-built software such as Darkroom Core, can transform event photography into a lucrative venture. By embracing innovative features like green screen technology and custom borders, photographers can not only meet the demands of diverse events but also create unique and memorable products that resonate with clients, ultimately boosting revenue and establishing a distinctive presence in the competitive photography market.
If you’d like to find out more about the Citizen range of dye-sublimation printers, the power of Darkroom Core, or to attend one of our Introduction to Event Photography training days, please contact us here at PhotoXport.
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