Sunday, February 7, 2010

Krispy Kreme Challenge Photos

I thought I’d do a little writing while I’m sitting here waiting on the pictures from the Krispy Kreme Challenge to be resized for easy uploading onto my website. I started doing event photography last August with the awesome camera that I received as a graduation present from my parents. The Tour de Gaps was my first event and I’ve been lucky enough to have several events since then. I enjoy taking pictures and noticed the super high prices for a race photo from several events that I’ve done. I thought that I could take photos and sell them for more reasonable prices. Its working out pretty good so far.

The Krispy Kreme Challenge was the largest race we’ve done photos for to date and it was madness at the finishing line. The race was only 4 miles, not really long enough to string out that amount of people. We tried to get as many good shots at the finish line as possible but with so many people crossing at the same time it was impossible to get them all. The runners were a constant stream for over an hour, my fingers were starting to get so numb it was hard to feel the button to press for the images, I had to switch fingers for that a few times.

To view all the photos, either Sunday Evening or after go to:

I try to get the race photos up either the same day or the next day depending on the size of the event. This one is going to be one of those next day times, because it really takes a while to get everything ready to upload.

It takes a while to get everything processed and sorted for the larger events that we shoot. Here’s what has to happen before race participants can browse the photos, and how the race gets their profit sharing check.

1. Get up early to get to race site
2. Find a good spot to get start photos
3. Set up for finish photos
4. Take finisher photos
5. Download photos onto hard drive from all cameras. Most races its one or two depending on the size, at the KKC we had four photographers, 2 start/finish & 2 at the KK.
6. Rotate all photos. When shooting the finish photos I usually take them as portrait, in other words the camera is up and down, not side to side. The all have to be rotated to be upright once the images are downloaded, otherwise everyone is on their side. That doesn’t make it so easy for online viewing
7. Use Photoshop to batch resize the photos. If I were to upload full size images to the website it would take days, uploading a image that is anywhere from 1mb-5mb would take quite a while, most people internet is much faster downloading than uploading. By running the images through Photoshop’s multiple file program it will compress the images so they are between 50kb-100kb, while retaining the necessary stuff to be viewed at a large size online. This takes about 2 seconds per photo. Small races pose no real challenge. The last 3 events I’ve done have had 3000, 1000, and 4500 participants. Yesterday’s race had about 4500 finishers, which means that 1500 folks who registered didn’t come out.
8. While Photoshop is resizing I can start to look at how the images need to be sorted. I like to separate them into 5 minute finishers groups but even this provided a challenge for the KKC. It took about 8 minutes to get everyone started so when the finished, you could have 2 people in a row that were 8 minutes apart in chip time. I did the best I could by comparing bib numbers to the finishers list. Thank god acrobat has a search feature, I would’ve gone blind trying to read through the finishers list of 2500 and that was just the males.
9. After the images are compressed I will sort the compressed files into folders that correspond with the gallery they will be uploaded too. For the KKC there will be 14 galleries of photos.
10. The galleries have to be uploaded one at a time to SmugMug.
11. I have to publish all galleries after protecting the images and setting the prices. There is a feature where I can do all of these at once so it makes it a bit less time consuming.
12. I edit each gallery heading with important info that I want the browser to see
13. Email the race director and let them know the pictures are available and ask for a starting roster or if they will email out about the photos. I was supposed to have mention of Hill Event Photography in the prerace packet that went out but was left out of that. Hopefully the email will still get attention for the website so racers can view and purchase their photos.
14. After 2 months I total up all profit from the sale of pictures of this event and write a check for 10% of the proceeds to the event organizers to give to the Charity of their choice. In this case it will be the Children’s Hospital of NC.

I need to offer a special Thank You to my other photographers for this event. Richard & Marilyn Hill, my parents who got up at 4:00 am to get ready and be in Greensboro in time to pick us up to get to the race. Also to my beautiful fiancee who got up much earlier than she normally would on a Saturday to help out as well. Without this amazing support team, nothing I do would be as fun or meaningful. Thank you.

On another note, after falling off the training and eating healthy wagon for the past 3 days I’m really excited to get back to the gym. Hopefully I’ll have a good run and a great swim clinic today before heading home to finish up the pictures and watch the Super Bowl.
Until next ride

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