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What I want to do is cover an event with at least 2 (but probably more) photographers, have the clients view the photos as quickly as possible, choose which ones they want and have them printed on-site.

More specifically, here's the 3 main problems I'm facing:

  1. How to get the photos from all the cameras to a centralized, on-site computer running Lightroom as quickly as possible? I need the photos to import to a Lightroom catalog that I will integrate with the main catalog once I get back to headquarters.

  2. How to show clients the photos being taken as they come into the system? Having a big screen that shows all photos in a slide show would be OK (not sure how to implement it, though), but it would be better if everyone could view and choose the photos on their own devices.

  3. How to print decent quality prints on-site quickly and cost-effectively? The prints don't have to be huge, even just 6 inches x 9 inches (15cm x 22.5cm) is fine.

I would love some feedback from anyone who has had experience doing this or can point me in the right direction.

Thanks!

  • you may want to set some parameters - like mac/windows/etc., laptop/desktop/tablet/etc. – dav1dsm1th Jan 27 '15 at 3:11
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I haven't done this. But I photographed at events with people printing photos. With memory cards being passed around,... quite the nightmare you are trying to avoid. I sure imagined how this could be sooo much better. Here are my thoughts:

  1. and 2.: wifi

1.) Set up your own hotspot or use an existing network. I'd prefer the own network. It solves the problem of getting the images to the base as all photographers are connected over the air. It also makes it easier for people to connect with their devices to "the photo wifi" and not some "arbitrary access point name123". The downside is that you need to bring the equipment to cover the entire event, but you are bringing equipment anyway, so that shouldn't be a problem. The biggest downside is probably the price. If the cameras have no wifi built in or it's too weak, you need wifi grips for all the cameras.

You should have at least one guy at the base filtering incoming images, printing requested images and pushing good images to the slide show. Requests pile up VERY quickly as people are not used to this, they start to realise how awesome it is to hold an actual image in your hand. Right here. Right now. A queue builds up around the printer, which is recognised by even more people. It's very hard to do this printing thing in a subtle way without overtaking the actual event with it. (of course this depends on the size of the event) Think about if one printer is enough.

2.) I would set up a web server. People can connect to the wifi and visit a web page that shows all images.

To set up a single screen that does a slideshow, use some program that does this (irfanview comes to mind, but there are probably a lot other programs that do this) and have your guy at the base push the good images into the folder of the slide show. (connect the screen to the PC running LR)

With base I'm referring to the computer that runs LR, has the printer(s) connected and runs the slideshow/web server.


You could also take a bit of a guerilla approach and let each photographer carry one of those small mobile image printers. This way your photographers can get mroe in touch with people and get the prints right away. No need to go to that printer at the other end of the space. Depending on the event, people running around with a printer on their back can be a problem. These printers also don't print very large.

  • Some good points in your answer. I'm going to try this: set up a wifi hotspot and have the cameras send photos to a folder on the laptop. Then I need to set up Lightroom to automatically import all folders coming into that folder. Then have somebody flag usable photos in Lightroom and have those display on a big screen. I will also try having a web server that shows a single page with all images inside so people can connect to my wifi hotspot and see the images. Then I need to figure out the best equipment for printing on-site. If anyone else has any suggestions please feel free to contribute. – Andy Jan 27 '15 at 9:21
  • from experience wifi is really patchy at events, every guest has one or more devices which will cause interference, the band/venue will have other equipment in the same frequency band as well - it can be a nightmare so make sure you have a manual 'backup' plan - even if it's sending a runner to swap sd cards every 10 minutes or so – James Snell Jan 27 '15 at 12:49
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For burst-oriented sports WiFi is too slow to shoot raw. And really, sending a runner around doing card swaps every half-hour isn't the end of the world for most reasonably compact events.

Consumer monitors/TVs look horrible in sunlight or even open shade. There are sunlight-readable monitors, but they're priced an extra zero over their consumer equivalents.

Never tried it personally, but every at-event printing effort I've seen (mostly photobooths) use dye-sub printers. More expensive to run, but way faster.

Tagging is a bottleneck—someone wants to see their images you need to be able to find, well, their images. How much heartburn this involves varies wildly between sports. But it's probably a full-time gig separate from the person picking winners. And if you're expecting significant volume showing images to clients/printing is a third person. And that third person needs to be someone with some genuine sales ability.

I shoot horse shows, I've tried to make on-site viewing happen several times, never really made it work well, even with three computer people for three shooters. It's a lot of work.


One event I saw last year that really made me scratch my head... big soccer tournament, dozen fields going at once, company shooting had plenty of tech including mechanical remote cameras (camera is 15ft. in the air, LCD/release/mechanical yoke for tilt/pan at ground-level). Also had an 800/5.6. But they did ZERO digital presentation. The previous day's images were printed 4x6 and organized in three-ring binders by team. Didn't bother shooting the last day.

I'd call them crazy but it seemed to work for them, their booth was buzzing with activity. Sales were as simple as yanking the pix out of the album and taking the money but it still took a half-dozen people to keep up.

Made the decision urgent too—buy today or they go in the dumpster. If I had a nickel for everyone who said they were going to buy but never got around to it....

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