||What is this Shutterfly thing you keep mentioning?
That's where you go when you hit the inline, ice, travel or archive buttons on the eBrushDesign Action Photography page. Shutterfly is a service that many professional photographers use to sell photos online. Shutterfly handles the online display, printing, transactions, customer service and shipping of the photographs. It's a partnership that makes it easy for the photographer as well as the customer. The high quality prints are available for you to view and purchase 24/7 and the photographer can spend his time making more pictures.
What's this eBrushDesign and who in the heck are you?
an online store that sells custom designed merchandise, and the Hockey Action Photography branch that you are already familiar with. I also run a hockey t-shirt website called HockeyShirtShop. My name is Mark Buzek. I have been employed at The Palm Beach Post for over 20 years. I have been working in the graphic arts field as an illustrator, photographer, designer and art director since 1983. You can see samples of my work at markbuzek.com. I am also a hockey dad.
Tell me more about this eBrushDesign online store thingy on your web site?
In the same way Hockey Action Photography is partnered with Shutterfly, the eBrushDesign online store is partnered with CafePress. Like Shutterfly, CafePress is an online service that makes and sells t-shirts, mugs, clocks, postage stamps and all sorts of merchandise with my designs on them. It's exactly the same deal. I create the designs, they make and sell the merchandise. My online store has lots of hockey designs on lots of cool stuff. Check it out.
Why can't I order poster prints of one of the All-Star Composites?
You can kinda. Composites are ordered directly from me, not from the online page (Shutterfly) where you buy the prints. It starts with you sending me an email telling me you're interested. We will discuss what pictures to use, etc. and then I design it and give you an 8 x 10 print and a CD with the original digital file on it. The reason I can't make prints larger than 8 x 10 is simple that's the biggest paper my printer holds. But the 8 x 10 print isn't really the jewel of this deal, the CD is. If you want bigger prints of the composite, you hold the magic key! You simply take the CD down to any place that prints digital photographs (Costco, Target, Walmart or Wolf/Ritz Camera) and have prints made as large as you want, as many as you want. That's the advantage of possessing the original digital file.
What is an album?
Shutterfly defines a collection of photos as an album. In our case, one album equals one game. Each album has a cover photo, a name and a description. In the example below, 'PeeWee A' is the team. '090608' is the date and 'vs. Jr. Everblades' is obviously the opponent.
I want a couple pictures from each game (album). Can't I just pay one shipping charge?
Yes you can! Although Shutterfly doesn't make it very easy. I have made directions for you. Just click the following link and save on shipping. Directions
How long will the photos be up on the web site?
They will be up for the length of the current season and until the following season starts. After that, they are moved to an archive of past seasons and the prices go up. It is advantageous to purchase photos during the current season for a couple of reasons, saving money is a big one. Another important reason is covered in the next question.
I think I'll just wait until the end of the season to buy all my photos at once. You got a problem with that?
I would never presume to tell you how and when to purchase photos. I'm just happy if you do. However, I will tell you this. When you purchases a photo I get a full report of the sale. So I am aware of who is interested in buying photos. You can be certain that I will be consciously taking more photos of your child. Conversely, if I've shot a bunch of great pictures of a particular child and Mom and Dad haven't bought them, I have to assume they're not interested in buying photos. I will spend my time shooting the kids who's parents I know are interested. It is simple supply and demand. And since I know where the demand is, that's where I will 'focus'.
||What's up? You don't like my son or what? I want pictures but you never take any of him.
I try to squeeze as many games into my schedule as I can. I'm afraid there will almost certainly be a discrepancy.
I am aware that the more photos I shoot, the more I'll sell. So I really do try to shoot as many games and different kids as I possibly can. Also, I'd obviously rather photograph kids who's parents are interested in buying pictures as opposed to the ones who aren't. So don't be afraid to grab me and say 'Hey, Mark, hows about shooting number 2 with the blue helmet. That's my son and I'd like to buy some pictures.'
I keep seeing different versions of the same photos. What's up with that?
Well, some pictures are obviously best presented vertically and some horizontally. Occasionally there is one that works nicely both ways. I'm all about giving you as many choices as possible. So, you decide which way you like it better.
Many of these photos are labeled 'soft focus.' What does that mean?
As I tried to explain on the eBrushDesign home page, indoor sports such as hockey and basketball are the toughest sports to photograph because of the combination of very fast action and very low light. It requires a very expensive 'fast' lens. It also requires you to shoot with a wide open aperture that greatly narrows the depth-of-field. What this means is that a players jersey can be focused as sharp as a tack but his face can be slightly soft. I guess I could offer only the photos with the faces sharply focused but then I'd end up discarding a bunch of really nice photos. I know, as a parent, that many of these 'soft focus' photos are such nice shots that I would want them anyway. So rather than editing them out, I am giving you the choice. I will tag them with a warning and recommend that you not print these photos any larger than 5 x 7. Actually, they look just fine at the smaller sizes. It's really only when they are blown up to 8 x 10 or larger that they show their flaws. Unfortunately, Shutterfly does not give me the ability to price them any differently.
Why are your prints so expensive?
Honestly, eBrushDesign pricing is about half of what you'd pay for most sports action photography services. For example, I used to coach tackle football in Wellington and there was a wonderful photo service called Future Sports Stars that took action photos of the games. They charge $10 for a 4 x 6, $15 for a 5 x 7 and $25 for an 8 x 10. I know this because I spent lots of money there on photos of my son. So sure, my photos are more expensive than having your own photos printed, but this is my compensation for standing on my feet for hours taking pictures of your little hockey players so you don't have to. I also have to pay for the web site and the printing service and they take a cut on top of that. Then there's the hours spent editing, cropping and color-correcting the photos. Well, hopefully, you get the idea. I'm not trying to get rich doing this. It's more of a labor of love. In fact, it was my desperation for action photos of my son that lead to my spending more than I should have for the necessary camera and lens to shoot indoor sports. So this actually started out as a way to help pay for that equipment. Now I would contend that you are the true beneficiaries. Believe me when I tell you that it's a heck of a lot easier and cheaper for you to buy pictures than doing it yourself.
Do you shoot travel teams?
Yes. Basically I will shoot any type of league or team. All I require is clearance from the coach for a spot in the penalty box or on the bench.
How come the Digital Image Files cost so much?
I might sell several prints of the same picture, but I can only sell the digital original once. Why? Because once I sell you the digital image, you won't buy any more prints. You'll make them yourself from the original. Most photographers will not sell their originals for this reason. To be honest, if I were the buyer, this is the route I'd take. Yep, you'll pay a little more initially, but you can make unlimited prints at any sizes from that file, use it as computer wallpaper, and email it to other family members. If you are interested in this option, just email me and we'll put together a package.
Do the price of the Digital Image Files increase, as the prints do, when the season is over and they are placed into the archive?
No. The Digital Image Files pricing remains the same as well as the All-Star Composite pricing. The only thing that will increase are the prints.
If I get a Composite or a Digital Image File CD, how am I going to get that from you?
I can snail mail a CD for a small postage fee. Or, at no charge, I will email them to you or set it up so you can download them through your web browser.