Wow, this thread did not exactly go how/where I'd planned.
There is now another thread on the topic here: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php/topic,2424.0.html
I was trying to add a different slant to the MP crowd, as it seems most of them are landscape photographers and their cries for higher MPs is answered with "hey there are a lot of great landscape photos out there that don't have high mps, so what you really need is better ISO or DR performance". There are (or were) a few billboard photographers out there as well, and the response to them was "people shouldn't be looking at your billboard that close anyway." I am attempting to add a 3rd category to the high MP crowd as those of us who "NEED" (?) to be able to do fairly extensive cropping after the fact. I have heard a few fashion photogs jump in in this category as well, and I was just trying to provide some concrete examples (plus maybe solicit some feedback on my images.)
I did get the expected response of:
learn composition in camera.
While I'm happy to oblige, I think the challenge is summed up pretty well here:
So the OP is supposed to compose 8 different pictures, of different objects, who are moving 10-30/mph(runner vs. biker), in a matter of a few seconds
I think this is an interesting suggestion:
And one more idea: maybe buy a 1DX and use it in video mode. The video resolution might be high enough to let you "sweep" a group and get multiple useable still shots.
Has anyone done or tried that? My one concern would be the time and effort of wading thru the video to ferret out the few that I missed in the stills.
The sample posted by wellfedCanuck is not atypical of race photos. IMHO, the entire photo is fairly weak, and the only 1 of the 7 runners in the photo would likely be interested in purchasing a copy (my principle clients are the athletes themselves.) So if that's the shot I walk away with, I just lost 86% of my potential customers. I think it can be done better.
As a side note relating to neuro's comment--yes distribution does depend on capturing bib numbers, as well as the fact that most runners seem to prefer photos that are framed to include their feet. So between the athletes themselves and the race directors, the full body shots are my "expected" output, the headshots/crops are "bonus" items.
Let me explain my methodology, and perhaps there are other good ideas on how to better accomplish the task (aside from getting a Nikon D800
). I am nearly always shooting with the 70-200 f2.8 IS. When I have a large group coming, I start at 200 and pan back as the group approaches trying to anticipate where gaps might open up so that I can isolate individual runners. When there's clearly no way to pick them off one by one, I will stop down and try to frame 2 or 3 in focus at the same time (hence the cropping, hence the needing more MPs). Where I am really open to ideas, is how to balance everything: I usually shoot at 2.8 because I need a high shutter speed to freeze the motion. In my (albiet limited) experience, cyclists require a bare minimum of 1/250, with more reliable results starting at 1/800; runners I can get away with 1/125 if there are no other options, but prefer about 1/400. When I stop down it's because I'm going to end up cropping, so then a higher ISO becomes an issue because the noise is more evident in the cropped result.
Of course, maybe a "dude, your crops suck even worse than you originals, so don't bother" would solve the problem too.
Firstly remember what is expected of you. Practice composition in camera so you don't have to crop in post because this takes forever for a few thousand pictures. If the client wants to publish any pictures he will crop them anyway, and usually not very artistically.
For your own portfolio, pick a few of the best and edit these more thorougly, including crop, angle, spot removal, vignette, etcetera. 10 MP should still be enough for a web portfolio and smaller prints (up to A4). If not then your upcoming 7D might be the right solution for you; I would have suggested renting it otherwise.
Yup, post processing a few thousand pictures every event does take forever. Yes, I race directors like a few "poster" shots for their websites and advertising, but most of my revenue comes from the individual participants, so the balance is between quality of shots and missing shots. I'm of the mind that a decent shot of nearly every athlete is going to generate more revenue that fabulous shots of a few athletes. But if I can crop some to get those better shots, it's a big plus. However, I'm still very new to this, so if there's a better way to sell/market my photos I am all ears! I've gotten really positive feedback from the few races that I've done, so I think I'm on the right track, but there's always room to do it better, more efficiently, and hopefully more profitably.