If you've attended a sporting event in Southeast England in the past five years, chances are TGS Photo was there. A collective of seven photographers founded by Gavin Ellis, TGS has built an archive of nearly 100,000 images documenting every game they can get to — from grassroots matches to major professional sporting events. Although they differ in their specialties, each one of the TGS photographers consistently deliver the high quality images so many publications and sports organizations have come to rely on them for.
Originally conceived as an online publication called The Goalmouth Scramble, TGS Photo was created in 2003 after Gavin began to focus exclusively on his photography. As his commission work increased, he needed a way to manage and deliver his images. "The archive started to grow exponentially and the TGS site was crying out for better search facilities, an easier way to deliver images to clients (through downloads) and better gallery organization. In 2005, PhotoShelter came along and satisfied all these requirements."
Gavin designed TGS' original site himself, and he used the manual customization templates available to all Standard and Pro subscribers to replicate that design on his PhotoShelter pages. "The TGS site employs nearly all of the manually customizable pages and the wide array of PhotoShelter e-commerce and image delivery systems," Gavin explains. "In all honesty, there's very little we don't use!" For the most part, TGS' photographers FTP their images into the archive. Gavin creates galleries for events before they happen so everyone's transfers will land directly inside the appropriate gallery automatically.
The ability to FTP in and out of archive folders/galleries is the key to reaching our clients quickly. Speed of delivery is often vital in sports photography! It also ensures good customer service and clients can rest assured that their images will be available when they actually need them.
Clients may either browse through the thousands of galleries — arranged by sport and date &mdash or search the library of 100,000 images by keyword. The photographers generally add metadata prior to FTPing into PhotoShelter, but Gavin takes advantage of the ability to add or tweak the IPTC information from within the archive as well. Gavin employs a number of marketing tactics to draw in new clients and encourage sales. He ensures TGS comes up at the top of relevant Google searches by using the "outstanding SEO tips and tools that PhotoShelter provides." He relies heavily on social media services like Facebook and Twitter to interact with existing and potential clients, receive feedback, and create a buzz around their brand. He often makes use the social media export tools in his PhotoShelter account to keep new content in front of his audience. In the past six months, Gavin has observed his traffic nearly double over the previous year, and Google Analytics indicates a fair amount of those visitors are coming from Facebook. He devotes time to reviewing his Analytics because it provides valuable information about who is visiting his site, where they are coming from, and what they are most interested in. Gavin also is sure to promote TGS on the websites of the clubs and leagues they cover, even offering coupons he created in his PhotoShelter account with discounts for players and officials. He also offers a 10% off coupon to any first-time buyer.
Seventy percent of TGS' revenue comes from commissioned work, and Gavin has over a half dozen ways to deliver that work to his clients. TGS has over 36 trusted clients — image buyers who may download hi-res versions of any image they find on the site."Trusted client download access is invaluable. TGS clients can pull images off of the site whenever they need them without waiting for an e-mail, etc,"
He then tracks what his clients are downloading in his account statistics, and invoices them offline. Nearly every image on the site is available for immediate licensing, as Gavin has fotoQuote's rights managed pricing calculator enabled to generate prices on the fly based on the usages the buyer selects. Close to half of the images are priced for print and personal use downloads as well. When a print order comes in, Gavin is paid immediately, and he chooses to handle the fulfillment himself.
"The one question that TGS snappers are regularly asked when covering a football match is, "Did you get the goal?" We all strive as hard as we can to answer, "Yes!"
With so many PhotoShelter tools to simplify the business end of TGS, Gavin and the rest of the team can focus on the photography. Regardless of what game they're shooting, and who they're shooting for, at the end of the day, everyone is looking for the same thing — the highpoints of the game, captured proficiently. Gavin explains, "The one question that TGS snappers are regularly asked when covering a football match is, "Did you get the goal?" We all strive as hard as we can to answer, "Yes!"