Wharf Rat Rally 2012: My First Vending Experience

By tangentpath in fun times motorcycle photography wharf rat rally

Hey Peeps,

I don't know if a lot of you have ever been a vendor for an event like the Wharf Rat Rally, you know, sell cotton candy or popcorn or samurai swords.  

It may not sound very glamorous, probably because it's not.

It's hot and muggy, the air is filled with engine exhaust and noise of all sorts and the hours are long.

It was one of the most crucial learning experiences I have ever had and I can't wait to do it again next year.

The first challenge was to find a way to incorporate my photography into the rally in such a way that my product was quick to produce and purchase but also unique in such a way that it would draw more clients.

HDR.  High Dynamic Range.

You have all seen HDR images before, even if you didn't know what it was called.

Basically several images are shot of a subject at different exposure levels and through the power of science and creativity, blended into a single image that incorporates all of the details from the originals.

This is one that I shot for a prize in the Rally Races for Timothée Richard of Bobber Boyz/Mad Squirrel:

We were set up with the bay and wharf as our backdrop.

I was lucky enough to get a few family members and their friends to come out a few weeks before and use their bikes as examples that I could show clients.

I had found after a while that I had lost sight of the underlying reason why I was vending this year.

Not money, no that helps but wasn't my true reason - my "why".

My "why" in my business is a reflection of what photography does for me personally, it gives me a sense of freedom in my life and I needed to instill that into my booth and how it interacted with the public.

Once I had lost sight of that, I realized that I was stressing over sales and money so that I could get to relax and enjoy myself.

That was sooooo backwards.

I told my friend and fellow photographer Kitrin Jeffrey, who was assisting me with this vending process day-in and day-out, that I needed to think more like a photographer, more of my "why", my freedom, my reason for everything.

I said,"What would someone like Chase Jarvis(whom I consider one of the Patron Saints of Photography) do in a situation like this?  Would he constantly be going over processes like how to greet a client?  How to overcome objections?  How to do a million different things a million different ways?  No, we did all of this when we planned this event.  That work is done.  Chase Jarvis wouldn't worry about the business at this point, he would focus on the moment at hand.  He would enjoy the day, the bikes, the rally itself and then the business would thrive.  I really need a ring or bracelet that says 'WWCJD?'."

And that's when it happened.

I took my camera out of its bag and started shooting "Random WRR Bike Encounters".  I would post them on FB and have fun doing it too!  My mind wasn't stuck in the administration department while the festivities were going all around me - I was a part of the fun!!

The side-effect?

  • We started getting sales.
  • Numbers on my FB Fanpage soared.
  • Strangers that have never heard of me would tell me that they recognized me and my work from these randoms.
  • I got a gleaming spot on the local radio station that sounded like a client testimonial.
  • I stopped stressing and had fun.
That last one isn't quantifiable, but believe me, it is something you can totally feel.

I learned a tonne, worked my ass off, met a lot of people and am more than prepared for next year's partying - scheduling appointments in February. :D

Here are a few randoms for ya.  Click for bigger shots.  Enjoy!


Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website
Michael Carty Email

2 comments, add yours

Anonymous says:

Micheal ... can you do people in the shot too or is it too hard for them to sit still doing the HDR shot?

Michael Carty

Yes I have shot people on their rides for these shots before, it's not that difficult - as long as they stay perfectly still.

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