This was, of course, a complete waste of time and was obviously unproductive.
Since I was standing there anyway with a camera, it dawned on me that I could make much better use of my time by shooting anything and everything around me.
Most events have some kind of special setup, so I busied myself getting shots of the flowers, the table settings, the venue, the posters, the venue without people, the stage without performers, the instruments, etc.
And then, once the event began, even though my assignment might have been to get one or two shots, I would take as many different shots as I could—different angles, different compositions, and from different positions.
Capturing this wide variety of shots not only gave me experience but provided me with an inventory of shots that I could use in the future. Since I post most of my events to galleries on my website, my clients get used to reviewing my photos, and this has brought me lots of unexpected revenue.
For one assignment, I’d been asked to get a few photos from a local country music concert. I took the time to get lots of shots of the headlining group, a family of four known as the Bowes Brothers. When it came time to release their next CD, they came to me for the cover shot, since they knew I had lots of good performance photos. We quickly came up with a deal and I made an extra (and easy) additional $300 for my efforts.
When I started covering games for the local Junior A hockey team, I wasted a lot of time trying to get the perfect shot as goals were scored. Since my main market for the hockey photos is the parents, I decided to concentrate instead on getting action shots of each player… and lots of them.
My sales quickly increased, and I have one billet Mom that spent over $1,300 last season on shots for the boy she has staying with her. Needless to say, I now take lots of shots of the boys she looks after.
The lesson learned is that it is always worth taking lots of extra shots and making them easily available. They will often turn into easy money in the future.