There’s not much to research with this subject. I could obviously look at motorsport and drifting photographers in general, but that’s too broad in my opinion. No one really photographs the little drifting academy shools in a Documentary fashion. So I guess i’m going to have to.
First of all i’m going to look at Ian Blackett of Blackett Photography, Learn 2 Drift’s resident photographer that travels with the L2D crew around the country photographing. I met with Ian when I shot the academy day and had a really nice chat with him about cars, photography, his past and his business. Blackett is one of the only motorsport photographers that I know that is actually making a living of it without being supported by big businesses. He’s started from scratch and it’s his own independent business.
So how does he do it? It’s a really smart way he works, in the safety briefing at the start of the day he announces who he is and what he’s doing. He then says if anyone would like pictures for X amount for 30 digital or printed images, please see me over the to side after the briefing. This way all the students know who he is and that there’s an opportunity to have some photographs of the day. Once the students have signed up, he gives them a brightly coloured magnet to stick on the drivers door of the car with a number on. This is to identify who the driver is, as well as letting Ian know who has paid for photos from those who hasn’t- which allows Ian to only photograph the paying customers, saves memory, saves time and is a really smart way of organizing the photographs.
On the day, Ian was shooting with a Canon 1D Mk4 with a 100-300mm L lens. He also gave me some very good tips on what sort of settings he generally uses, panning, business and marketing advice and also told me to think about using Auto ISO. I’ve never really considered auto ISO for motorsport, but Ian recommended it to me, and it’s actually a really useful too. You can set your shutter speed and aperture and shoot away without having to worry about the changing light. Auto ISO sorts out the varying lighting seamlessly.
What else is there to know about Ian? He is also the resident photographer at Santa Pod since 2005. He photographs pretty much every event there year in year out. From drag racing to drifting he’s there photographing. Ian’s probably the hardest working photographer I know. He attends every drift event without fail, making money every week, from prints as well as digital downloads. The way Ian works on drift days is also really smart. He explained this to me at Birmingham. He aims to get around 50 pictures of each car from the day. He’d then edit it down on the day to about 35 of each car and then post on the Driftworks forum (biggest UK drifting forum) with the number plate of the car as well as the amount of images he has of it. The owner of the car then contacts Ian and paypals him £2.50 for a preview of the images and a free signature for the forum with Ians logo on as well as a logo of the track. The driver can then contact Ian about purchasing the rest of the images. He also has a van with an employee working on the laptop showing customers images of the day from the van. He also has printing capabilities inside the van. I think it’s a really smart way of working and gets around any problem of copyright quickly and efficiently.
Here’s an example from the Driftworks forum.
and here’s an example of the images he takes, the ones with the signature image below the normal image is an example of what people pay £2.50 for.
I learnt alot from Ian, I even have bought images from him before. Here’s the image I bought of myself drifting.