by Deborah Proctor
When you photograph athletes for a living like we do, you see on each individual's face determination required to cross the finish line and the joy and exhilaration of that accomplishment. Seeing these qualities through the lens caused Focal Flame Photography founder and lead photographer, Clint Thayer, to reflect on what Focal Flame could do to make it possible for athletes to share these once in a lifetime moments more freely with friends, family, and others who may not be there to celebrate with them.
"That is when the idea for the FocalShare™ service was born," says Thayer. "We wanted to SHARE our focus (digital photographs) with the amazing athletes that we photographed at each event, and give them, in turn, the opportunity to share their accomplishment with those who care about them."
So how did we accomplish that? Thayer explained, "We teamed up with some very forward-thinking and customer service-oriented event organizers, and they agreed that customized digital photographs would be much more meaningful to athletes, way cooler, and more environmentally friendly than the usual race swag like another plastic water bottle."
How does the FocalShare service work?
- Race directors and event organizers contract with Focal Flame Photography to photograph the athletes and activities at their event.
- In return, each athlete receives free access to ALL the photos and can share them via email, or post them in their Blog, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites.
- There is no fee to the athlete for the photos, they simply visit www.FocalFlamestore.comafter the race, view the photos of their event, and share as many as they like with friends, family, and teammates. They can even print out copies.
- All photographs are customized with the race logo and date in the corner. This helps showcase the athlete's achievement — it is not "just" another run, bike ride, triathlon, it is the Madison Mud Run, It’s Glow Time 5K, a triathlon in the Wisconsin Tri Series Races, or the Rock, Roll, ‘N Run Triathlon in Janesville, for example.
- Race organizers benefit from the good will the complimentary digitals create as well as in increased awareness of their event. For community events with racers from all walks of life, ensuring that every participant has access to FocalShare digitals helps to level the playing field and create a sense of togetherness – which, in the end, is what events are all about.
It appears that racers LOVE their FocalShare digitals and are often astounded that they are included as a benefit of the event. They also appreciate not having to pay out of pocket for the digital images.
But don't take our word for it, here is what just a few of the athletes at participating events had to say:
"I was a part of the race yesterday and I had an incredible time...One of the best things that this race had was the photography and the free access to our pictures. Two of the pictures are possibly the best pictures I have ever had taken by a race photographer at any point during my racing career. One was the very first good picture I have ever had of me coming out of the water. Sweet!
Thanks again and I look forward to participating in this race again next year! "—Pete
"This was my first triathlon that I have ever done! It is so awesome that I get some great pictures to go with my experience! It is also nice that they didn't cost me as usually race photos are so expensive. Thank you!!!!" — Lisa
"Thanks for being at the race to capture these moments - especially on a day when people like me leave their cameras safely packed away to stay dry! I appreciate the free downloads, and used some of the photos in my race report. Thanks! " —Dan
"FocalShare" events are the best!"— Tim
"[I appreciate] the FAST availability and the opportunity to use them for social media photos. Facebook & Twitter are avenues to document life events, and what better way to accompany posts than with professional race photos that capture those life events in motion. It's also great to have pictures with the race logo to remember the events." — survey respondent
"...FocalShare seems to be the ultimate package between racers, event coordinators, and photographers. I would much rather pay a "hidden" small cost in each registration for free photos then pay a ton for 1 photo. With digital being the norm now, it is a win/win/win situation." — survey respondent
If you have participated in an event photographed by Focal Flame this season, be sure to check our event status page to see if your event offersFocalShare digitals and share them with your family and friends.
If you are a race director or event coordinator and would like to know more about how you can offer complimentary FocalShare digitals to your athletes, please email Clint@FocalFlame.com or call 608.772.0048.
What do you think? Have you participated in a FocalShare event and shared your race photos with family and friends? If so, please tell us about your FocalShare experience.