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When Ed Mulholland saw Allen running around PhotoPlus Expo, instantly beaming images from his Nikon D3 to the web, wirelessly in 15 seconds, he saw the potential immediately.
“I totally want to use that at the next fight. What do I need to do,” he said, as if what Allen was using involved some kind of special voodoo magic.
Mulholland is a freelance photographer specializing in professional sports, and is co-founder of FightWireImages.com, a wire service and high-resolution image library specifically designed to serve the photographic needs of the Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world.
His work is amazing, and with each and every update of his SportsShooter.com member page, I’m there looking at every frame. Shooting these fights is definitely not easy, yet he is able to pull quality images out of every fight.
Mulholland’s business depends on getting his images out of the camera, and up on the Internet as fast as possible. He’s been using PhotoShelter for that past few years to speed his images to market, and has seamlessly integrated all of PhotoShelter’s functionality into his website.
The functionality that Allen was using at the Expo was not complete rocket science. It’s actually just a really efficient delivery option attached to incoming FTP uploads. We were able to add an optional additional layer of functionality that allows a photographer to route the images to a specified gallery as they are being uploaded.
This removes a big step in the process of making images live, automating the process. If the chosen gallery is publicly viewable, you’ve basically got your own wire service.
A few days later I was on the phone with Ed explaining how simple it actually was, and within a few minutes he was able to figure it all out. He was ready to put it to real use.
His plan was to use this a few days later during an upcoming assignment: a fight at Madison Square Garden. His camera doesn’t have a wireless transmitter like the D3, so he would be uploading from Compact Flash cards immediately after each stage of the event. As the images are uploading, Sean Hintz, a photo editor at ESPN.com would be watching them flow into a gallery made just for him.
“Keep me updated, and good luck,” I said.
“Definitely,” he said.
After the fight, he called.
Photo by Ed Mulholland / FightwireImages.com
“I just finished using the FTP auto-delivery feature last week while covering the Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones Jr. fight at Madison Square Garden,” he said. “Like anything new we did some testing throughout the week with some of the lead press events (workouts, final presser, weigh-in) and with some clients, most specifically ESPN.com.”
“Everything ran smooth all week on both the photographer and editor ends of the process,” he said. “The feedback from Sean Hintz was nothing but positive. We are currently setting it up for some of our other photographers to utilize as well. We’ll be using it whenever possible.”
“A big time positive was the fact that we do not have to have an editor on our end waiting for images to come in from our other photographers,” he said. “Now we simply set up the gallery, invite our clients and the system does the rest.”
Mulholland’s clients are all over the world and require images as quickly as possible after the event. WIth their magazine clients, they have some time to spare, but when dealing with today’s web/newspaper media, time-savings/speed of delivery are valuable commodities.
“ESPN.com was running a blog for the fight throughout the week, and for photos from the actual fight week I believe we accounted for six of the ten images run,” he said. “I also did have an image appear with the main story immediately following the fight, so I’d have to say it did have a positive effect.”
“As far as FightWireImages.com goes, we are a smaller niche market agency, and this helps level the playing field a bit with some of the bigger agencies, who have their own systems, editors working round the clock, and are very quick with delivery.”
“Based on my experience this week it’s something I’ll be using each time out to get our clients images quickly,” he said. “It allowed me to transmit more images than usual in a shorter time frame, and that’s good for everyone involved.”
I decided to be a wise ass and ask if he’s ever going to go wireless like Allen at the Expo.
“I’m currently considering getting my hands on some Nikon equipment to test the D3 with the wireless transmitter to FTP direct from the camera,” he said. “This would speed the whole process even more. A couple of our photographers are using them, so I may have to beg, borrow or steal one of those…”