For 25 years, SAP Center has entertained the city of San Jose with everything from NHL hockey and championship figure skating to the music of Snoop Dogg and Elton John.
As team photographer for the San Jose Sharks and photography services manager for all of Sharks Sports and Entertainment, Brandon Magnus captures it all.
Whether he’s covering hockey, a concert or a monster truck rally, his photo workflow has to keep up with the speed of social media.
When he’s covering the Sharks, he shoots tethered and tags photos to send instantly to his editor. Within 30 to 45 seconds, his editor has the images up on Libris, where his teammates can access them for social media, PR and more. Without a real-time photo workflow, warmup photos like the one below would never see the light of day, because they’re old news after the faceoff.
During concerts, his access is limited, and artists typically only allow you to shoot the first three songs from the pit or the soundboard. As soon as he’s done shooting, he walks to his desk 100 feet from the stage, edits the 10 best shots and sends them out. Within five minutes from the time they were captured, the photos are in the hands of SAP Center’s social media team. By the time the Backstreet Boys walk off stage, their photo is already raking in the likes.
Before Brandon joined the team, photographers would shoot the first three songs, go home, edit, and deliver the full take of 400-800 photos 2-3 hours after the event was over, leaving Megan Ebeck, SAP Center’s Arena Marketing Manager, to sift through and post the photos after everyone’s gone home and gone to bed.
“For Megan, it would be hard because if it’s hours after the show, they’re already looking to promote the next event that’s coming in,” explains Brandon. “It’s almost well past the point of posting images.”
Thanks to Brandon’s commitment to speed and the team’s investment in the right tools, the SAP Center’s event coverage is eye-catching and relevant.
The new workflow is a huge relief for Megan, who – when asked what the best part of this change is for her – says, “when the concert runs til midnight – just being able to know that it’s going to be a lot quicker than it used to be.”
Now, with the addition of the FileFlow app for iPhone, the team is taking their workflow to the next level.
“When I saw that this app existed, I was so excited,” says Megan. “In terms of social, it’s not always fast to go to your desktop, download and email it to yourself and then files are too big, so the app just makes it infinitely faster and easier and less time consuming.”
Megan sees an uptick in buzz when the team shares photos in real time.
“Especially if it is a younger audience – the Harry Styles of the world,” she says.
But what’s even more important than engagement when they’re measuring the impact of their event content?
“Definitely ticket sales – ticket sales are the biggest thing – and then revenue,” says Megan.
The team uses Ticketmaster tracking links on social media so they can quantify the impact of each post.
After an event, all of the images are easily accessible to the whole team in Libris. Even the VP loves to go in and grab images to tweet on his own channels.
“It’s definitely made everyone’s lives easier – throughout the company, even the departments who don’t focus on photos,” says Brandon.
During the organization’s 25th anniversary this year, team members across the company were able to dig into the organized archive and celebrate the arena’s history.
“Everyone could look through historic events or iconic musicians who came through SAP simply by typing in their name, instead of having to look through multiple folders and hard drives trying to find the right one,” says Brandon.
Now, rather than sitting unorganized and unused on a hard drive, the images can be used across channels to engage fans. Having easy access to the organization’s best images, whether they were shot 10 seconds or 10 years ago, has led to a steep uptick in the quality of SAP Center’s visual storytelling.
“Because of Libris, it provides opportunity to locate the best photography through each game, each event, instead of just pulling a random photo because people don’t have time to look through thousands of photos,” says Brandon. “It definitely gives them a chance to put the best photography forward.”