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Archive 2012 · Photographing soccer in a public park
  
 
AndresG
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p.1 #1 · Photographing soccer in a public park


I live in NYC and across the street from my job is a soccer field where HS teams sometimes play. I want to know if I would need a permit or if I could just photograph the games since they are in a public park? Anyone have experience with this and could help?


Sep 28, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Carl Auer
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p.1 #2 · Photographing soccer in a public park


Ask someone there. If they are official high school games, you may need a credential to shoot from the sideline. You might be able to shoot from spectator viewing, but it is better to check. I know New York has some different photo rules, so better safe than sorry.


Sep 28, 2012 at 02:37 AM
AndresG
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p.1 #3 · Photographing soccer in a public park


I asked one of the coaches and he "preferred if I didn't" and out of respect I didn't. I'll make a call to the parks depertment since it is a public park and see what info they can give me.



Sep 28, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Carl Auer
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p.1 #4 · Photographing soccer in a public park


It does not matter if it is a public park. If it is a official high school game, they have paid a fee (or the school district) and they make the call for their event.



Sep 28, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Matt OHarver
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p.1 #5 · Photographing soccer in a public park


Carl Auer wrote:
It does not matter if it is a public park. If it is a official high school game, they have paid a fee (or the school district) and they make the call for their event.


Exactly, if the Coach said no, than it doesn't matter what the Parks dept says, at the point the game is taking place it's the coaches/schools field and he has final say. The answer is no.






Sep 28, 2012 at 03:49 AM
AndresG
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p.1 #6 · Photographing soccer in a public park


Carl Auer wrote:
It does not matter if it is a public park. If it is a official high school game, they have paid a fee (or the school district) and they make the call for their event.



Ahh, didn't think of that. Thanks for clearing it up for me.



Sep 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM
mbaumser
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p.1 #7 · Photographing soccer in a public park


I hate to disagree with everyone else but you are free to shoot. The HS having paid a fee does not override your right to shoot in a public space. Their fee does not make it a private event. If their fee, entitled them to put up a fence and keep people away for the duration of the event, that would be a different story. They are in a public space clearly in view. You are in a public space clearly in view. They have no presumption of privacy. You are free to shoot. What you do with those images is then the only question. And as long as you don't sell them for advertising or commercial use, you are pretty much okay. You can sell them to a local paper. You can sell images of the kids to the kids parents. You can't sell a picture of a kid to someone else.

I'm not a lawyer but I was in a similar situation a couple years back. I talked to lawyers and did a lot of research.



Sep 28, 2012 at 05:42 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #8 · Photographing soccer in a public park


AndresG wrote:
Ahh, didn't think of that. Thanks for clearing it up for me.


Lots of paranoia these days. 15+ years ago the coach would probably been "wow, that'd be awesome".
It's really pretty sad.

Edited on Sep 28, 2012 at 09:30 PM · View previous versions



Sep 28, 2012 at 05:43 PM
James Broome
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p.1 #9 · Photographing soccer in a public park


mbaumser wrote:
I hate to disagree with everyone else but you are free to shoot. The HS having paid a fee does not override your right to shoot in a public space. Their fee does not make it a private event. If their fee, entitled them to put up a fence and keep people away for the duration of the event, that would be a different story. They are in a public space clearly in view. You are in a public space clearly in view. They have no presumption of privacy. You are free to shoot.


It is likely their fee allows them to 'keep people away for the duration of the event'. They probably have the authority to dictate who is allowed on the grounds and who isn't. In other words, they have the right to ask you to leave. If you refuse, they can call the police and have you arrested. Again, I said 'likely'.

That being said, public space is usually public space. And you're right - when in public space you have no right to privacy. But just because you 'can' do something doesn't mean you 'should' do something. Let's get to the nitty gritty here. If the OP wishes to hone his skills and not utilize the pictures in any real way other than learning from them, then sure, he may be able to shoot 'till his heart is content. Will he piss off the guy running the show there? I'd say yes, given that the OP has already been asked not to shoot.

Now, the final question (and it's the crux of the issue here): Is it worth possible arrest (at worst) or pissing off the guy running things (at best) to get some experience? If yes, go for it. If no, then find something else to shoot.



Sep 28, 2012 at 07:41 PM
AndresG
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p.1 #10 · Photographing soccer in a public park




This is the one and only reason I want to photograph the game.



I didn't feel like pissing anyone off and just watched the game for awhile then left.




Sep 29, 2012 at 12:46 AM
 

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Carl Auer
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p.1 #11 · Photographing soccer in a public park


Yes, a public park is a public space. Yes, there are ballparks in public parks. Yes, you can go into a public park and take photos to your hearts content. But, the ball parks, if they have been contracted by any organization, is a different story. If a school district has contracted with the parks department to use their sports fields for games, while it is a public park, it is no longer a public event. The school district or the state school athletic association is now in charge of any rules. Why? They pay a fee to use this public park, whether it is for one game, a season, or the whole school year. School districts typically will credential media to cover their events, allowing them on the sidelines. If you are connected to the school or team somehow, Parent with Camera, Booster Shooter, etc, you can most likely get access to shoot at this type of venue. Now, whether you have to buy a ticket or not, since it is a school event or school district event it depends on if they have any rules from photographing from the spectator area. If not, fine, but if they ask for no photography from spectator areas, then you are out of luck. Since you asked for permission, and were asked not to photograph the event, I guarantee you that if you went ahead and started to photograph the event anyway, the administration is within their rights to have you removed and can have you charged with trespassing.

Now, you say you want practice, great, that is help that we can offer. Contact local youth leagues, explain that you are looking to practice sports photography, and would like to come in and photograph their event. If it is a school event, contact the school directly, if it is a youth league, contact their board of directors, if it is a pick up game in the park, ask the players. But once you have been asked to stop, stop, especially in NYC. While there are rules and laws that protect the photographer, the Police tend to over react especially in NYC.

Another option is to contact your state's high school athletic association and apply for a photo credential. They may say no, but you will not know until you ask.

Just because you own a camera does not give you the right to photograph whatever you want. Especially in New York City. In New York, if you want to use a tripod on a city sidewalk, even if it is at 3am in the morning and the street is deserted, you need a permit. And if you want to go far in this business, pissing off the people who can stop you from shooting is not the way you want to go. I have been doing this since 1988 and have watched the rules change many many times. Yes, 15 years ago it would not have been a problem. I could take a pro camera and 300 2.8 lens into an NBA game with no one saying a thing to me, but now, unless you have a credential around your neck, you will find that many arenas will not allow lenses over 3" or no pro level cameras, or cameras with removable lenses.

Not everybody who comes to these boards are going to get access to the sidelines of the sports that they want to shoot....ever, but some will. You have your best chance with youth sports. High Schools can get tougher, especially if you are not media. Team photographer, league photographer, LifeTouch, etc, can make it hard to get on the sidelines. Colleges, can be both easy and hard depending on the school. Some NAIA schools or even D3 schools may offer you an opportunity, but start crossing into D2 or D1 NCAA Schools, and you may find it all but impossible. Pros, probably not, but Minor Leagues, that is a possibility. Club Sports, might work. Just ask to shoot, contact the leagues or teams, school districts, Sports Information Department, Media Relations, etc, and you will eventually find someone who is willing to let you have the access you would like to get.



Sep 29, 2012 at 04:24 AM
mbaumser
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p.1 #12 · Photographing soccer in a public park


Carl. You're a great sports photographer. No question. But what you know of NYC and the NYC Police is severely lacking. I assume your opinion to our cops is based on media highlights of worst case situations (one cop pepper spraying protesters...that sort of thing) they do not tend to over react.

as for the rest. maybe in other areas this is true of field use permits. In NYC it is not. The permit entitles you to use the field...that's all. When you get to the field at the time you are allotted if there are other people playing on the field or just sunning themselves. you have the right to call the police to have them removed. Although, 99.99999999% of NY'er will just say "okay" when asked to move and so there's no problem.

lastly NYC is extremely liberal in it's photograph and privacy laws. If both the subject and the photographer are in clear public view you can be photographed. Period no "if" "and" or "but". I refer you to this post http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=001oT6

One more thing, other than certain locations like Brooklyn Bridge Park or subway platforms, the tripod law is almost always ignored unless you are obstructing pedestrian traffic.

If the OP were asking about Colorado or Alaska I would not defer to whatever you said on the subject. I know NYC.



Sep 29, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Scott Sewell
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p.1 #13 · Photographing soccer in a public park


I personally don't like to ask the coaches. Not because I'm trying to avoid them, but they usually have plenty on their plate and photography is rarely part of it. So, I avoid asking them because it's very easy for them to casually say "no" without giving it an ounce of thought. Why do they need to think about a photographer asking to shoot? They don't (and won't). It's not what they do. The league, school administrators, SIDs are the folks who are use to dealing with such things. Ask them.

And to re-emphasize what Carl said...just owning expensive camera gear does not give one any special rights or privileges. None. (at least none that I've ever been made aware of!)



Sep 29, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Scott Sewell
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p.1 #14 · Photographing soccer in a public park


mbaumser wrote:
One more thing, other than certain locations like Brooklyn Bridge Park or subway platforms, the tripod law is almost always ignored unless you are obstructing pedestrian traffic.



I don't know NYC laws regarding this sort of thing, but if there IS some kind of stipulation that a permit is needed or special permission is needed to shoot, just because the law is not enforced doesn't mean it's okay to do it.

But that line of reasoning (you're okay doing it because you likely won't get caught) reinforces the point I made that just having camera gear doesn't give one any special considerations or rights. Follow the law and everything will be good. Based on my experience, that generally work well in the Big Apple, the Little Apple and all parts in between.



Sep 29, 2012 at 02:23 PM
P Alesse
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p.1 #15 · Photographing soccer in a public park


Welcome back Carl. We haven't had a good ole private vs. Public pissing match since you've been gone.


Sep 29, 2012 at 02:49 PM
TT1000
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p.1 #16 · Photographing soccer in a public park


mbaumser, I had the same reaction. The guys view of NYC is informed by something other than the reality of living here. His post makes about as much sense as if I wrote a long-winded post on the practical rules relating to photography in Arvada, CO.

But this is online so people write what they want. And if you have "moderator" under your screen name you gets extra gravitas points.

I read it as more online fiction more or less entertaining depending on the post.








Sep 29, 2012 at 07:18 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #17 · Photographing soccer in a public park


AndresG wrote:
Ahh, didn't think of that. Thanks for clearing it up for me.


You're in a sort of interesting intersection between the "right to create art in a public place" (clearly a Constitutionally protected right) and the rules and controls of a high school event. While I have no clue what the rules are in NY or NYC, I can't image that anyone would even notice if you - as part of the audience - shot a game from the bleachers, stands, whatever as long as you are not in anyway a part of the field of play. Once you do that, things have changed. (My audience suggestion is based upon the observation that every HS event I've ever shot had stands filled with cameras and camcorders.)

Since it is part of my job (as a newspaper photographer/reporter), I carry both a press pass and a credential from the state activities agency. It is commonly agreed (and I believe legally established - though I've never needed to check) that I have a "right" (as a member of the press) of access, but this is not absolute. Point of fact is that the head official (at least in events sanctioned in this state) is in charge of the playing field/arena. Note that it is the official, not the coaches who are in charge.

There is a powerful reason for this. The minute you step to the sidelines you become part of the gestalt that is the game environment. Your presence, however trivial you may consider it to be, does have an impact on what is happening. Officials need to be aware of you and players even at a high school level don't really want to run over anyone on the sidelines. Because you have become part of a sanctioned event, you are therefore implicitly bound by its regulations.

Whenever I'm directed to shoot an event, I begin with the officials establishing my bona fides, and accepting whatever direction the head official sets. Mostly it boils down to don't ever interfere with officials' ability to work and don't get hurt (i.e. you're on your own, so stay out of the way). (Actually past the stay out of way injunction, the most common direction I get is "Make sure you get my best side." I have several comical responses for that. ) I then make a point of introducing myself to both coaches identifying myself and my agency and talking briefly with them about their season, outlook on the game, and anything they consider important.

You as an admitted amateur without standing can't do any of these things that would establish your credibility and thus the appropriateness of your presence. So how does a beginner learn? I can think of two direct avenues. The first is, that while it's been a long time since I've been in the Big Apple, I know there are lots of parks/fields/courts with non-sanctioned play going on. Make acquaintances with players and shoot there.

The second is to volunteer for a school or entity that gets no attention. My first sports work was done in response to a middle-school principal (a friend) looking for recognition for her kids' efforts. The school was located in one of the toughest parts of town, but the kids still deserved acknowledgement for their play. I ended up becoming the "official" photographer for the school which gave me access - by request - to a great many of its activities. And yes, I put in hundreds of unpaid hours, printed team pictures for the school's trophy case, and gave away my work. In less than 2 years I was working 3 middle schools and had just been asked for the high school in the same area to provide coverage for them when I moved. It didn't pay much, but I was slowly starting to be acknowledged as someone who could "take a better picture than our parents' can."

If you want to become a "big-time" sport photographer, I can't help you. I'm not one and have no desire to be one. My current position came as result of the local paper's editor requesting me to take over their sports work as it had previously been so bad. I will certainly never get rich or famous shooting in places like Baboquivari or Tohono O'Odham or anywhere in this vast desert. The work is nevertheless rewarding.

If you just want to learn, there are opportunities, but as others have already noted you must find out what agency(s) control events and what their rules are. Work from there and if you are willing to work with those who aren't noticed or favored you will not only get experience but real appreciation and the reward of watching kids grow.

Robert



Sep 29, 2012 at 07:45 PM
CosmicCruiser
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p.1 #18 · Photographing soccer in a public park


skibum5 wrote:
Lots of paranoia these days. 15+ years ago the coach would probably been "wow, that'd be awesome".
It's really pretty sad.


Yes you're right. Very sad how the paranoia invaded an innocent sport shoot. I'm almost afraid to point my camera at anyone I don't know. When I do get permission I'm so uptight I usually blow the shot!




Sep 29, 2012 at 07:58 PM
AndresG
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p.1 #19 · Photographing soccer in a public park


Didn't mean to start a "pissing match" , but I both called and took a drive to the precinct and was told it was ok for me to shoot (even if the people do have a permit) since its a public park. I'll take my chances next time and if asked to stop ill respectfully stop so I don't get anyone upset at me.


Sep 29, 2012 at 09:23 PM
redman
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p.1 #20 · Photographing soccer in a public park


P Alesse wrote:
Welcome back Carl. We haven't had a good ole private vs. Public pissing match since you've been gone.






Sep 29, 2012 at 10:36 PM
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