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ScooterShooter
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sports Photographs for Free



I am a novice compared with most here and have never worked photography professionally. It is just a hobby for me.

I read the "Immutable Laws" thread and afterwards I feel like I'm "that guy". I take photos at various sporting events at my kids' high school, and I post them and give them away for free.

I do so for a few reasons:

1) I'm trying to "give back" to a school that I feel has done a lot for my family.
2) I'm trying to "give back" to friends whose kids play sports at the school. Many of these friends have given to me/my family/the community through coaching or teaching my kids, working the school lunchroom, being the team parent, etc etc.
3) I like to take photographs and attempt to get better.

Based on the "Immutable Laws" thread, I'm now wondering if I am somehow disrespecting the photography brotherhood by providing free photos? I have a full-time job and so am not in it for the money. I just enjoy the challenge of getting a good image.



Sep 19, 2017 at 08:54 PM
P Alesse
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sports Photographs for Free


What about a compromise? Charge them and give back a percentage to the booster club to support the athletic program. That's what most pros do anyway. It's a win-win.


Sep 19, 2017 at 11:19 PM
mikekeating
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sports Photographs for Free


Scooter, I am like you. Have a full time job that I love. And I enjoy the challenge of trying to get a good shot.

Here is my opinion of giving away photos: I normally will not charge the team that my kid is playing for. . .really just bad cricket (IMHO, others may have a different opinion). Now, I donít feel bad for one big reason . . .I am the only photographer there 99% of the time. Also, the local paper has used my images from time to time (compensated and credited) and during the playoff rush, the pro photogs are normally sitting by me during the games as I know who to follow. I have a few times where pros have copied my images (I arrange the teams post game for celebration, etc and the local pro just jumps my image. . . again, bad cricket).

From this model, I have gotten senior photos, some family sessions and I get hired to shoot some other teams in the area (team members have friends at other schools).

Paul does make a good point about the booster club, they can be a big client. . . .



Sep 20, 2017 at 03:23 AM
adamx12m
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sports Photographs for Free


Shoot the photos, get better, post them for free, build your audience. I've adopted the model of free 512px downloads, cheap paid digital downloads, and paid prints. Nobody is getting rich but referral business does show up. Sometimes you can work with booster clubs before the season starts and offer to shoot a few games for a fee. Every high school is different and every sport is different with parents wanting to buy high quality photographs. I have a good friend who shoots soccer and basketball for one high school, gets paid for every home game and that all started as a referral.

On a typical Friday football game I'll see 15 photographers usually and I can guarantee between the yearbook staff and parents, maybe one or two might post there shots on shutterfly for free, so probably not alot of sharing going on anyways. If you decide your time and work is worth more then start charging down the road, but say who cares if you post them for free.



Sep 20, 2017 at 05:02 AM
Marty Bingham
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sports Photographs for Free


I think at this point it is a moot question. The sports action market has all but died out and most of the T&I is being done by companies who can come in a cover a whole league in half a day. The pro stuff is going mostly to spec shooters. The reason you don't see photographers at most games, mikekeating, is because so many people were shooting their team and giving away the photos that no one needed to buy them anymore. The pros/semi pros moved on. It was a nice market for a while but not so much any more.

The down side , to me, is the people who killed the sales often move on when their children cycle through the league or school and leave the rest hanging. Sure there is always somebody ready to step up but I'm not seeing the consistent, dependable, well balanced coverage that I saw in the heyday of the pro who covered every team, every player, every game. And provided easy access to the photos to the athletes, parents and coaches.

I'm not saying anybody did anything wrong. That's just how things are now.

Marty




Sep 20, 2017 at 04:30 PM
ScooterShooter
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sports Photographs for Free


Marty Bingham wrote:
I think at this point it is a moot question. The sports action market has all but died out and most of the T&I is being done by companies who can come in a cover a whole league in half a day. The pro stuff is going mostly to spec shooters. The reason you don't see photographers at most games, mikekeating, is because so many people were shooting their team and giving away the photos that no one needed to buy them anymore. The pros/semi pros moved on. It was a nice market for a while but not so
...Show more

But how am I, as a photographer, different than the volunteers who are preparing the team meals? Have they "killed the sales" of local caterers?





Sep 20, 2017 at 05:43 PM
CW100
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sports Photographs for Free


ScooterShooter wrote:
But how am I, as a photographer, different than the volunteers who are preparing the team meals? Have they "killed the sales" of local caterers?



those are two distinctly separate services. Cheap digital cameras, internet, social media and free photo hosting impacted the sales in photography. Catering meals - someone still has to buy the food and cook it and physically deliver it.
Maybe in the future a robot chef, free Uber and cheap food will "kill the sales" in catering.






Sep 20, 2017 at 07:24 PM
Marty Bingham
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sports Photographs for Free



But how am I, as a photographer, different than the volunteers who are preparing the team meals? Have they "killed the sales" of local caterers?


The best way to illustrate that difference would be for you to set up a grill beside the concession stand and give away food. When you are asked to leave explain how you are just giving back. I promise that you would be shut down.

Pro photographers, for the most part, weren't given that protection and were left competing with photographers who were giving away photos. The event photographer who doesn't have the same protection as other vendors is at the mercy of professional courtesy. And we all see how that turned out. Most of them, faced with the choice of competing with free photos, have moved on to something else.

The - shooters who were trying to sell photos vs the shooters who were giving them away - debate got pretty ugly a few years ago and I really don't care to revive it. Nobody's mind was changed then and it's too late now.

But to answer your original question of is it disrespectful to a working photographer to give photos away, I'd say yes if you are shooting the same event. But there's probably no one there now anyway...because of people giving away photos.

Marty




Sep 20, 2017 at 08:35 PM
Pibblepictures
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sports Photographs for Free


I'm that guy too. I shoot my kids' games, and upload them for parents in postable resolution. If they want to print, I offer to do better processing and editing, and get them full resolution. I suggest a donation to the team mom to help fund an end of year party for the kids. No pros showing up at these events. I refrained from shooting over the shoulder of the hired T&I photographer out of respect even though this guy doesn't do particularly good work. I'll even buy prints from him, so don't think anything wrong here. Just my opinion.


Sep 20, 2017 at 08:43 PM
mikekeating
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sports Photographs for Free


Pibblepictures wrote:
I'm that guy too. I shoot my kids' games, and upload them for parents in postable resolution. If they want to print, I offer to do better processing and editing, and get them full resolution. I suggest a donation to the team mom to help fund an end of year party for the kids. No pros showing up at these events. I refrained from shooting over the shoulder of the hired T&I photographer out of respect even though this guy doesn't do particularly good work. I'll even buy prints from him, so don't think anything wrong here. Just my opinion.
...Show more

That is the other aspect T&I photos. Parents don't really want the posed picture in front of the goal anymore. They want to see their kid playing. Sure, the posed photos are great for the people that play 5 minutes a season, but the vast majority of people don't want them.

I have parents asking me to make something (I believe someone here called it a Sportrait) that they can hang and show their friends. That is decent money and the parents and kids get something they actually like, not the take it or leave it option.

Again, I don't feel bad as there are no pros at our events . . .I have been to 2 tournaments this year . . .lots of college coaches from D1 schools . . .not one photog besides me. Could have made a killing if my fair Irish skin could have handled the 95 degree heat all day.



Sep 21, 2017 at 01:39 AM
 

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Pibblepictures
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sports Photographs for Free


mikekeating wrote:
The league photographer for T&I two seasons ago did work like this. It looked great, and was easy on the parents, as he would take individual shots only (had 4 or so dates he did shootings), and then shopped them into composites with some pretty cool effects. By far the best team photo we've ever bought....problem is, he was working solo....and with 400 some kids in the league, I think he grossly underestimated the post processing time required, so it took months and months to get the product out. Some parents never got theirs....so he ultimately got fired. A shame,
...Show more



Sep 21, 2017 at 08:30 PM
jrash168
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sports Photographs for Free


I think Marty hit it on the head. I hardly cover any of the games that I used to. Can't compete with free. When it's free, it doesn't have to be good, just good enough.


Sep 21, 2017 at 09:53 PM
scottiet
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Sports Photographs for Free


Marty Bingham wrote:
The best way to illustrate that difference would be for you to set up a grill beside the concession stand and give away food. When you are asked to leave explain how you are just giving back. I promise that you would be shut down.

Pro photographers, for the most part, weren't given that protection and were left competing with photographers who were giving away photos. The event photographer who doesn't have the same protection as other vendors is at the mercy of professional courtesy. And we all see how that turned out. Most of them, faced with the
...Show more

Well said Marty!



Sep 22, 2017 at 01:11 AM
Robby1969
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Sports Photographs for Free


we have a lady local that has all the new Nikon stuff that I dream about.she goes around doing sports pictures and then gives them to anybody that wants them.she told our softball coach one day she could have them for whatever she wanted and she looked at her and said, i have my own photo person and I don't need them but thanks. lol


Sep 22, 2017 at 03:47 AM
darryn patch
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Sports Photographs for Free





But how am I, as a photographer, different than the volunteers who are preparing the team meals? Have they "killed the sales" of local caterers?








your comment pretty much sums up your complete lack of any knowledge in running a business or how a business operates


who do you work for, I bet its not yourself?


Sep 22, 2017 at 08:33 AM
Michael H
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Sports Photographs for Free


I stepped away from youth sports quite a while ago. It only kept getting worse and worse.

While I certainly do think the availability of free photos had some impact, I don't think it's the penultimate reason for the decline. The industry in general has declined to a point where very few can actually make a living. This always connected, 144 character society has hurt us more than anything IMHO. People simply don't engage in images like they used to. Satisfied with a cell phone snap on a crappy dark night to share once and be done, they no longer value the work we can produce for them. There are exceptions of course, but the weekend little leagues and pee wee football days are mostly long gone.

Until people pull their heads back up from the always connected to a 5" screen mode they are in, they miss far too many things in life. That is trap easy to fall in to and an unfortunate one at that.

Edited on Sep 24, 2017 at 03:00 PM · View previous versions



Sep 22, 2017 at 10:27 PM
cocodrillo
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Sports Photographs for Free


The market as traditionally conceived is, I think, pretty much dead. If you want to make money you need new models like the sports as loss-leader for other work highlighted by a few above. Besides, if you look at the typical royalty stream that most pro-shooters with agencies are getting you have to question why bother. Heck, Getty is now giving most of its stuff away as a free embed to masses of users, including commercial publications. Even other outlets have seen revenues collapse -- Alamy just 'sold' a license for one of my images for online use for seven years for six bucks. I get half of that and the cheque doesn't get cut until there is fifty bucks owing. Do the math. Not good.

Of course, there's also the whole volunteer work model. Photography is one way to make an important contribution back to the community. Going a bit egg-head on everyone, when Alexis de Toqueville wrote his landmark "Democracy in America" in 1835, one of the things he highlighted as most remarkable about America was the sense of civic togetherness, community helping each other as a matter of daily course. We've (many countries, not just US) have lost this a bit. I think there are probably some interesting ways to tier services to provide the community service and by doing so create space to rebuild income streams.



Sep 23, 2017 at 01:54 AM
dbaphotography
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Sports Photographs for Free


One aspect of this discussion that I think is often missed is the "fun factor" of sports photography. You've got to admit that being down on the sidelines trying to capture exciting sports images can be very enjoyable. And the progression of ever-cheaper and ever-more-capable digital cameras is making youth sports photography an affordable hobby for many.

Now that sucks if you were making a living shooting youth sports. Just like it sucked if you used to make your living installing land-line telephones. But I can't fault the people who are jumping in and doing it for their own enjoyment or other reasons besides financial gain.



Sep 23, 2017 at 09:01 PM
Donn Kester
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Sports Photographs for Free


Look at it this way the pro contributes to the booster club in some way and sells their product to get that donation. Someone else comes in gives photos away taking away the sales from the pro in turn reduces the contributions to the booster club. Booster club counts on those contributions now they have to raise more money else ware or ask the parents to pay more money to support the team. Pro is out income and the parents will have to pay more to support the team. Correct me if I am wrong.


Sep 24, 2017 at 12:51 AM
P Alesse
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Sports Photographs for Free


I'm forever thankful for this post, because it brought out some old time FM'ers that I haven't seen in years.


Sep 24, 2017 at 01:22 AM
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