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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk
Thread started 19 Sep 2016 (Monday) 08:59
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Media Pass for high school football games

 
HammerCope
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Nebraska
Oct 06, 2016 11:27 as a reply to post 18149786 |  #16

Mommyographer is a term in my area that we use to describe parents (mostly moms) that don't care if there is a professional on site but feel the have the same privileges. They have been know to go and tell everyone to not buy from the contracted photographer that they will send pic to them for free or tag them on FB.


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JeffreyG
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Oct 06, 2016 11:35 as a reply to HammerCope's post |  #17

Well, these parents can do as they wish and holding them as contemptuous isn't going to turn them into customers.

Why don't they deserve as much access as someone looking to profit from them? It might be worth recalling that whatever event you are shooting, it is bankrolled and made possible only through the time and effort of these parents you disdain.


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HammerCope
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Nebraska
Oct 06, 2016 12:27 as a reply to JeffreyG's post |  #18

Not really talking about football for all my events that I have these mommyographers. So you would like it if someone showed up at yor job and said don't worry about paying them I will do it for free.


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JeffreyG
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Oct 06, 2016 15:41 |  #19

HammerCope wrote in post #18149961 (external link)
Not really talking about football for all my events that I have these mommyographers. So you would like it if someone showed up at yor job and said don't worry about paying them I will do it for free.

Well, if most people were happy to do my job for free, and if they were capable of doing it well enough to achieve the desired result.....then my job would not exist as a paid position. And there it is. No sense hating those people or calling them names, now is there? If I'm trying to do something for people that they can do for themselves and that they enjoy doing then I'm working a non-viable business case.

I've covered this before but the topic does come up from time to time. A decade ago some photographers would make a few bucks shooting speculation around youth sports. As digital technology has lowered the barriers to amateurs getting good sports photography this business opportunity has dropped off and it isn't really viable in a lot of markets where it used to work.

As this market went away, some members here and at other photography sites have lashed out at their customers, the parents. I just like to point out that these comments are rather off-putting and pointless to boot. You are never going to talk a million parents into not shooting their kids by whining about it on the internet.

They do it because they can. They do it for free because the value of impressing their fellow parents is worth more to them than the few tens or hundreds of bucks they could earn at it. They will resent you and will fight you if you try to get them restricted from access, and they will probably win because the league knows who funds everything and who signs the kids up and drives them to every event. And finally, you can't make enough at most games or events to kick back enough money to the league to get them to side with you over the parents. Maybe a few really big events, but not most.


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texkam
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By The Lake in Big D
Oct 06, 2016 23:03 |  #20

So you would like it if someone showed up at yor job and said don't worry about paying them I will do it for free.

Happens every day. I'm also a graphic designer. Not only do we have to deal with the "everyone thinks they're a designer" mentality, we also have to accept that there are fantastic designers all over the world, just an internet connection away that are willing to work for pennies on the dollar. And don't even get me started on the whole crowd sourcing/design contest stuff where stupid people are willing to put in hours of work to walk away with nothing.




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diveguy
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Joined Jun 2014
San Francisco, CA
Oct 08, 2016 00:49 |  #21

In my local area, I've found that schools like you to have permission from their Athletic Director. Unless you have a kid on the team, they like to know why you're there. If you are working for a well-known local publication (like your local newspaper), a pass from them would probably also suffice.




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awair
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Post has been last edited 11 months ago by awair. 2 edits done in total.
Oct 13, 2016 14:34 |  #22

diveguy wrote in post #18151325 (external link)
In my local area, I've found that schools like you to have permission from their Athletic Director. Unless you have a kid on the team, they like to know why you're there. If you are working for a well-known local publication (like your local newspaper), a pass from them would probably also suffice.

My first post here, so please excuse if I'm a little off-base: I'd like to pose the alternative viewpoint...

Not so much a direct answer to @mgnike1, rather as a general comment on access for freelance/part-time 'media'.

I agree with @diveguy, why are you at the event? If you're (attending as) a parent, it doesn't matter whether you are a 'Mommyographer' or a pro, presumably your kids, their friends and your friends' kids are the priority (along with having fun)?

If you are running a (speculative) business, unless the event organiser is on side, I'm sorry, but I think this is completely wrong. [I've been to too many swim galas where the 'pro' takes a picture of every kid, in every race, and for $20 you can have an extremely mediocre memento.]

I've been 'snapping away' for 35+ years, with a succession of Canon gear. What really got me back on track was my kids involvement in sports. I want that amazing 'cover-page' shot, of my child, taken by me. Now that takes practise, and gear, and patience.

I'm not in the US, so the economics of this are somewhat different. I'm paying thousands for my kids to train and participate. We then pay again for them to enter competitions, and once again to watch and attend as parents.

Frequently, I am able to convince the organiser to permit poolside/trackside access, on the grounds that I am providing added value for the event. I provide my pictures, free of charge, to other parents. Because I don't believe they should be ripped off (any more).

I'm not 'stealing' someone's job, or opportunity, I am 'sponsoring' the event - to the tune of $500/day. I also choose not to charge, because where I live you may not take a photo of someone without their permission, and you certainly can't post it online. So I get privileged access, I get to feel involved, I 'practise' on other people's kids and get great shots. I also don't want to haggle with my friends over the price/value of my work (and yes, although it is unpaid, it is work).

This isn't for 'bragging rights', the kids are amazing - some (swimming) techniques are better than others, producing better photo opportunities, so I only present the work that I'm happy to put my name to.

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Now, I recently attended an open meet, where I didn't have to show my "parent pass" to get access - these were international (adult) athletes, attending a public sporting event - these images, I will happily charge for and, compete on (mine & their) merit.


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It's a real shame, as @JefferyG says, that this is becoming a non-viable business, but as a Pro making a living solely from photography, you need your work to stand out. I couldn't expect another photographer to get that same shot of my daughter (top), it would have been too much effort. For me, it was part luck, part persistence - but I also achieved dozens of similar shots of club swimmers with less effort, they just don't mean as much to me. In contract, my shot of Meili (lower), is similar to the results that the 'real' Pros acquired, shooting the event for international/national coverage.

Also, if you have the appropriate access to the event, sanctioned by the organiser, being the 'team' photographer is no less important than mainstream media 'with a job to do'. You'll produce a couple of dozen images that the team can cherish for posterity, the media will have one or two (albeit, great shots chosen) but forgotten by next week's game?

In short, I can see both sides of the debate. If that makes me a 'Mommyographer', I'll consider that a badge of honour:-)

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pat.kane
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Oct 13, 2016 18:19 |  #23

awair wrote in post #18156004 (external link)
My first post here, so please excuse if I'm a little off-base: I'd like to pose the alternative viewpoint...

Welcome to the forum.

awair wrote in post #18156004 (external link)
I provide my pictures, free of charge, to other parents. Because I don't believe they should be ripped off (any more).

All of the costs you mentioned for training and competitions have nothing to do with the photographer and you're then going to state the pro making $20 for a photo is ripping off the parents? I don't get it. You're shooting with a Canon EOS 1D X and Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM so you obviously know the investment in gear required for quality photos. You'd have to sell 800 photos at $20/ea just to cover the cost of the gear and that doesn't count the other costs of doing business (image hosting on-site or online, advertising, taxes, insurance, labor, kickback to the event, etc.), much less the fact very few parents buy the photos.


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awair
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Post has been edited 11 months ago by awair.
Oct 14, 2016 01:13 |  #24

Hi Pat, sorry if I didn't make myself clear - I'm probably mixing two different messages here.

When I attend an event, run by the school or club, I believe there are times when its not appropriate to charge. Many parents (and their businesses) support local schools/clubs with donations, time & equipment. I'm donating my time/expertise and equipment. I don't want to be the (only) one profiteering off a kids event. I'm attending as a parent.

I'd also like to think the images I produce are worth more than $20, and the galas I have attended with paid photos have had mostly mediocre results.

If I was to charge at these events, my preferred business model is that I charge the organiser for the results, not the parents, and they then have (limited) license to distribute as they see appropriate. Yes, the costs (training etc) you mentioned have nothing to do with the photographer, but as @JeffreyG says above

whatever event you are shooting, it is bankrolled and made possible only through the time and effort of these parents".

If I'm attending as a member of the media (one of many accredited), then yes it's appropriate to charge market rate.

For the kids events, 'pro bono' is probably more accurate than 'free'.


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JeffreyG
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Oct 14, 2016 07:15 as a reply to pat.kane's post |  #25

I think Awair's point (and mine) is like this. The entire sport and event these entitled photographers are looking to shoot and profit from exists at the expense and time of the parents. Without them and their money and effort, the photographer have no game to shoot and nobody to market to.

So then to come here and refer to these parents with a demeaning name is pretty insulting.

And to suggest one deserves special access over these parents who are the heart of the league is pretty entitled.

And if they kill the business giving away shots, then either they are good, you are not good, or there wasn't really much of a sales opportunity anyway.

But whatever. Some photographers think they can come to POTN, insult their customers, and then sit back and watch the money roll in.


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pat.kane
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Oct 14, 2016 16:54 |  #26

JeffreyG wrote in post #18156570 (external link)
So then to come here and refer to these parents with a demeaning name is pretty insulting.

The thread headed south as soon as the term "mommyographer" was introduced. I also consider this unnecessarily demeaning and one of the best pro, full-time sports photographers I know could have been labeled as such.

No reason to pile on with other demeaning/negative terms though, such as "entitled photographers" (I didn't get that from the original poster and others who followed but I appreciate everyone reads things differently), "ripped off" and "profiteering" (Awair, seriously? I've yet to read one post where a working sports photographer is making excessive or unfair profit).

Other than the negative, I understand and appreciate the points you and Awair are making.


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JeffreyG
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Oct 14, 2016 20:11 |  #27

pat.kane wrote in post #18157029 (external link)
No reason to pile on with other demeaning/negative terms though, such as "entitled photographers" (I didn't get that from the original poster and others who followed but I appreciate everyone reads things differently)

No, I didn't get that from the OP at all. My beef came later with HammerCope. I realize calling someone "entitled" is picking a fight, but I wrote that directly as a response to this sentence from HammerCope:

Mommyographer is a term in my area that we use to describe parents (mostly moms) that don't care if there is a professional on site but feel the have the same privileges.

That part about "privileges" is what set me off and brought me to suggest some folks are entitled. Think about that. HammerCope shows up at an event that he didn't pay for and that he has not invested any time in making happen. And then when the people who are paying for the whole thing and who drove their kids to a thousand practices and travel tournaments etc dare to suggest that they should be able to have the same access as him, he invokes his "privilege". What privilege? What did you earn over the people who are the core of the league?

You bought a nice camera and think you are hot stuff? I have a nice camera, I think I'm hot stuff, and I paid this league $5000 to have my kid out there wearing a jersey. How about that?

That's what I mean by entitled, and I think speculation shooting photographers really need to check their privilege at the door.

"ripped off" and "profiteering" (Awair, seriously? I've yet to read one post where a working sports photographer is making excessive or unfair profit).

Yeah....that's too much. I really do support any photographers who want to make a go of this and especially any who can find a business model that works and who can provide a nice service to the parents who are not able or willing to get good shots. But maybe my hide has been rubbed too thin over the years here at POTN with the entitled photographers who think they own the sidelines and who look down on the very people who should be their customers.


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I use a Canon 5DIII

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awair
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Post has been last edited 11 months ago by awair. 2 edits done in total.
Oct 15, 2016 01:37 |  #28

pat.kane wrote in post #18157029 (external link)
"ripped off" and "profiteering" (Awair, seriously? I've yet to read one post where a working sports photographer is making excessive or unfair profit).

I also wasn't trying to pick a fight, but my wife reminded me of another event, with certain similarities:

Many years ago, my daughter was participating in a (very young kids) ballet show. We paid for tickets to the event, only to be told "absolutely no cameras" and "we're using a pro, you can buy the video/prints afterwards".

I feel sorry for the pro on this occasion, it was the organiser who felt it was appropriate, not only to monopolise the image rights of minors, but to profit from it as well.

As you can imagine, there was no real market - parents, with all sizes of cameras/phones/iPads, were continuously recording throughout the show. This didn't really spoil the event, but the ushers/marshalls who kept telling (different) people to stop were a right pain!

This was not a broadway presentation, but a bunch of 4-10 year-olds. Aside from the lack of any model release, and despite any IP that existed in the whole choreographed event - we weren't there to sit through (and record) 2 hours of the show, just 30 seconds or so (for personal use) of "our little darlings".

On this occasion, my photos missed completely and I would have been happy to pay - but IMHO, for this type of event it's wrong to ban individuals.

Anyway, back to the thread topic, two issues in getting a media pass:
1) For a kids event, "why are you there?" will always be a valid question. Did you invite yourself, or were you asked?
2) Everyone has to start somewhere, don't forge your own 'media pass', but a decent business card, web link & flyer for the organiser might help ease an introduction. Once you have a reputation, then hopefully the organiser will be calling you.

JeffreyG wrote in post #18157150 (external link)
Yeah....that's too much.

I believe I may may have been "a little misquoted"... Not to worry.


I don't want to be the (only) one profiteering

I was referring to myself! (Attending as a parent anyway, bringing my camera to capture my kids, and then charging others - friends.)


...to other parents. Because I don't believe they should be ripped off (any more).

My point of profiteering doesn't relate to what any pro is charging, it is more the monopoly aspect, and the 'nickel and diming' of a kids recreational event.

Consider this:

If I write and produce a play, pay the actors and provide the venue, then I'm pretty certain I should be able to control the image rights. However, if the actors pay me and choreograph themselves, and I only provide the venue, then the situation is potentially reversed. Add minors into the equation, (and I understand that in the US, photography is equivalent to the right to free speech), it all gets very complicated, as these are superior considerations!

While it may be the photographer collecting any profit, and I agree it's their work & right, it is the organiser (and the system) that is flawed. Is the organiser 'selling' exclusive photo access? Do they have that right, and are they (illegally) restricting the rights of others?

This leaves my only (potential) gripe with the 'camera-man' - having surrendered the event to a monopoly, are we getting the results we deserve?

JeffreyG wrote in post #18157150 (external link)
I really do support any photographers who want to make a go of this and especially any who can find a business model that works and who can provide a nice service to the parents who are not able or willing to get good shots. But maybe my hide has been rubbed too thin over the years here at POTN with the entitled photographers who think they own the sidelines and who look down on the very people who should be their customers.

As for @JeffreyG's second point - I agree wholeheartedly.

Anyway, I think I've said enough on the topic, there are valid viewpoint's from both sides. The general rule being "don't step on anyone's toes..." or is it "Don't get in front of my (white) lens!";-)a


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Big ­ Frost
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Oct 17, 2016 08:35 |  #29

I am not a professional sports photographer by any means. My photography was always geared more towards portraits/events/weddi​ngs. Last year, during my sons senior year, he asked me to take some action shots of him, since it was his last year playing high school football. I of course agreed to do so. So I did, but from the stands. But I found myself really enjoying it. So I took pictures of all the action that game. He shared the images with his teammates and they all loved them. Next thing I know, at a football meeting a few days later the Principle stopped me and said, "Hold on, I have something for you." It was a "Press Pass"/School ID badge, and he said that I was welcome to be on the sidelines of any sporting event I cared to go to, so long as I allowed them to use my photos for the yearbook.

At this point, of course I realized that I had a product that was worth something. Could the school afford to pay me for these images? Yes. Would they pay them though? No. Did I care? Not at all. Why? Because the kids absolutely LOVED finally having good pictures of themselves, aside from a camera phone pic from the stands. I realized this was my way of volunteering and being involved. Best decision I feel that I have made as it has definitely encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and improve my skills. Some coaches have ordered prints off of my website, as have some parents, so it hasn't been technically "profitless" on my part, but I don't actively seek out sales from this. So when this year came around, the same pass was waiting for me once again, with the same agreement. And I happily obliged.

Do I encounter the "real professionals" at some of these events? Absolutely! Do I ever interfere? Not a chance. They're there for media publications, and I get along with all of them very well. We always talk. They're all friendly. Do other parents with great gear also take pictures? Of course! Do I care? Not one bit! Matter of fact, I will always help in anyway when parents may not be as experienced as me, and they have trouble getting what they're looking for. So I may not be getting financially compensated for my time, however, I love seeing my photos as profile pictures for dozens and dozens of student athletes on social media. I was also named Booster volunteer of the year last year. Somethings are more important to me than being paid when it comes to high school sports.

So that's what works for me. May not work for everyone. Rather long winded, and I apologize for that, I guess I just get very "opinionated" on this topic.



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2bluesfan
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Oct 20, 2016 03:26 |  #30

JeffreyG wrote in post #18134810 (external link)
... looking for 'coverage' from Jim Bob's House of Photography and Waffles.

Diversification is a vitally important business strategy.


Who is the man who thinks he can decide whose dreams shall live and whose will be pushed aside?

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