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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 06 Mar 2013 (Wednesday) 00:48
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Ask away... Sports Edition

 
xchangx
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Mar 09, 2013 20:38 |  #16

Like Thomas said, the walk away pay isn't much. However, if you are good and unique you can make it. Look at Mark Rebilas, he's making a pretty good living.

I have a full-time job so it's not absolutely critical I make a killing. I will admit, I've done a few favors. Kind of the "I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine". I've used those opportunities to build my portfolio.

But, to get back to the point, it's hard work. True it's fun to walk out into the stadium of a team that has won the last 2 national championships, but there's also the preparation, travel, working on a deadline, the pressure of the people looking at your work, etc...

If you want to do sports fulltime, expect to always be working; looking for new clients, working on current projects, etc.

clarence wrote in post #15694980 (external link)
It's very hard to gauge how much anyone really gets paid by wire services when making it to the next level.

It seems like you only hear hints when a picture does really well, like a stock photo of Johnny Football or a SI double-truck, but even for the Top 1% of shooters, that doesn't seem like a typical payout.

Have you averaged the commission received from every event you covered last year?

As a rough estimate, a major event would be at least an 8-hour day... travel, parking, pre-game, game, half-time rush for a couple of quick submits, 2nd half, quick post-game rush for a couple more quick submits, travel, edit, tag, upload.

If you managed to cover 52 major events in a year, would you clear an average of say $1000 per event?

Or is it more like $200, so a HS kid who dreams of skipping college and being a "pro sports photographer" would have to find 250 events (5 days x 50 weeks = 250 working days), to have a chance at being able to make it a full-time job?

FWIW, for my spec youth and varsity coverage, I track the commission for every event. It's a bell curve, at the low end it's sometimes only $10-20, a few times a year I'll clear $500+ at an event. But my average has increased from $60 to $90 per event. Each event averaging 4 hours when including post-processing. So $15-$22.50 per hour. After taxes, insurance, and equipment, I could probably make more in the concession stand. :p

I know take home pay is always sensitive, but since you offered "ask away" I figured this might be a good candid thread to ask in.... Does the average photographer at a NFL game make more than the average beer vendor at an NFL game?


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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Mar 09, 2013 21:33 |  #17

xchangx wrote in post #15696580 (external link)
Like Thomas said, the walk away pay isn't much. However, if you are good and unique you can make it. Look at Mark Rebilas, he's making a pretty good living.

I will also add that Mark makes the majority of his money from commercial sponsors. I think he is under contract with Toyota. Then he retains the rights to sell elsewhere.

I have a full-time job so it's not absolutely critical I make a killing. I will admit, I've done a few favors. Kind of the "I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine". I've used those opportunities to build my portfolio.

That's the thing. You have to have a job outside sports. Unless you are a staff photog at the AP or elsewhere, you aren't making a living shooting sports. Michael has another job. I shoot weddings. It is not possible to just shoot sports for a living unless you are shooting them for commercial clients, in which case, you need to be very well established.


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Spudly
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Mar 09, 2013 22:02 as a reply to  @ Thomas Campbell's post |  #18

Just curious to know a rough average of how many pictures you take during a game?




  
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liam5100
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Mar 09, 2013 22:39 |  #19

clarence wrote in post #15694980 (external link)
If you managed to cover 52 major events in a year, would you clear an average of say $1000 per event?

Or is it more like $200, so a HS kid who dreams of skipping college and being a "pro sports photographer" would have to find 250 events (5 days x 50 weeks = 250 working days), to have a chance at being able to make it a full-time job?

The latter is closer, but that "$1000 per event" sure made me giggle... I can just speak for myself, but 52 games a year is nothing. I'm shooting 30+ basketball games this month alone to try and make ends meat.

Often in these days, again speaking for myself, the pay is sometimes better for lessor events than the big events. For example I was offered to cover the Big 12 tournament next week or for $50 more per game cover the C-USA tournament... guess which I'm headed too.

Point being to "make a living" you often have to do what pays you the money, not gets you the bragging rights or the glory, some guys cant seem to get past that.

But again... what do I know... I suck at this stuff...


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xchangx
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Mar 10, 2013 03:24 |  #20

Spudly wrote in post #15696833 (external link)
Just curious to know a rough average of how many pictures you take during a game?

Depends on what kind of game. For football I can average about 700, with about 70-100 keepers.


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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Mar 10, 2013 06:52 |  #21

xchangx wrote in post #15697293 (external link)
Depends on what kind of game. For football I can average about 700, with about 70-100 keepers.

I'm still catching up on my paying for all my spraying


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xchangx
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Mar 10, 2013 07:19 |  #22

Thomas Campbell wrote in post #15697502 (external link)
I'm still catching up on my paying for all my spraying

Haha! I'll admit, when I first started that's what I did. Much better now. :)


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Mar 10, 2013 18:26 |  #23

liam5100 wrote in post #15696954 (external link)
For example I was offered to cover the Big 12 tournament next week or for $50 more per game cover the C-USA tournament.

Be sure to show those Memphis Tigers some love.:lol::lol::lol:


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Mar 10, 2013 18:50 as a reply to  @ tmalone893's post |  #24

Ok, inquiring minds want to know...

JPEG or RAW? I always shoot RAW, then spin them through Lightroom when I get home, not too much post, just cropping and minor stuff, maybe 2-3 minutes per useable shot. But others swear by JPEG. So wondering what the general consensus says...


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xchangx
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Mar 10, 2013 21:22 |  #25

kenjancef wrote in post #15699744 (external link)
Ok, inquiring minds want to know...

JPEG or RAW? I always shoot RAW, then spin them through Lightroom when I get home, not too much post, just cropping and minor stuff, maybe 2-3 minutes per useable shot. But others swear by JPEG. So wondering what the general consensus says...

I generally shoot raw. I like to over expose my shots a tad to bring out the faces and shooting raw helps me control the highlights.


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Mar 10, 2013 21:39 |  #26

xchangx wrote in post #15700286 (external link)
I generally shoot raw. I like to over expose my shots a tad to bring out the faces and shooting raw helps me control the highlights.

A big reason I shoot RAW is for edits like that, but it seems that most people I run into or shoot next to like JPEG.

Thanks for the reply... :)


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Thomas ­ Campbell
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Mar 11, 2013 00:50 |  #27

I shoot all my sports work in JPEG. I set WB manually and try to nail exposure for the face. I differ from a lot of photographers because I don't give a **** if I blow out jersey highlights if the face looks good in football.

But I get flack from that too. I just don't care. It is my vision for the sport and it has served me well.

I shoot all my portraits and weddings in RAW, but dont think I would have any problem shooting jpeg. I tend to shoot pretty accurately in exposure and WB - all manual on both.


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kenjancef
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Mar 11, 2013 07:24 |  #28

Thomas Campbell wrote in post #15700912 (external link)
I shoot all my sports work in JPEG. I set WB manually and try to nail exposure for the face. I differ from a lot of photographers because I don't give a **** if I blow out jersey highlights if the face looks good in football.

But I get flack from that too. I just don't care. It is my vision for the sport and it has served me well.

I shoot all my portraits and weddings in RAW, but dont think I would have any problem shooting jpeg. I tend to shoot pretty accurately in exposure and WB - all manual on both.

Thanks for the reply. I'll try JPEG and see what happens.


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Mar 11, 2013 08:47 |  #29

kenjancef wrote in post #15701470 (external link)
Thanks for the reply. I'll try JPEG and see what happens.

Why?

Are you on a time crunch for uploading JPGs to a wire during halftime?

Are you very limited on the amount of CF capacity you have?

Are you constantly filling up your buffer by taking 20+ consecutive shots?

Are you very limited on the amount of HD capacity you have at home? (if so you can convert to JPG and delete the RAWs and still be better off than JPG only)

Do you just want the challenge of improving your instincts to nail exposure and WB better manually and don't want to have the extra leeway available from RAW?


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Mar 11, 2013 09:17 |  #30

clarence wrote in post #15694980 (external link)
If you managed to cover 52 major events in a year, would you clear an average of say $1000 per event?

$1000 per event? In which world are you living?
These are more or less current rates:

AFP
Half-day (news): $100
Full day (news): $250
Sport (per event): $190

Getty Images
Half-day (News): $125
Full day (News) :$250
Sport (per event): $350

Reuters is using very similar rates as AFP. I guess there's no need to mention you don't keep copyright for images you shot, and I guess I also don't need to mention, all expenses are yours, so you cover gas, hotel, food, equipment etc.... out of these few $100 ;)

Would be really great if someone would pay $1000/day, but unfortunately not on this planet.

PS: These are rates for stringers, which are sent to event by previously mentioned agencies, not for "contributors". Contributors normally get percentage of sale, which means in worse case, they spend day(s) shooting something and don't see a single cent.


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