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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 13 Nov 2014 (Thursday) 17:35
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Access for High School Sports

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Nov 13, 2014 17:35 |  #1

I have a question about gaining access for High School Sports. Do I need to be associated with a media outlet in order to gain access? I would like to be able to shoot some of the basketball games in my area. Would it be as simple as just asking the AD of each school?

I live in a very small community, and all the surrounding schools in my area are small also. In fact the Superintendent and AD(Same Person) of our local school is my next door neighbor. Right now I am not looking to sell any of my prints, but I would eventually like to sell my prints to parents, or even contribute to the local community newspapers.




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Location: Arlington, VA
Nov 13, 2014 19:06 |  #2

It depends. Some schools will give you the boot. Others may think you're a parent and leave you alone.

What you really need to ask yourself is are you prepared for the unforeseen consequences? As an example, what if an athlete collides with you and breaks a limb or worse? Are you insured? What if a parent decides you're a pedophile? You have no reason to be on the sideline as you're not selling to the parents, school or media outlet, so obviously your intent must be nefarious.

Best approach is to find a reason to be on the sideline. Ask the school which company they use for their yearbook and call them to see if they need another photographer. Investigate Contract directly with the school's booster club for action photos and banners. Whatever you do, don't offer to provide free photos for access as you're undercutting everyone trying to turn a profit in what is already a very tough market. Search this forum as you'll find plenty of stories on the sports photography business.

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Nov 13, 2014 19:16 |  #3

I've never been asked to leave a HS gym or asked for credentials for any sport other than some playoff series. Just go and find your spot and stay out of the way.

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Joined Mar 2010
Location: Kentucky
Nov 13, 2014 23:36 |  #4

I can't imagine there will be a problem. Tell your neighbor your intensions. You will probably have to pay admission. I shoot at my local school (very small) plus away games and tournament games. I have never been asked for anything other than permission to use some shots in the school annual.

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Location: Memphis, TN
Nov 14, 2014 06:36 |  #5

1. Get some insurance as Pat stated.
2. Ask the AD for permission
3. Become invisible on the sidelines/court

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Nov 15, 2014 10:29 |  #6

tmalone893 wrote in post #17271278 (external link)
1. Get some insurance as Pat stated.
2. Ask the AD for permission
3. Become invisible on the sidelines/court

This is so important.

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Location: MN
Nov 18, 2014 01:19 |  #7

Get to know parents in the boosters. Get an ok from the AD. I shoot hockey and lacrosse for high school. Ive never been kicked out. Ive actually got to become good friends with other photogs at games. Have learned a ton that way too. I made a FB page for my photography and link my photos to my website. Ive been trying to get in with the booster so i can get in for free but it hasn't happened. If your neighbor is the AD you have better chances. good luck.

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Location: Ansonia, CT
Dec 02, 2014 07:51 |  #8

Contact the school's AD and just ask. 99.9% of the time they will let you shoot.

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Location: Iowa
Dec 06, 2014 13:52 |  #9

nhbeast wrote in post #17304144 (external link)
Contact the school's AD and just ask. 99.9% of the time they will let you shoot.

This, especially in a small school, get to know them, things should be fine.

Um... Hi

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Joined Apr 2012
Dec 06, 2014 20:45 |  #10

I do this for my sons school. I basically wanted to be on the sidelines to get better shots. So a couple of years ago I asked one of the coaches if I could get closer, he asked what I was doing with the photos and I told him just putting them on fb for the kids. Long story short, after speaking with the principal and ad, I take photos at anything I want. It gives me access to learn and the school gets free sports photos for their yearbook, internet, whatever they want in sports. Its a small community, and the school does not have the funds to really pay anyone. So I scratch their back and they scratch mine. I signed a form saying I am totally responsible if I get wiped out in a football game lol and away I went. Like others have posted, just stay out of the way. Every time I have to pass by a coach I say excuse me, etc. It also helps if you get plenty of shots of the coaches in action as well. Their wives like seeing them too. Also make a deal with the coaches, as they age and get fatter you will stay above the waste. They love that lol. Just be nice. Most school principles love any thing you can do for the school. I have learned a ton, plus it helps to befriend any "old" photographer as well. A man named Frank is 80 on my sons sidelines, but he has been taking photos since the 50's. Super nice guy. Here is a link to my flickr account and what Ive done this year:​/photos/51526542@N02/s​ets/ (external link) I still have a lot to learn but from where I came from 2 years ago, I never would have learned so much if I wasnt doing the high school stuff. Im still culling a lot of my photos from this past season so dont get too bored, and the kids love the hdr stuff, for their website and their yearbooks............j​ust be nice. Everything was with a t2i and a 70/200L non is. Thats all I have for equipment and a 2x tc.

I can't tell the difference
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Location: Sarasota, sunlight, butterflies, fish, Gators, and Seminoles
Dec 06, 2014 21:29 |  #11

PhotoGeek wrote in post #17270603 (external link)
I've never been asked to leave a HS gym or asked for credentials for any sport other than some playoff series. Just go and find your spot and stay out of the way.

This! Start from the corners. Until the coaches get used to seeing you, don't be blatant. But realize that everybody will realize that you are taking pics - you've got to maintain a semi-pro demeanor/attitude ... you can't be yelling about the game details; just concentrate on getting the views.

The 85/1.8 is a super lens for HS basketball. If you get there early enough, shooting the warm-up will get you established as "belonging" there.

Look for comments here from DCFan - he's a great sports shooter.

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Gallery: 9 photos
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Joined Jul 2014
Location: Central Illinois
Feb 14, 2015 10:08 |  #12

I shoot for our local HS marching band and also for the local paper. I have never witnessed anyone geting thrown out of an event for taking photos. I have however run into the issue of a couple of kids in the band/footballteam that were in the middle of an adoption process that cant have their photos published. I would suggest if you are going to use them on your site or social media you go to the AD or Band Director and get the ok to publish them. I am covered under the marching band program as far as it goes for posting but I always double check with the BD before I post and get the ok form him before I post.

You also will more than likely get folks asking about sr photos while on the sidelines.. Have business cards handy!

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Location: Woodinville, WA
Feb 14, 2015 13:53 |  #13

One big thing to understand is the game officials own the court/field during the game. If they ask you to move, do so without comment or hesitation. I always take some shots of the game officials and try and find the official who has connections to their organization and website. I offer up any photos I get of them as a courtesy. In a small conference you will get to know the officials the more they see you on the court/field they will get more comfortable and stay out of your way when they can. I have even had a ref at a basketball game come up to me at half time asking if I got a particular play. He wanted to see if his call on a 3-point shot was correct. I don't think he was going to change his call, just seeing if his call was correct. Unfortunately I did not get the feet in the shot....

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Access for High School Sports
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