Since 2005 I have sold college sports action pictures to parents of players on a web site called Rod Cannon Photography and wonder if some of you other photo business owners get surreptitious requests for free pictures as I do.
First one I can remember was from Mary, a former college basketball player. She contacted me several years after she graduated, said a former teammate had died and she told family she would see about acquiring pictures of her late former teammate in action. I searched my archives, found a few pictures of Mary's former teammate, put them on my site (with a reasonable price), told Mary about it, and she ordered nothing. I could only assume she had been angling for free pictures all along.
A few weeks ago a college employee and Facebook friend asked via Facebook message if I had pictures of the former football coach there, who died two years ago. I had just finished building a gallery of coach pictures and sent her a link to ten of the coach she was interested in. She wrote back asking for a discount. I declined to provide one. And she bought nothing. As it happens, she was asking on behalf of the coach's widow, who wanted to make a collage with pictures of her late husband to hang in the football locker room. She said the widow cried, but I'm not sure if it was after seeing the pictures, or after I declined to give a discount. Anyway, no one ordered anything.
Then yesterday I received a message from another Facebook friend, this one a former high school basketball player I photographed more than ten years ago. She wanted to know if I still have pictures of her. She may yet respond and offer to pay for them, but I doubt it.
This is all the more frustrating because sales have tanked in last two years even though quality of my pictures improved quite a bit this last season after I started using Lightroom instead of iPhoto. Are there any similar stories out there? Has anyone found a way to deal with these people and still make a sale?