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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 09 Dec 2009 (Wednesday) 13:09
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Should I donate my time to HS Sports. Do You?

 
Joe300
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Dec 09, 2009 13:09 |  #1

Hello to all,

Well I am trying to get into HS Sports phtoography in my area...Rigth now I think the students are the only ones who are shooting for the school.

I left a message the SD at the school...to ask if they might be looking for someone to donate time and effort for FREE...:rolleyes: Do you think this is a wise move? :rolleyes:
Anyone get there foot in the door this way so that it may open more doors for you..?
Maybe hoping to sell actions shots back to the parents and donate images to the school yearbook, etc.

Thanks
Joe


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nicmo
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Dec 09, 2009 13:41 |  #2

IMHO never give anything away for free. If you are delivering a product you should get paid for it.


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gonzogolf
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Dec 09, 2009 13:43 |  #3

nicmo wrote in post #9165566 (external link)
IMHO never give anything away for free. If you are delivering a product you should get paid for it.

You wont be giving anything away, you will be trading access for photos. But that said, if you do it for free it'll be impossible to charge for it later.




  
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Dec 09, 2009 13:50 |  #4

I'd consider doing it *ONCE* so they can see the quality of work you can produce, and only offer them a few select shot at that. If they get back to you for a future event, you can negotiate then. Otherwise, as stated, once you're giving it away there's no turning back. What's worse, they're likely to just find someone else to do it for free. Schools are always looking for volunteer workers.


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Joe300
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Dec 09, 2009 14:39 |  #5

Sure its a hard sale to go in there and tell the school I am ready to photograph your sports programs.
Maybe that is why nobody is doing that now for the school system in my area..
Only because I like to shoot sports and maybe get some other paying jobs out of it.
I would do this gig for a limited time and hoping to get more parents interested and to get to know me, that I am a photog in the area that can do the work.. but your right not for free..

yea, what I would try to do is shoot the games, B-Ball, Football, etc.. then charge the parents if they are interested in purchasing the photos.
and like you said only a few images would go back to the school as a donation for allowing me in for the events & yearbook stuff, etc..

thanks
Joe


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Dan-o
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Dec 09, 2009 14:50 |  #6

if you do it for free it'll be impossible to charge for it later.

This is not always true. I first started shooting HS sports from a post on the schools website asking for a photographer to shoot the football games but it stated up front it is not a paying gig. Well this year I told them I would return and this is my price, which they agreed to. They have always had volunteers and DWC shoot the games and I guess now see the value in paying someone to do it right.

This year we had a few Thurs. night games so I offered a local private school to shoot for free on Fri. night and I will give them some photos for the website, as long as they help promote me. I made $500 and $950 on those two games from just print sales alone. It is a small Christian league and they do not get the opportunity for pro level photos I guess. Was very tempting to shoot the rest of their games as well.

Well next year I have a lot more leverage to up my prices to the team I'm shooting for now as I know I can do better elsewhere.

While shooting for free and then demanding money for it later can be tough, you just have to be able to say "thank you for your time" and walk away when they refuse your bid to get paid.

You need to make it somewhere whether it be the school, parents or both like I have secured this year.


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Joe300
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Dec 09, 2009 14:56 |  #7

Dan-o,
That is why I am thinking about going that same route you have done...I now have a lot of parents asking me if I shoot HS stuff... and when I do get out there sometime ppl want to know how they can buy photos from me. I would also like to set up a viewing area so that while at the next game all can see the shots that I took and also on my website.

I just want to do some good networking into this area of sports photography. I am already doing Little League baseball, pee wee football but not HS stuff. I have been out to shoot some HS football this year but the images are still on my hard drive...I need to bring them to the attention of the sports director...
Joe.


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Big ­ K
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Dec 09, 2009 17:59 |  #8

One of the most important things to evaluate is are you in a market where people have the disposable income and are willing to spend it for photography. Just because they like your work and ask about buying does not mean that they will.

Do you have good success with your little league and pee wee football?

Is it possible that no other shooters are in your area because there is no money to be made?

If there is a market, getting in is the key and doing some free work up front may not be a bad option. However, as already mentioned, this does set you up to have a tougher time switching from the guy who works for free to the guy who wants to get paid.

Understanding your market and its potential for sales is a very important first step.


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MJPhotos24
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Dec 09, 2009 18:41 |  #9

I left a message the SD at the school...to ask if they might be looking for someone to donate time and effort for FREE...:rolleyes: Do you think this is a wise move? :rolleyes:

Not one bit do I think it's a wise move in all honesty. The wise move is to contact the school and try to set up being the official photographer and come up with a deal. If you're stuff is good enough to want to shoot and sell to parents then it should be good enough to be "the main guy" shooting there. This may entail giving some free photos to the newsletter, newspaper, yearbook, etc. but not for nothing - for advertising space! A byline is not advertising is one thing to remember as well with this - you want an actual ad to trade off! Trade offs are very common in any business and Dan posted a good example of it.

Definitely a lot of ways to do it. Mine's nothing official, but they don't get anything either in return. I did just give them a freebie for a newsletter knowing they don't have a budget for photos - but requested no other usage and they don't give it away obviously. If I shot more, and was "the main guy" it'd be a LOT different. Right now though it's just coaches inviting and helping promote. Would never call offering free services, but if worked into with some trade offs who knows.

Anyone get there foot in the door this way so that it may open more doors for you..?

It's difficult, randomly asking to give things away is going to get them thinking they can use you for as much as they need. After you jump at shooting for free the change over to getting paid is not good.

Maybe hoping to sell actions shots back to the parents and donate images to the school yearbook, etc.

As mentioned, look at trade offs - not just handing them over.

gonzogolf wrote in post #9165582 (external link)
You wont be giving anything away, you will be trading access for photos.

Which is one of the most piss poor excuses ever - worst thing you can do is trade access for photos - editors call that person a SUCKER!

Big K wrote in post #9167123 (external link)
One of the most important things to evaluate is are you in a market where people have the disposable income and are willing to spend it for photography. Just because they like your work and ask about buying does not mean that they will.
Do you have good success with your little league and pee wee football?

Is it possible that no other shooters are in your area because there is no money to be made?

If there is a market, getting in is the key and doing some free work up front may not be a bad option. However, as already mentioned, this does set you up to have a tougher time switching from the guy who works for free to the guy who wants to get paid.

Understanding your market and its potential for sales is a very important first step.

Ain't that first sentence the truth!! So is the rest, and will add that youth sports (LL & PW) do better than high school almost always because parents buy when younger more often. By about age 12 sales dip, though it depends on the parent, area, how the team is doing (yes wins losses), etc.


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Mike ­ R
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Dec 09, 2009 20:13 |  #10

Big K wrote in post #9167123 (external link)
One of the most important things to evaluate is are you in a market where people have the disposable income and are willing to spend it for photography. Just because they like your work and ask about buying does not mean that they will.

+1 It's even worse in a poor economy. I shoot for a volleyball team (among others) This year I had not sold one print to parents (some unemployed) but the team still paid for a slideshow so it wasn't a total waste. Sales form other teams is good.


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primoz
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Dec 10, 2009 05:33 |  #11

gonzogolf wrote in post #9165582 (external link)
You wont be giving anything away, you will be trading access for photos.

Or with other words... you are giving away your time, your equipment and your photos for free ;) Trading things like access, bylines etc. for photos is in other words shooting for free. But it sounds better.
So personally I think shooting for free (or that it will sound better, trading access for photos) is never way to go, but on the end, it's up to OP to decided what he will do.


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Joe300
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Dec 10, 2009 10:01 |  #12

Thanks guys,
very good advice...if I get a call back from the HS I can sit down with the SD. I will rethink some of my options...I dont want and cant afford to be a free shooter but you are right maybe no one is doing it because of no money in the market.
I was thinking this might be agood business move to get more exposure and networking my photography to the high school students and parents.
this is my first year doing youth sports so I am trying to venture out a little more to other options in the sports area.
thanks for all of the advice,
Joe


A lot of Canon gear=300D & 1Dmkiii, Lens and some studio gear,
WL x1600 etc.
Two Bronica SQ-Ai outfit too! 'Old School'
www.joelaroccaphotogra​phy.com (external link)

  
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Big ­ K
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Dec 10, 2009 10:03 |  #13

Good luck Joe.


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cpo13
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Dec 11, 2009 00:56 |  #14

Joe300 wrote in post #9170803 (external link)
Thanks guys,
v...I dont want and cant afford to be a free shooter but you are right maybe no one is doing it because of no money in the market.

I was thinking this might be agood business move to get more exposure and networking my photography to the high school students and parents.

There were a couple of very interesting posts in a thread on Sportsshooter a few months back which touched on this. One pro shooter said that his business model did indeed give away sports action shots for free. His rationale was that there was little to no money in this anyway, but the exposure it gave him and the contacts in the local community it made led to very profitable business in other areas, (senior, portrait, family, event, etc.). In this case the argument is that you're not giving your action shots away for free, but using them as advertising that you'd otherwise be paying for somewhere else.

Just another viewpoint that may or may not make sense in your specific case.


Chris

  
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Big ­ K
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Dec 11, 2009 08:45 |  #15

cpo13 wrote in post #9175368 (external link)
There were a couple of very interesting posts in a thread on Sportsshooter a few months back which touched on this. One pro shooter said that his business model did indeed give away sports action shots for free. His rationale was that there was little to no money in this anyway, but the exposure it gave him and the contacts in the local community it made led to very profitable business in other areas, (senior, portrait, family, event, etc.). In this case the argument is that you're not giving your action shots away for free, but using them as advertising that you'd otherwise be paying for somewhere else.

Just another viewpoint that may or may not make sense in your specific case.

Chris, I think that was me in that thread. To clarify a bit, I rarely intentionally give prints away for free. Occasionally for close friends but not the norm. i just don't expect to make any money and shoot because I enjoy it. I also make lots of stuff available via my website and don't hassle the kids who steal it and put it on their myspace and facebook pages. I don't encourage it, but also don't fight them over it.

I did recently start watermarking stuff on my website so the info is visible when they do steal them and have also started posting select images from each game on my facebook page and tagging the individuals in them so they show up on their pages.

This has lead to a HUGE flood of friend requests from both athletes and non athletes which has dramatically increased my visibility and recognition to lots of soon to be seniors.

While the revenue from the actual sales of sports photos is considerably less than if I were working at McDonalds, the business generated from being the "sports picture guy" has been very solid.

One final thing to note. If you do not have the equipment and experience to provide these other services (senior pictures, family photos, event T&I, weddings, etc.) This would not be a recommended approach since you are getting nothing out of your marketing.


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