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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Need some advice! HS sports photography
Showing posts 1 - 7 of 7, (reverse)
10/15/2008 08:11:30 AM · #1
Ok...here's the deal...my sports editor of our local newspaper talked with the athletic director of the high school where I live and gave him the idea of using me as their sports photographer. I was shooting a soccer match last night and my editor was there also and said that he talked with the AD and now the AD wants me to call him to set up a meeting to talk to him.

I think this would be great exposure, tons of clients but he also wants a proposal from me. I know the school has a website and I would post the photos onto the website and the mention of a percentage of the proceeds of sales would go to the school and the rest to me.

So.....I need the help of all the experts out there!! How should I do about this? I would love to take this opportunity since I really love to do sports photography more than anything.

10/15/2008 10:11:55 AM · #2
10/15/2008 10:29:02 AM · #3
Shoot high ISO with aperature relatively open. That's all I've got.
10/15/2008 10:29:30 AM · #4
Do you have the gear to get the images they expect? I ask this because I have 2 friends that shoot soccer and football with the idea of making money on selling the images.
One is making money, one is not. Different towns (economically speaking), different gear, different sales models.

The one has a 1D3 and 500 F4 lens - great for kids on a football field. They are TINY out there and w/o a long long long lens they stay tiny in the frame. Parent's don't want that kind of image. The other shoots two bodies - an old 1D and 300 2.8 (too short he says for midget football, but fine for smaller soccer fields). The second body has a 24-70 2.8 on it for when the action gets close.

What if it rains? Will your gear take it, or be ruined? There is a reason that canon's 1D line and most of the L lenses are weather sealed. Kids play football in the rain and photos are expected, not excuses.

Both figure they need to get $200 per game to make spending their time shooting, editing, posting, etc pics worth the effort. Whether you get the league to pay you that, some of that and access to selling to the parents, or some other pay scale, you need to pick a value for your time and stick to it. Yeah it's fun, but you'll find you'll spend a few evening a week working on pics - time that you could be spending with your family or pursuing some other hobby, income, etc.

GO check out their images and see what other folks in your position are getting for images.

go hang out at sportshooter.com

Message edited by author 2008-10-15 10:31:30.
10/15/2008 10:29:40 AM · #5
My best suggestion would be to PM a DPC sports shooting rockstar like MattO.
10/15/2008 10:58:45 AM · #6
Originally posted by Mike_Adams:

My best suggestion would be to PM a DPC sports shooting rockstar like MattO.

ROFLMAO Thanks Mike


OK what to do. He wants you to give them a proposal. First off do you know what he wants from you? Do you know what their expectations are? Do you know what their intentions are? What are they trying to accomplish? Do they have a yearbook staff that shoots for the yearbook? How many sports and how many teams are they expecting you to cover? This is all the information I would need up front before I could even put a proposal together.

These things are usually set up in one of two ways, one is a win-win if you can get the PTA and school to go for it. The other is only a one way win, and its usually not in the Photogs favor but unfortunately its almost the norm.

One scenario is that you are hired as a photographer per game, you turn over all photos to the Parents Organization for that team. They pay you a set fee($150) they get to distribute your work to the parents of the kids and the photos are also used for school functions such as the yearbook. This is the win-win. They get photos you get paid.

Second scenario, you shoot on spec with help from the Parents organization to do your marketing. You shoot as much as you want they advertise on the game, school website, and pass out your cards to parents for you. They get a percentage of sales donated back to the school, you get paid.............when and if the orders come in. They get what they wanted, you sometimes get what you want. This is not the preferred method to do things for the Photog, but is for them.

The best advice I can give you is, learn the sports you are going to shoot, keep a list of the players, make sure you shoot each and every player several times over the course of the season. Get stock shots of even the kids that never see the field, floor, or whatever it is. Warm ups are a good time to get this.

If you do decide to shoot on spec, be prepared to work alot and have spurts of great sales, and some days it wasnt worth your time to get out of bed. Also make sure you are capable of getting shots that the average or advanced PWAC cannot get. One word of advice, while action sells, just about any photo of junior doing something sells as well. Here are a couple of samples that the average PWAC isnt going to get and you will need to do. You said soccer, so here are two from last nights assignment.


10/15/2008 11:09:42 AM · #7
To piggyback something Matt said -- Inevitably, the shots that requested (to me) are of the kid that rarely gets to play -- but the parent wants an "action" shot. (This season our team has steamrolled everyone and the second and third strings have played more than the starters in the last two games, but this is an exception).

Warm ups are a good time to get a picture of them moving -- but try to isolate the action so that it *could* be in a game.

Also, if they do go in, get them running on or off the field. Usually their faces show that same intense look as if they were playing.

As far as the "agreement" end, I don't have a lot of help for you there. You might want to have something in it about how much other photogs are allowed on the field and what they can do, etc. Here, there is another set of photogs that have decided to do what I've been doing for three years. One of them showed up at "my" field and shot as well, assured me she wouldn't sell to "my" crowd, then passed out business cards. :/ However, she only kept those shots up on her site for a couple of weeks, and actually ended up buying a couple of mine that I had shot of her grandson. I found out this past weekend that she was "escorted off of the field" when she showed up to shoot another team in the county. She had no agreement with them, just showed up and expected to shoot. They were not amused.

Having a clear agreement with the school protects you to a certain degree (or at least keeps the ultra-paranoid parent somewhat at bay), but it also establishes expectations that make later communications easier.
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