I appreciate the help. I consider professionals as someone who earns the bulk of their income from being in their profession, in this case as a photographer. I consider a semi-pro as someone who earns money but if they stopped tomorrow, they don't have to sell their house or car.
Regardless of whether you are a semi-pro or pro, professionalism should be a given. showing up on time and prepared, with quick turnarounds, with a high quality product.
You aspire to be a semi-professional?
What is a semi-professional? It's a term devised by marketing folk to upsell from base models.
If you want to be a professional then take out liability insurance (in case any of the actors fall over your gear) equipment insurance (in case your gear gets pranged) and indemnity insurance (in case your photos don't work out for any reason and the event promotors seek redress - if you enter a contract to take images for them and you for some reason don't then they will probably sue you) remember also to do your books, so you can pay your dues of income tax and corporate tax (hire an accountant to see what of your expenses you can claim against the $100)
I'm not saying this to be facetious, just that is what professional means, and your are either doing it as a professional (with the pressure and expectations and legal ramifications) or you are doing it because you'll enjoy it and learn from it and get your petrol money and lunch covered.
This is the problem with amateurs vs professionals... amateurs get a bit possessive about money after the event, professionals have it all sorted before they turn a frame.
I do video professionally, for a large media company and some freelance. If I'm getting paid for time and for the use of my equipment then I just see it that whoever paying me has the copyright.
Would you otherwise be taking images of the event? It sounds like yes. Will this offer give you better access and potentially better pictures? It sounds like yes. If you refuse the offer will they hire in a professional? It sounds like no.
Not much help I know, but some issues to think about. And never use the term semi-professional. It only exsists in camera shops. If you do start making money from your hobby and turn it into something else (and this is a whole new debate, the fun starts to go, it's no longer yours) do you expect to only get semi-paid?
That's the wrong way to look at it. A pro is somebody who knows 1) how to get the job done, no matter what gets thrown at them 2) has the gear at hand to do so 3) may or may not make money on the job (charity work anybody?) and 4) has the skills, insight, foresight, hindsight, and balls to output exactly what the client (even if that is themself) wants. It has nothing to do with money. I absolutely hate it when amateurs call themselves "pros" or "semi-pro". I prefer the word pro to mean "proficient", not "professional". A professional is anybody who does something for a living - doesn't mean they even need to know what they're doing. There are some "professionals" that suck at their job - but they make money at it. Remember that even in medical/law/nuclear science schools - somebody had to graduate last.
An amateur is somebody who dabbles - has fun, and may make some money on the side. They usually don't have one of the following: gear, skills, knowledge, and/or experience to get a job done when all hell breaks loose. When a shoot suddenly gets dark and needs light, they usually give up. Or, when a lens gets dropped, they don't have a backup/overlap to get the job done. The rich amateurs usually have the gear, and some knowledge, but not enough experience to fix a shot in < 10 seconds under pressure. BUT, it's not required to be an amateur - you can just say screw it and walk away! The pro has to produce the final output - or they're going to get the screwing in the end!
That's what I was saying in my last post - don't tell them your a pro, don't act like a pro - unless you plan on being dead-nuts-on proficient at producing the necessary output. And, if that's the case, I'm sure you aren't going to settle on low $$$, no contract, and lost copyrights. Instead, take the $100 as some gas money, go have fun, but be sure to let them know (in writing/email/etc) what to expect first. That "contract" is as semi-pro as you should ever be. BUT, if you want to be pro, then it's time to act like one - charge accordingly, contract solidly, backup appropriately, and know what jobs to pass on!
And, for gods sake, don't EVER give away copyright blatently and blindly to ANYONE. You shot it, so it's yours - they can have USAGE right, but you should NEVER give away images.