October 23, 2014, 10:48:21 AM

Author Topic: Fee for shooting a College game?  (Read 4642 times)

TexPhoto

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Fee for shooting a College game?
« on: January 03, 2014, 07:41:10 PM »
As I am moving towards shooting sports I would like to shoot college, high school, even pro games.  I understand away teams do often contract local photographers, but I have no idea what this pays.  (I fully realize this is a tough question to answer)

I recently shot 12 college basketball games at a tournament, and offered photos to the teams after.  I had asked $800 for a complete set of the photos.  (4 games per team).  I had some interest in a few photos but nobody took me up on it or even made a counter offer.  I'd have shot the games for free for my own entertainment, so I'm not really out anything.  But if I was going to make this arrangement before the contest, what would I ask?  Was $800 too much?

BTW, I am OK at this.  I've been a photographer for 30 years and have the right equipment.  You can see my work from the tournament here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/103147492@N02/sets/72157638495325753/

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Fee for shooting a College game?
« on: January 03, 2014, 07:41:10 PM »

jdramirez

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 09:36:30 PM »
Charge what you think your time is worth.  I occasionally will charge a flat rate for being at the site, keep the copyright and then sell photos individually.  That way you are compensated for your time, but your work and work product actually determines what you are worth. 
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Hesbehindyou

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2014, 07:06:25 AM »
Charge what you think your time is worth.  I occasionally will charge a flat rate for being at the site, keep the copyright and then sell photos individually.  That way you are compensated for your time, but your work and work product actually determines what you are worth.

Is this for sports photography?

How much is the flat rate, and how much do you charge for the individual photos?

How many do you sell (appreciate that this can vary a lot)?

wsmith96

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2014, 09:05:57 AM »
For the record - I do shoot some sports, but I don't get paid and have not been seeking compensation....yet.  I am doing this to learn and perfect my technique with the equipment I have, so that being said....

It might depend on who you are asking.  If you are asking the coaches/staff, they may not have the authority to make that purchase on behalf of the school (if I were a coach, I'm not sure why I would personally want to purchase pictures of the games - that's what the parents and media are for), and after a tournament, they are probably all thinking of hitting the showers and going home rather than spending some money other than for food.

You may need to ask the people that hold the budget if you are trying to sell to school employees, and you should consider negotiating prior to games/tournaments.

The other thing you could do is to generate some business cards that point parents to awesome pictures of their child's team/personal shots and just sell individuals.  My brother in law's cousin does this and has started quite a business that now includes shooting for schools, etc.

As for what to charge, I'd look at what other photographers are charging.

Here are some examples from Texas:

http://austinsports.photoreflect.com/store/Orderpage.aspx?pi=1PXF003D000065&po=65&pc=141

http://www.fullspeedsportsphotography.com/page2

http://jeffsims.smugmug.com/Other/pricing/Prices/18378010_QJwmTC/1416243878_nt4Cv6x
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bobby samat

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2014, 10:06:21 AM »
maybe bring a small portfolio.  ipad's work well too.

basketball isn't an easy sport to photograph.  the coaches are probably used to seeing all kinds of unprofessional shots of their teams from parents, and know there's no way they'd pay $$$ for that level of quality.
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jdramirez

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014, 11:30:44 AM »
I'm a softball coach for a girls rec league... and I really like my teams... but not enough to pay money for them to be shot... though I usually take 1 game a year and photograph the girls in action shots... and I do that for the team and the parents for free.  Though if the league asked me to do that for other teams... I'd want some cash.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

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TexPhoto

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2014, 04:23:22 PM »
Thanks for the advise so far.  I should have mentioned that  am talking about large schools with multi-million dollar sport programs.  Michigan University, Ohio state etc.  And I'm talking about selling to the school.  I really don't want to sell individual photos to parents. 


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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2014, 04:23:22 PM »

Bishop80

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2014, 06:26:41 PM »
You have a foot in the door, which is more than I was able to achieve.  I have requested several times to shoot at college football and basketball games (ACC) but was always denied.  I was consistently told you have to be on active assignment from a credentialed media outlet.  I am very curious how you were able to enter college basketball games as a freelance photographer!

I like your work.  I have been shooting high school and youth sports (soccer, football, basketball) for many years, but not as long as you!  As for what to charge, I have no idea!

Hillsilly

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2014, 12:03:35 AM »
Not being from the USA, I don't know if college basketball is different, but most large sporting events will accredit freelance photographers and provide them with special access.  Compared with being from a recognised media outlet, it is tougher to be accredited - often you will be asked about your experience, provide portfolio shots, be asked about the intended use of the photos (and often you'll be restricted to news use and won't be able to use them for other purposes).  And you'll often have to pay a fee and you might need insurance.  But you've got some very nice shots that suggest people are happy for you to be court-side.  That will work in your favour.

How much to charge?  Who knows?  If they had contacted you saying that they wanted a photographer to cover 12 games during a tournament (which I assume went for a couple of days?), I'd say that $800 was very cheap.  But then, I'm involved with a couple of sporting clubs (admittedly, non-professional) and apart from season team photos, we never use professional photographers.  I doubt that there would be many clubs that will happily pay the sort of money that you'd normally expect to earn for the time involved.

At the non-elite end, another idea would be to work with tournament organisers to allow you to set up a table to sell the photos directly to the players and parents.  You'd print off the "ok" photos taken (trying to get a photo of everyone) and insert them into a commemorative holder and also explain that the photos can also be purchased in different sizes, and if someone wanted them, they can get all of the tournament photos in digital format for $800.   But this requires a bit of organisation and usually other helpers.  Alternatively (and possibly far easier), you'd work with the tournament organisers to get the contact details of the players, upload the photos and provide them for sale a couple of days after the event.  This is what happens with some of the running events that I take part in.  For ideas on pricing, have a look at some of the websites of local marathons or www.marathon-photos.com.  Maybe you could become "footballphotos.com" and "basketballphotos.com" and even get other photographers around the world to upload their photos to your site and you'd pay them a percentage of each photo sold.
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timmy_650

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2014, 01:52:38 AM »
You have to think of the school and what they will do with the photos and who will use them.  Then talk to the right people.
How I would do it, is talk to the people who do the posters for the sporting events and looking at your work there is a good chance they will want some of your work. Maybe sell a few to them but then you have a lot of creditably and see if they could put you in touch with the right people.
The problem with College is that they have people who will work for free (photo students) and need to be taking picture. So it comes down to why pay for something you can get for free.

jdramirez

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2014, 09:50:48 AM »
You have to think of the school and what they will do with the photos and who will use them.  Then talk to the right people.
How I would do it, is talk to the people who do the posters for the sporting events and looking at your work there is a good chance they will want some of your work. Maybe sell a few to them but then you have a lot of creditably and see if they could put you in touch with the right people.
The problem with College is that they have people who will work for free (photo students) and need to be taking picture. So it comes down to why pay for something you can get for free.

My alma mater has a photographer as staff.  I'm not sure if that plays into their decision or not.  Getting credentialed and allowed to come in is different than them paying someone to come in to do a redundant job as someone who is on staff. 
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TexPhoto

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2014, 12:57:31 PM »
As mentioned, access to court side usually comes one of 2 ways.  A press pass, or a staff pass.  I have press credentials (not the same as a press pass) because I worked to get them.  I found a few local small newspapers, journals, and web sites, and regularly sent them photos.  I also checked through friends to see who might have a contact.  Eventually I obtained press credentials from 2 places.  This I usually enough to get into smaller events.  Heck a big camera, big lenses, and looking the part is usually enough. 

A press pass is a pass for a single event (or maybe a season for a team).  To get that you have to apply for it with the team or league.  Maybe on the spot before the game, but more likely on the web.  Bigger events usually want the press entity you represent to request the pass.  In other words, you don't apply, whomever gave you the credentials applies.  Big events may even charge a fee.   I checked on the Super Bowl a few years back and a press pass was $10,000.   And of course the number of passes given will also be limited, so you still may not get it.

Persistence and being nice pays off.  I applied for the basketball tournament above and was told no.  Me and my "employer" were too small time.  I showed up to the opening press conference.  Looked the part, and asked really nicely.  Again, no, all passes available were assigned.   An hour later, I was given the pass of a photographer who did not bother to show up.

A staff pass would be even better.  I spent 3 seasons working my way into a local pro soccer team as "staff photographer"  I received the gig (unpaid, but maybe royalties) and before the next season started they went bankrupt...
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 12:02:32 AM by TexPhoto »

Bishop80

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2014, 01:35:08 PM »
Didn't mean to side-track the thread, but I really appreciate the input.

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2014, 01:35:08 PM »

MCL

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 02:11:42 PM »
My alma mater has a photographer as staff.  I'm not sure if that plays into their decision or not.  Getting credentialed and allowed to come in is different than them paying someone to come in to do a redundant job as someone who is on staff.
As it is with the university where I live. There are two photographers on staff (faculty). The only images I see posted or in print come from these photographers. They cover all of the sports teams and do everything from team photos, program photos, and game photos.

LarryC

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 03:47:35 PM »
I pro photographer friend of mine was recently picked up by a local high school as their exclusive graduation photo/yearbook photographer, for which he is paid for the sessions by the school but can sell individual photos to parents.  To get the gig he had to offer to shoot home football games, and maybe a few other important athletic events.  For this he does not get paid by the school but is credentialed as the schools "staff photographer" and gets to sell photos to players and family.  I don't know how common this type or arrangement is for school athletic photographers, but according to my friend, it was the only way for him to get the grad/yearbook photo gig.

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Re: Fee for shooting a College game?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 03:47:35 PM »