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Author Topic: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events  (Read 8164 times)

Tijn

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Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« on: January 27, 2012, 12:23:59 PM »
Hi,

Having read the recent topic "Shooting professional sports (NHL) with a DSLR - access denied!" (http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php/topic,2900.0.html), I started wondering about events that do or do not allow such cameras, in general.

The previous topic mostly focused on the different measures that sports events take for (not) allowing such equipment. It was said that the rules differ for each event.

I'm not so much interested in the exact different guidelines that different events have, i.e. what the maximum lens length would be etcetera to be allowed. They differ for each event, and the events that do make such distinctions do so because they do not allow professional camera equipment. Also, I'm curious about more than just arena sports events.

My questions are:
- What kind of events are likely to disallow professional photography equipment? Big sports events were already mentioned in the previous topic, but I've also read of several commercial festivals with a similar policy. What is the scope of such policies, event-wise?
- Why do many big events not allow such cameras? I.e. what is the actual risk for them? Naturally, you'd be able to take great pictures with such equipment. What's the real problem for them? Again, in the previous topic, one of the things mentioned was that larger cameras would be of more annoyance to other people. I find it unlikely that that is the biggest reason for events to not allow those things.

Any thoughts?

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Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« on: January 27, 2012, 12:23:59 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 12:27:20 PM »
In general, I suppose that the reason event organizers restrict high-end cameras is that they have contracted with professional photographers to shoot the event, and that restriction is either because of language in the contract with the photographer (i.e. the pro wants to increase revenues from image sales, and doensn't want to compete with attendees bringing in high end gear) and/or the event organizers also have a financial stake in image sales by the hired photographer.

In short, the reason is money. 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 12:46:30 PM by neuroanatomist »
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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2012, 12:34:53 PM »

- Why do many big events not allow such cameras? I.e. what is the actual risk for them? Naturally, you'd be able to take great pictures with such equipment. What's the real problem for them? Again, in the previous topic, one of the things mentioned was that larger cameras would be of more annoyance to other people. I find it unlikely that that is the biggest reason for events to not allow those things.

Any thoughts?

they sell the rights to photograph and so want to protect the revenue stream

Tijn

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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2012, 12:45:58 PM »
In general, I suppose that the reason event organizers restrict high-end cameras is that they have contracted with professional photographers to shoot the event, and that restriction is either because of language in the contract with the photographer (i.e. the pro wants to increase revenues from image sales, and doensn't want to compete with attendees bringing in high end gear) and/or the event organizers also have a financial stake in image sales by the hired photographer.
Thanks a bunch for clarifying! I was thinking in the direction of commercial risks as well, but just couldn't fit the entire picture together. It makes a lot of sense when remembering that those permitted photographers are indeed contracted, and their pictures are their income.

Could I please ask: what is the 'shape' of such contracts normally, i.e. who receives or pays money? I assume that the allowed photographers work for news agencies, and they pay the event organisation to get the rights to publish footage of the game that they shoot, is that correct?

It would be nice if it were possible as an 'amateur' photographer to "enlist" yourself as such for events, with some kind of no-cost contract that will allow you to take pictures, granting that you will not use your pictures to make a commercial profit.

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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2012, 01:50:30 PM »
This is a rapidly changing area and there are no standard operating procedures for smaller events and venues.

Let me try to add some context though, as I think people often portray event or venue organizers as "greedy."

We, the public, are no longer satisfied with simple entertainment. We are now programmed to expect everything to be a spectacle. If you go listen to your favorite band, they have to put on a "show" and not just play a bunch of songs. Even when we go to tourist sites, we often expect sophisticated presentation and entertainment. Museums can't just display rare objects anymore, they have to have a multi-media presentation.

All of this costs money and as a result, event organizers and venue operators have to maximize every revenue stream.

At the other end, technology has made it incredibly easy for individuals to produce and market products independently. (As well as to take great pictures) Today, you can go someplace, take a photo you like and then take it to your local Walgreen's and have them slap it on a coffee mug,

That's a coffee mug that the venue operator didn't sell you and therefore, that's revenue they've lost. Seems like small potatoes, but look at it this way: maybe you only intend to take pictures of your favorite band in concert and use them as wallpaper on your computer. But, maybe the guy next to you plans to have 25,000 t-shirts printed up in China and sell them on the streets in every city the band visits. The event organizers can't know which is the case and losing those T-shirt sales could mean the difference between making a profit and losing money on the tour.

So, more and more, event and venue operators are trying to protect those revenue streams. Hence, the restrictions on photography are getting more stringent in some areas.

There is an unrelated thread elsewhere here about copyright infringement of a double-decker London bus. At the heart of the case was the potential for lost revenue from an image that had become extremely popular for marketing the city. The case may seem overreaching to us, but the financial loss was a real financial threat to those who owned the rights to the original image.
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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2012, 02:23:17 PM »
In general, I suppose that the reason event organizers restrict high-end cameras is that they have contracted with professional photographers to shoot the event, and that restriction is either because of language in the contract with the photographer (i.e. the pro wants to increase revenues from image sales, and doensn't want to compete with attendees bringing in high end gear) and/or the event organizers also have a financial stake in image sales by the hired photographer.
Thanks a bunch for clarifying! I was thinking in the direction of commercial risks as well, but just couldn't fit the entire picture together. It makes a lot of sense when remembering that those permitted photographers are indeed contracted, and their pictures are their income.

Could I please ask: what is the 'shape' of such contracts normally, i.e. who receives or pays money? I assume that the allowed photographers work for news agencies, and they pay the event organisation to get the rights to publish footage of the game that they shoot, is that correct?

It would be nice if it were possible as an 'amateur' photographer to "enlist" yourself as such for events, with some kind of no-cost contract that will allow you to take pictures, granting that you will not use your pictures to make a commercial profit.

I have an example that's very recent. I don't know how it is for other events but this is one that I know. I just got recruited a couple months ago with a photography crew that shoots for the Miss California USA pageant and other regional pageants in California. There's some, but not alot, of pay coming from the owners of the pageants themselves. Sometimes we actually shoot for the regional pageants for free but most of the money the photo crew makes come from selling photos we took at the event to the pageant contestants/parents directly. And more than half the time, the contestants want or need head shots/modeling shots as well. So the crew makes a deal to give their PR company/event organizers free photos for their marketing/program books/website for us to have exclusive rights to shoot their pageant/event.

Here's one small advice to getting in events without getting stopped. Go through the backdoor. If you go through the front entrance, there's a big chance you won't be able to bring your gear in. But if you go through the back door, just bring a big backpack and big camera and everyone will assume you're the official photographer. I've done this numerous times for pageants/events, even though I was supposed to be there anyway, nobody stopped or questioned me. (I'm the new guy in the crew so the event people and sponsors didn't knew who I was then.)

Its a bit of a tangent but I love being part of the crew. Being the youngest (I'm 24 and the others are in late 30s, early 40s) and not married...I get to flirt with the contestants and not get in trouble :D
« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 02:25:16 PM by Taemobig »
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Event/Sport specific, a few other thoughts...
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 03:18:17 PM »
I've shot a number of NHL games in Dallas from the stands. The confusing thing to me was the difference in the rules printed in the program distributed at the venue and the rules on the Dallas Stars website.  I'll be honest and will say I can't remember which said what, but one said it was okay, the other not.

I ended up figuring that the worst that could happen is that I'd have to schlep my backpack out to the car, so I showed up with a 1D something and a 70-200 2.8 and a 100-400.  The security guy had me open my backpack, looked in, and let me through. So I think this varies by venue/organization.

While I know that organizations like the PGA (which I've read has one of the most stringent/protective rulesets about usage of images of PGA Pros) are at one extreme, I figure the NHL was sort of at the other end - looking to rebuild fan support after the lockout a few years back - so if folks show up and take some pics to post online - more power to em... I think the main issue would be what would happen if I had tried to sell those images, especially for commercial (non editorial) usage.

As a photographer that does quite a bit of work with Professional Cycling, I know more about what that "environment" is like. Yes, the advent of dslrs, cell phones w/ good quality cameras, etc - has broadened the number of photogs who can get scenics and other venue shots - there is still a premium paid to those who can get on a motorcycle as a part of the race.  At most large races (Tour of California or USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado) the race organization provides about 10 motorcycles w/ drivers who have been "vetted" and know the rules as to where and when they can be in a race. Then, media submit requests for time on the motos and it usually turns out that 4 or 5 get rides for the full week. These are photographers who have "agency" or big cycling publication contracts.  The rest of the motos are apportioned by need and by city. So local media get a shot for a day, while other freelance shooters who have other agreements with teams or sponsors can get a day or more on a moto.

That gives us a better opportunity to get more shots from a day's racing, giving us the "critical" images that others just can't get.  We're still fairly limited as to what we do with them. We've a fairly wide berth on usage in editorial situations - media outlets, websites, blogs focused on racing; the teams buy some, etc. The athletes themselves have varying levels of sensitivity to sale of their image for commercial usage. They are also fairly okay with sale to fans for personal display/use... so some money can come in from print sales via a website. Usually they are okay with a team or personal sponsor paying for images, but random other products who want to insinuate that say Lance Armstrong has endorsed their product, not so much. Having shot for a number of top teams, I'm sure that I've received repeat business because I've not abused the privelege...

I think I'd sum this up as follows - it can never hurt to ask a team/venue/whatever about getting access. The worst they can say is "no" - but I'd just also be cognisent of what you want to do with the images and be up front with said venue. They'll let you know if there is an existing contract, etc.  As another example, there is a velodrome near my old house in Dallas, TX.  I was the "track photographer" out there for about 3 years or so. The track organizers and officials were nice enough to chat with other photogs who showed up to shoot.  If they were on "assignment" for a rider or a sponsor or local news - no worries; but they asked that the shooters respect that I was there for every race and to not post images for general sale.  Could the shooters still sell? sure - but I think all of them didn't - as there is a bit of a code of ethics between shooters.  I did see a few post images for sale and I never emailed or called anyone about it.  I guess part of it was that there wasn't that much money in velodrome sales... <chuckle>  I was doing it to support the sport and the venue.

Hope that helps - sorry if I rambled a bit.

- Will

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Event/Sport specific, a few other thoughts...
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 03:18:17 PM »

Tijn

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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2012, 03:43:15 PM »
Thanks a bunch all, it helps understand how events would go about these things, and why.  :)

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Re: Event/Sport specific, a few other thoughts...
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 04:04:10 PM »
I ended up figuring that the worst that could happen is that I'd have to schlep my backpack out to the car, so I showed up with a 1D something and a 70-200 2.8 and a 100-400.

"1D something"

that should teach us gear-headed livings of the rumor sites!!

(it's just a tool, you can have a better one, but it will still be just a tool - I want a better one, though, that's why I'm spending my time here)

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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2012, 04:19:03 PM »
And for another example, I was in Poland in July of '08 backpacking, and randomly when I was on the train to Gdansk I met a bunch of teenagers going to a festival down the road. Sweet lineup on the last day, headliners were Goldfrapp, Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers, all for about $50, so a bunch of guys and I from the hostel all headed down there.
Bought our tickets online, and one of the conditions written on it (in big bold letters, so it was noticeable in the fineprint), along the lines of "You will be denied entry with a camera over 6MP". I loved my little 8MP P&S I had at the time, so I didn't chance it and left it in the hostel. Another guy brought along his 10MP lumix or otherwise superzoom thingy, he got in fine.
Then once we're in there, I see a bunch of people walking around with 500D and 50Ds, not pros, some were probably barely old enough to get into the concert themselves.

So despite all the rules and clauses and whatever they write, it's always going to depend on being able to sweet-talk the individual security-guard at the time. What the gear looks like will also help, I'd guess you've got a lot better chance of making it in with a 7D and 70-300 DO than a 1D and 70-300L, or a 200 f/2.8 has more chance than a 70-200 f/2.8 (80-200 f/2.8L magic drainpipe anyone?). Being able to talk it past saying "it's not a pro camera" also probably depends on how much of a camera-nut the SG is, in my experience, not many are...
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Re: Event/Sport specific, a few other thoughts...
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 04:40:40 PM »
"1D something"

that should teach us gear-headed livings of the rumor sites!!

(it's just a tool, you can have a better one, but it will still be just a tool - I want a better one, though, that's why I'm spending my time here)

Ha - good point re: the "tool" - I wasn't trying to start a rumor with the 1D something... I just can't recall if that was when I had my 1D2n or if it was with my 1D3.  I've been back with my 1D4 since, but am looking to get on the glass in the corner with access to using the arena strobes... we'll see...  ;D

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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 05:05:44 PM »
And for another example, I was in Poland in July of '08 backpacking, and randomly when I was on the train to Gdansk I met a bunch of teenagers going to a festival down the road. Sweet lineup on the last day, headliners were Goldfrapp, Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers, all for about $50, so a bunch of guys and I from the hostel all headed down there.
Bought our tickets online, and one of the conditions written on it (in big bold letters, so it was noticeable in the fineprint), along the lines of "You will be denied entry with a camera over 6MP". I loved my little 8MP P&S I had at the time, so I didn't chance it and left it in the hostel. Another guy brought along his 10MP lumix or otherwise superzoom thingy, he got in fine.
Then once we're in there, I see a bunch of people walking around with 500D and 50Ds, not pros, some were probably barely old enough to get into the concert themselves.

So despite all the rules and clauses and whatever they write, it's always going to depend on being able to sweet-talk the individual security-guard at the time. What the gear looks like will also help, I'd guess you've got a lot better chance of making it in with a 7D and 70-300 DO than a 1D and 70-300L, or a 200 f/2.8 has more chance than a 70-200 f/2.8 (80-200 f/2.8L magic drainpipe anyone?). Being able to talk it past saying "it's not a pro camera" also probably depends on how much of a camera-nut the SG is, in my experience, not many are...
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My 2 cents (euro cents), is related to concerts here in France...
Been to multiple ones in stadiums (Paris stadium, or the larger world cup Stade de France) as well as sports arenas hosting concerts ... Sting, Santana, Rolling Stones, Genesis, Sade ...
Always the same rules on the tickets : NO cameras ... then at the stadium / arenas, the SG usually let people in with compact cameras ... for arenas, pretty tough and sometimes the guards pick up the cameras inside during the concert when they spot a DSLR, but otherwise for stadiums it is quite easy as it is bigger, especially if you are on the field section that can be crowded ... for the Rolling Stones I managed to get in with a 70-300 IS nonL wrapped in aluminum foil among the sandwiches and cookies in my backpack, and i thought myself lucky, when i spotted couple of L whites on the field (at least a 100-400 for the one closest to me): no ideas how they made it, but it seemed possible ...
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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 05:23:52 PM »
In general, I suppose that the reason event organizers restrict high-end cameras is that they have contracted with professional photographers to shoot the event, and that restriction is either because of language in the contract with the photographer (i.e. the pro wants to increase revenues from image sales, and doensn't want to compete with attendees bringing in high end gear) and/or the event organizers also have a financial stake in image sales by the hired photographer.

In short, the reason is money.

There is that, plus the disruption caused by every Tom, Dick and Harry running around with a DSLR trying to get the best angles - that can often ruin it for the other guests/spectators.  The way seating is arranged in a stadium it would just not be possible, in many cases, to shoot with a long lens without sticking it into the neck of the person in front of you - spectators are packed in like sardines.  You will have a very irritated person in front of you if you are continually sticking your big white lens into his/her neck.

This is probably even more of an issue at theatre events, where the producers don't want idiots' flashes disrupting the production. - That problem probably applies more to owners of P&S cameras, who actually don't know how to turn their flashes off!
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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 05:23:52 PM »

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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2012, 05:57:55 PM »
There is that, plus the disruption caused by every Tom, Dick and Harry running around with a DSLR trying to get the best angles - that can often ruin it for the other guests/spectators.  The way seating is arranged in a stadium it would just not be possible, in many cases, to shoot with a long lens without sticking it into the neck of the person in front of you - spectators are packed in like sardines.  You will have a very irritated person in front of you if you are continually sticking your big white lens into his/her neck.

Not to forget the noise a DSLR makes when it fires off at 10fps for a second...

At some events (professional tennis), this can be quite distracting to someone in the audience.

Do you want to be sitting in front of someone with a DSLR that is going full speed at every serve, etc, for as long as the match goes?

... and there's also the "challenge" of needing to be especially quiet at serve.

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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2012, 06:03:34 PM »
This is probably even more of an issue at theatre events, where the producers don't want idiots' flashes disrupting the production. - That problem probably applies more to owners of P&S cameras, who actually don't know how to turn their flashes off!

Exactly, let in DSLRs and ban the P&S! (or even inspect the cameras to see if they know how to use a camera without the flash turning on automatically. If the dial is turned to "P" or the green square, stop them, if it's on Av, Tv, or M, let them in, 5D and 1D owners can just walk straight in...)
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Re: Professional / DSLR Cameras forbidden at events
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2012, 06:03:34 PM »