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Old Dec 19, 2011, 3:42 PM   #1
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Default Shooting High School Sports Events?

Hey all,

I'm new here and new to photography. So here's the situation. I have a lot of time and am involved with high school athletics. I've always wanted to take photos of these events and sell them to the athletes/parents. I have some questions before I get started that I was hoping someone could answer. Maybe there is a link already to this or a website dedicated but I couldn't find it so i thought I would try here.

What I would like to do is publish these photos to a website where parents/athletes can access these photos and purchase them.

1. How do I go about getting "permission" to photograph these events?
---Do I need permission?
2. Can I sell these photos that I take?
3. Would I need to get release forms signed by the athletes prior to shooting/publishing these phots?
---What about if I required a membership to access the site?(free of course) possibly pass out a flyer at the events with information on?
4. What kind of equipment would you recommend? I don't need top of the line yet but preferably somethign that would take quality photos.

Thanks for the help!
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Old Dec 20, 2011, 7:20 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkonrath View Post
1. How do I go about getting "permission" to photograph these events?
---Do I need permission?
You don't need permission to TAKE photos. But you should get permission to have good ACCESS - to be able to shoot from baseline or courtside (volleyball), matside (wrestling), sidelines for soccer/football or in dugout/field for baseball/softball. Shooting quality sports photos requires good shooting position. Especially if you want to make salable images. You can start with a particular coach if you know them - but the school athletic director is really the person you need to get to know.

Quote:
2. Can I sell these photos that I take?
Yes - in the united states there is no issue with selling photos.

Quote:
3. Would I need to get release forms signed by the athletes prior to shooting/publishing these phots?
You do NOT need a consent form to post on the internet or to sell photos to parents. You only need consent if the photos will be used for commercial purposes - think advertisement.

Quote:
---What about if I required a membership to access the site?(free of course) possibly pass out a flyer at the events with information on?
The truth of the matter is - selling via web is a really poor business model any more. You are infinitely better off selling CDs of photos to parents. When you put them on the web all people do is look (and sometimes steal) the images. You get some sales but they're usually pretty paltry. Just sell CDs.
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4. What kind of equipment would you recommend? I don't need top of the line yet but preferably somethign that would take quality photos.
Well, herein lies the problem. You want to SELL images not just take them. Unfortunately, lots of parents have DSLRs now. ANd they often give away photos to one another. So, there needs to be a pretty large separation between what YOU produce and what they can produce. That requires better equipment AND better access than the parents get. You're not going to buy a $200 lens and entry level DSLR and sell a lot of sports images. Not going to happen. There is a HUGE difference between people telling someone they take GREAT photos when the photos are given away and those same people being willing to BUY the photos. It's also a fact that you're not going to shoot every sport with just one lens.

The truth of the matter is this: when you consider the amount of time you will spend shooting/processing and traveling and the amount of money you will spend on equipment/software you will make more money at a minimum wage job than you will shooting HS sports. The truth is - too many parents have cameras and people just want "the latest" image, not just a "good" image. It's a facebook and smartphone world. If you want to actually sell images, they really need a WOW factor to them. And if you want to make more than minimum wage type money you need a lot of WOW images. That's not easy.
The other key is - you need to be making WOW images before you even try to sell. You're not going to buy a DSLR, start shooting and make good enough images to sell right away. 6 years ago when no one had a DSLR but you and no one had smartphones and superzoom cameras things were different. So, you're going to have to practice each sport for about a year before they're good enough to sell.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 1:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
The truth of the matter is this: when you consider the amount of time you will spend shooting/processing and traveling and the amount of money you will spend on equipment/software you will make more money at a minimum wage job than you will shooting HS sports.
I agree with JohnG on this one.
I've been shooting and selling HS sports pictures for two years now. I've sold a lot of photos and made some decent money also. But when I do the math and add in all the time and money spent at these events. I think I've made around a couple bucks an hour.

Also you won't pick up a camera and take great shots. I don't care if you buy the best equipment out there. It's taken me a couple of years and 75,000 plus shots to get where my photos are just starting to look good.
I still have a long way to go also.

Give it a try.
It's fun.
But keep your day job.
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Old Mar 20, 2012, 1:11 PM   #4
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Ill chime in along the same lines. IMO there are only 2 ways to make really good money in photography- fashion and weddings. To make decent$$ shooting amateur sports takes a huge operation. Heres my story:
I started shooting my son's team 6 years ago-for my pleasure. i put the pics on a website for parents to see in hopes of getting some sales. they cant right click and save, so i dont have to worry about that. Access is key, so along the way i gave away great 8x10 shots to "all the right people". This got me access to the sidelines and courtside. having said that, it wouldve all been a waste if i couldnt shoot any better than mom or dad. Ive been fortunate in that ive been able to buy good gear, on my own dime. 6 years later ive come to the conclusion that 500 pixels at max size of 70 rez is fine for just about everyone. these are perfect for facebook, which is all they really care about. i do have certain parents that buy 8x10s, posters and collages, over and over again, but most are happy to just view them on the site. i do this because I enjoy myself and the challenge, stay a part of my kids' sports experience and have forum material to talk about on sites like this....def not in it for the money. If i put all my sales together for the last 6 years ive probably made enough to purchase my 70-200 and a flash.
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Old Mar 20, 2012, 3:35 PM   #5
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G'day RMK

You have a number of very good replies above ... here's another [below]
It's a report by a guy who did exactly what you wish to do, and his outcomes
http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/2589

Good Luck with your endeavours ... and keep coming to Steve's for your photographic pleasure and enjoment
Regards, Phil
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Old Mar 21, 2012, 9:17 AM   #6
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cool article!
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 1:03 PM   #7
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I've also given away lots of 8x10's (expensive when you do it for the whole football team) and occasionally sold some. Last year, our school hosted a Provincial high school basketball tournament. I managed to get game shots of 15 of the 16 teams involved - mainly doing it for fun. I contacted all of the coaches with an offer to sell a disc of all shots of their team for $100 total (which I told them would be donated to our school to defray tournament costs). I thought that they could copy them for all of their parents/use them for school. I thought it was a great deal. Only three of the schools took me up (plus I gave our school their boys and girls team shots). One of those that bought the pics was a parent who had already hired a photographer to take shots at some games (at double my price). She knew that there was a value attached to the photos. I was surprised that the other schools didn't take me up on the offer.

Then I thought about how many shots of my kids I've printed and put up on walls or in frames. About a dozen. The most recent ones are about 4 years old. Now I'm not as surprised anymore. As others have commented, it's all about the internet and posting.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 2:14 PM   #8
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I'd caution anyone wanting access, for example, to sidelines at football games, or courtside at basketball games - if you get banged up, it's your fault, not the schools; you assume all liability. Newspaper photographers have workman's comp and may also carry a correspondents card stating they assume all liability. You may be a potential liability for the school.

Tournament games may have special requirements for media, and they might frown upon anyone who is not media trying to get sideline/court access.



Money may be made if one has a good printer, for printing out photos for the parents, or as mentioned earlier, selling CDs; but the younger generation is happy with low rez facebook photos.
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Last edited by Franko170; Apr 26, 2012 at 2:22 PM.
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 6:59 PM   #9
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for high school tournament games at least here in Virginia you have to have a special access card, and be accredited by a newspaper, news organization or website in order to shoot. I was recently lucky enough to cover a game in the state basketball tournament and you had to state what newspaper or news organization you were working for, official State press ID number (if issued) what team you were covering, if you are reporter, photographer or video. Then you wait to see if they agree you need access........ no freelancers got int his year it was all guys from TV or newspaper covering their local teams....... even with that said their was 10 of us on each end of the court shooting.......

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