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urbanaries Feb 28, 2006 3:26 PM

Since I'm normally a portrait/wedding photog, people expect me to be there taking their picture...they know why. But last night at the basketball game (5th grade AAU) the coaches, some parents and players asked me what I was doing there. They didn't object, just seem to have cameraphobia when they don't know why you're there.

I just felt conspicuous walking around freely at this game (I'm a 6 ft tall redhead:?)and tried not to draw attention to myself. And didn't get nearly enough face shots. Do I just get over it...or are there certain etiquette to adhere to?

I know this is rambling and I'm new to this so thanks for humoring me with your opinions.

klfatcj Feb 28, 2006 5:59 PM

I suspect it's mainly because they aren't used to or expecting someone to be taking pictures from the sidelines as if they were actually taking it a bit seriously. Certainly, if you look around, there are usually a number of parents taking shots with point and shoots from the sidelines.

It may be that they didn't recognize you. There is a paranoia out there that pedophiles go to public places and take pictures of kids. I've never heard explained how they actually use these photos or how taking pictures of kids in public doing normal things kids do is exploitative, but the fear is there. Our city has a policy of not allowing anyone to photograph kids in city owned facilities. They won't kick you out, but workers are told to ask people not to take pictures. Again, I am not sure what damage these photos cause. Probably more important to ban pictures of kids in underwear ads if we are truly concerned. But I digress.

What I would do is let the coach know you are a friend/relative of a team member, at least your nephew's coach if not both coaches.Prints of afew pictures of other team members given out at the next game will get you invited back (more than you may have time for). Carrying a monopod and a big camera bag makes it look more professional and the questions may be more wondering if these are going in a paper.

Some local photogs took pictures at a recent tournament. Prior to games they gave all kids a slip of paper with their names and websites where they could see the pics (and purchase them). Not why you are there so not necessary, but they weren't questioned that I could see. (Except by me when one of them suddenly planted himself in front of me - we were the only two on the baseline. He informed me that he belonged as he was a professional and Ishould not on the court interfering. I guess the **** thought I was competition. Couldn't believe he would try to cut me out of shots of my son and his friends at the 12 year old level. Sorry another digression).

Anyway, as I said, once the other parents see a few shots, they will want you there. Act like you belong - crouch for different angles, move around and just think about the action just like the wedding. I imagineeven there, if you start thinking that people notice you, you will act more noticable and miss more shots.


The Barbarian Mar 1, 2006 12:59 AM

Acting as though you belong there is a important. If you don't act uncertain, people tend to figure it's OK.

If questioned, I ask if they have a kid playing, and tell them if they give me an email address, I'll try to get a good picture of him and send it to them.

Mostly, I have a daughter or a son or daughter of a friend on the field or court, and that usually satisfies them, too.

As far as professionals are involved, I think most are confident enough to not worry about the rest of us. The exception is where they have a contract to take game pictures.

Years ago, we had a team picnic, and I was taking some group pictures of our kids when a phtographer walked off the field, went over into the park and told me that he had a contract to do all group pictures for the league.

He didn't like my answer.

[email protected] Mar 1, 2006 7:09 AM

I would say if you're taking pictures of people's kids they may want to know your legit.

As for me, if I attend any event, I let the home team coach know I'm taking photos for the local paper, and if parents ask me, I tell them that's what I'm doing.

After one or two times, everyone seems to know who I am, specially if they take the time to review the weekly paper and see the nice photos and write-up I give the kids.

Now they are thrilled that I'm photo-ing their sports and I've had parents and coaches ask me if I can cover other sports too.

All told it's been very rewarding personally and a great way to give back to the community.

-- Terry

RP33 Mar 1, 2006 9:07 AM

Terry I also take for the local newspaper and let them write the stories. It works out great and people like the results. Last summer I was taking pictures of my son's baseball and parents started to ask for copies. At the end of the season I gave each parent a disk with pictures of their child. Only their own child. It was a gift last year that was great to give and it has opened many doors.

davidreeves Mar 1, 2006 9:25 AM

ya know, I have never really encountered anyone asking me what I was doing.

At the games I shoot, there are always a dozen parents shooting with their p&s's. At the college games I shoot, I shoot from my seat at one college and the coach at teh otehr has given me the ability to wander. At the HS games, most of teh gyms are big enough to where I can shoot from anywhere I want.

Maybe it is scary that no one has questioned me, but I have never been ...

k1par Mar 1, 2006 10:04 AM

After reading some of the replies in this thread I have the feeling that I am blessed to live where I do. I have absolutely no trouble when I am taking photos at any sports event in the area and it does not matter the age of the kids and it has always been that way. I have never been questioned as to what I am doing at a game and never had another photographer confront me. I do take photos for both local (and competing:?) newspapers plus my own website. Now it's not what am I doing there but why are you not there. Also the parentsand the it when I post my photos for them to view online. At one game recently a parent told me that she was sitting behind her son and some of his friend when they commented that I was at their game and they would have to check my website the next day. It was not just a comment made but an animated conversation about my photos. They were all players and would be involved in the second game of the event.

Now that my rambling has ended, you need to become "known". There is some excellent advice from the other replies. If you have a local paper where you live see if they would like some of your photos. Once your shots start being published you will be surprised at the results.

urbanaries Mar 1, 2006 10:30 AM

I'm really surprised at the thoughtfulness and number of replies. I am a woman so I didn't exactly get the "are you a pedophile?" feeling, but everyones experience and advice still applies!

I think the idea of getting parents' email addresses is a FABULOUS idea. I already use Shutterfly toset upsitesfor weddingmy clients and they (esp their families) REALLY appreciate it. I can do the same for these games, and gosh, what a great way to build clientele (middle schoolers become senior pictures & weddings eventually!):idea:

I do realize'acting as if' I belong helps tremendously, next time I'll feel more comfortable with the situation and what I'm doing.

I had a ton of fun so I'm doing his sisters volleyball game Thursday. Looking forward to sharing the results.

You guys rock! Thanks for all the stellar info, and making me feel welcome.


urbanaries Mar 1, 2006 11:37 AM

k1par wrote:

If you have a local paper where you live see if they would like some of your photos. Once your shots start being published you will be surprised at the results.
I'd love to do this....but what are the legal implications? Should I be getting signed releases from the parents if I decide to submit a pic to a local paper? I just don't want to P anyone off. Then again, don't want to get their hopes up that their kid will be famous LOL


davidreeves Mar 1, 2006 12:04 PM

Im no legal expert and maybe as a result I will wind up breaking rocks in sing-sing someday but.....

I have not done the release thing, but that said, the pictures I have submitted to the paper have been team pictures where I have some type of association with that team and were submitted as a result of winning a championship, tournament, etc. I do post some stuff to a content specific web site(s), for example:

Now, this is my sons team and I know all the kids and parents but havent specifically asked for permission. Maybe someone smarter than me would have a diferent opinion and the lawyer types would probably tell me to get a signed release from everyone.

I agree, there is a ton of help here in these forums and by and large, the people who post here, especially some of the more experienced photogs, are alwsys very helpful and very willing to share their knowledge. It is refreshing.

See that your in Indy. I lived in Anderson for a number of years. Indy is a great city!

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