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Turned down by Maxpreps, and don't get it...
Dominic Hanna, Photographer
Bear | DE | United States | Posted: 10:24 AM on 08.16.07
->> Okay so I took the bait and applied to be a photographer for I was looking to get som HS football experience and figured it was a great opportunity.

I got an email last night saying that I was rejected for the following reasons..

"Image Exposure
-Image Noise/Grain
-Need To See A Wider Variety of Sample Images
-Need To See Night Football Sample Images - preferably taken with high-powered flash"

Now I had a feeling rejection was possible, I was rejected the first time I signed up for SS. But what bugs me is 3 of the 6 images I sent were ones currently on my SS profile. I wasn't expecting to get such a negative response.
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Les Stukenberg, Photographer, Photo Editor
Prescott Valley | AZ | USA | Posted: 10:42 AM on 08.16.07
->> Dominic,
To be honest the baseball photos on your SS profile are substandard. No faces, no ball, no jube/dejection, no peak action moments=No publishing. Take this as a kick in the pants to go out and get better at what you want to do.
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Andrew Sullivan, Photo Editor, Photographer
Kissimmee | FL | USA | Posted: 11:00 AM on 08.16.07
->> I'm sorry Dominic, but I have to echo Les' comments. If your best of the best is what is featured in your SS gallery, then I would recommend more time shooting as well.

Andrew Sullivan
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Cecil Copeland, Photographer
Marietta | Ga | USA | Posted: 11:02 AM on 08.16.07
->> Dominic ....

Don't take that letter "personally" ... that's a form letter that MaxPreps sends to EVERYONE that gets their submission turned down ...

MaxPreps is VERY strict and unyielding in their demand for quality images .... hey, I've shot and submitted stuff for 4 years and have had galleries that I've submitted rejected - and, after looking at the gallery again, pretty much agreed with their assessment. The rejection didn't insult or bother me at all - it just made me want to do it better the next time ....
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Jason Joseph, Photographer
Dublin | OH | USA | Posted: 11:08 AM on 08.16.07
->> As far as the issue of too much noise or grain goes, I suggest checking out Noise Ninja or some other third party noise reduction plug-in. Of course don't use this as a crutch as it is always best to try and light your scene as properly as possible, but we all know that that isn't always possible. I use Noise Ninja and it was the best $80 that I have spent on image processing to date.
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Paul Hollands, Photographer
Chester | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 11:29 AM on 08.16.07
->> Again, I'd echo the comments of those who have posted before me. I think you could improve on those shots and Les's advice is spot on about faces and having a ball in the image.

One question I always ask myself when wiring images is if I were a picture editor, would I use the images I had wired to illustrate a piece about the event/game I am covering, given a choice from all the major agencies and some seriously talented freelancers. If the answer is yes, then I'll press send! (I freely admit there are exceptions to this from time to time, but thats for another time!!)

If you ask yourself that question about the pictures that you have posted(albeit a small segment of your work), could you say "yes"?

The best thing that happened to me was I got rejected from an agency I approached here in the spurred me on to really improve my shooting, exposure control and creativity.

I used the member pages/galleries here as well as the image libraries of the likes of Getty, to research what people were shooting and how they were shooting it.

I've used that as inspiration/ well as a benchmark of what I need to achieve, consistently, to be competitive in this market.

Check the Getty Sports Images of the Week out......its a showcase of pretty much the best sports images you'll see and should whet the appetite!

Good luck!
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Tony Mastres, Photographer
Santa Barbara | Ca | USA | Posted: 11:49 AM on 08.16.07
->> Although not a sports shooter, one of my favorite quotes by any photographer is form John Sexton (who may have parapharsed it from Ansel Adams) Anyhow the qoute is "the most important tool in any darkroom is the Trash Can" This can cary over to any type of photography and I find that I remind myself of it frequently. Its tough to discern (and admit) that the shot you got while it may be good, isn't really "good enough". I like ot think that any image I take is like a switch, its either on or its off, theres no in between. Off images go away and on "on" ones get kept. Its tough to do but you'll be better for it.
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Charles Baus, Photographer
Palm Springs, Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 11:59 AM on 08.16.07
->> I have to agree with everyone else and all their recommendations are great. Now use all their recommendations and go out there and improve your images and resubmit.

Best of luck.
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Brian Jackson, Photographer, Photo Editor
San Carlos | CA | USA | Posted: 1:41 PM on 08.16.07
->> First off, nite football sucks! Even with the fantastic high ISO improvements the camera manufactures have nowadays, Maxpreps has a standard of no more than ISO 800 for any images submitted. Their site, their rules. They are trying to maintain a certain quality level there and need to control that.

Now, I've printed an 11x14 at ISO 3200 from a 1DmkII with a little NoiseNinja and it turned out great. We just had a high ISO shootout at the local camera club and I have to say that ISO 6400 on the 1DmkIII is not that bad. 8x10's are not a problem at all.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Tucson | Az | USA | Posted: 2:27 PM on 08.16.07
->> I'll have to agree with the other posters on this one. Dominic, this takes time and it takes practice. So take the time and practice.

One thing many people stress and I will even stress this more: shoot tight and crop even tighter.
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Rick Rowell, Photographer, Photo Editor
El Cajon | CA | USA | Posted: 2:57 PM on 08.16.07
->> Dominic, In order to shoot for Maxpreps especially during high school football season, you need to practice your night football with flash. I've shot for Maxpreps the last three years. Here are some basic settings for shooting football at night with poor lighting. If you can,use a 70-200mm f2.8 zoom lens or a 300mm f2.8 telephoto lens. ISO no higher than 800. If you have a good flash like an SB800 or 580EX this will give you enough light to get good exposures from up to 60 feet away (about 20 to 25 yards). The longer the lens the more you need to set the flash to over expose. With a 400mm lens I set the exposure compensation on my 550EX to plus 1 to plus 1 3/4 on ETTL evaluative with my Mark 2 body. You have to stay with the action as close as possible. If you know that you're going to try and shoot images that are tighter than normal, like from the waist up, then dial down the exposure compensation to plus 1/3 to 3/4. If you exposure is a little over then you can fix it in Photoshop. Of course experiment and use these settings as a guide only. Arrive early to the game and shoot some of the warm-ups to dial in the exposure. Go to my hidden gallery at and take a look at the results using this method. Good luck and any questions contact me via email. Best, Rick.
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Drew Broadley, Photographer
Wellington | NZ | New Zealand | Posted: 5:08 PM on 08.16.07
->> I'm guessing by his lack of response he's out there shooting and practising, or has taken a hard kick to the pants and is now a female go-go dancer making it large in Las Vegas.

I pick the later.
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Dominic Hanna, Photographer
Bear | DE | United States | Posted: 6:20 PM on 08.16.07
->> Rule #1 of Vegas Drew, don't bet unless your prepared to lose. :-)

Actually I have a non-photo day job which takes up most of my time, and plan on changing that sooner than later.

I do appreciate all the critisium, and no I'm not taking it personally. I got back into the game a few months ago, after a 2 year layoff, I know I'm rusty. Going from having press credentials with pro sports teams as an independent freelancer, to getting rejected for Kiddie ball was a little humbling.

again, thank you all for the advice.
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Craig Dilger, Photographer
Brooklyn | NY | USA | Posted: 8:11 PM on 08.16.07
->> Dominic,
When applying for any job/internship presentation is everything. That presentation obviously starts with your photos, but it extends to your entire portfolio and personal appearance. You want your book/CD/website to represent you and your eye well.

That being said, you misspelled cre@tions in the title of your webpage leaving out the E before the @. I have made my fair of mistakes like that, but I always have someone proof read my resumes, cover letters and portfolios before I send them anywhere.

I am sure I probably misspelled something in this letter and therefore I am sorry for being a hypocrite.

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Juliann Tallino, Photographer, Photo Editor
Port Townsend/Seattle | WA | USA | Posted: 9:52 PM on 08.16.07
->> Kiddieball? No offense but kiddie ball should look as good as "grownup ball", dontcha think? ;)
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Mike Carlson, Photographer
Bayonet Point | FL | USA | Posted: 10:16 PM on 08.16.07
->> And the Vegas odds are now...
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Michael Brown, Photographer
Roxburgh Park | Victoria | Australia | Posted: 11:59 PM on 08.16.07
->> Actually I find "kiddieball" more difficult than senior sports. The company I freelance for sell to parents, so they are expecting hundreds of shots from a game with an 80% hit rate, it's the only way to guarantee getting most of the kids. (aussie rules has 22 players on the field PER side). And we cover several games a day.

With senior sport you are looking for "The Shot" or a few of those. And you only have to cover one game. If you can nail the junior or school stuff, it will definitely help you with the senior sport.

My 2 cents worth anyway :-)
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Justin Sullivan, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | | Posted: 12:25 AM on 08.17.07
->> "Going from having press credentials with pro sports teams..." yeah, that makes you a good photographer.
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Rodrigo Pena, Photographer
Palm Desert | CA | USA | Posted: 12:32 AM on 08.17.07
->> Hey Dominic, way to keep your head up. Keep shooting. I would really like to see some examples of night football because to be honest, prep high school football is the hardest thing you'll ever shoot. Yes, even harder than college and pro. Why? The light in the majority of the stadiums is just plain AWFUL! With college and pro, the light is generally pretty good.

If you use a Nikon system, shooting 800 ISO and below is great advice, If you shoot Canon, I get great images using 1600 ISO, but it greatly depends on the field in which you are shooting. Flash photography is so important for high school football because sometimes the light is really, really bad.

I shot at a field one time where they didn't have permanent lights. They had power generators hooked up to flood lights.

My flash settings and exposures change from one field to the next. I always arrive early to take a few test shots before getting into game action. Sometimes my photos look horrible at first until I make adjustments.

Show us your night time football when you get a chance.

I liked your Lacrosse photos, but wanted to see some night football.

Good luck, Rodrigo Pena
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Bryan Hulse, Photographer
Highlands Ranch | Co | USA | Posted: 10:09 AM on 08.17.07
->> FYI: MaxPreps doesn't accept images over iso 800 no matter what system they were shot with.
Interesting? Yes it is!
And, in case there is some confusion, they don't 'like' flash for night football. They 'require' it for the submitted shots.
And, they require strobes for indoor sports, including fall volleyball.
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Jeff Mills, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 10:50 AM on 08.17.07
->> Well without seeing the images in question its very hard to comment, however, if your member gallery images are an indication of your best work, I have to say with all due respect that its not surprising. Most of those shots are lacking any peak action, story telling elements, the ball, faces, good tight framing that puts you in the action or even player names.

#6 for example, Its a shot of a kids back from about 30 yards away. No faces of any players we can see either. Theres nothing compelling about this image. The caption is rather poor as well since you have, "An Attackmen for the University of Delaware Lacrosse team takes a shot on net during the game against Sacred Heart"

What was the players name ? Did he score a goal ? Who was the player in the goal ? What this shot an important turning point in the game ? Why out of all the action in the game would this shot be a good choice for an editor to run ?

Ignoring your portfolio images, it sounds like you've never shot HS football before because you said you wanted to shoot for MP for experience correct ?

I can see from your other post in this thread that you have the idea that since you've shot pro sports in the past that you should automatically excel at "kiddie ball" but thats quite far from the truth.

Nigh HS football is as hard as it gets. The pro/ncaa game is a breeze in comparison. Even the little guy pee wee ball is easy (and quite fun) compared to shooting a high school game under typical lighting conditions.

Fact of the matter is that MP has very high standards for their HS football and really hold their photographers to those standards.

If your looking for experience covering a new sport, doing it as a paying job for a demanding client is not the way to go about it.

Why not contact a schools booster club or even the AD and let them know you'd be intrested in getting some football experience and maybe they'll let you shoot.

Once you've got actual experience with shooting night football and are constantly producing top quality images, then and ony then apply to MP's.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 3:54 PM on 08.17.07
->> Dominic - you have a tremendous resource available to you here at SportsShooter. As many posters have already written, shooting high school football under the lights IS difficult. You have a wealth of information and experience in the archives and with all the members who are willing to share.

While almost all of us started shooting sports because it was "fun", we soon realized that if anyone was going to take us - and our work seriously - it would involve exactly that - work. Technology, armies of shooters of all ages, and a rising level of expectation means what once worked is no longer "good enough."
Enjoy the learning because that's always fun.
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Jeff Mills, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 5:14 PM on 08.17.07
->> I forgot to add earlier, if you've never shot football before (which I'm guessing you havent since you said you wanted to get HS football experience) start with the JV game.

Its usually played Saturday during the day and daylight is much easier to get a feel for the game with.

Additionally its much more low key with only a handful of parents/fans, usually no other photographers etc so access should be much easier than a big Friday night game under the lights with a major rival.

Start small and then work your way up once you've got the feel of the game down and can read the plays a bit better.
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Thread Title: Turned down by Maxpreps, and don't get it...
Thread Started By: Dominic Hanna
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