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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

And We Wonder Why The Business Is Dying
Tim Cowie, Photographer
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 11:34 PM on 09.09.10
->> Here's a guy shooting different sports - volleyball on this page and giving his content away for free.

Go figure!

http://volleyballphotomag.com/MeetMatrix.php?Meet=2010-09-04%20Marquette%20...
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 11:40 PM on 09.09.10
->> Report him to the NCAA

Report him to both schools

But do not expect anything to happen
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Thomas E. Witte, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cincinnati | OH | USA | Posted: 1:03 AM on 09.10.10
->> I never wondered Tim. I just watched trends, poured over different publishers EBITDA and discovered the word "commodity".

Anyway, in regards to this mutt, he's actually aaaaalmost skirting around any rules.

1: He isn't transferring any licenses.
2: He's not profiting from the NCAA's likenesses.
3: He's not offering (but he's also not forbidding) commercial usages.

Forbidding any commercial use would tie up that loose end. However since he is saying that the photos are "free to use", he's labeling himself as a conduit for distribution, which the NCAA prefers to control.
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Jeff Mills, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 2:07 AM on 09.10.10
->> Making matters worse of course is the fact that he's actually got some pretty nice images.

I much prefer to see an unedited gallery of every shot straight from his CF card posted with tons of OOF shots for people to wade through, badly tilted horizons and horrible motion blur from a shooter using a 70-300mm f5.6 lens from the stands.

Still don't like to see people giving something away for free just on general principle alone but when it really is something that would have some value that just hurts everyone even more.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 8:33 AM on 09.10.10
->> You can't control the actions of others. Best you can do is let the NCAA handle it, but it's like sticking your finger in the proverbial .... ah you get the analogy.

Unfortunate that amateurs and GWCs have ruined this segment of the business. You just have to find others segments and move on. Preferably ones where GWCs and amateurs aren't so attracted.
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Dallas | TX | US | Posted: 9:11 AM on 09.10.10
->> "Preferably ones where GWCs and amateurs aren't so attracted."

Or attractive, 'cause there's nothing harder than hating on a dude with a camera if he's a looker. Trust me.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 10:36 AM on 09.10.10
->> Come on folks, the business isn't dying....it is evolving and at far faster rate than in the history of industry. Unfortunately for many, it is not going the direction they would like ;=) Whereas pre-1998, you could develop a strategy and plan that wold be good for five to ten years, now, you either have to be willing to make changes to you business plan every 18 to 24 months. It is either embrace change at this pace and make it part of you business practice or prepare an exit strategy from the industry because it won't get any easier or slower as long as technology continues to advance on a cycle describe by Moore's Law.
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Frank Niemeir, Photographer
Woodstock | GA | usa | Posted: 11:56 AM on 09.10.10
->> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNp1F-F3OoI
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Walt Middleton, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 1:54 PM on 09.10.10
->> That sucks but it happens a lot more than you think. The only differince I see is that he does it in broad sunlight. What normaly happens is someone gets a credential from a SID and in return gives them a cd with images. In my opinion just as bad if not worse.

Frank good find on youtube...
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 2:22 PM on 09.10.10
->> Clark you are correct on several points and have adopted a more positive outlook than many ... but there comes a point when you have to admit that the general value of professional photography in the marketplace has diminished significantly and is quickly spreading to all corners and genres of the industry .... making it that much more difficult to earn a living regardless of how much you shorten the time frame on your business strategy ... those who give away their works are indeed diminishing the efforts of all involved despite how well we plan, market and look positively to the future.

When we see time honored publications more than willing to buy a $40 image from an online micro stock agency and run it on their cover ... to ad agencies willing to spend pennies on the dollar for a fledgling unproven photographer so they can make budget .... and blogsters who feel they have the right to use any works they can acquire by any means without payment or accreditation ... the business on the whole is undergoing much more than evolution of technology .... and some facets of the industry are not only dying ... they are dead ....

While I too try to work with a positive outlook on the future, I am still fully aware that I must invest more time and money, work longer and harder today to earn a living than I ever have in the past 33 years in the biz.

Yes, we must evolve with time and technology to maintain ... but to ignore the fact that so many are willing to provide content for free ... and it is not a factor that affects us all is not very forward thinking ....
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Dave Miller, Photographer
Darlington | PA | | Posted: 3:07 PM on 09.10.10
->> Well put, Butch. After 20+ years I find myself thinking much the same and at times wonder if in the not too distant future I'll be doing something else for a living while others continue to invest in the equipment and technology to give away their work.
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Darren Whitley, Photographer
Northwest Missouri | MO | USA | Posted: 7:04 PM on 09.10.10
->> The NCAA does not presume to control the media or use of images except when they are used for commercial purposes.

If he was properly credentialed, what he does after the fact can only be somewhat controlled by the schools and the NCAA.

The NCAA does not exercise prior restraint over the use of editorial photos. They do have a clause in championships that states no secondary uses.

This is a freedom of speech issue, which he appears to be entitled to since (I assume) he's a citizen or resident of our fine country as well.
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Jeff Mills, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 10:46 PM on 09.10.10
->> I actually highly doubt the schools SID would take any action on this. Most likely they've given the guy a credential in the first place because lets face it, theres not a lot of media demand for women's volleyball.

Additionally even if the SID wasn't aware of this guys site, it wouldn't surprise me if they actually grabbed some images for their own PR releases and recaps once they found out.

With budget cuts at a lot of universities the smaller sports really can't afford to get shot more than a few times per season yet the SID's still need to post releases on the schools websites and so forth. They could either use an old image a university photographer shot, try to shoot some shots themselves from the scorers table, or if the opportunity presents itself to get some free shots, at decent ones in this case, they will usually take it.
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Ryan Coleman, Photographer, Photo Editor
Woodbury | MN | USA | Posted: 12:43 AM on 09.11.10
->> the NCAA doesn't control conference and non-conference events, just the post season. But if you want to report this person here's your contacts:

Levida Maxwell:
Corporate and Broadcast Alliances
NCAA
P.o. Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN 46206-6222
Phone: (317) 917-6356
Fax: (317) 917-6807

Greg Wietekamp:
gweitekamp@ncaa.org (I just have his email).

Levida handles all post-season licensing.

As for the School's (or sport's) SID: They might care but more importantly the LICENSING division at MARQ will care.

I deal with this shit all the time shooting D-I hockey and Div III other things.
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Jeff Mills, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 1:28 AM on 09.11.10
->> Ryan, exactly what NCAA violation is going on here ?

The images aren't being sold nor being used for any commercial purposes best I can tell.

Rather it seems to be a website full of volleyball images (with the ability to download full resolution files) that seems it would fall under an editorial context.

One of my newspapers shoots NCAA sports and post online galleries of game action all the time, even volleyball. Only difference really is we don't post full resolution files.

Obviously from a business standpoint it doesn't make sense for a photographer to just go and allow access to their full resolution files, but if someone was credentialed to shoot what rules are there at what size you can display your images ?

It would be different if they had a link to buy the images or where otherwise trying to use the images for a commercial purpose, but who says you can't start a website of volleyball game action photography ?

There are tens of thousands of similar styled websites for all the NCAA football teams out there as well.

Obviously I understand how this type of stuff devalues the market and hurts us trying to make a living at it, but what exactly isn't allowed that could be reported ?
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 1:43 AM on 09.11.10
->> Butch, it's business 101 that as any business matures, the price (ie value) goes down for any particular segment. Sports photography in general is a mature segment so there's pricing pressure downwards.

How do you overcome this? Clark is absolutely correct: There's more opportunity than ever. Clark came up with a new and different approach. Look at what Eric Cahan does - and is busy making money. There are others on here who don't talk too much lest the secret get out, but they all share one thing in common: They are NOT standing still. They are finding new approaches that command more dollars.

Tim said that the guy's work was pretty good. I looked at it. If it was me, I would strobe the gym so that the colors popped. An amateur won't do that. If the amateur's work is "good" enough, either the pro has to take his work to another level or be in a pissing match with someone who will work for free.

I said it before, I've been saying it and will continue to say it to everyone on here that gets excited when these kinds of posts occur on SS: IF the segment implodes because of pricing pressure, you either find someone willing to pay more or you have to find another segment. Christ, 4 years ago Fish shot sports. Now he writes a airlines blog and shoots corporate and weddings. There's some change.

Change isn't easy. But unless one changes, finds new segments and or finds ways to make their work stand out, they are faced with dealing with free and that puts them out of business.

Edmund Burke said it best: "We must all obey the great law of change...it is the most powerful in nature". For those not familar with Mr. Burke, Google his name and see when he wrote those words.

Change is a part of life. Ignoring it??... IF you ignore it too long, you become extinct.

These constant threads about the next shooter giving it away for free get rather boring. They aren't the issue. The issue is what will you do to avoid becoming extinct? That's how this venue and others should be used. That's the kind of thread we should be reading and writing about.

So let's do that, and be productive, shall we? Bitching about it solves nothing. (But it IS easier than doing SOMETHING).
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Ryan Coleman, Photographer, Photo Editor
Woodbury | MN | USA | Posted: 9:28 AM on 09.11.10
->> Jeff - I'm not saying it is; I just know the best way to get answers and reactions is to try and ruffle feathers in Indy.

It's always a last straw for me. Some schools and conferences up here loath a phone call from Indy.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 2:04 PM on 09.11.10
->> Sorry for the long post, but I would like to address two points.

Butch Miller wrote,"...but there comes a point when you have to admit that the general value of professional photography in the marketplace has diminished significantly and is quickly spreading to all corners and genres of the industry..."

Fortunately, I saw that point probably four years ago, Butch :-) Back then, it was easy to decide to not only be an editorial content provider, but also become the producer of an end product. With so many publishers and media outlets dropping what they are willing to pay for content, willing to use crappy submitted images or photos shot by untrained personnel already on staff, essentially getting rid of me the middleman, it made and still does, make twisted sense to get rid of the end-man.

Thanks to existing technology and that on the horizon, the transition to publisher is becoming as easy as it is for Joe-the-parent to pick up a d-slr at Best Buy and become a GWC. I like to think of myself now as a GWP - Guy With A Press ;-) The on-going transition, which I made deliberately slow, has not been without its highs and lows. I continued to be encouraged by what I see happening in my target market as I continue to stage one of my goal.

One reason I find this thread interesting is I've been considering allow "free" distribution of content we produce.

I'll let one of my secrets (I don't mind sharing), as Mr. Fischer refers to, out of the darkroom. This time last year, I implemented a similar model whereby, like the photographer-in-question, we would give away non-watermarked, screen resolution content to the our site users - through a PAID subscription service. As I write this, I just realize the concept isn't all that new - the adult entertainment industry has been doing this for years...lol. Seriously, the concept has showed promise and I will continue to tweak the model as well as develop several others that are along similar lines.

Finally, back to Butch's statement that, "general value of professional photography in the marketplace has diminished". I firmly believe, photography has been devalued is because of the total lack of education in the marketplace as to what is considered 'professional' or quality image not because the general public has access to pro quality digital cameras.

Case in point: There is a popular sports message that covers prep teams in our area where photographers, pros and parents, can post their game pictures. There are numerous examples of threads where site members will leave comments such as "Great photos!" or "Excellent photos. I really like # so and so." to a set of posted images that are mostly out of focus, backs and butts, players just standing on the field with their hands on their hips and/or are poorly color balanced. In general people, because of their lack of education and knowledge, are perfectly happy with images you and I delete between plays on a football field or during a soccer match.

How important is educating the marketplace? One needs only to look at car commercials on television. Notice how BMW and Mercedes stress quality, value added features such as the new sound suppression system, collision avoidance system and of course, elitism? Meanwhile brands like Hyundai/Kia/Ford/Chevy stress economy and fun. Take money out of the equation, which would you rather drive?

IMNSHO, if more was done to educate the marketplace just like BMW and Mercedes, the value of the work created by knowledgeable, well-trained pro shooters would command a much higher demand as well as remove many of those who are not fully committed to quality from the pool of competition because they simply don't want to make the effort to compete.
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 5:05 PM on 09.11.10
->> Clark and Michael ... I agree with you ... it is wise to diversify, evolve and educate consumers as we grow ... and that a superior product will turn heads ... I also agree that public perception as to what "professional quality" is has been diluted ...

In no way was I implying we all should conduct business as usual and defy change or re-establish the status quo ... I was only offering a POV that addresses what has transpired over the past decade and it's effects on the industry ... a historical perspective lays a better foundation to plan for the future and hopefully eliminate history repeating itself.

For myself, fortunately I have been around long enough that I have a well established client list. I have diversified and added products that keep me competitive ... I have lost a few accounts due to bargain shopping, and I've gained a few I never expected ... I'm not worried for my own efforts as I will be joining the ranks of the retirement sect in the not too distant future ... though as long as we have providers of imagery that place little to no monetary value on what they produce ... it places a higher hurdle in front of us that we all must clear ...
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Thread Title: And We Wonder Why The Business Is Dying
Thread Started By: Tim Cowie
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