Story   Photographer   Editor   Student/Intern   Assistant   Job/Item The Online Resource for Sports Photography

 Front Page
 Member Index
 Latest Headlines
 Special Features
 'Fun Pix'
 Message Board
 Educate Yourself
 Equipment Profiles
 Classified Ads
 Monthly Clip Contest
 Annual Contest
 Current Issue
 Back Issues
 Members Area
 "The Guide"
About Us:
 About SportsShooter
 Contact Us
 Terms & Conditions

Sign in:
Members log in here with your user name and password to access the your admin page and other special features.



|| Member Message Board

Shooting Kids Sports
Rob Palmer, Photographer
Lyon | CO | USA | Posted: 12:57 PM on 03.23.11
->> I am trying to start a side business doing kids sports, mainly soccer and baseball at this time but others in the fall. So far no luck, I shot two soccer games, contacted a few parents and sent about ten shots of their kids via email with a watermark. None sent a reply. I was thinking of printing 4x6 on the spot and trying that way. I know its not the quality, the action is great and the photos are good taken with a Canon Mark IV with a 500 f4 and a 70-200. Any recommendations would be truly appreciated.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

James Hendrix, Photographer
Olathe | KS | USA | Posted: 1:05 PM on 03.23.11
->> One of the SEPCON classes I attended the photographer was bringing an album of 5x7s to the next game and letting parents purchase on the spot.

He said his sales were higher than using the on-line method.

I've had limited success shooting on spec and using the on-line method but sales are not consistent.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Dave Breen, Photographer
Somerset | PA | USA | Posted: 1:12 PM on 03.23.11
->> It takes a while. You'll get a lot of "I love those pictures", but sometimes no purchases. I'd start online galleries, and establish yourself. Maybe wear a shirt with your website emblazoned across the front and back (I haven't tried this, but have often thought about it.)
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Richard Uhlhorn, Photographer
Chelan Falls | WA | USA | Posted: 1:27 PM on 03.23.11
->> Just this morning I received an offer from to download their newest handbook; "How to sell Prints."

They say:
Filled with case studies, action plans and thought-provoking insights from experts, we hope this guide will help photographers make the most of opportunities to generate additional income with prints.

Good luck. I have found selling prints difficult at best. In a small rural town, one has to ask, "Just how many prints of my child do I need?"

So we started a sports page on our community website that puts up galleries of sports images and we are paid through advertising/sponsorships from local busineses. Pays way better than trying to sell a few prints.

On the other hand, if you are in a larger market, you can easily cover more events and get more sales.

Cheers Rich
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Tim Lester, Photographer
Edwards | IL | USA | Posted: 1:35 PM on 03.23.11
->> As Dave said, it takes time. You will hear "those are great shots" but usually no purchases, even when the parents have a tough time capturing their own kids. I shoot ice hockey occasionally and parents normally have no chance of obtaining the quality I get, they comment what great images I post to my website but rarely does anyone make a purchase. The games I shoot are teams my kids play on, so it's not like the parents don't know how to contact me. I am working on some new marketing idea's but I may try and take some prints to see how that goes.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Scott Evans, Photographer
Bay Village | OH | USA | Posted: 1:39 PM on 03.23.11
->> Rob, I've gone from shooting spec (approximate pay: compliments from parents about nice images) to working with the parents organizations, boosters, school admin, league, etc. using game rates (approximate pay: $100-200/game). I'm decent with math but even if I weren't, I'd say option #2 makes more sense and will certainly lower your frustration levels. There are literally a thousand reasons parents don't buy online but at the end of the day, if they don't buy, you don't make squat. If there is no booster organization or organized parent group, I'd suggest putting together a portfolio of prints and going to a game simply to meet parents, show your work and try to arrange a paid for shoot. Even with a sport with small teams (like hoops), if each parent chips in $10, you can stand to make $150 and know you are being paid to be there without worrying about print sales. You can also offer additional products or larger print sizes if you wish (at additional cost of course). Not sure its the best approach but I have been much happier since I stopped shooting spec at the prep level.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (1) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Lee Weissman, Photographer
XXXXX | NY | USA | Posted: 2:07 PM on 03.23.11
->> Rob...I just looked at your images and you are very talented at what you do. I wish I lived in a place where I could capture those type of images. That being said here is my best advice to you....Stay away from youth sports. Unless they are paying you per game, you produce Cd's, and walk away, I think it is a very hard way to make anything at all. Last year a friend and I put a a Smugmug page for the mens and womens lacrosse teams at a local college. These are nationally ranked teams, one has won multiple national championships. The parents badgered us to do it. We got 57,000 hit on the site, and 4 orders!!! All I can say is that the quality of the images was very good, so that wasn't the problem. (My partner and I are published nationally for our lacrosse images) People will promise to buy but don't. Our prices were very reasonable. We figured it would be volume. It turned out to be an extreme waste of time, and this is not the first time we have done it. Just my two cents
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Tom Davenport, Photographer
Hayden | ID | USA | Posted: 2:35 PM on 03.23.11
->> Rob,
Your wildlife photography is second to none. How successful are you in selling it? In my experience youth sports prints will be a fraction of a fraction of your wildlife sales. Having said that, Ulhorn might be on to something. I live in a small community but my nephew brought his U14 volleyball team over from the Seattle area for a tournament. I shot them for myself and had 4 inquiries as to if I was for hire. I wasn’t and should have pushed the issue for what people would pay, but in 15 years I have had only a handful of people hire me to photograph their kid. I experience the same as many posts to your question already, lots of promises, few dollars changing hands.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Paul Abell, Photographer, Photo Editor
Atlanta | GA | United States | Posted: 3:01 PM on 03.23.11
->> Rob:

I second what Tom says... To heck with youth sports... Those eagle pics rock!
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Paul Alesse, Photographer
Centereach | NY | USA | Posted: 6:57 PM on 03.23.11
->> Run, don't walk away. There is no one living here anymore. Youth sports is dead. For parents, just seeing the images on screen watermark and all and emailing the link to relatives takes the place of physical prints and kids that are of age are lifting your images watermark and all and putting them on their facebook pages. Why would they buy? I wouldn't. The cow and milk metaphor is true.
 This post is:  Informative (4) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Philip Johnson, Photographer
Garland | TX | USA | Posted: 8:49 PM on 03.23.11
->> In youth sports the real money is in T&P work. As everyone has said the action shoots are a harder sell.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Paul Alesse, Photographer
Centereach | NY | USA | Posted: 9:19 PM on 03.23.11
->> Wow, you aint kiddin. Your shots of birds and beasts are amazing.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Dennis Meserve, Photographer
Libertyville | IL | USA | Posted: 9:24 PM on 03.23.11
->> Rob, I have been shooting youth sports for about six years. It is a tough market and can be very frustrating. I started out trying to sell on line and had very little success. Then I started to shoot games and coming back the next week with prints. I had some success but usually had a ton of prints left over. Not very cost effective.

I spent some money on four refurbished laptops to use as viewing stations and software that allows you to download images to one computer and them view them on the laptop viewing stations. I am currently using Photo Parata. It has some limitations but is user friendly and the developer is constantly improving the software.

Using the laptops has really boosted sales. When parents ask if the pictures will be on line we tell them no. That usually creates a sense of urgency that they need to buy now. We do make some exceptions to the online rule but try to stay away fron on line sales.

We shot a house league hockey tournament this past weekend and did very well. I don't think I could make a living doing just action shots from youth sports but it is a nice supplement to my income. A lot of photographers won't shoot on spec. because there is no guarantee but for me it has been working. Having said that we are moving to a business model where we take pre orders and only shoot those orders. Good luck.
 This post is:  Informative (4) | Funny (0) | Huh? (1) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rob Palmer, Photographer
Lyon | CO | USA | Posted: 10:23 PM on 03.23.11
->> I'm loving all the advice and reconsidering the next step. I think I might try the laptop thing since the investment would be minimal. Thank you all!
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (1) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Joseph Zimmerman, Photographer
Howard | Pa | USA | Posted: 10:49 PM on 03.23.11
->> This is certainly a tough nut to crack. I've been covering high school sports since 2007 baseball season and this will/would be my 5 year at it. I've slowly tried to build what I did but after years of blood and sweat i think I'm about to hang up on the high school stuff. Like Paul said its all look not buy. I run and I get parents all the time saying how they love the photos and they're going to buy but never do. I really do love doing it but they don't realize besides my time it does cost me money to do it but they don't care. As long as they get it for free they don't care about you. Well i think the well is going to be dry this season. I tried the disk thing last fall with football and I got low balled into giving game disk up for $100 a game for 3 games. I had the shots so I figure I might as well get something out of it this time but next time I just wont go. The coaches tell me the kids love the shots and love checking out the website after the game.I always posted up couple hours after game time with the exception of those last 3 football games. It was after holding onto those photos that the coach and several parents called and emailed asking if I was going to post the photos. Funny huh? I explained that no one was buying prints so I assumed no one cared to see them. Of course i knew what was going on but thats what I used to start the dialog to the fact that it cost money to do what I did at the quality I did. IF not then they would be using the photos of the other people there with their XTi and kit lens. I opted to take the 100/game at that time just to recover some costs. I tried getting involved with the boosters but I didn't really get any where. I thought a long time ago about trying to do local ads on the website but I wasn't sure how to approach local businesses and all the logistics behind it. I actually built my current website with using ads to support it but I just haven't learned how to do that kind of marketing. Again that comes back to needing to be a better business man than a photographer and right now I feel like I'm good at neither. Sorry if I've dragged on but I've been a bit frustrated with all things photography lately. I also run and running into the same similar issues with trying to grow but the only growing is stress.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Joseph Zimmerman, Photographer
Howard | Pa | USA | Posted: 10:50 PM on 03.23.11
->> and to add insult to injury I typo my website name. ugh,
the other one is
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 11:15 PM on 03.23.11
->> I can second what Paul Alesse said above...that ship (making a living shooting action photos at event) sailed a several years ago. Every team has at least 1 DWC/MWC (Dad/Mom With Camera) that is at every game shooting every kid and they edit/tone/upload and give away all their pictures for free. How are you gonna beat free?

Parents always respond with comments/questions like these:

• Wow, those pictures are great

• Wow, your picture look like they could be in a magazine or something

• How far can you see with that lens

• Get any good shots of #4? Email 'em to me

• Are you gonna be at the game next week?

• What's your website again?

• I bought pictures from the photographer at the tournament last week, but his pictures weren't as good as yours.

• I just want (1) 4x6? What? $10? You're expensive. My Uncle Bob sells his pictures on SmugMug for $0.59 each.

Honestly, your wildlife work is waaaaay too good for you to waste your time in the youth sports market. you should be selling 20x30 prints to hotels and businesses and stuff for hundreds of dollars per print.

Just my $0.02
 This post is:  Informative (3) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Paul Alesse, Photographer
Centereach | NY | USA | Posted: 11:27 PM on 03.23.11
->> Rob... you look like you are having a blast traveling the world, guiding tours, hanging out with amazing creatures, getting in touch with nature, teaching others... why on earth do you want to go from heaven to hell? But, hey listen... if you really want to trade places, give me a call!
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 6:39 AM on 03.24.11
->> Rob -

Welcome to SportsShooter. I'll add my kudos to those above - I've bookmarked your workshop page.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Randy Abrams, Photographer
Bath | NY | US | Posted: 6:57 AM on 03.24.11
->> Plus 1 to what Philip said (money is in the T&I part). If you can get a few T&I jobs it will help get your spec stuff started. Also, it will take time to get a reputation going. Word of mouth is your best advertisement. Do the business card thing and send emails. Another thing to look for is social media. I use Facebook for my company and have a lot of parents and players in the area now as "friends". This helps. Also look for other local websites and team websites. I have two websites in my area, one a forum site and one a scheduling site ( that the high school's use. I make a post on these sites so more people see the pictures. These sites help to drive traffic to my sales site. I also contact local youth leagues and a few high school teams that I know have websites. I give them a picture or two (lower res, small) for their website and they provide a link to my sales site.

As most have said, you aren't going to get rich doing the spec stuff, but a few bucks here and there is nice. Besides doing the T&I stuff and spec stuff, you may also consider doing some special collage type of stuff. You have to be able to do something different than what the MWC/DWC can do.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Gary Slickman, Photographer
Medfield | MA | United States | Posted: 8:15 AM on 03.24.11
->> Rob,

As others have mentioned: your business is "soaring" while ours is just plain "soring". Keep flying amongst the eagles!

Your work is stunning and brilliant. My suggestion, after shooting youth sports since 1996 and watching the bubble expand and burst is to concentrate on marketing your strength. Delane, Tom and Scott make very compelling arguments that you would be encouraged to consider.

There are so many wildlife, nature, spiritual groups and websites. I think its more about finding these niches and leveraging social media, and getting your work in front of people in as many settings as possible.

You have many opportunities to build or join communities. Here is the link to a company that runs free Social Media Bootcamps. I attended one in Boston recently and the content was very enlightening. I see that there is one coming up in June in Denver.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Jim Pierce, Photographer
Waltham | MA | USA | Posted: 5:35 PM on 03.24.11
->> Rob,

If you have not been scared away from this venture yet.... you might want to look at the "All in one" PC's. I just purchased three of the IBM Thinkcenters and made a 4 PC network that I bring to events. I looked at this long and hard and have no regrets going this way, or even investing in it, the big drawback for me with laptops was if something got spilled on the keyboard, with the all in ones if this happens replace the keyboard for $15.

I have been doing this for 9 years or so and it is only getting better. I also do many leagues T&I, about 8-10 leagues a year. This is definitly the money gig but I have done very well with my past 3 hockey events, and have one more left next week-end, as well as my HS senior gifts of the athletes in action.

I am not seeing what everyone else is as far as action photo sales go, if I did I would not have just purchased the network equipment.... which was paid off very quickly.

 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Rod Oracheski, Photographer, Photo Editor
Wainwright | AB | Canada | Posted: 9:50 PM on 03.27.11
->> A friend shoots tournaments regularly and he's told me a few times that online sales are maybe 1% of his business. The big sales come on the final day of the tournament, with very little on the early days. People will wait for their team to be eliminated, unwilling to buy before because you might get that one perfect picture in a later game.

He has his wife run a station with five laptops networked to showcase pics on, letting people place orders and printing on site.

His favourite events are volleyball tournaments where he also gets the team photo contract. He sets up a room with backdrop and lights for the team pic, but also uses the room for an hour after to let the players do silly poses, pose with parents or friends, etc... Those pics tend to sell as much as the action ones.

You can have all the equipment and skill in the world though, and still have your sales cut by parents with cameras. If you've tried a few and not gotten sales I'd say cut your losses and move on to something else. At least you gave it a shot.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 11:41 PM on 03.27.11
->> Rob, I surprised no one pointed you to Eric Canha on here. This guy makes a good living with kids sports and T and I.

Do a search and I believe Eric will be more than happy to help since you're not in his backyard if you email him.

Difficult business but some people are having success. Jim's having some success as well so the key is to get the right marketing business model and keep re-inventing it as the market changes. I think both of these guys are tremendous resources so use them.

Awesome wildlife images as well.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 9:47 AM on 03.28.11
->> Michael if ever I need a PR person you're hired! I saw this post however I have been in Ireland until last night and today am dealing with an extremely difficult family issue. Rob contacted me privately and I will respond to him off the board later today. I suspect that I will not be on here much for another day or two or maybe I immerse myself in the board as an escape mechanism. Either way I'm happy to share what I know with Rob.

I'll say this.... It's not about the photography. I know too many great photographers who are horrendous business people. It is all about making connections with your customers. It's about partnering with schools, leagues, clubs and parents. To that end I think that is where people like Jim and myself are working the hardest and reaping what we sow.

Camera and lens technology has tipped to the point that just about anyone can have the gear to get the job done. Whether they have the desire, skill, and infrastructure to deliver something that people are willing to fork over hard (very hard nowadays) earned money is what will set a real Professional photographer from a photographer. Learning how to negotiate deals and create packages and services is the new battleground. Anyone who thinks that making images that are just that little bit better than the mom or dad or whoever is standing beside you is the differentiating point is just fooling themselves.

It's my opinion that anyone who isn't really studying the service side of the business is totally doomed. Put a $25 'transmitting' fee on a proposal to a booster club and unless the the president of that club is also a SI or Newsweek photo buyer, you have lost the fight long before you ever had a chance. Anyone wanting to wade in this pool is well advised to take some time to study the differences between whatever business model they are working in and the how that translates to dealing with parents and youth leagues. You'll never 'educate' your youth and tournament customers to do business the way that you do business with SI. You WILL find success if you can find ways of repackaging your product for a new market. Fewer questions about what lens to use when shooting ping pong and more asking about what parents are craving and buying is my tip off that someone 'gets it' and is looking to make it in this not so barren wasteland.

 This post is:  Informative (3) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Sutton, Photographer
Herndon | VA | USA | Posted: 9:51 AM on 03.28.11
->> Rob, I second Delane. A few years ago, I started shooting my daughter's AAU basketball games just to send some images to her Grandparents. At first, I only shot 2 games, but some parents started to ask me to shoot their kids and I started making extra money just shooting her team. Some weekends I would clear $200 bucks just on that 1 team. I even brought my lights to a practice and did headshots and team photos which I sold as a package and I think the minimum purchase from that one team for that one afternoon was $125 bucks. Not to mention she had 13 kids on her team.

The following year the organization hired me and I made a killing because not only did they have at least 2 teams for each age group, but they also had boys teams too. Then a trend started to happen, Mom/Pop started showing up with thier D70's or Digital Rebels' and to add insult to injury. Had the nerve to ask me how to use them. Some of my most loyal customers were now getting their images from Mom/Pop Freebee Mart. After making a ton of money for 2 years I stopped because it wasn't worth the frustration.

You have some AWESOME wildlife images that I know has to be a market for them. I see paintings that aren't as good as what I see on your page.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Shane Psaltis, Photographer
Aquebogue | NY | USA | Posted: 7:23 AM on 03.29.11
->> Rob,

I have been doing the youth sports thing for over 12 years and the days of going out and shooting and putting them on the web and praying people buy are over. If a parent has access to the field just like you they are not buying.

The only events that you have a chance at making money on are events that have severe a championship tournament. Also anyone above 12 years old forget about it.

If you do a high profile national tournament the only way your making money is by setting up laptops and printing onsite.

Good luck

 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Paul Alesse, Photographer
Centereach | NY | USA | Posted: 6:07 PM on 03.30.11
->> FYI... All event/tournament organizers will tell you that their tournament is an IMPORTANT tournament if you ask them. So many times I have fallen into the trap of taking a tournament because they say this is a "state tournament" or a "national tournament" or a "premier tournament" or that this tournament will have lots of scouts or this tourament has teams from all over. Been there, heard that... and a thousand times over and at the end of the weekend, I'm out three grand in photographers and may recoup as a little as one-third back after a year of online sales.

Now, I simply ask one question when it comes to deciding to shoot a tournament or not:

"Will your tournament be on television or covered by major news organizations throughout the country?"
Yes? You take it.
No? You walk.
 This post is:  Informative (2) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Jim Pierce, Photographer
Waltham | MA | USA | Posted: 9:11 PM on 03.30.11
->> Paul,

How many clients answer "yes" to your question?

 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 9:55 PM on 03.30.11
->> THREE GRAND on photographers???? Anytime you need a shooter just call me! I'll be your beck and call 'tog!
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Eric Dituri, Photographer
Clovis | CA | USA | Posted: 11:10 PM on 03.30.11
->> I would like to thank all of the fellow photographers who have pitched in on this discussion. As someone who is new to shooting youth sports on spec, I am certainly realizing the difficulty in making sales. I have enjoyed the compliments from parents/coaches, but few dollars have come my way. I'll probably keep shooting this way for a while longer, but I'm not holding my breath that things will change dramatically. Well, maybe I can look forward to some great portfolio shots!
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 11:17 PM on 03.30.11
->> Eric-

It takes a lot of money to pay photographers to cover BIIIIG tournaments (soccer, softball, baseball, track and field). Plus you have to put them up in hotels and pay for food and stuff.

When I hired Paul and Shane to shoot for my company last year in Philly I incurred extra cost of mileage too. I chalked it up to the cost of doing business with real professionals.

Paul isn't talking about ADT (Another Damn Tournament), where you can get by paying a "photographer" $10/hour to shoot crappy pictures.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Paul Alesse, Photographer
Centereach | NY | USA | Posted: 12:01 AM on 03.31.11
->> Jim... one out of two. LL Baseball East Regionals shown live on ESPN prime time each year. The other doesn't get TV coverage, but it has proved to be a consistent money maker each year, so we still do it. That one is soccer. The only other action that is still done are the one day football youth Sundays. Only expense is myself. I shoot for an entire day on one field and whatever I make, I make.

As for the 3 grand... that's for the big tournaments as Delane said and actually 3 grand is on the conservative side. 5-8 photographers for two days can add up when you consider day rates, a per diem meal allowance, and travel (for some). It has become too much of risk, so we just don't take em on anymore.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Chris Peterson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbia Falls | MT | USA | Posted: 9:44 AM on 03.31.11
->> I'd say start with the "boring" pic. — the obligatory team picture (s). Contact the league. Say you'll take all the team photos for the league and go from there. I know a photographer here who makes a living at it.

He also does buttons and candids and all that stuff. I personally think it's torture. But it's better than starving.

Great bird shots, but the way.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Michael Granse, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 9:51 AM on 03.31.11
->> I have worked a few events for other shooters where the fee I was paid was very likely more than they made when all was said and done. One of these guys once lost roughly $7,000 on a single tournament.

It is one thing to risk your own time to shoot a weekend tournament on spec but it is quite another to hire TWELVE additional shooters for that same time on the hope that you will still be able to turn a profit.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 11:41 AM on 03.31.11
->> Paul I can understand shying away from mega-tournaments where you need that kind of staffing. I wouldn't do them and haven't yet. I turned down the same tournament for the last three years becuase I didn't see a way of making it a safe bet. This year they called again and we worked it out to my satisfaction. 220 teams, not sure where you would put that on the 'mega' scale but after several calls I got it down to a place where I'm pretty sure that I will walk away happy. I could be wrong, check with me in June. Your litmus test is an interesting one in that I would think that if a game or series was going to be on TV or covered by major press, sales would be flatter. After all why not DVR the game or wait to get the photo with USAToday's logo stamped on it?

Delane it comes down to balancing between what we know is good business sense and wanting to hire Peter Read Miller and the SI staff to shoot 10 year olds. Knowing that I can't get $100 for a memory mate EVEN IF it is shot by Mr. Miller guides my hiring and staffing decisions.

Chris what you have described is the classic T&I shoot. Not any different from an elementary school's picture day. Small leagues will bring in $5k medium 10-15k and the big leagues will gross upwards of $25k. Those are GROSS SALES numbers. How you staff the shoots, what labs and volume breaks you get from the labs, how you arrange your packages, and what you pay back to the leagues is what will make or break you.

Michael clearly that guy loaded for bear when he should have known it was a rabbit hunt. I can't agree with you more. I've gone to tourneys where they're clearly over staffed and burning payroll like crazy.

Sadly there are guys who just don't post on these topics anymore because it becomes the same old same old. They're doing well for themselves but just have gotten tired of justifying it or being asked to prove it. There are members here who are working for these guys week in and week out. Something tells me that if these guys were only breaking even at their events they wouldn't be pulling a trailer across 5 states every other week.

It's work, bust your balls work but done right it does make money. There is no easy money to be made with a camera unless you are shooting porn. I don't know, maybe there's a site somewhere where porn shooters get together to complain about all the housewives posing for free and giving it away or the ugly models that people will 'settle' for. The payday potential for photographers isn't that big a secret. If you're looking to pocket 500k shooting this stuff you'd be better off getting you MBA and looking for the next bubble.

 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 12:02 PM on 03.31.11
->> Eric: "There is no easy money to be made with a camera unless you are shooting porn. I don't know, maybe there's a site somewhere where porn shooters get together to complain about all the housewives posing for free and giving it away or the ugly models that people will 'settle' for."

Best post of the month.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Matthew Jonas, Photo Editor, Photographer
Evergreen | CO | USA | Posted: 1:07 PM on 03.31.11
->> Rob, it's nice to see another Colorado Sportsshooter member. Anyway on to business. This is going to be a tough road. I tried doing this on the side when I wasn't shooting for the paper. I did many of the things that other members have suggested such as bringing prints, pasting my website all over lenses, shirts, etc., handing out business cards and talking with as many parents as possible. I put a lot of effort into trying to sell prints and had a lot of trouble trying to get parents to buy anything. Most parents and players would have been happy with a free low res, water marked image for their facebook page. The truth is, there just wasn't a profitable market for this kind of work in my area.

And as many have said in this and other posts, you are always up against the MWCs or GWCs. I seem to be seeing more of this in Colorado every year. In particular, I had one school that I just couldn't sell prints or digital files to. I was really confused as to why. So I did a little investigation and it turns out that a couple of MWCs that I had given advice to earlier on in the season had set up their own high school sports photo "business". I use that term loosely because it turns out that they were selling both digital and prints to parents for $2.00 each!!!! I may have been offering a higher quality product but they were offering quantity and ridiculously lower prices. It just wasn't worth it for me to try to compete.

I'm not telling you that you shouldn't go down this path. I'm just trying to give you a realistic view of some of the problems you might face in trying to achieve your goals. Good luck.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 2:01 PM on 03.31.11
->> For me ... when I shoot a youth/HS sporting event or tournament I am there primarily to cover the event for publication(s) with my expenses and time are usually covered for the effort ... then I post the event online as well so the resulting sales (if any) are a bonus ...

If I were at these same events to shoot primarily on speculation for online sales after the fact, I definitely would not shoot nearly the number of games I do now because the ROI just isn't there ... I have worked events that I was positive would garner a good number of online sales and result in a total bust ... and other events that I thought had no chance of resulting in a single sale that turned out to be quite lucrative ...

I think online sales, like all marketing/merchandising are a local thing ... in some areas, for some events, it can be a very successful endeavor ... in others ... a total waste of time and effort.

It can even be quite different from customer to customer ... I have had VERY wealthy folks berate me for asking them the pay $10 for an 8x10 of their child as being extremely over priced ... and other customers with lesser means who will buy EVERY image I can post of their kids ... no matter how mundane ... there just seems to be no rhyme or reason sometimes ...

In the end, I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all solution the question ... but finding the mix of effort that can work for you ...
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 3:05 PM on 03.31.11
->> Three seasons you can not NOW count on action sales for regulare season or ADT events:
1. GWC
2. Parents do not have the money given the economy in the US right wanted change, we got it!
3. Too many people getting into the biz who do not know what they are doing and wreck it for everyone.
Sorry to sound a death nell, but reality is reality.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Add your comments...
If you'd like to add your comments to this thread, use this form. You need to be an active (paying) member of in order to post messages to the system.

NOTE: If you would like to report a problem you've found within the website, please let us know via the 'Contact Us' form, which alerts us immediately. It is not guaranteed that a member of the staff will see your message board post.
Thread Title: Shooting Kids Sports
Thread Started By: Rob Palmer
Member Login:

Return to -->
Message Board Main Index
Coffee tables, libraries, bathrooms are not complete! ::..