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Professional Team Photographer Rates
Scott Schild, Photographer
Buffalo | NY | United States | Posted: 8:58 AM on 04.06.11
->> I recently received a request for a team photographer position business proposal from a local professional women's soccer league team.

What should be expected as the market rate for game, PR, and community service coverage. I'm planning on charging additionally for usage rights. I do not want to undercut the market but at the same time I do not want to price myself out either.
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Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 11:11 AM on 04.06.11
->> There are no true "market rates" for professional leagues. I'm sure they will tell you that their budget is limited (aren't all budgets limited???) and most likely they will balk at the idea of an additional fee for usage.

Having said that, I've negotiated rates up to $600 for a single women's professional football game game. I've been offered rates as low as $0 (they will tell you that it's great exposure, but exposure doesn't pay our mortgage).

Another thing to be aware will be undercut.

A few years ago I had a great season long deals in place with a professional soccer team and a lacrosse team...until members here came along an offered services for free. Not only did we shoot most of their home games we also had a deal in place to provide them with photography at their summer camps. I remember seeing pictures of the one photographer running up/down the sideline wearing a replica uniform for one of the teams...cleats and all.

On average be prepared for them to want to pay somewhere between $0-$300. More if they really value photography...less if they could care less about quality and service.

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Mike Janes, Photographer
Attica | NY | USA | Posted: 1:31 PM on 04.06.11
->> I believe you're one of many who got this from the team, so there will be a LOT of proposals, many of them will be undercutting other photographers as there's always some guy who lives by the stadium willing to do it for access and a hot dog, and the hot dog is optional and not a deal breaker.

They're playing the games at least a good hour away from you so you have to take into account all expenses and look at your bottom line, put everything down on what it's going to cost you per game and add in time + usage. Fact is you could price yourself right out of it simply by putting down your CDB, unfortunately there are teams that hire by price and could care less about the quality of the images. Hopefully they care about quality!

Knowing a lot of team photographers, and being one, I don't know many teams that pay for the extra usage, they want to be able to use it internally for basically anything they want. Sending it to third parties is a big no-no, but internally they do not want to have to deal with additional fees. My contract says they can use it for internal items (card sets, programs, posters, etc) but if anybody else comes asking for photos they MUST refer it to me, they simply don't pay enough for the rights to send the images anywhere they want.
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Dominick Reuter, Photographer
Cambridge | MA | USA | Posted: 1:49 PM on 04.06.11
->> A lot of folks reference the NPPA CODB calculator, but I find the one at FreelanceSwitch ( to be most helpful in determining your drop dead bottom line.

The rest of your strategy as far as service charges and usage fees is up to you. A key consideration is being aware not only what it costs *you* to do the work, but what it is worth to *them*.
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 2:27 PM on 04.06.11
->> Professional depends on the level of competition. The lower the level, the lower they will pay...if anyhting at all. And be ready to waaaaaaait for your payment.
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Jamey Price, Photographer, Assistant
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 2:40 PM on 04.06.11
->> As a rule of thumb, never be the cheapest option.

I say say shoot one game, then send low res watermarked images to every person who carries weight on the team and explain why you are the right person for the job and that they should pay you for your work.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 2:44 PM on 04.06.11
->> A key to any sale: Do you really want the business?

How do you determine that?

By talking to whoever is in charge of the decision making.

If they're serious about quality, you'll be able to tell. Sit down and write down the questions in advance.

The questions need to determine needs and wants.

They start with:


Ask the question and then shut up. LISTEN to the responses.

What you're trying to do is really open up a conversation that can build into a relationship. Professional salespeople are good at this. They do it by asking questions that not only indicate finding out what the needs are but that you're actually interested in making sure they get what THEY want. Re-read that paragraph. You have no idea how powerful that tool is.

If whoever it is just gives you a response like "just send me your best rate" then you have a answer and it's just easier to walk away. They are bottom feeders.

IF the person answers some of the questions, the next step is to get some face time. " I'd like to get some more information. I'd love to meet you. Can you give me 10-15 minutes the next few days?" (

If you get the meeting - Show your work. Tell them you want to work with their budget, at the same time, "it needs to be a win-win". Again, work on what they want. A good thing to tell them is: "in this day and age - everyone has a budget. I'm good at working with realistic budgets..."

IF they come back with "we have no budget - we want to trade out.." or some other line of crap, thank them for their time, and leave your card and tell them you'll touch base from time to time. Encourage them to do so, too.

As many threads on here have illustrated, the guys looking for FREE quickly fall into two classes: Those that don't care, and those who just have to discover that they are going to get what they pay for either way and when they get tired of out of focus, blurry images, they will be looking at getting a professional. THAT'S WHEN YOU WANT TO POP INTO THEIR MINDS if you don't get it on the first go round.

Then mark your calendar and touch base "Hey Jim - just touching base.. how's things? I've got some new samples... if you have some time..." Contact them - Several times IF you think you can build it into a profitable relationship. Otherwise, cut bait and move on.

Make sense?

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Scott Schild, Photographer
Buffalo | NY | United States | Posted: 7:36 AM on 04.07.11
->> Thanks for the input everyone.
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Thread Title: Professional Team Photographer Rates
Thread Started By: Scott Schild
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