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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

REUTERS DUMPING NORTH AMERICAN FREELANCE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHER
Armando Solares, Photographer
Englewood | FL | USA | Posted: 1:16 AM on 08.24.13
->> A business decision...
https://nppa.org/node/63274
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Doug Murray, Photographer
West Palm Beach | FL | USA | Posted: 4:08 AM on 08.24.13
->> http://thomsonreuters.com/reuters-global-sports-pictures-service-with-us-pr.../
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Jeff Kowalsky, Photographer
West Bloomfield | MI | United States | Posted: 8:25 AM on 08.24.13
->> I just do not understand how you can make a living or at least afford gear making $125 with no reimbursed expenses per game?

John Harrington has a good analysis of the USA Today Sports photographer contract:
http://photobusinessforum.blogspot.com/2011/10/contract-analysis-gannettus-...
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Matawan | NJ | United States | Posted: 8:44 AM on 08.24.13
->> Jeff, The reality is you can't....Most of those working for $125 per have a second source of income or keep believing that this will open other doors for them. Maybe they are right, when USPW first started they did not even pay $125, they just split sales with the photographers so it was total spec work. Between Getty giving content away to win business over the last 15 years and the USPW deals, I have turned the focus of my business more towards college clients who appreciate my efforts and are willing to pay me a fair fee for showing up and covering their events. If I make $500 to cover one MLB game a week during the season it leaves me 6 other days to work for other clients and I get the same $$$ as a USPW shooter who worked 4 days........It all makes me glad that I am 67 now and I can pick and choose who I work for and when I work.....
Ok, rant is over..There are golf balls that need to be hit, for fun, not for profit today
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 8:48 AM on 08.24.13
->> If only someone had thought to warn these guys that this would happen...
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 8:57 AM on 08.24.13
->> ... and by "these guys" I'm referring to the people shooting on spec for kicks... not the hard working professional freelancers who just lost a big chunk of their income.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor, Photographer
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 8:51 PM on 08.24.13
->> The handful of USATSI shooters I know personally are among the best in their profession, yet the overall corps of their shooters has a terrible reputation. Why is that?

--Mark
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 9:36 PM on 08.24.13
->> Mark,

Agreed. Down to a person, I can tell you that every shooter I've worked around from USPW/USATSI has been a fantastic person and a pleasure to be around. Their management and executives included. On that, I'd never argue with you. Good people; complicated situation I guess.

-Blanco
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 11:55 AM on 08.25.13
->> I hate to say this but anyone who didn't see this coming just isn't paying attention. It makes me sad that I won't see some of my friends who are Reuters shooters anymore. I'm waiting for the proverbial "other shoe" to drop.....that would be the AP. management has already made a deal with one of the worst spec agencies in the world for some of their sports coverage. With membership falling and their new boss (who is known for his severe methods of saving money by attrition) I can see the AP leaning in this direction. And I know many of the staffers are worried too. The sad thing is just as USPresswire was gobbled up by Gannett and became a serious force to be dealt with there is NO way the management of AP is not looking to do the same. There are more than enough "photographers" out there who are willing to work for a free hot dog and sideline/baseline access to the " big game" and not even care about a payday. Their "payday" is being there.
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Matthew Hinton, Photographer, Assistant
New Orleans | LA | USA | Posted: 5:40 PM on 08.25.13
->> Assuming no same day game conflicts and that your town has a MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL team you can expect to make a whopping $21,625 for working 173 home games at $125.00. That includes 2 NFL preseason home games. That's probably as close to a maximum to expect per year. That's also assuming no lockouts or labor disputes.

That wouldn't cover the equipment costs necessary to competitively cover these events.

There are only 13 such cities. Most other cities may have one or two professional teams. Some may get work at Division I colleges but still not that many assignments.

It's entirely possible that all the local teams could come in dead last and greatly reduce any chance of "secondary sales."

You could instead work full-time for Starbucks making $11.50 per hour, just $4.25 more than minimum wage, working about 240 days per year, with weekends off, two weeks vacation and other holidays and sick days and make more money and not have to pay for equipment and you'd get some health insurance too.
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Albert McCracken, Photographer
Lockport | NY | USA | Posted: 5:58 PM on 08.25.13
->> Jeff,
Does this mean that freelance sports photography is dead? I read the contact and it is complicated and too long for me read. Besides, i'm just a photographer. That's code for a"monkey with a camera". At $125.00 a day it is worth me getting out of bed. Unforturely their is someone out there that would take that deal.
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Armando Solares, Photographer
Englewood | FL | USA | Posted: 6:09 PM on 08.25.13
->> Being a good person, a fine human being and even a good photographer doesn't exclude you from being a stupid business person. What some people fail to understand is that by taking substandard pay or a non-living wage for shooting these assignments you are subsidizing a multi-million dollar corporation.
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Jon Blacker, Photographer
Toronto | ON | Canada | Posted: 8:31 PM on 08.25.13
->> I don't pretend to be an authority and I know with absolute certainty that there are other photographers who will be affected in much greater ways than I, however I was contacted by Donald Winslow, the editor of the NPPA's News Photographer Magazine late Friday night to weigh in on the news of all Reuters sports images coming from USATSI. A very limited portion of our conversation is quoted in the article.

My own opinion, for what it's worth, is that those who chose to shoot for USPressWire which subsequently morphed into USATSI were universally panned not because they're not nice folks or may be good shooters, but rather, irrespective of who they are personally, they chose to work on spec with USPressWire and subsequently took the USATSI contract which made them 'those guys who are helping kill our industry'.

It's not personal, it's business....and as we all know, there are times when business is very personal.
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Patrick Fallon, Photographer, Assistant
Torrance | California | USA | Posted: 8:59 PM on 08.25.13
->> Let us not all forget that the "$125" paid INCLUDES all expenses for most of their photogs (Example: $25 for parking, $20 for mileage, $5 tolls) - so that $125 becomes $75...
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Patrick Fallon, Photographer, Assistant
Torrance | California | USA | Posted: 12:38 AM on 08.26.13
->> For the "Huh" people - do some reading - section 6a. i.
http://photobusinessforum.blogspot.com/2011/10/contract-analysis-gannettus-...

What I'm saying is you're not making $125 if you have to pay your own expenses from the "assignment fee," you're making $75, while a freelancer not working for USPW, being paid a $250/$275/$500 day rate, takes home $250/$275/$500 (with parking, mileage, tolls, etc. reimbursed on top of that.)
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Brad Mangin, Photographer
Pleasanton | CA | USA | Posted: 1:10 AM on 08.26.13
->> To quote Sports Illustrated Director of Photography Brad Smith:

"A pure business decision for Reuters is a sad day for Sports photography. Just because you wrap two items in identical boxes and wrap them in identical bows, doesn't make them the same product."

Brad knows a thing or two about this subject.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 2:20 AM on 08.26.13
->> I wasn't going to chime in, but I've been covering a music festival all weekend and met a huge range of photographers and "photographers".

I started off in college shooting bands for a ticket to their show, many folks did. It's way cool when you're young to be able to shoot photos, but I grew up and now make a living with my camera and have to say no if it's not worth it.

A few young girls were there with their consumer cameras and kit lenses, working for Patch.com, which pays marbles, if anything and acting like they were big sh&t, pushing in front of people and telling others they were going to sell their pictures and sadly, some people will probably take them for free.

There was also some guy with the newest 24-70 and 70-200 with a pair of 1DXs who told me he makes bank with some insurance company and shoots for free for some music blog, because he finds it fun and wants to become a photographer.

How do we change this status quo? I hardly have the answer, but something does need to change in the business model, though unfortunately the dollar sign tends to be the end all.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 7:56 AM on 08.26.13
->> The question that should be asked is not, as Mr. Coury put it, "How do we change this status quo?" Instead, as a business owner or entrepreneur, the question should be how can I succeed, evolve or capitalize in current status quo?
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 8:25 AM on 08.26.13
->> All you need to do is read the last analysis on the contract by John Harrington in the third thread above.

I have have seen this "current status quo" grow from weddings, senior shoots, middle school & high school sports. That it would now infringe on pro sports is a natural growth. Kind of like the plaque in the Middle Ages.

The market is changing thru development of the tools of the trade. The easier the tools are to use, the more "producers" you have in the market.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 1:16 PM on 08.26.13
->> The proverbial canary in a coal mine indicator with Reuters will happen over the next six months during which time there will be a World Series, Super Bowl, pre-Olympic qualifying events, etc. that will not being shot by photographers with decades of hard-core sports photography and wire-service experience.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 6:11 PM on 08.26.13
->> Clarification...

Before it is misinterpreted, I by no means am implying that USATSI shooters are not good. And I know several who have been shooting hard-core sports for decades and they are among the best of the best. By the same token, there are many who are new to the game.

I'm merely pointing out that USATSI is taking over the duties of a group of photographers who have set very high standards not just for themselves but for the industry too, including innovation. Those are huge shoes to fill -- not just in the image making, but the way those images are delivered. If the Reuters deal works out to not just both parties expectations but the end-users too, then the business deal was the right choice.

However, to speculate now on whether this move is a success or not is too early to determine. In the meantime, we need to be respectful of everyone in the mix and not jump to conclusions that may turn out to be completely false or refer to a person as a monkey with a camera.
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Thomas Oed, Photographer
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 4:16 AM on 08.27.13
->> Matthew's comparison above is exactly why the older I get, the less I shoot, I have absolutely no plans to update my now 5 1/2 year old D3 anytime soon, and I'm grateful every single day that I get to go work at a 'day job', that does drive me nuts sometimes, is nowhere near as fun as shooting most of the time, but that I can actually earn a living doing.
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Thread Title: REUTERS DUMPING NORTH AMERICAN FREELANCE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHER
Thread Started By: Armando Solares
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