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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Qustion for newspaper sports shooters
Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 2:35 PM on 01.19.15
->> When you go to a game, do you shoot the entire game? Or do you get what you need and then leave? Thanks, Sam
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John Vanacore, Photographer
North Haven | CT | | Posted: 2:54 PM on 01.19.15
->> Hi Sam,
Really depends on a few things. i just list 3 things for starters...
1) How many assignments in a given evening/night
2) is it a regular season game where game end reaction shots are not necessarily required, or is a playoff championship game where that would be extremely important
3) How would you being paid? by the photo? by the hour? by the assignment?
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Richard Shiro, Photographer
Greenville | SC | USA | Posted: 4:07 PM on 01.19.15
->> Sam,
High school football for the paper 1rst half
High School basketball 1rst game girls-whole game, 2nd game boys first half or earlier if I get what I need.
High school baseball pre-game and several innings until I get what I need or the light turns bad
The same with soccer, lacrosse, tennis, etc.
Just like John, if it is playoff stay later depending on my deadline, and whole games for championship.
All college and pro sports-whole game.

Hope this helps. Richard
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 4:21 PM on 01.19.15
->> Depends on the assigning editor, time constraints, print and web deadlines, etc. -- all of which are normally out of the photographer's control.

If you're the only one working and there are two HS basketball games, you cover some of the first half of one, drive to the other and shoot the second half. OR, you could spend half your time transmitting because the editor wants some quick photos for the website, another set of images at half time and a third set after the game. OR, you are working a noon-8p shift where you can only cover the first half of a 7p game without incurring overtime which is not authorized. OR, etc.

Ideally, shooting for an afternoon paper is great because you can cover the entire game, even late ones, and still make deadline provided you don't have to feed the web beast. But then, the number of PM papers have dwindled to nearly non-existence in the last several decades. The other alternative is shooting for a weekly where there are no on the spot deadlines.

As to your answers, #1 is the norm and listed above. The second one has merit, but the other factors above also apply. And #3 sounds like your question is for freelance work and not staff.

If freelance, then there are a number of other factors such as what one's contract calls for. If you're hired to provide services for X number of hours to do whatever the editor wants then that essentially makes you a temporary staff member which is how the IRS and Labor Department will view you should an audit occur. But with a contract that says you'll provide X number of photos for Y number of dollars, then you are a service provider. Now whether your contract calls for you to provide X number of images from the first half, second half, full game, during OT, etc. is dependent upon your contract terms. I have shot the first half of one game for one paper and the second half for another paper. I have shot games where the client needed photos of a particular player so it didn't matter what part of the game the images are made.

If you're covering a baseball championship game and it all comes down to the last pitch where a two-run homer wins the game for the underdog team, that makes the previous 9-1/2 innings moot in terms of importance. So do you supply images from the whole game or the last swing of the bat and resulting jubilation? But then, if the game goes into extra innings and the end of game is after the paper goes to press then what is the point of staying for the end?

Decades ago I covered baseball in Southern California and because of the time zone difference it didn't matter what happened after the 2nd or 3rd inning for papers on the east coast. There could bench clearing brawls, new records, etc. None of them were going to make it into the next day's morning edition.

But today with the Internet and constantly changing websites, it is a new game. Thus all the more reason for clear instructions/needs in a contract/agreement based on your time, expertise, # of pictures, etc. If basic service is asked for (X number of pictures by such and such time) then charge basic rates. If premium service is asked for (images transmitted during the game for web feeding, extra photos for web galleries, staying extra time for extra innings, etc.) then there needs to be clauses for those extra services with prices attached. If a game goes into overtime then your services need to be compensated for with added revenue.

So is your scenario based on being a staff photographer or freelance/contract? The two are apples and oranges.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 5:25 PM on 01.19.15
->> Freelancing, I usually tend to cover the whole game. Why? They only post photos I submit to the paper for the gallery, but I end up putting all of the photos on my website. Unless it's a state championship, I can sell those photos to parents.

Also, big school rivalries are another reason to shoot the whole game. 2 Catholic schools play each other at the end of the year. 2 years ago it came down to a 65-63 score with 10 seconds or so to go, player pulls up at the 3 point line, fires a shot off, nails it and off goes the buzzer and a 1 point upset for the team that was leading. Posted the photos on my site and a few days later received almost $1000 order from the parent of the kid that hit that 3 point buzzer beater.

Is it common? No. But restrictions on shooting are in my favor as a member of the media. No spectators can use flash for instance @ Basketball while I can strobe the hell out of it. So I know that I can get those shots in the dark gym or on the football field because I can shoot at ISO 25k and make a usable photo.
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Corey Perrine, Photographer
Naples | FL | USA | Posted: 8:04 PM on 01.19.15
->> Everything is based on...

When does the game end, what are your deadlines, do you have another assignment and when is your shift over?

Me personally: get there early and stay as long as you can.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 10:14 PM on 01.19.15
->> Ditto to Jim and his freelancing angle. Since you own the rights to your pictures -- or should -- even if what the paper needs ends at halftime, by staying another 30-45 minutes and shooting the second half you can produce marketable imagery that you control and collect 100% of the revenue stream.
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Kevin M. Cox, Photographer
Galveston & Houston | TX | US | Posted: 10:58 PM on 01.19.15
->> For high school football in the regular season we usually only stay for the first half. Late in the season or playoffs we'll stick around for the whole thing.

Other sports it is usually the entire game unless it is a blowout or there are other unusual circumstances that require an early exit.
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Frank Niemeir, Photographer
Woodstock | GA | usa | Posted: 8:08 AM on 01.20.15
->> Doug, an "afternoon paper." Do any still exist?
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Bob Ford, Photographer
Lehighton | Pa | USA | Posted: 8:57 AM on 01.20.15
->> I just about always have more than one game, match, meet..etc, so I'm almost never there for the entire event. The only exception is championship games.
Frank Niemeir. Yes, afternoon papers, or at least paper, still exist. I work for one.
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 9:12 AM on 01.20.15
->> Frank, The Logan Banner in Logan, WV is an afternoon paper. They publish M-F, with a Sunday AM paper as well.

Charleston, WV (the state capital city) also has an afternoon daily paper. It is the last city in WV with two newspaper companies. They share a Sunday edition.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 9:33 AM on 01.20.15
->> There is no real answer to the original question. Mr. Pizac made an admirable effort but there are just too many variables in this business for there to be a cut and dried answer. Daily, weekly, monthly, magazine, internet site, deadlines, time of game, location, event, and type of sport. I would venture to say that out of all of us who cover sporting events there are probably enough variations in the way we complete our jobs that you could write a book to answer this question.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor, Photographer
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 10:31 AM on 01.20.15
->> The general answer is to meet or exceed the expectations/needs of your client.

--Mark
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Blaine McCartney, Photographer
Cheyenne | WY | USA | Posted: 10:58 AM on 01.20.15
->> Chuck is right...just way to many variables to dedicate an 'x' amount of time to any one game. My short answer is that I shoot as much of any game as my schedule allows me to.
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 11:30 AM on 01.20.15
->> To Chuck and others, they make a good point- that there are too many variables.

However, assuming you don't have another assignment and you don't have a certain deadline that prohibits you from shooting the entire game, I think covering the entire game is in order. Some editors may say just to catch a half or so, then so be it, but I figure you generally "owe" them the whole game. Whether it is a 50 point blowout or not, by not staying you may miss the "story" of the game. Many times something out of the ordinary happens that has nothing to do with the score or one particular team and if you are not there to cover it, are you doing your job?

Just my $.02.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 2:15 AM on 01.22.15
->> The real answer depends on your business model, the services your operation provides and whether you view your images as a commodity or an asset. If you are not pursuing additional licensing opportunities and the images captured will satisfy the client's needs/expectations, it doesn't make sense to stay for the entire event. However, if you are aggressively marketing your archives and using your assets to generate additional revenue streams then I would not hesitate to stay the entire game providing the deadline allowed it.
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Chris Peterson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbia Falls | MT | USA | Posted: 5:57 PM on 01.22.15
->> Depends entirely on my schedule and the game at hand. Probably not staying until the bitter end of a blowout, but a rivalry or playoff game gets covered from stem to stern. Gotta catch that jube or tears at the end, right? That's where the page 1 stuff is...
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Doug Thompson, Photographer
Floyd | VA | | Posted: 4:25 PM on 01.24.15
->> A lot depends on scores at halftimes. I find getting more last-minutes assignments to fill the gaps when available staff shooters run short, especially in playoffs or tourneys. I shoot mostly school athletic events over a widespread area and travel becomes a factor on scheduling.
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 2:41 AM on 01.25.15
->> I can't imagine not shooting the whole game, or any assignment for that matter. And you never leave before the competition leaves. You never know what you are going to get, and you never know what might happen. I'm not criticizing Chris Peterson, but even a blowout can produce a good image at the bitter end. Not often, but you never know.

I guess I have been lucky in my career in that it has been rare for me to have to cover multiple games across town. I am an advocate of picking one game for a photographer to cover (hey, you don't send writers to multiple games, do you?). If you need images from a secondary game you can hire a freelancer for the cost of a sports columnist's away game per diem. Please know that I am NOT an advocate of the practice of paying so little, and worked to get our freelancers paid more at my previous paper. Decisions should be made on what to cover based on the importance of the game as well as the amount of traffic it will drive. In my market at least, I have seen that the scattershot method of covering as much as possible returns very little on investment.

I am only commenting based on Sam's thread title "Qustion for newspaper sports shooters" as a newspaper photographer. I'm not commenting on freelancers and others. I probably wouldn't like not staying for a whole game, but like I said, I have been lucky in that I haven't had to deal with it and I am fortunate in that I can fully cover a game.
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Doug Thompson, Photographer
Floyd | VA | | Posted: 8:54 AM on 01.25.15
->> Sam, I'd love to make it a rule to shoot all games in full but the reality of what we do now, particularly in smaller markets, means fewer of us covering more events. I shot four high school basketball games in one night, meaning less than a quarter for each. Was it optimal? No way. Fortunately, I haven't had to repeat that task but it is not unusual to do two games a night. Two games on one night in December were 45 minutes driving time apart. Fortunately, the JV game in the second game ran late and the varsity game was just going into the second half when I arrived.

Technically, I'm semi-retired after leaving the daily grind in DC in 2004 but I put in just over 50 hours in Southwestern Virginia last week in contract shooting for weeklies and dailies this past week.
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Sean King, Photographer
Aurora | IL | USA | Posted: 8:06 PM on 03.07.15
->> I agree with Mark try to go above and beyond what the client is asking for. Normally I try to get to an event early and stay till the end baring any issues with my deadline.

I do as much work before I leave the house as possible. IE entering rosters in codereplacements.com talking to reporters about what they may need for a future feature etc.

Worse feeling is to look at the paper or web and see the story about a kid and not having a photo of said kid anywhere to be seen. Sometimes it is unavoidable.
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David Seelig, Photographer
Hailey | ID | USA | Posted: 11:22 PM on 03.07.15
->> When I shot for a local paper I always shot the whole game
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Matthew Hinton, Photographer
New Orleans | LA | USA | Posted: 8:09 PM on 03.08.15
->> If you are inexperienced stay for longer if time allows to get a sense of where plays will happen and what is the best position to be on the field when the plays will happen. This means learning the cliches for each sport so you can make an image as quickly as possible if you have to leave for another assignment. Beyond action think about making a report of the game with important plays of the game and find images that tell the story of the game by finding images that portray frustration, jubilation, etc. Also send the top scorer, the winning coach, etc.

Many of these images will be unnecessary for a daily newspaper but will help you grow as a journalist / sports photographer.

Give yourself different deadlines. Try and learn how to transmit at the end of the half, inning, etc. Learn how to transmit from the field with a phone or wifi onto twitter / Instagram / Facebook. Experiment with workflow like shooting jpeg / shooting raw, tagging your images and editing on the field so when you download to edit it will go faster. For other jobs the most important thing is not necessarily how well you shoot but how quickly you get an image out before your competitors and then how many images you get out quickly. For wire services the motto is transmit early and often.
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Darin Sicurello, Photographer
Gilbert | AZ | USA | Posted: 10:45 AM on 03.09.15
->> I was thinking about this post yesterday.

I have been shooting Local baseball and softball all week, most of the games have been blowouts..10-0,12-2, etc.. the umpires actually called the game(s) in the 5th. unsure if this a new rule unlike football, where the teams run up the scoreboard.

Yesterday, the game was tied in 6th,.. Your Job is to stay!!

Man, was it a good game til the bottom of the 8th.

You may not get all the action shots, but the reaction shots are everlasting.
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 6:52 PM on 03.09.15
->> Darin, a sidebar: Prep Baseball and softball share a mercy rule. When playing 7 inning games, if one team is ahead by 15 runs after three innings, or 10 runs after five the came is called.
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 8:44 AM on 03.10.15
->> Little League also has a mercy rule. I have shot some 30-0 games, not real fun. No need to stay to the end for those.
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Darin Sicurello, Photographer
Gilbert | AZ | USA | Posted: 9:40 AM on 03.13.15
->> Thanks Dave , Sam. I just did a game on Wednesday, 10-0 top of the 1st. I wonder why the coach didn't have mercy on his own pitcher?

What's with the dropping the ball on 2nd & 3rd base and still be called an out..?

Let me guess..the "James Harrison rule? :)
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Darin Sicurello, Photographer
Gilbert | AZ | USA | Posted: 3:13 PM on 03.31.15
->> No mercy in Ohio?

Ohio baseball team wins 39-0 in 3 1/2 innings

http://www.maxpreps.com/blogs/maxwire-national-blog/rVQEaht8XUyyVWaOiFCgmQ/...
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Thread Title: Qustion for newspaper sports shooters
Thread Started By: Sam Santilli
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