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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Your job is so fun!
Matt Brown, Photographer
Fullerton | CA | USA | Posted: 11:41 AM on 02.08.16
->> I say job only if you are getting paid. If you work for free then you fall in line with this tall guy.

Kevin Durant Is On the Clock as a Photographer at Super Bowl 50.

http://www.esquire.com/sports/news/a41924/kevin-durant-photographer-super-b.../

1. He's not wearing a photo jacket.
2. He's seating on the ground.
3. Using a not pro body.
4. Holding the camera like your uncle Stan.
5. No Photo pass

The Players Tribune has the power to have an NBA player to shoot a game, I use that term loosely and so make sure young photographers you are getting paid. And I'm not talking $100 paid but really money paid.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 12:31 PM on 02.08.16
->> "2. He's seating on the ground.
3. Using a not pro body.
4. Holding the camera like your uncle Stan."

2. Sitting? So what?
3. What is a "not pro body"?
4. It works for him.

What are the pictures like?
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David A. Cantor, Photographer, Photo Editor
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 12:37 PM on 02.08.16
->> From a Popular Photography story...

"Despite the technical troubles, Durant seems to have a great attitude about the whole thing and seems to really love taking pictures..."

Aww, ain't that sweet...


Here ya go Jim:

http://www.theplayerstribune.com/kevin-durant-super-bowl-50-photography/
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Craig Mitchelldyer, Photographer, Assistant
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 1:26 PM on 02.08.16
->> "sports photography is hard work and it takes a lot of skill and focus in a crazy atmosphere with a lot of distractions. I have a ton of respect for the people who do this as a profession."

"I know it was a requirement to wear the vest on the field as a credentialed photographer … but I don’t know what to say. It was too small. Next time can I get an XL"

Exactly KD. Exactly.

I don't have any issue with him shooting the game It is good for the people we shoot to know how hard it is...and agree 1000% with matt though...get paid.
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Bradley Leeb, Photographer
Champaign | IL | USA | Posted: 1:33 PM on 02.08.16
->> Craig, I came back from reading the article and was about to post that exact quote about the hard work and skill. What a great endorsement rather than the typical, "You have such a great camera and lens, no wonder your photos are terrific..."
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Rob Sirota, Photographer
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 1:56 PM on 02.08.16
->> It was also dishartening to see "photographers" on the sidelines with vests taking up space and using an iPhone. What's with that?
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 5:30 PM on 02.08.16
->> Kevin Durant wasn't the only "non-pro" there. Apple's CEO Tim Cook was also on the field with his iPhone. He's being taken to task for posting a blurry photo from after the game.

http://petapixel.com/2016/02/08/apple-ceo-mocked-for-blurry-shot-on-iphone-.../
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Matt Brown, Photographer
Fullerton | CA | USA | Posted: 12:10 PM on 02.09.16
->> Jim,

1. Seating at your butt at a football game is NOT safe. What don't you understand about that. Take it from a person who's been hit by one of the largest men on earth. You don't seat.

2. You go to the biggest event on the planet and you show up with a canon rebel and 100-400. Good luck guest shooter.

3. Carpal tunnel and stabilization.
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David A. Cantor, Photographer, Photo Editor
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 12:49 PM on 02.09.16
->> ^^^^^
Carpal Diem...!
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Michael Augustin, Photographer
Plano | TX | USA | Posted: 1:47 PM on 02.09.16
->> I can't control who gets sideline creds so I try not to focus on it. ("try")

I am more concerned about the overall lack of understanding of sideline etiquette by most of the non professionals who get sideline creds. It's bad enough having ref's, coaches and ballboys stepping in front of my shot, but having an enthusiast with a camera do it has resulted in some not so kind words being exchanged.
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Robert Deutsch, Photographer
NY | NY | USA | Posted: 5:02 PM on 02.09.16
->> I worked next to KD all game...
1. He didn't use the vest, agreed (said was too small), but his cred (he had) was checked during game
2. He sat on the ground a lot, unless action was close. So did I, as did everyone else in the end zone.. there were very low cameras behind us (along with fellow photogs in the seats in the first row), so kneel/sit was enforced. Try and kneel for a whole SB pregame/game.
3. He paid attention, was serious, friendly, had Jed there to help, used decent gear, and was trying to get great images. I talked to him a bunch about working the game, he cared.

You can debate his being there vs another photographer, but really, I doubt his pass prevented anyone from getting one.
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 9:45 AM on 02.10.16
->> As someone who is trying desperately to find work in this biz, I'll admit, the first thing I thought when I saw that KD was there shooting was how he's only there because of who he is and it takes away from people like myself trying really hard, and the same goes for the Big Unit and Griffey Jr. These are guys who can easily afford whatever is out there on the market.

Doesn't mean they know how to use them.

Looking at KD's blog, his photos remind me of the first time I shot on a NFL sideline. Not saying they are terrible photos for a guy who doesn't have the experience everyone else on that sideline does. And he doesn't need to shoot great images. He's Kevin Durant, not David Rosenblum. He will attract more viewers simply by name than most of us on here would.

I'm jealous he got the opportunity to do this, but if he wasn't being a jerk about it and not taking his status for granted, getting in the way of everyone, etc... then that's just fine with me.

And as for all these people talking about getting paid, I would love advice on how to actually see money coming from my photos. I shoot for a wire (not AP, not Getty or USA Today), and I get quite a few images used in galleries, but am never paid for my time and haven't seen a penny in almost a year with this organization for the images that have been published. Of course, it's my only opportunity to do anything right now, so I'm afraid to say anything.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 9:15 AM on 02.12.16
->> David Rosenblum, you said: "I would love advice on how to actually see money coming from my photos."

Here's that advice: Stop shooting for Icon.

Sorry that it has to be that blunt, but, it has to be that blunt. Icon is a joke and no, they ARE NOT a real wire service. Real wire services pay their content providers money.

You also said that Icon (I named them you didn't) is "{your} only opportunity to do anything right now'.

No, it really isn't.

You live in one of the largest cities in one of the most populated states in the country. Jacksonville is HUGE. You kind find paying opportunities to shoot if you dare to temporarily give up the sexiness of being on the sidelines of "pro" sports.

Find a daily or weekly newspaper that needs coverage local prep sports.

Find a small college that needs photos of their sports teams for internal and external uses.

There are opportunities to make money shooting sports (and other stuff) where you're at but you have to be willing to walk away from abusive contracts that only make your abusers money.
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Bill McGuire, Photographer, Assistant
Atlanta | GA | USA | Posted: 10:53 AM on 02.12.16
->> David, I shoot NFL games and don't make much money from it. I do however make money with youth and high school level sports and for some reason parents believe I am a better photographer because I have pro sports in my portfolio which I am really not. I also do get more jobs because of it. However having pro sports in my portfolio does allow for me to charge more money than the other guy (AKA parent with camera). I personally believe there isn't much money in shooting professional sports for me because I am just not as good as those who do get paid. I am on the same field with the same access as the real "pros" and when I compare my images to theirs, I am blown away. Photography is like any sport, only the top athletes get paid to play the game because they are the best at what they do and the regular guys would play that same game for free. Lets be honest here, who wouldnt want to be inside the dugout of their favorite baseball team and would probably do it for free? I don't believe that me being on that bench would take any money away from the players because they are just better than me. So if you want to be paid to shoot professional level sports, be better at it than everyone else and the money will come. Pro Photographers are no different than any pro athlete, they all started at the same level, youth sports!

Now let me just say, I have not, nor will I EVER give my images away for free. If I hit the half court shot at a basketball game, I want my prize money!!!! So if my image is better than everyone else's and my wire service sells it, they need to PAY ME!
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 12:04 PM on 02.12.16
->> David -

I don't know where to start. I don't get into this argument very often because of two reasons.

One, it's none of my business if you want to work for nothing. I believe you are hurting yourself and I believe you are helping kill an industry, but ultimately it's a free country and you can do what you want.

Two, if you are working for free, you are not a professional. I guess I leave it up to others to determine how good of a professional photographer I am, but I do this to make money, so from that perspective, I consider myself a professional and let others judge beyond that.

Your situation I would consider as a hobbyist. Maybe a very talented hobbyist, but not a professional. My guess is that if you took all of your equipment and added up the replacement cost of that equipment and divided the total cost by 3, then added up all your gas, food, other expenses related to you taking pictures and compared that to your the money that you made this year from photos, it would be a negative balance. You might notice, that I didn't even account for your time (travel time, time shooting photos and time editing). This would tell me I have an expensive hobby.

If you added all photo related expenses, as well as a reasonable wage for your time and then compared that to your photo income, I am guessing the disparity would be enormous. That is not being a professional photography. In fact, at best that makes you a very poor businessman. Repeat that over a couple of years and the IRS won't even consider you as a business.

I think it's okay to be a hobbyist. The problem is, most people won't face the fact that they aren't truly in the business to make money, thus being a professional. Hobbyists that think they are professionals are killing the business.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 12:48 PM on 02.12.16
->> "Lets (sic) be honest here, who wouldnt want to be inside the dugout of their favorite baseball team and would probably do it for free?"

In all honesty, not me.
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 1:10 PM on 02.12.16
->> Bill -

So when you go to an NFL game, how are you paying for your equipment? How are you paying for the gas to get you to the NFL game? How are you getting paid for the 6 + hours spent at the NFL site?
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 2:56 PM on 02.12.16
->> My question is a touch off-topic, but related.

ICON photos are now distributed/licensed/sold via partnering with AP. Can someone who shoots for ICON please explain the financials you make from AP licensing? Do your images go to AP members as part of the AP package or are they only sold separately where royalty splits can be easily calculated? If part of the package, do you get a flat fee for that distribution the same way USATSI shooters get $125 for its subscribers and Reuters distribution?

And do ICON/AP distribution rights extend to print sales? If you want to buy an 8x10 from AP the service is handled by a third party who naturally takes the first cut of the sale. By the time AP's share is split with ICON where that share is split with the photographer, the shooter ends up with a small fraction of the original sale price. And how is the bookkeeping on such sales shared with the photographer? Or do ICON shooters retain sole print resale rights?
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Bill McGuire, Photographer, Assistant
Atlanta | GA | USA | Posted: 3:47 PM on 02.12.16
->> Tim,

I did mention in my post that I did make money by attending the games. I just said it wasn't a lot. I have sold my share of images, but what does a full page photo in sports illustrated pay? $400 bucks? with the number of photographers on the sidelines today taking photos, those paydays just don't come often enough. I am not going to replace my 400mm lens anytime soon making a few hundred bucks each season. I am however going to be able to replace that lens with the thousands of dollars I charge high school teams for shooting their games!! So I look at shooting professional as a marketing expense. I also get sooo much more out of a Sunday afternoon at the game like pregame tailgating with a bunch of my friends who have season tickets. Yes, it is work during the game and hours after with editing and transmitting of the images, but again, I do upcharge my prices accordingly and I do make a little money during the year.

Clark,
I was using the dugout thing as an analogy as I was once a baseball player and wouldn't mind getting to watch the game as a player and not a photographer trying to work. unfortunately, I wasn't as good in reality as I was in my head. but it could be any sport.

My point to the whole post was to say, being a decently paid photographer to shoot pro sports is not an easy job to get, you have to be the very best at what you do. Every athlete would love to play in the pros, but only the best will ever make it there. Do you think Peyton Manning cares if someone would throw a ball for way less money or even for free???
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 11:33 PM on 02.12.16
->> I appreciate every one of your comments here.

I really wasn't looking to start an argument or anything, just looking for honest advice. I'll be honest, I don't like shooting for free. But I do like shooting and bust my ass doing it in hopes that someday I can live that dream of doing this and getting paid to do so.

I know there are guys out there that would do this for free and be happy with that. Hell, I know personally some people that are like that. But I'm not one of them. I really hope nobody on here views me as part of the problem, or "killing the industry," as Tim puts it. That is far from my intentions for being out there.

I honestly just do not know any better. How am I supposed to get any better, or learn anything about anything, without being out there as much as I can? I shoot for these other people to get out there, the be around the people in the industry and the keep gaining that experience in that environment. So yes, Icon is my only opportunity to put me in that position. Do I enjoy being out there? Hell yeah I do. Do I get excited when something like my shot of Dante Fowler's injury being used as the main image for Peter King's MMQB happens? Absolutely! But it is work, and ultimately, I do want to be paid for it.

As Bill stated, photographers are like pro athletes. Only the best make it. But they had to start somewhere, right? I feel I have no choice to keep taking any opportunity to be out there, and hoping it leads to what I'm looking for.

What I can't figure out is how to get where I want to be. I know people who get gigs shooting the same events I do, and they get paid and they've being doing this not nearly as long as I have. How are they proving themselves worthy of some sort of income while I keep getting the shit ends of the deals? Do they know the right people? Cause I sure as hell don't.

Brian,
While you're probably pretty spot on about everything, I just want to comment on Jacksonville. I've spent the last 10 or so years attacking every angle of this profession/hobby I could here. I've shot for a few local newspapers, though I always end up getting laid off. The major paper here (Florida Times-Union) really doesn't even staff photographers anymore (they pull from AP). I've tried the youth sports route (not much luck) and I post galleries on MaxPreps and try to make a few bucks that way (it's a little, but it's money).

Tim,
You are right, I'm a terrible business man. If I were even a decent one, this conversation wouldn't be happening.(if I felt like writing more than I already have been, I'd love to tell you about my latest failing attempt at business.) I know what kind of hole I'm in. I don't need to calculate my losses. I've gotten myself in this hole because it's something I truly want to do. I'd rather try ot look at it as an expensive investment, not a hobby. I don't want to be considered a hobbyist, or someone that's killing the industry. But judging from all these comments, I'm clearly doing a lot of it wrong. Again, I don't know any better.

Doug,
I really wish I could answer any of that.

Thanks again for all of your comments on this. It's unfortunate that I've probably wasted many years doing things wrong, but as much as I want to give up, I want to keep trying. Which I why I'm putting this out there in the first place. I want to figure out what I'm doing wrong and correct it and get where I want to be.
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Manalapan | NJ | United States | Posted: 12:38 AM on 02.13.16
->> David, you need to realize something, when you work for free, whether to have fun, gain experience or what ever you are establishing your value as zero. As too many editors have learned, there are plenty of folks out there willing to invest big money and work for free to get "a chance". In most cases when you go to an editor/buyer and ask for more money the answer is why should I? I can just get another guy to do it for free or cheap. Everyone and anyone who does this is part of the problem. The other part of the problem is that auto everything and super high quality digital gear have made it too easy for too many people to produce decent images. We as photographers really appreciate quality images but the public in general does not see the difference, if they did SI would still have a photo staff, both photographers and editors. I spent 46 years of my life working as a professional photographer. I did newspapers for 30 years, I freelanced for the last 16 years. I made money, I paid my bills, I managed to be able to finally retire last year. I did not do that by giving my work away. When someone can show me how investing $40,000 in gear-- a few 1Dx or D4 bodies, a 400, a 300, the must have 70-200 and a few wides and add some lighting gear--and then working for free makes any economic sense then I will admit that I am wrong. Until then, working for free, working for cheap does not make sense, or dollars either.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 4:01 AM on 02.13.16
->> @David

You pretty much answered your own question as to why you have not found the success you desired so far when you wrote: "I'm a terrible business man."

Furthermore, you stated: "I know people who get gigs shooting the same events I do, and they get paid and they've being doing this not nearly as long as I have." I would venture to guess that those people either have a better head for business than you or are in integrated into a network that allowed them to move into the opportunities you covet.

"I feel I have no choice to keep taking any opportunity to be out there, and hoping it leads to what I'm looking for." Which is a roundabout way of saying you are willing to shoot without compensation. When you commit to jobs/assignments like those with that mindset, the only thing you do is cement your reputation as the go-to cheap guy.

Which is more important; shooting professional sporting events or deriving a steady income from your photography work?
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Preston Mack, Photographer
Orlando | FL | | Posted: 8:52 AM on 02.13.16
->> Once you're the "free guy" you're always the free guy.


Why pay you if they know you will work for free?
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 8:53 AM on 02.13.16
->> Gene, I agree, working for free doesn't make any sense. Problem is, I've invested a ton into this, and don't know how to find someone willing to pay me. I keep getting suckered in to these "wires" that pay on spec, but they never pay, despite countless images being used everywhere. I'm up to three of them now that technically owe me money. One I give the benefit of the doubt because they did pay but I'm not sure if the guy is even alive anymore now.

Clark,
You're right too. But how does one learn to have a good head for business if you're not taught it from the beginning? Not saying there are people out there the figure it out for themselves, but I'm clearly not business savvy. Hence why I'm taking to you guys for advice.

Though it seems I should quit wasting my time and sell all my gear and just try to move on with life. At least that's what I'm getting out of this. LOL
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Manalapan | NJ | United States | Posted: 11:22 AM on 02.13.16
->> David, a lot of us here who are long on experience have preached over and over about following proper business practices, about really looking at your bottom line, your revenue stream, about just saying no to bad deals. We preached it here because we all learned it from our own mentors over the years. I am lucky enough to have a degree in business and that has helped me understand things over the years. Preston Mack said it a whole lot simpler. Once you are the free guy, you are always the free guy. The reality is there is money out there to be made but you have to go and find it make it. Youth sports was like baseball cards, it had its time and that time has passed. Too many parents and kids are quite happy to just go online, look at their pictures, enjoy them and never buy anything. Stock sales and re-sales today just don't pay well enough to justify the expense. If you are working with a "wire" or an "agency" and they are selling your images for $5 and you are making $2.50 or less, how many images do you have to sell to pay for a 1Dx? Ok, rant is over. Time to go play some golf and enjoy the sunshine. As bad a golfer as I am, it is less frustrating that trying to get the point across here...
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 1:55 PM on 02.13.16
->> David - I really don't think that's what anyone is saying at all. What you need to understand is that you created this situation yourself and only you can change it. It certainly would have been easier, however, if you had never gotten into this mess in the first place.

You are a talented photographer and seem to know your way around the technical aspects of photography. That's never been enough to qualify someone to pay you. There's a lot more to it and you'll just need to spend the time to figure out what that is.

Refuse to work for free and then use all that extra time to build a respectable business model even if that means you start shooting t-ball baseball players and make them look like a pro. No, it won't look good on your resume. It will, however, teach you what it takes to work with people and those mom's WILL PAY YOU if your images are better than what they take.

Build from there. Before you know it you will have the BUSINESS side as polished as the photography side.
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 4:24 PM on 02.13.16
->> At this point, where is your "resume" getting you. More gigs for free?

What people don't understand - probably more like, they refuse to understand, is that every time you shoot for free/spec, it is counter productive to you getting a paying assignment. Specifically, a paying assignment that you actually can look at as profitable.

Every non-paying or spec job isn't getting you closer to the next job, but rather it is pushing you and everyone else farther away from one.

I look at shooting for free like owning a car. Every time you click the shutter, it's like putting a mile on your car. The average life time of a car is 150,000 - 300,000 miles. The average life time of a shutter/sensor is about 150,000 to 300,000 clicks.

With a car, just like camera equipment, there are repairs and upkeep, insurance, accessories, etc. So for the sake of the argument, I try to keep it simple when it comes to getting paid to take pictures. It doesn't mean my following scenario is a decent wage for your work, but minimally gives credence to my argument that you should never shoot for free.

If a school, person or wire service asked you to shoot something, there is an inherent cost to doing so. Let's use a college basketball game as an example. Let's also assume you fire off 700 frames during that game.

You need to look at it like someone just asked you to drive them somewhere that is 700 miles away. 700 clicks is equivalent to my 700 miles on my car. Now, unless they are my mother-in-law, I may be willing to drive them somewhere for free, but if someone asked me to drive them as a favor 700 miles, I think most people would expect that person to cover the 2 or 3 tanks of gas it will take me to help this person out. Well, that's about $35/tank or probably for this scenario at least a cost of $70 or more to you to do this favor. This isn't about the person giving you money for your time, for your skill as a driver, for going out of your way to help them out, but simply just to cover the basics of the gas you just burned. It didn't offset my other expenses such as insurance or wear on my car, but simply to cover gas.

700 clicks on your camera are the same thing. Before you get paid for your time, or the wear on your camera, $70 is a starting point just for the 700 clicks on your camera. Obviously, I could add a lot of other expenses to this amount before I even quantify my artistic/journalistic worth, but as you can see, at $70, in my example is the baseline for even thinking about doing something as a favor of which someone is asking a lot from you (just like someone would be asking a lot from you to drive them 700 miles and only covering your gas).

So when you work for free for anyone, think of someone having you drive them 700 miles and not offering you any money for gas and basically telling you to go F**K yourself for going out of your way to help. I know I would be pissed and I know what my answer would be. That's exactly the emotion you should have when asked to shoot for nothing.

Working for spec essentially is the same. Someone asks you to drive them 700 miles, doesn't give you money for gas, but promises you that they might chip in for gas money later or perhaps will drop off some baked goods during the holidays.

Again, if you aren't feeling the same emotions about my scenario when you are being asked to work for free, then no one can help you, because you don't want to be helped.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 5:44 PM on 02.13.16
->> @David
You did not answer my question, but I will assume your answer would be "make money".

In response to "... how does one learn to have a good head for business if you're not taught it from the beginning?" Why you already started. You failed.

If you are lucky, you'll keep doing it, failing, again and again for the next 2-4 years. It won't be long until failures become successes and you'll look back and say, "damn, how'd I get here so fast".

Quite honestly, you don't need anybody to teach you. You have to want to learn it. You have to want to understand it.

Your first step is to go to the local library, college bookstore or Barnes & Noble and read every book in business section. Skim books until you find a subject that interest you or applies to your situation. You have read, read, read and yeah, read some more. You have to ask questions and seek answers either via people willing to mentor you or Google. Your goal is to educate yourself by reading, understanding, trying and failing. In olden times, this was referred to the School of Hard Knocks.

I also recommend you read autobiographies on John H. Johnson (founder of JET/EBONY Magazines), Richard Branson (chief dude of Virgin) and one of my favs, Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines. There are probably others that would make good reading and give you an insight on the work ethic and philosophy that made these men undeniably successful.

While you are filling your head with invaluable knowledge, much that may not be immediately useful but will be super helpful down the road, I highly recommend having a conversation with Kevin Krows and learn to do a SWOT Analysis (google it). I know Kevin personally and his knowledge is solid when it comes to building a solid business model. If you are serious about changing your path and moving forward on the path to success, you'll have it done by next Friday. The sooner you learn about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the faster you'll find yourself headed in the right direction.

Finally, you need to leave the pack. Back in the 80s they use to say, "There are riches in niches." You want to put the rest of your effort in finding under-served or emerging opportunities with leagues, organizations, schools or communities. If you can't find a niche, create one, which is a better idea because it puts you out front and the competition behind you.

The more modern approach is find a problem and offer a solution. For example: An area sport or team doesn't receive as much 'media' attention as may be other teams. Brainstorm ideas on how you can serve photos or news or game results to their fans, athletes and/or community. Using the results from your SWOT to guide, you need to spend time searching for voids to fill that will become a reliable income stream.

In closing, you gotta say farewell to what you thought was a viable plan and leave the herd behind. That starts with you educating yourself. Now get to the library. You have a lot of reading to do.
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Scott Holstein, Photographer
Tallahassee | FL | USA | Posted: 6:05 PM on 02.13.16
->> First, check out the NPPA’s Cost of Doing Business Calculator (what it costs you to walk out the door) to really open your eyes: http://bit.ly/1q175u9

Then check out all of the following resources.

John Harrington's books:
Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition:
http://amzn.to/1QevYWj
MORE Best Business Practices for Photographers:
http://amzn.to/1TfD0cg

John Harrington’s Photo Business News & Forum blog:
http://bit.ly/1PTU2vs

Mark Loundy’s Common Cents blog:
http://bit.ly/1KhxRyS

National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) online resources:
Pricing photography:
http://bit.ly/1KNSzXk
Best practices for independent photojournalists:
http://bit.ly/1PKb8bK
Copyright resources:
http://bit.ly/1QziRZP
Business forms:
http://bit.ly/1QezWOo
Contracts:
http://bit.ly/1TZzWla
Negotiating tips:
http://bit.ly/20vzmLM

American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) online resources:
Bad contract tutorial:
http://bit.ly/1R1LRw4
Business forms:
http://bit.ly/1Qekqfg
Contract terms & conditions:
http://bit.ly/1VcsZvq
Copyright registration tutorial:
http://bit.ly/20vrWIw
Licensing guide:
http://bit.ly/1oaLeGE
Releases:
http://bit.ly/242XE4y
Pricing guides:
http://bit.ly/1QekID5
Strictly Business blog:
http://bit.ly/1Wk0Xyy

ASMP books:
http://bit.ly/1KhuQi7

PhotoShelter online resources:
Various guides (scroll down):
http://bit.ly/20SFa7y
PhotoShelter blog: Business category:
http://bit.ly/1Khwosz

APA/Editorial Photographers Outreach EP: Photo business resources:
http://bit.ly/1oAm1pE

Electronic Copyright Office (for registering images):
http://1.usa.gov/1PK83s0

Wonderful Machine blog: Pricing & Negotiation category:
http://bit.ly/1R1Mo18

A Photo Editor blog: Pricing & Negotiation category (by Wonderful Machine):
http://bit.ly/242Y1vM

fotoQuote Pro: Stock pricing software (also helps with assignment photography):
http://bit.ly/1Hff2ox
fotoBiz X: Photo business management software, includes fotoQuote Pro (currently 50% off):
http://bit.ly/20SEnnc

BlinkBid: Commercial photography bidding software (recent major update):
http://bit.ly/1GR5dSo
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 9:37 PM on 02.13.16
->> David you said, "I'll be honest, I don't like shooting for free. But I do like shooting and bust my ass doing it in hopes that someday I can live that dream of doing this and getting paid to do so. "

Sorry man but that's a selfish and naive attitude. You want the truth, right?

Truth is this: What you're woring towards is not going to be there when you *arrive*. Trust me on this one.

You cannot be part of the machine that damages what little is left of the industry and then expect there be anything for you when you get there. You would have destroyed it (and your reputation) on your way there. Oh, and if there's anything left when you get there, well, the people at the gate aren't going to be too eager to let you in.

You think the other shooters/editors in Florida don't know who shoots for free in their market?

You think the other shooters/editors in FL don't know who is working to destroy their income?

Trust me, we know, and when paying jobs come along WE NEVER give them to the people who are part of the problem. I don't care how sweet their portfolio is. I ONLY send clients to my colleagues who are busting their ass trying to making a living the right way.

Preston said it above: "Once you're the free guy; you're always the free guy."

Preston is right. He's a smart guy and he's one of the people I send work to when I can, and he sends it to me when he can. You don't *just* get stuck as "the free guy" by editors who know you're willing to shoot for free; you get stuck there because other shooters have no interest in helping you out. I get FAR MORE work from fellow shooters than I do from out-of-town editors Googling around randomly.

This business is about connections and reputations. If you're part of what is destroying the industry and your attitude is "Oh well, I'm having fun and don't want to stop", then people will have no interest in helping you move forward.

Sorry, I'm just not good at subtle any more.
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 10:31 AM on 02.14.16
->> While I appreciate the suggested educational research and mathematical models for determining what to charge it's really not that "cookie cutter".

You can read a book to improve your people skills but the real education is in the practice of building relationships. You can read a book on how to price your products and services but none of that will teach you how to determine the "value" the customer sees in your pricing. Reading a book on changing bad business habits and practices won't be of any help if you are not willing to change your ways.

Last week I received an email for a young man (who found me through SS) wanting to pick my brain on my business model. I responded immediately to his email and offered to talk to him by phone (to avoid email ping pong). He didn't reply to my email. I sent him a follow up email the following day and gave him my schedule when he could call. He followed up several hours later and said, "Can I call you tomorrow some time? I'm just looking for basic business structure for a small sports photography business. I have no idea what is reasonable and how to get it off the ground."

Guess what.... I not going the chase him. If he doesn't have the common sense or courtesy to flex his schedule around mine OR follow up promptly and properly then me willingness to help is no longer available. If this is how he plans on treating paying clients he absolutely should sell his cameras and take up the sport of bowling where interacting with people is nil.
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 4:50 PM on 02.14.16
->> OK, I get everyone's points here. At the same time, if someone sends me a contract that's spec work, how am I supposed to know they won't actually pay me? The only way to find out is time, right? I know several people who have done spec work and moved on the much better things. Their stories seem to fall between "I knew someone that knew someone," to "I just got lucky." The are people now shooting for NFL.com, Getty or USA Today (all of which actually pay).

Hell, I knew a dude once that seriously shot for nothing but pure joy, picked up someones CF card they dropped on the field, returned it, and in return got a good few years covering Speedweeks in Daytona (paid gig).

And no, I'm not banking on luck with this. Nor am I banking on knowing the right person, because there are quite a few people that have walked all over me in this business that I put a lot of trust in.

Brian, I'm not trying to sound selfish and naive about all this. I do enjoy sports photography, probably more than I should at this stage. But let's be honest here, do you really think I took up the Icon thing knowing it'd end up being free work?

Preston, I agree with everyone else that you prob said it simply the best. But I didn't go into this thinking it'd be free. Obviously I was a sucker here. All I can do is trust the literature that I read that if an image sells, you make money. And I can assure you, I've had a lot of stuff sell in the short time with them. And I keep track of everything I find with my name on it for that purpose, even if it is chump change, because I earned that freaking money.

Problem is, we all know there are people with good jobs that go out here and do this for nothing more than pleasure of it. I can assure all of you guys that is not who I am or intended to be. And I'm in a current contract negotiation with a company where I am feeling the effects of this, because they seem to be holding out on it because they want someone to do the work for nothing. And trust me, they'll find it with or without me.
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 5:31 PM on 02.14.16
->> David -

1. If the contract doesn't specifically say that you will be paid, then you won't get paid. Right? "Might get paid" is still spec or working for FREE.

2. "People with good jobs that go out here and do this for nothing." The only difference between you and those people are that they have "good jobs". STOP WORRYING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE AND START WORRYING ABOUT YOURSELF.

As I said before, you are a very talented photographer with a good eye. Frankly, if you weren't I don't think anyone would have bothered to comment on your post. You claim to "get it" but not really because you are still making excuses and crying about your situation. As such, we will continue to kick your ass until the full brunt of the message gets to your head or you just throw in the towel. I can't wait to hear what Clark Brooks will say. He's may mentor and has kicked my ass too many times over the past 10 years.

David, erase the chalkboard on what you know about the business side of professional photography. Start over with a new perspective, attitude, and willingness to prostrate yourself before the "Business Gods" who will be more than willing to help you every step of the way. Spend 90% listening and 10% asking questions. Spend 0% making excuses or trying to tell them it's impossible. Part of being and entrepreneur is listening to the advice of people who have already been there and back. The other part is having a little FAITH that eventually the right people will discover you and will gladly pay you for your services.

I think the medical professionals would call this an "intervention" or "tough love session". We all want to see you be as successful as you want to be.
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 8:59 PM on 02.14.16
->> Thanks Kevin. That's exactly what I'm looking for out of this. Advice from you guys that got it right in the first place, or at least had that mentor to steer you in the right direction. If I didn't care, I would have asked in the first place, and just continued on my merry way.

I appreciate your comments and look forward to others as they chime in. I want to finally understand what I've been doing wrong all along and right this ship. I think I'm a pretty good photographer for most part. I think I'm worth more than nothing.

And I'm not worried about the guys with good jobs. It just pisses me off that there are Dr's and stuff doing the same thing things just becasue they can afford decent gear and just think it's cool to be on the fields and all, kinda like KD and why this thread started in the first place.

I do however worry about the people that I feel are terrible photographers, with terrible gear and all, getting paid gigs that I'm not. You're right that I should only worry about myself, but it is a head scratcher sometimes....
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 8:14 AM on 02.15.16
->> David,

You said: "It just pisses me off that there are Dr's and stuff doing the same thing things just becasue they can afford decent gear and just think it's cool to be on the fields and all."

Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME at this point!? Seriously?

You are EXACTLY that guy. You are NOT GETTING PAID EITHER and yet you have EVERY excuse in the book as to why you keep doing what you're doing despite the fact that a gaggle of working pros have told you that it's HURTING the industry!

YOU ARE THERE simply because you "think it's cool to be on the fields and all" too. Does that not sink in?

Have we really stooped to such a low in this industry that the free guys are bitching about the other free guys now!?
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 9:11 AM on 02.15.16
->> Brian,
How am I THAT guy? Not sure if you missed what I said earlier, but how was I supposed to know I wasn't getting paid when a contract I signed stated I would be paid a split of what sells? I've had much success getting published in the past, and plenty in the last year as well, so I know what I shoot typically sells. So I would assume I would be making money, correct?

I've known a good few people who have started off doing spec work and moved on to bigger and better things (which, in my opinion, is basically the same type of work, only someone pays them to show up instead of just selling). Me being an outsider and not knowing a whole lot of people, I thought that was the path I was supposed to take (doing spec, getting noticed, getting paid).

Clearly I was wrong. This is why I'm searching for answers.

I'm sorry you think I'm only out there because i "think it's cool and all." Trust me, I work very hard at it and am very passionate about it. I obviously [profanity]ed up somewhere along the way. My only fault here is not knowing any better. If you think I'm dumb enough to shoot three Bowl games (two in Orlando, one in Jax) and spend all that time and money into doing something for the pure joy of it, then you know nothing about me (which you don't since we've never met). I bust my ass in hopes that someone takes notice, because in the typical working world, that is what it generally takes to move up.

There is a difference between shooting for free intentionally and unintentionally. I can assure everyone on this thread and everyone in this business I am not out there to despise a "true" professional by taking free work and hurting the industry just because I can afford good gear and can get credentials. Some people want to be doctors. Some people what to be Publix managers. I want to be a professional sports photographer. If people I've come across in the past have told me this was how they did it, or I've read stories of how people have done it, then I have to assume that's how it's done.

I wasn't blessed with a true mentor at this point like a lot of people have been. Everyone I have leaned on to learn from has basically shit on me because all they wanted was free work and wanted to offer nothing in return. Every time I figure that out, I leave because I didn't invest in all this just to do it for fun. The fun part was supposed to be the perk of doing what I love to do and getting paid for it.

I'm not trying to turn this into an argument. I'm not making excuses. I haven't done any events in quite some time because it's becoming clear to me that something isn't right. Obviously you have something against the Icons and Zumas out there and the people that shoot for them. I can understand that. I would too if I were the guy getting paid and knowing that someone was out there for nothing and taking up pages in SI or whatever. Maybe that's why I bitch about the rich guys doing just that. They hurt my chances of ever becoming that paid guy.

Guess I just can't tell you enough that being the free guy, or ruining the industry has never been my intentions. I'm just a guy with a passion for something who honestly just didn't know any better.
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 9:13 AM on 02.15.16
->> Clark,

So I missed your question. Yes, making money is the plan. Whether it's the pros, NCAA, high schools, youths, whatever, I enjoy it all. However, I would say making money shooting professional sports would be the ultimate dream/goal.
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 10:16 AM on 02.15.16
->> David -

"I would say making money shooting professional sports would be the ultimate dream/goal."

Believe me David ..... shooting professional sports is not where the money is buddy. It only looks good on a resume that nobody reads or gives a shit about. I learned that lesson 10 years ago.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer, Photo Editor
Roswell | GA | | Posted: 10:23 AM on 02.15.16
->> I think the one thing missing in this discussion is the reality of Sports Photography.

Back in the "Good ole Days" the professional photographer could get photos that the amateur struggled to get. For the most part many of those advantages that a pro had over the amateur are now gone.

Auto focus and the ability of the shooter to look on the back of their camera to an LCD to not just see the image but to evaluate a histogram wasn't even possible for the pro with film.

Thus the need to hire a pro to shoot for all those groups that used to hire pros is no longer needed as it once was.

You see pros were hired more for getting a photo than getting a great photo, because that was a huge difference between the pro and amateur.

Due to the Web and free training available in places like YouTube and Linda.com more people could learn the tricks of the trade. Not many secrets as how to get a photo as before.

While many may disagree with me I think that the bigger the sport today the less chances of you making a living. Too many, what I call jock sniffers, who are willing to give their photos away for free for the access to standing on the sidelines of pro events has happened.

The only people really wanting these shooters off the field are those wanting to charge for their photography. The teams like free stuff.

I say all this to people like David Rosenblum that your ultimate goal of "making money shooting professional sports would be the ultimate dream/goal" is most likely not a realistic goal.

The success of a good business model is to solve a problem first. Well there is no problem with needing photos of pro athletes. They are readily available for free.

I always recommend to those wanting to be professional photographers to "Solve a problem, then start the business."

I wrote a blog giving more details. Here is that link
http://blog.stanleyleary.com/2015/09/solve-problem-then-start-business.html

I think you get the point why does anyone need to pay you to shoot pro sports when there are multitudes of photographers willing to do it for free?
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Preston Mack, Photographer
Orlando | FL | | Posted: 10:24 AM on 02.15.16
->> D,


I've been doing this full time for 20 years. The industry is changing constantly.
It is OK. We have all made mistakes, but remember if you are really in this to make a career out of this, you've got to make sure it makes sense financially.

Don't shoot spec. It is that simple.

Figure out what you do well, and what you can do to make money on that. Actual guaranteed money, not a promise to pay IF it sells. Stay away from pro sports. You cannot make a living at it, Most people can't make gas money on it anymore.
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 10:24 AM on 02.15.16
->> I'm slowly starting to figure that out Kevin. :)
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 11:11 AM on 02.15.16
->> Preston, just curious then, why are so many people doing it if they can't make gas money on it? Only asking cause on any given Sunday there are quite a few guys on the field at a Jags game. Are you saying only a select few may be actually making money while the rest are either in my shoes, or just doing it to be there and have a fun and be a "jock sniffer" as Stanley calls it?

Stanley, thanks. Look forward to reading your blog. I started at the end of the film era/beginning of digital. I made it a point to start on film. And yes, I'm slowly realizing that the reality of making a living doing that is unrealistic. My true dream is to cover NASCAR. It doesn't help that the tracks allow fans to bring in your camera and do whatever with it. Prob more free stuff out there in that sport (and I know some of you cringe when NASCAR and sport are used in the same line) than there is anywhere else.
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Manalapan | NJ | United States | Posted: 11:12 AM on 02.15.16
->> Well said Stanley and Preston.
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Phelan Ebenhack, Photographer
Orlando | FL | USA | Posted: 9:15 PM on 02.15.16
->> I normally don't comment on these threads, because it's like fighting the Chinese Army. Guy shoots spec for a couple of years, realizes he really can't make any money at it, and then quits. But then there is wave after wave of more wannabe photographers eager to replace them.

David, you said you haven't made any money with ICON, so I need to ask you. How do you pay the bills? The reason why I ask is that NOBODY makes money shooting spec--NOBODY! I challenge any spec shooter that says they do to show us their statements for a year and show us how they make a living off of it! I call BULLSHIT on those who say they do!

Most have other jobs that pay the bills, are married to someone who does, or have a retirement or trust fund. Otherwise, they wouldn't do it. Even for the glory, you cannot make enough to feed yourself, much less a family! I've been shooting sports for 30 years, and even in college, I got paid. Then newspapers called me, because they saw my work and saw how I hustled! And they paid me more for that hard work! To shoot for free never even entered my mind!

Some of us do make enough money shooting professional sports to pay the bills, but that is all. I submit that even the SI freelance photographers make the bulk of their money shooting other corporate, advertising and editorial jobs. Being a sports photographer is about being a PHOTOGRAPHER first and foremost. That means being versatile, and being able to photograph a variety of subjects in a variety of situations!

If you're not making any money at it, it's because your photos are not good enough. A photo of an isolated player running towards you may get published, but it doesn't say anything about you as a photographer. Any doctor with a high-priced camera can shoot the exact same photo--and do it for free. Your photos are competing with theirs, and you cannot compete with free. You just cannot! No matter how hard you try!

If I can give you some professional advice, I'll leave you with this. If you truly want to be a professional photographer, quit your daytime job, move out of mom and dad's house, and go hustle your ass off making pictures. And I don't mean shooting professional sports for free! Nothing helps develop your eye better than actually needing to earn a living off of your photography alone!

I've been doing this for 30 years, and professional sports is just a small part of what I shoot. It has to be, or I won't be able to feed my family! This week I'm shooting the races at Daytona, but also this week, I'm shooting a group of corporate head shots, a corporate news conference and corporate environmental portraits. And, for that, I'll make three or four times what I'll make shooting the races all week. Shooting the other jobs allows me the flexibility to still shoot the sports that I love to do.

There is no tried and true method of making it in this business. You have to hustle and shoot everything, and anything, that makes you money. Head shots aren't sexy, but they pay the bills. Last week I shot a corporate job that involved basically shooting glorified mugshots of exteriors of buildings! However, I was hired because I know how to make damn good mugshots of buildings!

Shooting other types of jobs helps you develop your eye much faster than you'll ever learn shooting sports, especially professional sports, where you're limited by access and time. Shoot non-sports assignments first, develop your eye, learn lighting, learn the business of photography, and then shoot professional sports because it's fun.

String for the local papers. I do! I have more fun shooting high school sports for newspapers than shooting professional sports, because there's less pressure, better access and more time to concentrate on making great pictures. Just don't expect to become rich off of it.
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 10:18 PM on 02.15.16
->> David, this writing you have done. Was it done on spec, or did you charge for it?
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 12:27 AM on 02.16.16
->> Hey Phelan, I've shot next to you at several Jags games and prob some other stuff. If there's a next time, I'll make sure I say hi. Was wishing it was this week in Daytona, but it's not happening for me. I'll probably be at a few races as a fan though. :)

Either way, not sure if we've formally met (I'm in my own zone in that environment so I don't say much when covering games) but I'm sure one day we will cross each other again out there.

Anyways, I appreciate your advice. I goes along with some other great advice I am receiving.

I am more aware now that the future of my photography career has to extend outside of the professional arenas. In fact, I have to seriously consider if I'll even ever shoot in a professional arena again. I sure hope I get to, but nothing is for sure these days.

To answer your question "how do you pay the bills?" -- Well, for the most part, I pay them online. Jokes aside, I do what most people do and work. Except right now I'm unemployed, so I'm living off savings, but you get the point. We all have some low points in our life.

I'm just choosing this low point to try to push my photography to the next level. Yes, I'm now seeing that I've been going about this thing wrong all along.

Part of me is glad I asked on this thread, other parts of me are concerned my peers think I'm part of the problem of the future.

Overall it's been a wonderful eye opener that what I thought, and what is what I should be thinking, were two opposite ends of the spectrum.
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 12:31 AM on 02.16.16
->> Sam, I have a degree in journalism. The writing is nothing to me. I'm learning something here, so it's paying itself. :)
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 1:10 AM on 02.16.16
->> @David,

I don't think your degree is doing squat, nor does it seem you're learning a damn thing from this. Sorry to be frank as well.

I hate to jump on the bandwagon here, but everyone is right. I have a degree in journalism too and journalism is all for me. I've never taken a photo class in my life, but that's what I make a living doing for about a decade and I love it to death, so I hate to see people devalue what I do, because "it seems fun."

It's simple business—if you're providing a service to someone, you should get something in return and that ain't a press pass in hopes of getting paid, because the people paying aren't going to pay you on a hope.

I only have a few years relative to most of the guys on here, but I've learned it, sometimes the hard way. I regret never taking a business class in college. I thought my news writing degree was enough, but boy was I wrong.

What is right in this business? I'm a journalist. I tell very real stories visually and it's what I believe in. I'm there for the people who can't be and it's sometimes dangerous and full of terrible hours, bad sleep and no food, but it's what I get and what I understand. It's hardly a career for a paycheck, but rather one of passion, similar to what I think you see and what many young shooters see it as, but despite it being fun, IT IS STILL A JOB and that means it's something you should value and that value is worth real money, because it's something tangible and exists in the real world.

The iPhone revolution has hurt a lot, as did the transition to digital media, but as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" says, if you're good at something, never do it for free. Devaluing your work, even if subconsciously, hurts and people take notice.

Also, sports photography of the "big game" is not the pinnacle. It's fun sometimes, sure, and many of us wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, but it's work still and it's hard to do it well.

Love what do you, but make it worth something.
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David Rosenblum, Photographer
Jacksonville Beach | Fl | USA | Posted: 9:01 AM on 02.16.16
->> Nic, I'm with you. A business class or two would have been nice. Wish I chose that over some other electives I did back then. Not that it's too late to take a class or two, but we'll see.

I never said my degree was doing anything for me. It really has done squat for me, I won't deny that part. And like you stated, I also thought having a journalism degree was enough. I found out pretty quickly after graduating that it wasn't. I'm still learning, and yes I'm gaining a lot from this thread whether anyone believes me or not.

Like I've said several times, it's unfortunate I'm just a victim of not knowing any better. It's not an excuse, it's an honest truth. I've never had anyone to tell me different, so I thought I was doing what I needed to do. I was wrong. I screwed up up. I've failed myself so far. You guys are making me understand that. That's why I asked in the first place.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer, Photo Editor
Roswell | GA | | Posted: 9:28 AM on 02.16.16
->> Couple of simple business observations.

To thrive you need to be providing "Table Food" and "Soul Food" to survive.

For many years many who shot sports were able to do both by shooting sports.

We talk of Cost of Doing Business here often. I think we need to make this really simple to understand.

Cost of retail package – Expenses = Profit from a shoot

[Profit from a shoot + Profit from other shoots] – Costs of doing business expenses = Profit from business

Profit from Business - Home Budget = Extra Cash to Invest

Extra Cash to Invest can either go back into the business and lower your taxes or put it into investments to help fund your retirement, vacations or other personal pleasure.

BUSINESS SUCCESS

Problem/Crisis & Photographic Solution = Professional Photographer

Photography with no problem crisis being solved = Hobby
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