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OK, I'm ready to take my lumps
John H. Reid III, Photographer
Gates Mills | OH | USA | Posted: 1:09 PM on 05.07.08
->> In a recent thread here I questioned the value of providing content for free in exchange for a credential. It was pointed out to me (and I mentioned this in a post myself) that some could construe that I am doing a similar thing.

I do the still photography work for the Cleveland Browns of the NFL. The team updates the website live during the games, so the CF cards are taken from me up to the pressbox. At the home games this is done by people who work for the Browns. In 2002 (the first year I shot digitally) someone who travels with the team took time out from their regular duties to run the cards. This was somewhat difficult for them. At the time one of the more common questions on the message board here was how to go about getting a credential to a pro event to shoot for one's portfolio. Many people (myself included) pointed out that pro teams didn't really go about granting credentials so people could shoot for their portfolio. I saw what I thought was an opportunity to give some people a chance to do that. In exchange for a credential, people were asked to run CF cards up to the pressbox, generally about 4 times, the first being in pre-game with me going up with them to make sure everything went smoothly and they knew where to go. They usually miss about 10 minutes of game time, and generally get to shoot the entire 4th quarter. There is no payment to the photographer. I have used SportsShooter to make people aware of this.

I am the one who came up with the idea, and I choose who gets the credential. I have always tried to choose the person whom I felt could get the most out of it. Therefore, it has mainly been students or people just starting out in the business. (My definition of getting the most out of it is the person least likely to be able to get a credential.) I specifically request that people who have been to pro games (particularly NFL games) let others have the chance. One of the reasons I use the SportsShooter site is that I can check their sites to see if they have posted photos from pro games. I have had people who had been to games before requesting the credential.

Much has changed in the past 5 years. I have always made a distinction between this and providing content for free in exchange for a credential. Photographers who do this are not asked to provide content, except in one unique case. The photographer in question was told they did not have to provide photos if they didn't want to do that. They chose to provide photos for an online gallery. My question here is - Do others see the same distinction I see?

I will make this one point. If they had been paid, they would not have been shooting the game. They would have been assisting me with equipment when not running the cards. I'm not looking for accolades here. If you want to tell me I'm completely wrong, please do so. If you wish to email me (or for those reading this that aren't members, and thus can't post a reply,) you can email me at


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Landon Finch, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 1:39 PM on 05.07.08
->> I've read complaints over at about these guys who run cards to get credentialed and don't get paid.

From what you've written, I don't see a problem with it. It doesn't appear as though what you're doing is directly taking work away from other photogs. These runners are not giving up their copyright for access. They can market their work to editorial outlets. To me it seems like more than a fair trade unless I am missing something.
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John H. Reid III, Photographer
Gates Mills | OH | USA | Posted: 1:50 PM on 05.07.08
->> Landon,

You are correct. If these people were not running the cards someone who was not shooting would be the runner. The people who get to shoot in exchange for running the cards maintain all rights to the photos they shoot.

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Jeff Conner, Student/Intern, Photographer
Rochester | NY | USA | Posted: 1:54 PM on 05.07.08
->> John first gave me this opportunity my freshman year in college in snowy Buffalo in December. I was able to run the cards to the press box as well as shoot along side professional photographers. That football game in December of 2004 opened up a number of doors for me. I met photographers that eventually offered me jobs, and I dont know if I would be where I am today in my career if it was not for John's opportunity.

Yes I did not get paid, but this was an extremely valuable learning experience and I would not do it any other way.

Thanks John!

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Landon Finch, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 3:58 PM on 05.07.08
->> (sorry, didn't realize was an actual site!)
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Joseph Toth, Photographer
Cambridge | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 5:10 PM on 05.07.08
->> John,

I agree with Jeff, I learned a lot covering a Browns game in South Florida a few years back. I didn't exchange anything for a credential, yes John allowed me to shoot when I wasn't running cards - but I was there to work and learn. It wasn't something I would have gotten to do if it weren't for John. I think one of the main reasons I am at where I am professionally now is because John gave me the chance to learn.

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David Bailey, Photographer
Flower Mound | TX | USA | Posted: 5:23 PM on 05.07.08
->> John, I see what you are doing as fine and very different than those that are working for free. When I discuss working for free I'm talking about letting outlets, publishers, etc. use your images w/out renumeration. I think everyone here has "worked for free" (meaning no daily fee) in order to produce images that can later be sold and thereby "getting paid".

What I personally don't agree with is shooting for free and then givng away your images for free, this is a hobby and not a job and cuts into paid opportunities for others.

What you are offering, is a great opportunity for someone to get into the game, take some shots that they can market themselves (for editorial use of course) and gain some valuable experience. It's also great exposure as to how hard we really work at venues, it's not just ponit and click as some may think. :-)

Just my .02 cents.
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Mike Brice, Photographer
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 5:47 PM on 05.07.08
->> John,

If I agree with you, will you let me run cards the next time the Browns play the Redskins?


That said, I think what you are offering is an excellent opportunity and not the same as the typical trade images for credentials that we see.

Running cards is different from shooting. You don't need a camera to run cards, you don't need lenses to run cards, etc....

You are not asking to use the images without compensation as a condition of the credential - you are asking that the run cards as a condition of the credential.

The time they have to shoot, what images they produce and what they do with those images is outside of the credential condition.

It would be a shame if you stopped offering this opportunity. While it hasn't worked out for me (and no, I have not shot a pro game), I think as several posters above me have stated it is a great opportunity and has lots of benefits.
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Andy Altenburger, Photographer
Tiffin | OH | USA | Posted: 9:46 PM on 05.07.08
->> I've expressed my gratitude to John on a couple of different occasions. Like Jeff, some doors were opened that probably wouldn't have been had I not done a Browns/Steelers game back in '04. What I gained from that opportunity far exceeded any monetary value I might have gotten under a different arrangement. John, this is a good thing. Don't change it a bit.

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Paul Alesse, Photographer
Centereach | NY | USA | Posted: 10:03 PM on 05.07.08
->> No lumps here. I think what you do is great, coupled with the fact that you are a great guy to work with!
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Mike Ullery, Photographer, Photo Editor
Piqua | OH | USA | Posted: 10:39 PM on 05.07.08
->> John,
My daughter ran cards for you at the Cincinnati/Cleveland game last December. She is a freshman photography student whose goal is to shoot sports as a career. The opportunity that you gave her was one that she cherishes and still talks about.

I get to shoot college and NFL games as part of my job but am not in a position to request a "photo pass for my daughter", so I too, deeply appreciate the chance that she got to be exposed to shooting football at the NFL level, thanks to you.

Folks who run cards for you may not get "paid" in the normal sense. For those just beginning their career, the compensation is more than money can buy. I see nothing wrong with it. Keep up the good work.

Best regards,
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Thread Title: OK, I'm ready to take my lumps
Thread Started By: John H. Reid III
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