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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

AOL Patch
Ben Laing, Photographer
Newburyport | MA | USA | Posted: 6:08 PM on 01.19.11
->> Has anyone done any work with then new Patch websites? A reporter from my paper left to become editor at one of them and has thrown some freelance work my way over the past few months, just wondering if anyone else has done any work for them and what their thoughts are.
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Kevin Novak, Photographer, Assistant
Bel Air (Baltimore) | MD | USA | Posted: 8:05 PM on 01.19.11
->> Ben,
I did a HS championship football game for them. Easy enough assignment and they paid quickly.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 8:30 PM on 01.19.11
->> http://www.businessinsider.com/another-editor-bemoans-aol-patchs-2010-8
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 8:40 PM on 01.19.11
->> +1 for Kevin. They don't pay much, but then again, they have no budget. Quick assignment, quick payment and for most of the folks on here, the skill level you have will be way past anything they usually have access to.
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D. Ross Cameron, Photographer
Oakland | CA | USA | Posted: 8:51 PM on 01.19.11
->> I'm interested to know how much they offered you, Ben. Sounds like they lowball their editors, writers, and copy editors. I'd like to hear how horrifying their assignment rate is for photographers.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 9:27 PM on 01.19.11
->> D. Ross, I've heard from two different sources, in two different cities, that the freelance rate for shooters is around $50.00 (though it's my understanding that the local editor can pay whatever they like). I admit I have NO IDEA, so that information may or may not be accurate, but the silence in the Patch world about rates leads me to believe that that figure may be close.

Also, call me crazy, and no disrespect AT ALL intended to Scott, but I don't understand the logic behind, "They don't pay much, but then again, they have no budget." Again, not a slam against Scott, it's a sentiment I read on here quite a bit so I'm trying to understand it but I'm struggling to wrap my brain around it.

If a media outlet doesn't have the budget to pay you what you're worth, then let them fail.

I don't care if the assignment is at the end of my cul de sac and it'll take me 5 minutes shooting on Program mode with my wife's point-and-shoot and I don't have to get IDs... I won't shoot for $50.00 - $100.00 and I won't refer the assignment to anyone willing to shoot for that rate.

I've seen too many shooters get labeled "the cheap guy" because they were willing to shoot for free or for anywhere NEAR $50.00. Once someone gets the label of being "The $50.00 Shooter" they're always going to be "The $50.00 Shooter", irrespective of their talent.

I have ZERO problem allowing a publication that wants to pay shooters $50.00 per assignment to go out of business. Letting them go out of business may very well strengthen the local papers that are trying to do things the right way and struggling to sell ads to help keep journalists employed. When a real shooter accepts that nonsense rate and provides them with professional-quality work for $50.00 they become part of the problem.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 9:40 PM on 01.19.11
->> Typo: When I wrote "I won't shoot for $50.00 - $100.00" I meant "I won't shoot IT for $50.00 - $100.00"

"IT" being my silly example of the assignment at the end of my cul de sac.

I won't shoot ANYTHING (except for not-for-profits) for less than my day rate, which is nowhere near $50.00 - $100.00. It just doesn't make sense to do anything for anywhere near $100.00. The Cost-of-Doing-Business-Calculator is a good thing... use it, live it, share it.
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 1:20 AM on 01.20.11
->> I had a big response written, but it was all babble anyway. Before we go deep into this...let's take an informal poll what small to medium-sized newspapers are paying stringers for an assignment.

If someone tells me the Bradenton Herald is paying stringers $300 to go shoot a high school soccer game, then maybe I missed something. My guess it that the range is $50-100, depending on the size of the paper and how difficult the assignment. Not even debating the overall viability of Patch, is $75 for a wrestling match out of line if you are shooting for a small-town local paper?

If I am wrong, I am wrong.
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Chris Mackler, Photographer
Cape Girardeau | MO | United States | Posted: 1:51 AM on 01.20.11
->> Sadly, Scott is right on the money. Freelance photographers get $50 an assignment (on a work-for-hire contract, no gas mileage reimbursement) for an typical family-owned community paper of 16K circulation around here. That's $50 an assignment - that assignment could take as little as an hour or as long as six hours - it's still $50. No budge on that pay. Obviously it's not worth my cost of doing business to freelance for the community newspapers around here, magazines and other editorial clients actually pay a reasonable, livable rate. It's sad when the local paper pays a teenager more money to put on their mascot uniform and prance around at sporting events than they do to their freelance photographers.
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 4:17 AM on 01.20.11
->> A Patch guy approached me at a game and I explained to him how no one is going to go cover a game here in my area for $40 ( a number that got thrown out there) I suggested at least $100 for EACH event if they offered multiple games on the same day and that would be for website use only. I could see this working if you are able to piggyback coverage with other jobs that you are already covering for clients. Turn that one game into a $300 game pretty easily.
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 4:18 AM on 01.20.11
->> Also, they are owned by America Online, when did they start crying poverty??
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 6:05 AM on 01.20.11
->> Scott, you're right. The Bradenton Herald is not paying stringers $300.00 to shoot an assignment. Guess what paper is closest to my home? Guess which paper I have never shot a single freelance assignment for?

Answer: The Bradenton Herald. This, despite the fact that I'm very close to everyone there and truly want to see that paper succeed. That's not to say that I don't work for any of the local daily papers. This is a 4-paper market. Two of them pay rates that work within my cost-of-doing-buisness so I shoot for them. They treat me well, respect my contribution, and compensate me accordingly.

In fact, just last week the executive editor at the Bradenton Herald (who I consider a friend) called me and asked me to cover an assignment for her that was about a 10 minute drive from my home. I wasn't booked that day and still had to respectfully decline.

Did I lose the $75.00 they would have paid me? No, I spent the day working on my business: sending invoices, emailing clients, requesting credentials for spring training via my wire service clients, researching an upcoming project, etc... All of these things are worth more than $75.00. My time is worth far more than $75.00 so for me to accept an assignment for less than my day rate actually ends up costing me money... and it sets a bad precedent.

Chris Mackler (a few posts up), you said, "Sadly, Scott is right on the money. Freelance photographers get $50 an assignment (on a work-for-hire contract, no gas mileage reimbursement)..."

The telling word in your sentence is the word "get". "Get" implies that it's being forced upon them. Reread the sentence but replace the word "get" with "accept".... "Freelance photographers *ACCEPT* $50.00 an assignment..."

That's my point. That's exactly my point. We don't HAVE to just 'accept' what they're offering just because "they have no budget". They have a budget, they've just put photography WAY down on the list because, guess what, experience has taught them that they can get away with it and every time a shooter accepts their rate, that shooter reaffirms their decision.

I fully understand the argument that a shooter in a small market cannot expect the Home Town Bugler to afford the same rate as USA Today but if you're accepting a rate that falls below your costs then you're helping to finance the paper and, by extension, helping to keep rates low.

If we all just automatically accept any rate being offered then they're getting what they need for $50.00 and they have no need to a) raise their freelance rates, or b) retain staffers. The result: unacceptable freelance rates and laid off friends.
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 7:12 AM on 01.20.11
->> Brian, from Louis' post, you can almost see where I am going with this. IMHO, the AOL guy started this up and they underestimated the value of photography. They gave their local editors a framework. I think the local editors realize they need to pay more for better photography. They are learning how to do this.

And with the help of people like Louis and me, being creative with stacking assignments, hitting games where two patches have teams playing, we can make their model work for us.

It isn't just accepting their fee, but understanding what they have to offer and turning it around into something worthwhile for us. The AOL guy managed to pull together $50 million to get this thing rolling. They are in 500+ smaller markets.

At the end of the day, they will learn. They aren't crying poor, I just think they are adapting and growing. In these times when print papers are wilting, is it really wise to tell a new injection of money into the industry to go pound sand or to find a middle ground?
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 7:43 AM on 01.20.11
->> Well Scott, I hope you're right. I hope that they decide, out of the kindness of their hearts, to raise the rates that they're already apparently getting people to work for. That sound like AOL.

You said, "At the end of the day, they will learn." On this you and I certainly agree... they will learn exactly what they can get away with.

Oh, and to answer your question, respectfully, "yes". I think we should tell this "new injection of money into the industry" to go pound sand. That's exactly what I think we should do.

*Maybe* one day their business model will change, but right now, it's a business model built around paying un-livable rates to get over-worked people to churn out an assembly line of thousands of little "clickable" nuggets of half-information.

I'm sorry, but that's not journalism. My community needs educated, professional, dedicated and appropriately-compensated JOURNALISTS who have time to cultivate a beat and a story... not just scrambling for one more nugget to hit some magic number of key-strokes.
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Rob Dicker, Photographer
Lake Villa | IL | USA | Posted: 8:17 AM on 01.20.11
->> I love the fact that they lifted one of my images from our paper's web site and posted it on their site - they did give me photo credit. When we found it the company's lawyer sent them a nasty-gram. Then I got this from my boss - if you look about 6 paragraphs down, it appears I am not alone.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/business/media/17local.html?_r=1&pagewant...
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 12:20 PM on 01.20.11
->> Got an email from a patch.com editor wanting photo coverage from the state football championship game last November and requesting what our rates would be. I responded with questions to determine what rights he was seeking and never heard back from him. I'm pretty sure he figured out immediately I was out of his league.

A colleague informed me that he was approached by a rep from the site offering to pay $50 for 100 photos from a prep football game. Not sure what rights those included in the transaction.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 1:02 PM on 01.20.11
->> "I have ZERO problem allowing a publication that wants to pay shooters $50.00 per assignment to go out of business."

Of course the problem with that notion is that those displaced freelancers and staffers will add to the pool of experienced staffers/freelancers looking for work and (in today's world) desperate to make housing/car/cc payments will be more than willing to undercut the next guy in line to secure their own mortgage payment. The goal should be not to watch ANYONE go out of business but rather to find ways of making the diverse businesses that use the images that we produce in ways that benefit everyone.

If you go back and re-read what Scott is saying, you'll see that he's talking about stacking or pooling assignments so that one soccer match gets licensed to two or more clients. Two Patches should equal $100 assignment rate. If you can tack on print sales or additional licensing (yearbook, booster website, etc.) you can continue to raise the "assignment rate" even higher. I've done the same thing with licensing images to multiple papers from a single event. Worked for me, the editors were aware, and the payday was well beyond what a single assignment rate would have brought in.

Just my take on things.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 1:42 PM on 01.20.11
->> You're right Eric. We should all go out and shoot assignments for $50.00 in an effort to holdback the resulting rush of laid off Patchers that would be stealing our clients should we not help finance AOL's $50 million venture, allowing it to fail.

Now that I think about it "stacking" a bunch of $50.00 assignments (in an attempt to equal ONE reasonable day rate for ONE person) and subsidizing major corporations really is a good thing for my market... silly me.

Due respect Eric, but does it not stand to reason that if you're "stacking" $50.00 assignments it means that not only are you shooting for Patch for $50.00 but you're trying to shoot for multiple publications for a whopping $50.00?

So, instead of 4 shooters all going to the assignment and shooting for 4 separate, reasonable, livable day rates, one guy goes and tries to milk a little money out of all 4 publications, leaving the other 3 guys at home with no pay for the day and tripling the amount of work for the one guy who never took the time to read Harrington's book.

How does that help the market?
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 2:01 PM on 01.20.11
->> I am in no way defending Patch or anyone who disagrees with their price range or any place offering $50 per assignment but in their defense...what is the difference than the staffer who is making $25k per year and working 40 hours a week? That would come out to $61.50 per assignment IF they only work 40 hours per week. When I was on staff, I never worked just 40 hours per week. My first job-I made $10k and my second-with a Gannett newspaper, I made $13.8k. Now keep in mind that this was 1984/85 but I KNOW there are people on staff at papers in this country that are only making $25k/year. And many of them have to use their own cars AND equipment.
Face it people, the market is over saturated and will continue to stay that way with more and more digital cameras that are affordable for people to buy and places that don't want to pay. Sorry, but bitching about the market and people charging next to nothing isn't going to help.
The (sad) fact is people need to work and make money, no matter what their career field is. Would you rather work at a Starbucks for $15 an hour out of desperation, or take that $50 photo job? To some people, their only option is to take that $50 assignment or go work at Starbucks
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Michael Granse, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 2:41 PM on 01.20.11
->> Debra, if a bunch of disaffected photographers suddenly start applying for jobs at Starbucks then established baristas will complain that photographers are ruining the coffee shop industry!
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Chris Mackler, Photographer
Cape Girardeau | MO | United States | Posted: 2:57 PM on 01.20.11
->> Brian,

Well said, but actually no photographer around here ACCEPTS $50 an assignment as well. And the paper's management wonders why they can't hire qualified photographers (let alone wannabe's) to do freelance work. I'm not working on that piddly pay, and nobody else is either.

This day in age, too many people think we're simply button pushers, and assume that they can hire joe shmo off the street to go grab a camera and shoot a house fire. But guess what? Do the photos come back even remotely useable, let alone with complete journalistic caption info? Hardly.

Brian, you said - "I have ZERO problem allowing a publication that wants to pay shooters $50.00 per assignment to go out of business. Letting them go out of business may very well strengthen the local papers that are trying to do things the right way and struggling to sell ads to help keep journalists employed."

Most local papers simply DON'T pay more than $50 an assignment (at least here), and they ARE the publications you talk about having no problem letting them go out of business. They think they can get away with paying peanuts, don't have enough money, etc. The higher-ups don't understand the value of our work. And while we can (and do) take a stand by not working for them, they get the work elsewhere, whether it's from milking the staffers dry or handing a camera to jo shmoe off the street. Sadly, (and maybe I've become jaded lately, but) for smaller, local newspapers around here, it's more about the bottom line than about producing compelling journalism and "trying to do things the right way."
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 5:58 PM on 01.20.11
->> Brian if that's what you took from my post you must be related to my first wife. Every time we drove by a "Slow Child" sign she thought the city was picking on a particular kid. She had a knack for reading things differently than me, so too, do you.

Like Scott I just deleted 200 words that really didn't add anything to the thread. I'll just leave you with this.....

"The" market is in a constant state of flux and evolution. You can dig your heals in and try to keep things as they are today and were yesterday OR you can continue to evolve and find ways of surviving and even prospering in that constant state of flux.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 6:33 PM on 01.20.11
->> Thanks Eric. I'll keep your advice in mind.
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Jon Cunningham, Photographer
Lisle | IL | USA | Posted: 11:14 PM on 01.20.11
->> Michael, I marked your post "funny," but then I remembered one of my laid off colleagues, who was a photo staffer at the newspaper chain that I used to freelance to. Last I heard, he was a barista at his local Starbucks. When ya need to pay the bills....
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Paul W Gillespie, Photographer
Annapolis | MD | USA | Posted: 11:19 PM on 01.20.11
->> Wait a minute a barista at Starbucks makes $15 an hour? Is that plus benefits. Looks like I picked the wrong profession.
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 4:06 AM on 01.21.11
->> Brian,
How are you tripling the work on one game? If you are referring to having to transmit to three different clients images from the same game that's not exactly tripling the workload.
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 6:30 AM on 01.21.11
->> Louis,

I would assume that if someone is moving images from one game to three or four different clients in an effort to cobble together one acceptable day rate then they'll have to edit, tone, size and transmit different images. At the very least, even if they're moving everyone the same images (which I'm sure the "clients" would all be thrilled about), I'd assume that they'd have to caption each image to each client's specific IPTC "style".

I don't know though, maybe I'm wrong, I've never shot or "stacked" $50.00 assignments and I have no intention of ever doing so. And, truthfully, the increased workload was never actually my point in the first place.

My point was, actually, ... , well, never mind...
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D. Ross Cameron, Photographer
Oakland | CA | USA | Posted: 2:04 PM on 01.21.11
->> With all due respect to the youthful, energetic photogs out there who think that they can do the extra work and haul in that heft extra ~$50 by "stacking" assignments, I come down squarely on the side of Mr. Blanco in this debate.

The idea that Patch, bankrolled by multi-national, multi-billion dollar corporation AOL, is attempting to entice professional(?) photojournalists into filling their "hyperlocal" newshole with viable material for barely what it costs to fill the tank of my "luxurious" Honda Accord ("Now with digital clock!") isn't just insulting -- it's criminal.

Yes, Ms. Rothenberg is correct in her assertion -- when I was 25 years old, I would drive my own car 75 miles a day (not including 50-mile commute) and use my own equipment to shoot 4-8 assignments and/or pieces of wild art, too, for the princely sum of $220 a week, or $5.87 an hour.

But that *was* 1985.

Twenty-six years later, well.... to borrow a line from "Young Frankenstein," "The rates *have* gone up." That amazingly crappy salary at least provided for healthcare benefits and paid vacation.

From everything I can tell, Patch is an abomination to the entire journalism profession. Though it might be mentally and spiritually stifling, I would actually say, "Take the barista position!"

At least Starbucks has a decent package of benefits for their serfs.

Caffeinedishly,
DRC
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D. Ross Cameron, Photographer
Oakland | CA | USA | Posted: 2:06 PM on 01.21.11
->> That's "hefty" extra ~$50, thank you.

My copy desk here is underpaid, as well.

:-)

DRC
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 2:58 PM on 01.21.11
->> Don't know where the $50 rate comes from. I actually only had a conversation with the guy at a game and when $40 was mentioned I told him basically it would never happen. I told him he would not get someone of any worth to do it for that amount.
Brian, I don't think you are thinking outside the "box" so to speak, your thinking of just newspaper clients. On a typical prep game I cover at a minimum the images go to two different clients and not one of them is a news publication because they won't pay an acceptable rate.
IPTC? Most everyone uses the same standard format, if that's the most difficult problem for a photographer, then they have other issues why they are not able to earn a living.
If your thinking anyone is going to pay upwards of $200 to cover a prep game, grab a pillow and the remote you'll be waiting quite a while for the phone to vibrate. In the meantime I will stay happy billing for $300-$400 for a few hours work by piggybacking clients. The clients I cover for don't even want the entire game most just want their players.
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David A. Cantor, Photographer, Photo Editor
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 3:10 PM on 01.21.11
->> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YI4rcM_9dw
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 3:27 PM on 01.21.11
->> Louis,

You just don't get it and I'm throwing in the towel on this one.

But I have to ask, where ON EARTH do you or Canha get the impression that I'm "waiting for the phone to vibrate" or "need to find ways to survive"?

Do you have ANY IDEA how busy I am shooting REAL assignments, for REAL clients, who pay REAL rates? I'm sorry, I know that sounds cocky as hell and that's not my intention but where in the hell do either of you get that idea just because I'm cautioning people about the ABSURD practice of shooting ANYTHING for $50.00 that I'm struggling? Since leaving my staff position and going freelance 2 years ago I've almost tripled my income by LISTENING to advice from people who know what the hell they're talking about and REJECTING B.S. rates and my personal favorite, SPEC SHOOTING.

$50.00!? Are you kidding me!? $50.00? How can anyone defend the practice of shooting for $50.00? I can't even believe we're having this debate. $50.00? Seriously?

You two can go shoot all the $50.00 assignments and spec "assignments" you want but the notion that ANYONE who shoots $50.00 assignments, or shoots on spec is going to come on here and give me advice is as laughable as this post is, admittedly, obnoxious.

Give me a break.

***Note to students: Kids, if you're reading 'advice' on this forum, do yourself a favor and click on the website of the person giving the advice.

I guess I'm the new Chuck Liddy today... I can live with that today... I'll be nice tomorrow.
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 3:39 PM on 01.21.11
->> Brian,
Again, who is shooting an event for $50? I believe you are the person who brought up that dollar amount. And I don't see Eric or I as defending working for $50 my point is sell to multiple clients and maximize the revenue from one game.
A lot of guys post on here taking the stance of the I don't shoot on spec or I won't work for less than a $200 plus day rate for a single game because that is the "party" line of a certain group.
I am just speaking as to the reality of life on this business. I gross six figures consistently every year as a full time freelancer for over ten years. So I feel I have some experience posting on certain freelance issues.
You truly can't be this dense in real life...
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Mike Anzaldi, Photographer
Oak Park | IL | USA | Posted: 3:43 PM on 01.21.11
->> perhaps it's not too early to pour a drink, and relax? maybe?
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 3:57 PM on 01.21.11
->> Mike does NyQuil count? Because I've been loaded up on that stuff for three days. Oh, and Louis, Mike Carlson just texted me and told me that I really AM this dense in real life... my wife just agreed too.
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David A. Cantor, Photographer, Photo Editor
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 4:53 PM on 01.21.11
->> Here's a Patch photog on assignment:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UoNd23EYpY
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 4:58 PM on 01.21.11
->> Mike-
If you are pouring stoli, it is never too early ;-)
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Fontana | CA | USA | Posted: 5:12 PM on 01.21.11
->> David,
That was an Auto Trader Magazine Photographer...
http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/searchresults.jsp?lastBeginningStartYear=1981...
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Mike Anzaldi, Photographer
Oak Park | IL | USA | Posted: 5:40 PM on 01.21.11
->> we'll pour whatever it takes to generate a little love and understanding.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 5:45 PM on 01.21.11
->> Brian I never once assumed ANYTHING about YOUR business or your business practices. I'm not sure you can say the same thing.

I figured that you were taking a swipe at my site. Click away. 6 figures in sales, double digit sales growth every year since I started the business (2006). At least two other shooters pay their mortgages over the summer contracting out to us. Click away, I couldn't be any prouder of what I've accomplished from scratch in 5 years.

I'm glad that what you are doing is working for you. That REALLY and SINCERELY is great. But that doesn't mean that your way is the only correct way OR that those things that are working for others on this site are wrong. I went to your site too. I didn't see a single Pop Warner, high school, or other prep event. THOSE are the events that sites like the Patch are targeting.

I don't shoot $50 assignments. No where ANYWHERE on this thread did I advocate working a $50 ass-igntment. I DID advocate thinking of ways that would allow you to take ONE shoot and license it to multiple clients in such a way that MIGHT fit a particular person's game rate. I said that I would consider a gig if I could get 2 Patch sites to each pay a portion of what I consider shooting for. And to top it off. I don't normally send files, I setup an account on my site where the interested editor can login and d/l the images that they want within the licensing terms that we've agreed to.

I took issue with your idea that shuttering a business is a good thing. It wasn't personal and I refuse to take it to that level.


David I think I saw that video but there was a 400mm and a magic arm on the body. Oh the the car was moving a little faster ;)
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TD Paulius, Photographer
Orland Park | IL | USA | Posted: 4:47 PM on 01.24.11
->> They appear to have different rules in different parts of the country based upon the local editors' feeling on paying for images. I contacted them locally and was told that for 20 images they would pay 50-75 depending on the time spent at the game. This discounts travel and editing time. Howeverm what was most disturbing was their standard agreement the editor wanted signed in which:

1) Patch shall own all right, title and interest in and to the Images, including the right to copyright the Images (or any portion thereof).

2) Service Provider [shooter] hereby grants to Patch and its corporate affiliates including without limitation (and in all cases, reference herein to one includes reference to both) an exclusive (during the Exclusivity Period and non-exclusive thereafter), perpetual, worldwide, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, store, distribute, have distributed, broadcast, have broadcasted, publicly and privately display, communicate, publicly and privately perform, transmit, have transmitted, create derivative works based upon, sell and promote the Images in any medium now known or hereafter devised.

3) The Exclusivity Period with respect to any Image and any other Images taken on the same date shall begin on the date the Image is provided to Patch and shall continue for a period of ninety (90) days (the “Exclusivity Period”). During the Exclusivity Period, Service Provider shall not have the right to display or use the Images in any way (with the sole exception of Service Provider’s use of Patch-approved Images for limited, self-promotion, i.e., non-commercial, non-publication, purposes to promote Service Provider’s own work to persons other than the general public, including promotional cards and online or other portfolios as may be approved in advance in writing by Patch). Without limiting the foregoing or the generality thereof, Service Provider shall not have the right to use the Images for merchandising purposes (i.e., on or in connection with the offer or sale of merchandise that references or bears the Images).

Not only a rights grab, but a onerous moratorium on all images shot at an event, not just those displayed by Patch and one that obliges the shooter to ask Patch for permission to even display the images and prevents future and susequent licensing of the images.

UGH! Run, Forest, Run!

They are content with writers using P&S cameras or wroters with DSLRS. To each their own, and their are some colleagues that have very good editors that pay better and do not ask for rights. I think it is because each editor controls his/her budget and gets compensated based upon their savings. Some eds are more concerned with producing a better product that readers will go to because of the imagery and use shooters at a decent payment, rather than lining their own pockets.
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Patrick Fallon, Student/Intern, Photographer
Columbia | MO | USA | Posted: 5:32 PM on 01.24.11
->> Kinda hard to stack $50 assignments when you are on a work for hire-esque contract like Patch's... eh?
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Ben Laing, Photographer
Newburyport | MA | USA | Posted: 6:27 PM on 01.24.11
->> i do enjoy watching writers shoot sports with P/S cameras, especially hockey...

I didn't think this post would get so many responses, good to hear everyone's input!
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 6:42 PM on 01.24.11
->> It's bad enough they want all rights granted to them ... but you have to secure written permission in advance to use the images acquired for your own portfolio? That's simply ludicrous ...

Sorry ... they could increase their rates 10x and I would still rather toss my gear bag in the river and pursue another career path before agreeing to those terms ... that's absolutely outrageous ...

Unfortunately they will find folks that will be so high on receiving access and a byline they will sell their soul to the Devil for the opportunity ... very sad ...

I routinely serve multiple clients at events. However, they know up front that I am doing so. I NEVER make a deal with a publication on their terms, they either agree to my terms and licensing agreement or they seek other sources (very few refuse my terms). I know that sounds pompous ... but it is the way I work ... I'd rather stay home and earn nothing than to work my butt of and lose money and more importantly, my rights to do with my images as I please ...

Work for Hire as a staffer where the publication is providing all necessary equipment, hourly wages, vacation, sick days, health coverage and travel expenses is one thing ... but a glorified weblog tossing up peanuts and demanding full rights with exclusivity ... even for the provider's portfolio is an absolute joke and should be avoided at all cost.
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Jeff Fusco, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | USA | Posted: 6:45 PM on 01.24.11
->> I or should I say my son had a Patch experience on Saturday. He was in a school district wide art show and a very nice young woman armed with a P&S interviewed him and took his picture. She post 45 other pics with an 100 word or so write up on the Patch site. Each of the 46 images had a one line caption in a simple slide show. From what I see in my area, it's a write/shooter combo thing, not seeing a lot, if any, pro shots. A class in "how to white balance" really needs to be a requirement. Its basically small town news on a small town budget. I had never even heard about it until this post and there are 2 or 3 in my area. To me it's a place for young journalists to gain some experience. We all started somewhere. At least they are getting paid. Not defending the rate and the rights grab, I would not do it for that kind of money, but there are plenty of young folks trying to break in the business and at least they are not doing it for free.

There was a posting on CL that a shooter put up willing to work for the first 3 hours for $100 and then $50 each hour beyond. That's a bigger threat to me Patch will ever be.
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 6:50 PM on 01.24.11
->> EEEEEKKK. I just got an email with a link to this today. While I am OK with making the assignments work for me, I am not up for this in any way. They actually let me shoot the first thing I did for them because it was impromptu and they wanted the images. Actually made decent money and they paid me quickly.

Sorry, but if I can't make back-end money on the stuff since I shoot in schools fairly often, this ain't for me.

I also attempted to contact Patch's upper management with some ideas regarding ways to increase money to photographers while also increasing their efficiency and overall work product. I was met with a cheerful, "If you want to apply, here is a link" email.

This is going to be more problematic than I want it to be. I can't be giving away my copyright. That isn't negotiable. OK, well it is, but for a helluva lot more money.

If they can't see the potential in what they have and aren't willing to invest the money to make the product work...shame on them. I mean, I see what it could be, but if they don't invest the money to make people in small towns want to look at what they have, they are lost.

Ah...on to the next great idea...
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 7:34 PM on 01.24.11
->> Butch couldn't agree more with you. Thinking outside the box when it comes to making things like 'The Patch' work requires that BOTH parties are being creative. Clearly NOT the case here.
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Sabina Moran, Photographer
Finksburg | MD | USA | Posted: 7:58 PM on 01.24.11
->> I too have a problem with the all out rights grab issue and I was told take two shots send us one and you can do what you want with the other.
I did do the assignment, as a favor to the editor but he is pooling money from two sites to pay me $100. This will probably be the first and last assignment I cover.
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Jeff Bennett, Student/Intern
Livermore | CA | USA | Posted: 11:20 PM on 01.24.11
->> I've been shooting with Patch for a couple months now and thought I'd throw in my two cents.

Does the pay suck? Yes it does. But the only other company around here to shooting high school sports pays less, ask for more, and give away the images for free.

When I first saw the contract I asked about the rights and issues like that I had. I was told Patch owns the rights for 90 day exclusive period and then I get it back. I asked about posting images in a portfolio during those 90 days and was told that wasn't going to be an issue, as long as I wasn't trying to sell them.

By Butches post above I have sold my soul to the Devil, and I guess I kind of have. I'm not doing it for a sideline pass or a byline, but for a couple extra dollars on nights I don't have work/can't find any work.

If I were a seasoned pro like many of the people on this thread seem to be I wouldn't even coincided working with Patch under their terms and pay. But as a student photographer I'll take the money and give up my rights for a couple months as long as I get it back.

Finally as far as working at a Starbucks goes, I've thought about it. But, not being a coffee or tea drinking the don't have much of a use for me.
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 1:26 AM on 01.25.11
->> ok, once again I have a question. I am not defending Patch but am asking all the people who complain about companies like them, or photographers shooting $50 assignments, not owning rights to their images, etc...what is the difference between this company and shooting on staff for a small daily where you only make $25k/year. Again, I KNOW there are papers in this country who only pay their staffers that amount and the photographer has to use their own gear/car. Or even the larger companies that pay $150-200 an assignment but own everything you shoot. Please explain the rationale to me.
I own everything I shoot and am fortunate that I have been earning a great living doing what I love since I went freelance 8 years ago but I have always been confused at what seems to be people who are hypocrites about things. Say you shoot 2 assignments for Patch in one day for a total of $100 and own your copyright, or say one job for AP for $200 and you don't own the images. Are you saying one is better than the other?
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