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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

US Presswire Part 3
Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 10:39 PM on 09.09.11
->> Craig...I wouldn't feel right taking advantage of other photographers. If I owned an agency I'd only assign shooters to paying gigs. I guess I'd never cash in for the big bucks either.
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Matthew Bush, Photographer
Hattiesburg | MS | USA | Posted: 11:42 PM on 09.09.11
->> I am putting this out there since I no longer work for Gannett (Left on my own terms but saw a lot of good shooters and friends get laid off)

I know all the shooters at Gannett properties in my area are STRUGGLING with broken down gear. There is no money for equipment and no money for repairs but Gannett can pul this money out of the hat for Presswire ?

Gannett has A TON of talented shooters... ones who are dedicated shooters who have been through a lot of stress due to the recent few years... at least give them the tools to do their jobs.

My friend who is now running the photo department is using his own gear just to get the job done. My replacement is down to one D300 with about 300,000 actuation's on the shutter

I loved my newspaper and my management team was one of the really good ones that tried their best but when your being ham stringed from the top its hard to put out a good product.
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Paul Cunningham, Photo Editor, Student/Intern
Glen Rock | NJ | US | Posted: 12:34 AM on 09.10.11
->> Having been out of the photo business for a few years now, I am shocked and amazed (and even ashamed) for getting sucked into this thread.
Ultimately, I'm reminded of why I left the business that supported me for nearly 20 years:

I was powerless to defend the ever eroding livelihood of the photographers that I worked with.
I was discouraged with the ignorance, hubris and corporate greed that motivated the erosion.
I was disgusted at the inhumanity of it all.

As the young cub photo editor at MLB Photos, I loved baseball and I loved working with our contributing photographers. I was proud to be in a position where I could help them earn a living.

I worked with the world's best baseball photographers, including Bob Rosato. Bob was by far the toughest, most vocal, and most persistent photographer in the bunch when it came to fighting for photographer rights.
He was a great baseball shooter, but what I really remember is his dogged efforts as a freelancer. Efforts to get the best possible long term deal for himself and his fellow shooters. That Bob Rosato was a guy who even John Harrington would be proud of. What happened to that Bob Rosato?

Is this just business? Is capitalism an excuse for screwing people over?
Heaven help us!
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 1:18 AM on 09.10.11
->> I have sat on the sidelines for most of this, but I guess I finally feel the need to chime in with my two cents, or less. This is a very important topic on many angles.

Most of us get the concept a shooting under something that is a sustainable business model. We get that. The problem is, in most places, there is no such thing as a sustainable business model when it comes to editorial sports photography.

Everyone wants to talk about how bad the USPW deal is, but truly, how many stringers are out there making less than that per assignment all over the US. There are tons.

You can look at it as accepting a wage that is not a sustainable business model or you can look at it as accepting what the market will bear. In the end, if every SS member decided not to accept USPW's deal, not to accept AP's deal and not to accept all of the other "bad deals", do we think USPW and AP and their ilk will die? Or, do you think that no matter how idealistic you are about a sustainable business model, that someone else will come in an do it for less.

Maybe there isn't a sustainable business model as it pertains to editorial sports photography. In many markets, I think that concept is dead. The paradigm has shifted and either photojournalists find a way to adapt and survive, or they become extinct.

Would it be great if idealism won out and all these deserving photographers got staff jobs at newspapers and magazines? It would, but those days are long gone.

Is it sad when a Pulitzer Prize winner takes himself out of the game because he doesn't agree with how things are going? Definitely. He had other avenues for income, so good for him. If you had a wife and a mortgage and two kids, could you do that? If you had a wife and kids and the skill to shoot a college hoops game and pick up $100 + the possibility of more licensing fees if it meant extra money for your family, would you?

I am not saying one end of this is right and the other is wrong. I can just see both sides. One person's sustainable business model is not necessarily the same as the person standing next to him on the sidelines.
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Margaret Bowles, Photographer
Tampa | FL | | Posted: 8:36 AM on 09.10.11
->> Anyone who is using the tax write off argument as justification for accepting spec assignments should be aware that excessive write offs can trigger a red flag with the IRS. In 2007 I earned $30,000 part-time freelancing. However, I also racked up a lot of travel expenses that I deducted. Because I had a full-time corporate job, the IRS argued that the photography business was a hobby--despite the fact that, after expenses, my photography business still netted a profit. I spent over $8000 for my accountant to fight the IRS for two years and another $4000 to settle with the IRS. The IRS later admitted to my accountant that I was "probably" right, but they wouldn't go away, and I couldn't afford to keep fighting them in tax court. The point is, if you have another job that sustains you, and you take a disproportionate amount of deductions related to your photography business, even if you make a profit, you are setting yourself up for an audit. Sometimes, you lose even when you win. Ironically, I was laid off from my corporate job in 2008, and now photography is my main business. Having no other income really changes your perspective when it comes to accepting non-paying assignments.
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Jeff Gammons, Student/Intern, Photographer
Niceville | Fl | USA | Posted: 8:58 AM on 09.10.11
->> Matt, I've seen similar. One of our bigger papers in the area is Gannett owned... When I was shooting the last track meet of the season last year I ran into a shooter from the paper and we had a nice talk. He had been with the paper for over 20 years but he was shooting with a d1x with a broken meter, an 80-200afd that wasn't so af-Ing and a 20-35 stuck at 35. I really felt bad for the chap, a really good guy and awesome photographer that really wasn't equipped to do his job. Sad times.
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Andrew Carpenean, Photographer
Laramie | WY | USA | Posted: 9:53 AM on 09.10.11
->> Margaret,

Its been some time (and someone else may know), but if I remember correctly according to the IRS you need to show that a minimum of 30% of your income is from photography to be considered a professional photographer. Which in my opinion is rather odd.

Thus perhaps why they considered it a hobby for you in contrast of your former corporate job. In my position all of my income is from photography.
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 10:26 AM on 09.10.11
->> "Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else's can shorten it."
- Cullen Hightower
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Darron Silva, Photographer
Granite Falls | NC | USA | Posted: 11:17 AM on 09.10.11
->> I freelanced for a three years between newspaper staff jobs in 2001-2003. I shot almost all editorial work, and a great deal of sport. I shot college football for allsport / Getty on occasion. It was a all rights buyout for about $350 per game. I remember not being to thrilled with the contract, but I needed the work. Sunds like such a deal is great compared to today's world.
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Darron Silva, Photographer
Granite Falls | NC | USA | Posted: 11:28 AM on 09.10.11
->> I should also mention working for allsport/Getty was a great experience, and the folks there were fun to work with.
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Darron Silva, Photographer
Granite Falls | NC | USA | Posted: 11:37 AM on 09.10.11
->> I should also mention I haven't worked with Getty in years, and do not know what they now pay. I was simply comparing those days to what folks are doing with USPW, etc.
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Jeff Lewis, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 2:48 AM on 09.11.11
->> If you have not read what Darren Carroll's post in the first thread about US Presswire, read it!!!

http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=38828


Jeff
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Darren Carroll, Photographer
Cedar Creek (Austin) | TX | USA | Posted: 11:50 AM on 09.11.11
->> Thanks, Jeff. You know, I did just that. And I think, after looking back on what I wrote then in light of all that's been discussed afterward, there's one little sentence I want to highlight again, and it's this:

"Think about it. IF all of those photographers had insisted on getting paid a decent rate to cover those 5,300 games, Presswire would never have been in a financial position to offer such a bargain-basement deal for its pictures."

That's the key. The idea that on an individual basis, photographers see their decision to work for free on a limited basis as relatively harmless in terms of the big picture, but in so doing , they don't realize that that very assumption is precisely what lets the "big picture" work in this case.

Think about it: 5,300 games (U.S. Presswire's number, from its own press release). For argument's sake, let's be conservative and call a "decent" rate $500 per game (commensurate with the standard S.I. day rate). If every shooter who "worked" for U.S. Presswire would have insisted on being paid that amount, that would be a $2,650,000 hole (not counting other overhead) that US Presswire would have had to climb out of just to be profitable. And the only place the company could have made that back was by charging more for its sales and licensing. Basically, then as Allen Murabayashi alluded to in an earlier post, all of the photographers who agreed to work for free just subsidized U.S. Presswire over TWO AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS to help conduct its operations in 2010.

Now, you might think the three or four or ten games you do for U.S. Presswire every year because you're sitting around the house and have nothing better to do are pretty meaningless, but look at that paragraph above to put it in context. Find a bunch of people just like you who are willing to do that (and they have), and it all starts to add up.

Look, the people who run the company aren't stupid--they know a good thing when they see it. When I was first contacted by U.S. Presswire about shooting for them, it was explained to me that they really didn't have room in their budget/business plan to pay photographers at the time. I found it odd that a company dedicated to the concept of distributing and licensing photographs wouldn't have a line item in their budget for producing photography, so I, and others, politely declined. But many others didn't.

And thanks to that stroke of genius--the foresight to know that there was money to be made by many photographers' desire to be on the sidelines at a big game, to have "major league" sports pictures in their portfolios, and their ambivalence about how much money they made (or lost) doing it or how they got there, U.S. Presswire found its niche, and it found a considerable cost savings. And they can use that cost savings that their photographers have so graciously provided them to undercut other photographers on contracts with their existing clients, and put them in a position to offer unbelievably cheap, sweetheart deals to places like Gannett and other entities with whom they'd like to do more business (or perhaps get bought out by, or maybe purchase a commercial license from) in the future. Who wouldn't do the same thing, right?

Well, I would like to think that, when it comes to our business, a lot of us wouldn't. Think back to Robert Seale's earlier post. Like him, I am constantly contacted by people offering their services for free to get a foot in the door, or to learn, or because they think it will lead to other things. Hell, judging from some of the e-mails I get from well-intentioned young shooters, if I wanted to I could have free assistants for life, someone to do all of my billing and invoicing, and someone to scan, edit, and caption my entire film and digital archive and never have to pay a penny for it. But like Robert, I don't. Just because the offer is there doesn't mean you have to take it; and just because there are people out there who are young, or hungry, or naive, or independently wealthy, or who want to help out a "friend" as he starts up his new business (or all of the above), doesn't mean you have to build your business on their backs.

When it comes to a business arrangement like that, I believe Robert called it "Ethics. Morals. Sleeping at night with a clear conscience." Some people have it, some don't.

But hey, what's done is done. US Presswire has taken full advantage of the situation, undercut people, helped drag down stock prices, and established a national brand for itself, which it has then in turn built into a national network of formerly free, but now just really, really cheap labor capable of churning out photographs of thousands of sporting events across the country at minimal cost. And, if reports are to be believed, it has sold that reputation and network to one of the largest media conglomerates in the world. It will soon have the corporate and financial backing of Gannett, Inc.

If you're a staff photographer at a Gannett paper? I'd be a little more scared right now. And if you're an agency or an individual photographer with a contract or licensing agreement with a school, a team, or a league? Have a look over your shoulder. Something's probably coming up behind you. Something well-financed with a built-in cost structure that you are going to have a hard time competing with.

You have to hand it them. Andrew Carpenean, in answer to my first post, was right about one thing: it's a hell of a business model.

But again, what it all comes down to is this: They did what you'd expect them to. Not what we hoped they'd do--and trust me, as someone who really looked up to the founder of U.S. Presswire as I was getting into the business, the word "disappointed" doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about what they're done to this business and how they've taken advantage of many good people in it. I'm no stranger to posting about it, and I'm used to the reactions I get, both from Presswire shooters--who've engaged in the basic, expected name calling, to Presswire management, which has made thinly-veiled threats about interfering with my future prospects at places like Sports Illustrated, to threatening lawsuits for "Tortious Interference" if I don't stop offering my opinion about their contracts and business practices. What I think they're missing is that while I think they're business practices are reprehensible, I can't blame them for taking a gift worth potentially millions of dollars and running with it.

No, the people I'm even more disappointed in are the people without whom they couldn't have done it. The people who continue to let themselves get taken advantage of week in and week out, whether they see it or not, whether they care about it or not. They are the ones who let businesses like Presswire survive and thrive. We are professional photographers. We deserve to be compensated appropriately for our work. Any organization that does not recognize that is not worthy of our efforts. But no one is going to do that unless we require it. And any photographer who does not recognize that, well, you are indeed part of the problem. The biggest part of it.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 12:23 PM on 09.11.11
->> darren, that was the most profound and eloquent post this site has ever offered. thank you.
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Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 12:28 PM on 09.11.11
->> Darren---> Preach it bro!!!
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Daniel Berman, Student/Intern, Photographer
Seattle | WA | US | Posted: 2:25 PM on 09.11.11
->> Please folks, if you only thoroughly read one post on SS ever again, let it be Darren's response above. Kudos to him for caring enough to share such a meaningful, insightful post.
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Dan Routh, Photographer
Greensboro | NC | USA | Posted: 5:14 PM on 09.11.11
->> Amen Darren.
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Jack Kurtz, Photographer
Phoenix | AZ | United States | Posted: 6:03 PM on 09.11.11
->> Darren, Best post yet on the Presswire sale.
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 8:03 PM on 09.11.11
->> What Darren says is all very true. And it's been irrelevant for years now.

For every GWC that "sees the light" and decides to charge what photographers think they are "worth," five more are ready to take his/her place. This is a technological landslide. Those who think they can reverse it will be the first to be swept away. Those who are adapting might survive.

The game has changed. And no amount of pontificating, moaning, unionizing, handholding, handwringing, John Harrington blog posts, or Chuck Liddy rants is going to change it back. Game over.
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Mike McLaughlin, Photographer
Neptune City | NJ | USA | Posted: 9:29 PM on 09.11.11
->> Chuck S. -
Call me an optimist if you will, but I just gotta hold onto my beliefs...if one Chuck Liddy rant can't change the world, what can?!
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Dan Routh, Photographer
Greensboro | NC | USA | Posted: 9:43 PM on 09.11.11
->> Chuck S., I have heard the statement you made about adapting made in other discussions on this subject and I am still trying to figure out what that adaptation is that will make this profession or any profession work besides charging for what you actually do. Like I say, I hear a lot of folks tell me to adapt, adapt, but for some reason they can't tell me what that adaptation is. Maybe it is to have a really good day job and do photography as a hobby for free. Is that adapting?
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Craig Mitchelldyer, Photographer, Assistant
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 10:17 PM on 09.11.11
->> Darren, great post.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer, Photo Editor
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 10:48 PM on 09.11.11
->> N.B. The normal day rate at Time and Newsweek in 1972 was $225/day. Adjusted for inflation that would be equal to over $1110 today.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 7:28 AM on 09.12.11
->> I still think that the anger is misplaced.

Everything said maybe true, but why are we not complaining to Nikon and Canon that make equipment that anyone can pick up and use.

We should be upset at Adobe for introducing PhotoShop that helped undermine the photo labs and helping take away all those prepress jobs.

We need to face it and learn that the market place has changed.

I am sure there were buggy whip makers who complained about the automobile.

There will always be someone who is cheaper in every industry. Not everyone who is cheaper goes out of business, but most do.

The best part of this post is every photographer needs to know what is going on and know what it costs to run a photo business.

With this knowledge they need to look at how they can exceed the clients expectations in a way that the client is willing to pay for.

If the clients are not willing to pay because too many are willing to price below fair wages or even give it away for free then they need to know this niche (college and pro sports) may no longer be a market worth pursuing.

If you were buying stock in a photographer's business would you invest into a sports shooter who shoots primarily for Div 1 or pro sports?
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George Bridges, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 10:11 AM on 09.12.11
->> Darren,

Next time you're in Houston I'm buying the beer and barbecue for you and Robert. Or maybe we just meet in Lockhart and I buy there.
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Dave Einsel, Photographer, Photo Editor
Houston | TX | United States | Posted: 10:21 AM on 09.12.11
->> http://photobusinessforum.blogspot.com/2011/09/one-gannett-photographers-ta...
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 11:06 AM on 09.12.11
->> They have had people from Richard Mackson, to some other well know freelancers shooting for them at high profile events (Olympics and Super Bowl).

Do they have a double standard for payments?

I can't believe Richard Mackson would shoot for free or $100 a day for them.
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Jeff Lewis, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 11:06 AM on 09.12.11
->> I noticed I got a "Huh" for posting a link to Darren's original post. Weather we know it or not, we are all together in this industry and we can either build it up or take it down but its really done together. I didn't post that link because I like or dislike US Presswire. I used to shoot for them a lot several years ago and have several good friends who did and still do. The point of it was not hatred towards it. This is a business and the more informed you are about something, the better decision you can make.

US Presswire is like an unstoppable virus in an already dying industry. You have thousands and thousands of people who have a dream of being a sports photographer and working for Sports Illustrated who really don't know what that means or how to get there and US Presswire provides access that otherwise could not be obtained, even with an amazing portfolio. They pay on spec and then give your images away in a subscription thus making it almost impossible for you to collect your compensation. Hundreds and hundreds of young sports photographers are then tainted into thinking they will make it because they had a little picture in SI or any other major publication but don't know the nature or politics at SI or any other major sports magazine.

The business problem is that why should any other publication pay their photographers when they can get it for free? I know that if I was an editor who had a budget and my job depended on me saving money for my company or I would be laid off, you better believe I would hire somebody for free or figure out a way I can get a subscription for $1,000 a month to keep my job. Thats just survival and you can't be mad at the editors for doing that.

Be mad at the entire sports photography industry. There are too many of us fighting for the same job and those jobs we are fighting for don't make us wealthy even in a healthy industry. We are all chasing the wrong brass ring if what we want in life is to take care of our family and be prosperous.

Like I said before, I used to shoot for USP and I did learn a lot from them but one day, I realized that the checks were not coming. A few did after a while but I was building a family and needed an income. A business decision needed to be made and I went in another direction. I am grateful for what I learned but its a bad business model for photographers. Great for the people who run it but bad for the shooters.

Young photographers, Lose the dream of working for Sports Illustrated and really figure out what you want to do in this industry. There are avenues you can go down and be successful but having your little picture on websites and in SI will not allow you to buy a car, a house, raise a family, or anything, no matter how many you have in there.

Please don't blame the problems of the industry on the camera companies. I read that here before and they really have nothing to do with it. My gear still costs me around 75-100K and I don't care what camera a soccer mom has, she does not have 1/10th of the gear I have and can't do 1% of what I can do with a camera. People throughout history have always had good cameras but they don't have the vision or knowledge a professional has. I can change a light bulb or paint a few rooms but I can't build a house no matter how good my tools are so please don't blame the camera companies.

Stop making excuses and make good decisions. Figure out where your money is going to come from by doing a business plan and do that. Do real research on this industry and figure out that just merely shooting from the field by itself does not pay because too many people want to do it and figure out a way you can make it work if thats what you want to do.

Don't be mad at US Presswire. They did not singlehandedly create this problem. They were just business savvy enough to figure it out and make money in this dying industry. We need to educate ourselves enough so we can make an equally smart business decision and all be prosperous together and turn it around.

Jeff

http://www.JeffLewisPhotography.com
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Josh Weiss, Photographer
Atlanta/Athens | GA | United States | Posted: 11:29 AM on 09.12.11
->> I'll probably get flamed for this, but I figure I should say something given I've been freelancing for USPW since 2009.

A lot of the arguments I've seen are valid, but they aren't mutually exclusive. Yeah, the pay plan prior wasn't ideal, BUT it wasn't like I was turning down other work in order to work on spec. If I had accepted something for USPW and then another client came along and offered a paying gig, USPW was always accommodating to that fact and didn't hold it against me. They understood the situation and did their best to work with us on it.

Additionally, as someone mentioned, USPW shooters maintain their own copyright. When I've been able, I'd double/triple book the assignment (everyone including the credentialing team knew and were okay with it) so it was a way to a) make money the day of and b) make money down the line through future sales. USPW got my photos into Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine when they wouldn't have ever been seen otherwise if I'd only shot for my day of clients.

A lot of people seem to talk about the sustainability of the pay as well. Having freelanced for many papers in Georgia, I can tell you that the new deal USPW has pays more than the freelance rate for most of the papers in the state (They range from $25-$165). Every little bit helps. While $100-$125 may not seem like a lot, which maybe by old standards it isn't. It still beats the $50 a game some local papers pay, and then if I get a sale down the line as well then its just gravy.

I'm young, I admit that, but I'm not naive and of the belief the industry isn't changing. I'm on my 3rd year of freelancing right now and I'm making more than I made at the paper I worked at right out of college, working a hell of a lot less.

It's easy to say that people should hold out on work that doesn't pay the ideal amount, but from what I've seen no one pays the numbers that people are throwing out as ideal. So given the choice between making money at USPW's "unideal" rate and making it work, or sitting on my ass holding out. Yeah, I'm going to take the money.

I am not being exploited by USPW and have turned down other clients where I know I would be. USPW is not exploiting anyone. They are upfront with how they run their business and give you a choice. People can make their choice based on that information. For what its worth, whenever I've had to travel for USPW they've paid my gas and for the hotel if I felt I needed one (including a trip this weekend). It did not come out of my assignment fee.

If $125 an event and 50% of future sales isn't worth your time, fine. Don't knock people who accept the deal though. That's more opportunity for people like me who realize that the good old days are gone and it takes a new sort of business know how to make it work.

As people have mentioned, photography isn't as difficult to get into as it used to be. Peak action may take experience to get, but stock photos of players standing on a base or on the sideline? What talent does that actually take? Realistically we can hand someone in the crowd a decent camera with a long lens and they can get those shots. We aren't having to process film anymore, we pop a card into a computer and its virtually ready to go.

Instead of complaining about a changing business, you all should be trying to think of ways to maximize opportunity and sitting at home isn't how you do that. For some people it may mean shooting sports isn't your full-time gig anymore. It's not mine, as much as I'd like it to be. It is a shame people can't get rich doing sports photography, but that's true of so many professions. Why are we special?

As long as there is that hobbyist fan with the big camera/lens who just wants to be on the field and clients don't care about quality, things aren't going to change. That isn't USPW's fault. We should be happy there are still people who want to pay for quality work. They may not pay as much, but at least you still have them as clients.

I'd never advocate working for free, but those of you who have written off USPW because its not the ideal business model, I'd like to see you do better these days. If you can get a client to pay $500 per game, all the power to you. I can't, so I take what I can get and do the best with what I have available.

Please don't try to write all of the USPW shooters off as being naive about what we do. We aren't.
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 11:55 AM on 09.12.11
->> What was I saying about a paradigm shift and either people will adapt and survive or become extinct. What Josh just said is the reality in 90% of the markets around the country. Your sustainable wage is not his.

Where these photos are placed. Who these images are made for. Where they are shot. All of these factors influence what is fair.

This current marketplace is brutal for editorial sports photography. I respect the folks who can get $500 a pop for a college football game, but to think there are multiple outlets that can pay that is kind of naive.

And don't think it is just USPW asking people to shoot on spec. I am not saying who it was on here, but I was slightly stunned at what I was just asked to shoot on spec, and by whom. I declined.

Different world my friends, different world. But there is definitely photojournalistic Darwinism in play...
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Michael Proebsting, Photographer
Barrington | IL | USA | Posted: 12:07 PM on 09.12.11
->> Josh,

Seriously?

"Additionally, as someone mentioned, USPW shooters maintain their own copyright. When I've been able, I'd double/triple book the assignment (everyone including the credentialing team knew and were okay with it)"

Please provide details on this one because I don't know of any circumstance where you would call the league and say, "Hey, I am here on a Presswire credential but am also providing images on the side to 2-3 other clients, this isn't a problem is it?".


"A lot of people seem to talk about the sustainability of the pay as well. Having freelanced for many papers in Georgia, I can tell you that the new deal USPW has pays more than the freelance rate for most of the papers in the state (They range from $25-$165). Every little bit helps. While $100-$125 may not seem like a lot, which maybe by old standards it isn't. It still beats the $50 a game some local papers pay, and then if I get a sale down the line as well then its just gravy."

I get it, because this deal isn't as shitty as others that have been offered, it is ok to accept this.

"I'm young, I admit that, but I'm not naive and of the belief the industry isn't changing. I'm on my 3rd year of freelancing right now and I'm making more than I made at the paper I worked at right out of college, working a hell of a lot less."

Please report back to this message board when you are trying to get a mortgage based on working like this.

"As people have mentioned, photography isn't as difficult to get into as it used to be. Peak action may take experience to get, but stock photos of players standing on a base or on the sideline? What talent does that actually take?"

Nothing like insulting people who are really, really talented and who actually care about producing quality images. Next time you are on the sidelines and see Carroll, Mangin or a host of other talented photographers on this site tell them "What talent does that actually take", and my guess is you might have to have a talented dentist to repair your teeth.


"I'd never advocate working for free, but those of you who have written off USPW because its not the ideal business model, I'd like to see you do better these days. If you can get a client to pay $500 per game, all the power to you. I can't, so I take what I can get and do the best with what I have available."

You would never advocate working for free, but with the Presswire deal you do many, many times.

As far as "I take what I can get" comment, well that speaks for itself. Excuse me, but I have to go to the store and get some Demerol and Oxycotton after reading that wisdom.
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Dan Routh, Photographer
Greensboro | NC | USA | Posted: 12:32 PM on 09.12.11
->> "Please don't try to write all of the USPW shooters off as being naive about what we do. We aren't."

Don't think anyone is calling you naive, rather, the term is "foolish".
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:21 PM on 09.12.11
->> Josh I wasn't going to post a comment to your statement...but you must "KNOW" someone at USPW. I know for a fact from several different presswire shooters they DON'T and NEVER received compensation for travel. that said I also know there are a few of the "chosen" ones who do get some expenses paid. you obviously are one of those. but your are obviously, as someone stated above part of the problem. your attitude is no different than joe hobbyist who will accept a pass and give away his photos so he can be on the sidelines or baselines. thanks.
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Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 1:31 PM on 09.12.11
->> Time to form a photographer's union ala SAG (Screen Actors Guild) or AFTRA (American Fed. of Television and Radio Announcers).
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Robert Seale, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 1:34 PM on 09.12.11
->> Foolish on several levels...

BTW - I've seen people get banned from stadiums, leagues, entire seasons for duplicitous credentialing like you describe.

Josh, I can send you the email addresses to submit your work for ZOOM in ESPN and Leading Off in SI - no need to have an agency take a 50% cut of those infrequent paying sales in this day and age. In fact, you might have a better shot sending one of your best photos every couple of weeks rather than depending on an SI or ESPN editor to log in to the USPW site and dig through thousands of mediocre stock photos of players standing on a base or on the sideline.

After all, what talent does that actually take?
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Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 2:08 PM on 09.12.11
->> I'm sure people are saying "I can get the email to SI and ESPN" but unless they shoot for USPW, Icon, Southcreek, etc. for free/cheap they wouldn't be able to get on the sideline of a pro sporting event.
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Jeff Lewis, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 2:18 PM on 09.12.11
->> Phil is correct about forming a union so whoever put the Huh for him needs to open their mind.

I have been saying that for 5 years now and after working as the still guy on a few TV crews at NFL games, you would not believe how good they have it compared to us. Teams look at them and treat them as professionals and look at us as glorified fans with cameras. We get box lunches, they get catered spreads. They get paid for everyday they work including travel days and we don't even get paid mostly according to this post.

We are like rogue vultures out there undercutting eachother and showing no unity. If everybody behaves like that, how are we supposed to put food on out tables for our family and live the lifestyle we expect to live? We can't in these current situations.

In most senses of the job, we are like actors and musicians. We get a gig, perform, and expect to get paid. We might not work everyday but when we do, it needs to pay for the days we are not working. Actors, musicians, TV guys, etc. all have unions and we don't. Maybe its because our industry leaders and trade organizations can't get together or maybe its because so many of us cut each other off and snake each other out of jobs.

US Presswire would never happen in any other industry but it has happened here and I would not be surprised if it happened again in this industry and thats because we have no union saying companies need to pay photographers a certain amount and making sure that if you have a photographer on the field, he is part of the union.

Jeff

http://www.JeffLewisPhotography.com
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Jamey Price, Photographer, Assistant
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 2:58 PM on 09.12.11
->> There's a union for every single other kind of industry on Earth. We have the right base of respected professionals already members on SS....

There is no uniformity (beyond this website) to sports photography as a profession and industry. And we could certainly use something of a leadership group. As it stands were all just a million entrepreneurs trying to reinvent the wheel.

I wouldn't be opposed to a union.
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Sean D. Elliot, Photographer, Photo Editor
Norwich | CT | USA | Posted: 3:04 PM on 09.12.11
->> it is illegal for independent business people to form unions. There are unions the represent full-time employed photographers. Unless there is a chance in U.S. law any such moves to coordinate efforts of freelance photographers violates the Sherman Anti Trust Act

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Antitrust_Act
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Kent Nishimura, Student/Intern, Photographer
Honolulu | HI | USA | Posted: 3:10 PM on 09.12.11
->> perhaps union isnt the right word then...
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Drew Hierwarter, Photographer
Kingsport | TN | USA | Posted: 3:34 PM on 09.12.11
->> I usually remain on the sidelines whenever this sort of topic comes up here on SportShooter because most of you will just flame me for also being part of the problem.

I just looked and there are approximately 2700 names on the member list. I’d like to see a show of hands, how many of that 2700 are getting $500 per game? Or $250? Or even $100?

How many of that 2700 have a non-photography day job and shoot on spec? Come on now, be honest and fess up. I suspect many of you.

The reality is there are only so many SI’s and AP’s out there who are willing to pay those kind of rates and those few of you who are fortunate enough to be at the top of the pyramid can pontificate all you want about how you wouldn’t shoot for less than $xxxx, but the reality is most of the rest of us down here at the base don’t have that luxury.

I have been shooting motorsports since 1983, some “big time”, but mostly “small time”. (And so you don’t think I’m just some hobbyist hack, I’ve been consistently published in the leading race magazines in the country and have won awards in motorsports press association competitions.) But I have two options; I shoot on spec, or I don’t shoot at all. It’s really that simple.

So, you can all sit at your keyboards and criticize USPW all you want, and rant about how they’re killing the industry. (They’re not, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant!) And you may refuse to work for an outfit like that, and that’s just fine. But for the rest of us that just isn’t realistic.

I have my firesuit on so go ahead and flame away. :)
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Delane B. Rouse, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | US | Posted: 3:36 PM on 09.12.11
->> So how can actors be members of a union (SAG)?
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Dave Einsel, Photographer, Photo Editor
Houston | TX | United States | Posted: 4:08 PM on 09.12.11
->> http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/romenesko/145772/confirmed-gannett-has-a.../

"Gannett Blog’s Jim Hopkins notes that US Presswire contracts with scores of freelance sports photographers, many of whom work on spec, with no promise of getting paid, and “that allows it to sell images at bargain-basement prices. Gannett has been turning to more low-cost content syndicates over the past year.”
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Nick Adams, Photo Editor, Photographer
Galesburg | IL | | Posted: 4:12 PM on 09.12.11
->> I question a US Presswire photographer yesterday on Facebook about $100 assignments and resells, etc.

They replied with "I dont know how much certain companies buy images for..and quite frankly i am not too concerned either. its about experience and exposure. and improving yourself daily.""

This is after having them read all of the US Presswire threads here on sportsshooter.com
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 4:27 PM on 09.12.11
->> Josh-
You're ignoring the fact that if you (along with the other talented shooters around) said no to USPW, they'd have to pay someone or have no coverage.

In Boise, everybody said no and they dumped a lot of cash flying someone in last year for BSU games. They were willing to pay, just not if they could get somebody else to foot the bill.

I get the idea - everyone thinks they're individually ahead when they take advantage of such an opportunity. But the issue is that when that happens on a large scale (as in, a bunch of individuals like you, Josh), it decreases the wages of everyone.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 4:40 PM on 09.12.11
->> Most of the responses to these comments in favor of "working" for free ring hollow. thumping your chest and saying you were published and have won awards is nothing short of nonsense. I've never won a press award that paid me enough to buy me a happy meal at mcdonald's (and I've won a couple of hundred awards, maybe more. they might keep me warm in the winter if I choose to burn the wooden plaques but they don't mean shit monetarily. plain and simple these excuses are junk.
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Dustin Bradford, Photographer, Photo Editor
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 4:47 PM on 09.12.11
->> FWIW I think the SS message boards have grown entirely unruly and am very hesitant to post anything here. But this point has not been brought up yet and I think it should be on peoples' minds.

That said, here goes:

The question in my head is, what portion of the purchase price is being assigned to the existing images in the database, which are presumably owned by the photographers. I think this should be in the mind of every USPW shooter.

The purchase price represents (among other tangible and intangible items):

1) the network of photographers available for future events

2) hardware and proprietary software owned by USPW principals, other assets, offset by loans, etc, taken out to finance their purchase or developement

3) the network of customers and existing contracts,

and,

4) the right to sell/market/use the images that have been created by USPW contributors in the years the business has been around.

In other words, some portion of the purchase price is consideration for this database, this collection, and I'd love (by love I probably mean I'd hate) to hear the logic behind (not) compensating each contributer for their relative share of the database of images.

Would GCI pay the same price for USPW if the photographers and contracts were available for future use by GCI, but NONE of the historical images were allowed to be used in GCI's operations? (hypothetical question to determine whether some portion of the purchase price should be allocated to the existing images).

The USPW team has created value by putting together a collection of images. They deserve compensation for this (which they will realize when they sell the company for cash or GCI stock). The photographers also created value by contributing to the collection. They deserve to be compensated today for some portion of the purchase price, whatever is assigned to the database of images.

IF (intentionally all caps "IF") GCI will transact "intercompany" sales anytime a historical USPW shot is used in a GCI publication, at a market price, similar to an arms-length transation (however low the price may be, not getting into that here), then there may be an argument that the purchase price should not be allocated to the existing images. If I had images with USPW I would be wondering about that myself.

Thanks
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 4:59 PM on 09.12.11
->> I am not advocating working for free or for low rates. But for those who have jobs and continue to talk down to those who are shooting this way--can you please outline a career path other than doing that to get the experience for today's entry level photography to build their portfolio?

How do you get a job when today you are competing on almost every opening people with 20 years of experience who just got laid off?

We really need to realize the path to a career in this field is not what most who have jobs could do again.

With the path to a career as a photojournalist almost nonexistent how do you advise folks these days?

I think many are taking what they can get in hopes of something later--which isn't going to happen for the majority shooting.
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Armando Solares, Photographer
Englewood | FL | USA | Posted: 5:38 PM on 09.12.11
->> "Can you please outline a career path other than doing that to get the experience for today's entry level photography to build their portfolio?"

If you keep working for free, you won't have a career.

"The Oxford English Dictionary defines career, as a person's "course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)". It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work.

Remunerative, for which money is paid; "a paying job"; "remunerative work"; "salaried employment"

It is that simple.

Value yourself, value your work and if you want a career in photography, get paid to do it.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 5:47 PM on 09.12.11
->> Armando

Please tell us how you advise folks about a career path. I am not advocating free or low rates. What I am pointing out is I don't think you have many options left.

What is the path you suggest? Easy to criticize isn't it, but now give some advice that will lead to a career for the beginner.
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