HOW TO START SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS

Discussion in 'Sports' started by dennis_dobrovolsky, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. I AM NEW TO THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS, BUT HAVE NICE EQUIPMENT. CANON 40D, 70-200 F/2.8, 300 F/2.8. PLEASE SUGEST WHAT AREA I HAVE TO FOCUS ON AND WHERE TO START FINDING CLIENTS.
    THANKS, DENNIS
     
  2. This is a VERY broad subject.... do you have a website .. or a exposuremanager or smugmug type site to sell from? Do you have any connections to your local high school or other youth leagues? We could answer your request with a ton of questions like that so you should provide the type of information you would give to someone you were talking to about shooting their event(s) or teams.
    Sports photography could also mean just team and individual shots as well, but you didn't specify other than mentioning the 300 F2.8 so you must want game shots.
    If you are looking to shoot a local school that doesn't have someone already doing game shots etc, then be willing to shoot a bunch of sports and not just one.
    I believe that just having the equipment doesn't make you a sports photographer, so be ready to show a school examples to them to show you're not just after free entry to their events as well.
    Just a few thoughts ..
     
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Nice equipment isn't what makes you successful. You're looking at this backwards. What sports are you involved with? What contacts do you have? Where's your portfolio? You have no presence online with your photos, how do you expect people to evaluate your capability?
     
  4. im trying to do the same road but i didnt buy the eqipment yet. Of course i have a good cam but not premium lenses, just all the usual things (d300, 10.5, 35, 85, 16-50 f2.8, 60 2.8, and 70-300)
    Now trying to find someone that does this and have some hints for starters. also trying to make a pfolio with my current equipment. Im not ready to shoot the trigger on a 70-200/300 f2.8 if i dont have a starting guide guildelines yet.
     
  5. you must take good photos first and foremost, and YOU do that, not the equipment. You'll have to prove to potential clients that you have what they want and market yourself. Make a website where clients can purchase prints. I've done a few b-ball games where I'll charge a flat rate and give the team or a parent (depending on who's paying) a cd with all the prints. I get my money and don't have to worry about making prints; its quick and easy. I will warn that photography sales aren't exactly at a peak as most people don't have tons of extra money with the economy the way it is.
     
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I will warn that photography sales aren't exactly at a peak as most people don't have tons of extra money with the economy the way it is.​
    In addition to this, in sports, video is becoming dominant because of broadband. When I started shooting fights, there would be a handful of photographers and TV. Now, in addition to photographers, there are at least ten guys doing video at big events and five at small events. The only advantage photography has over video for the web is that it can be out much faster, so I come home from an event around midnight and do all the editing and processing and get the photos out by morning. Most fans will watch the videos as soon as they are up, so it's a short life except for promotional stuff.
    Also, the print outlets are drying up rapidly.
    There is a business with youth teams doing portraits, but that's not sports photography and has much tougher requirements for business skills.
    Regarding equipment, I rented until I started making enough money to pay for it. Equipment is the most minor concern.
     
  7. Decide up front what sport or sports you want to focus on and learn that sport inside out, backwards, forwards, upside down....The reason for that is so that you can anticpate the action as opposed to reacting to it. If you're reactting then you've missed the shot.
    Then decide what level / area you want to focus on. For example youth leagues, tourney's, High School, College, pro... Then build a relationship with the people in charge of that league / group. As they say in business school - Who you know is more important than what you know. Many leagues / groups have exclusivity contracts (which have been debated elsewhere on this forum adnaseum) - so be sure to do your homework before you show up and start shooting. Leagues also want a piece of the action - if you're selling images of their event - they're going to want their cut.
    As Jeff pointed out - the market is changing - parents want images and they want them now. Next week is so last year... Video will be the next big thing...there's already a couple of sites out there that are promoting sales / viewing of HS sports.
    Dave
     
  8. I agree with Nathan on so many levels. After I ended my auto racing career, I taught competitive driving for a while. I always told my students that it was a waste to spend money on more horsepower, learn to drive and spend money on brakes first.
    Same logic here. Learn to shoot and spend money on your creating your business first, Then spend money on bigger lenses as you outgrow your initial equipment.
     
  9. Joseph, could you pls come in my training vehicle and tell that to my aussie boys?
    To most of these kids there's only 1 pedal; the accelerator.
     
  10. As I see it, you need three key skills.
    In no particular order;
    You must undersatand photography. Is't not just a matter of turning up and snapping, you have to be able to produce the highest quality, images that will sell. And you have to do that all the time.
    You have to know and understand your sport. If you want to get the images that count, you have to know where to be and when, and you have to be ready for it to happen. Also, you need to know the sport in terms of what looks good in a photograph.
    You must have good business sense with a good business plan.
    Also, having a good web site and being published helps too.
     
  11. I have to disagree with you a tad bit Peter... your points are all valid, but there IS a particular order. Learn some business sense. I've seen a number of untalented photographers with business sense who are successful. I've yet to meet a talented photographer with no business sense who is successful.
    In the business of photography, you are mostly selling yourself over your photos.
     
  12. Dennis - why are you now interested in sports photography? Do youhave kids getting into sports?
    That's how some of us likely started, including me. It's still only a part-time thing for me. But just pick a sport you really like/enjoy and start shooting it. See what you get. Put some on photo.net for critique.
    Just starting out, in photography, and adding sports to it, is a lot of learning. Even more so if shooting different kinds of sports during the school year. I've found that every sport is different to photograph relative to the speed, timing of shots, and esp. what shots count and which do not.
    You will need permission from a HS athletic Director to shoot on school property and sell images. Youth leagues - same thing - and you will need a Corey Check - to make sure you are not a pedophile or some such bad guy.
    You need to start shooting and practicing and learning. Read sports photo forums on-line. Look at sports mags with photos of the sports you are interested in shooting. That quality is what you should be aiming for. There are hundreds of little things you need to learn about what works and what does not in a good sports image. I will easily delete a third of the images I take of each game. And then a 3rd of whats left before I post online. I'll get a few that are magazine quality, but that's about it.
    Wish I had a 300 2.8! That's more $$ than the rest of your gear put together. Or did you find a used one? Nothing like a prime for sharp images though. I have the 300 f4 - so nice!
     
  13. Steve i think your right on you must work on it first be for you start to make a job out of it. What my best photography techer said is you must know the elements and the rules first before you take the big step in the photograpy world. as a starter for sports I would use the shutter speed dial first and the lens. I would use well depends on how far are you from your subject and is the sun out or is it cloudy and what sports are you looking to do football, golf, soccor, rugby, others now the lens a 70-200 f-2.8 is a good start for your first sports shot.
     

Share This Page

1111