Running events photographers - are you practicing sponsored race photography?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by eitan_hefetz, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Hello,
    This question is mainly targeted to running (or cycling) race photographers.
    I believe most race photographers are making their income out of selling the photos to athletes post the race. Has any of you practiced the sponsored race photography model ?
    What I mean is that instead of the athletes paying for their photos - the athletes can have their photos shared to social media (Facebook) for free while the race sponsor is paying the photographer for having the photos branded with sponsor's logo. This model might require automatic photo tagging (bib recognition) and instant posting to athletes' Facebook to provide a high quality service - however the photographer's income is "secured" in advance and might exceed photos-sales model.
    Would love to hear if any of you experienced this model, and do you find it beneficial.
    Eitan.
     
  2. I have never seen software that can do that. Do you know of anything that can do it at a reasonable price?
    I spoke with a company that wanted me to shoot races for them. they had software that after you uploaded to the company they expected you to go back and tag every photo. $ 200 for a shoot that i would be home by noon didn't sound bad. Until they added sitting there adding race numbers to the metadata for thousands of photos, one at a time, with no pay. I very quickly said no.
     
  3. Be careful responding.
    Over a decade ago, I remember being on the Rob Galbraith sports forum. A new member popped in and asked the very experienced sports and event shooters on the board what they did, how they did it, and what words to use to describe what they did.
    His questions weren't quite as cut to the chase as I have summarized them to be. They were more innocent sounding... as if he was really interested in listening to and learning from the journeyfolk in the trade, and the journeyfolk, happy to find someone to listen to their tales of hard earned experience, poured their "hards" out, explaining in detail what it takes to get the job done.
    A few years later, these same sports event photographers who so willingly helped that new poster with all of his questions online, were hit with lawsuits for violating this poster's newly minted PATENT on event photography, the process of selling race photos online organized by bib number, and a number of other obvious processes that were so obvious, no one in the business thought to even try to patent them.
    That guy's name is Peter Wolf. He basically asked the sports photo community to describe what they did, and used their keywords to perfect his patent application to encompass as many elements as possible to later shake the sports event photography community down for. He hit all the major players in the US with threatening patent violation letters, demanding license fees for every photo sold online and organized by bib number.
    Be careful answering any type of question online, unless you know the person. The likelihood that there is an unseen angle... whether it is to drive traffic to a product or service or software that is being sold (as may be the case here) or whether it is a trap to take the words and ideas from your peer to peer sharing sentiments, only to ensnare you later for unlawfully using your own ideas.
     
  4. Hey there,

    I had a large race buy-out the photography side from me, and this definitely isn't out of the question of sales. You have to figure in all your costs and expenses first then mark it up, to what it's worth. Sometimes you will make out ahead quite well, but in the worst case scenario you will make a little profit above break-even. I had a code that I emailed all the runners which enabled them to download a small resolution jpg for free, then they had the option to purchase other images, prints and products. It was actually very financially beneficial for me because there was no gamble, no risk since I had the RD company pay out for the photos. However, if the event is very large (rock n roll marathon, Boston marathon) they expect photography companies to compete for the rights to shoot their events. Money is power, well in this case, runners = power. I think one company paid Boston Marathon $30K to shoot the most prestigious running event in the world. But, the made 8 times that back in sales. If I was smart, I would be an RD, that's where the money is. Those guys are making it hand over foot, especially since they get tons of sponsorship from local business in exchange for tax right offs and advertising. The only form of payment I give to RD's is a percentage of profits after expenses are taken out. 10%-20% should make them happy if they greedy. But Eitan, I think that one gentleman sent you a link to an Israeli company that is doing exactly what you suggested. However, I'm not sure that they have the ability to print, and offer different printed product packages. I use Candid Color Systems, they are pretty solid and take out between 18%-20% of sales and handle customer service, printing, shipping. You still have to ID all the photos, which can be quite time consuming, but you can train your sister, cousin or friend to help you outsource it.
     

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