Youth Sport Photography Question

Discussion in 'Sports' started by rocelyn_aala, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. Hey All,
    I have a quick question for the veteran photographers. I want expand my coverage to Youth Sports. I need advise to how to get started covering this field. (Like who to contact, how you make a profit etc.) I am currently mainly a wedding photographer but would love to expand also to sports (since its my 2nd love). I do have a degree in Photography and been active photographer for some time now and have the equipment for it. Any advise for me?
    Thank you in advance.
  2. Rocelyn -
    I would suggest that you start by researching the market in your city - Assuming that you are in the US (Based on your post for a 2nd shooter in San Antonio) - check with local league officials - see what their thoughts / status is for the next season.
    Most leagues arrange these things well in advance - if you see the event / league schedule in your newspaper or on the net, chances are it's already covered by someone. I got a baseball contract for the 2009 Season in November 2008 when it was 20 degrees below zero (F) here.
    Decide what you want to shoot - Do you want to do Team and Individual or action or a mix? Team and Individual is where the money is, but you need to be fairly well staffed to handle that. (Think 4 - 5 photographers and 2 - 3 wranglers, depending on the league size) The other thing to keep in mind is the market place for sports photgrapher is changing... Parents get to a saturation point then decide they can do what the pro does with their P/S. I've had at least two leagues in my area say they are skipping the "pro" photos in 2009 both due to economy and feedback from parents that they could do a better job than the "Pro" (not me) did last year. Both of those leagues will have a photo night where the teams will line up and parents can shoot away.
    If you're going to do events / games / tourney's etc... How will you get the photos online? Do you have a gallery / ordering system already? How about event sales?
    All things you need to consider.
  3. Thank Dave.
    Yes im in the state (texas). I wanted to start with one team maybe do the posed/team photos then maybe after that decide if i can handle more than 1 team.
    You mention about online stuff. When i was in the little league i remember having a proof photo then we order it to the photog but now that technology is much better i was planning to host it on my site the proofs like how i do it with my wedding gigs where they order everything from one site. Is that a better way on doing it or stay with the traditional ordering system with proof to go home to the family then they place thier order or maybe doing both?.
    Thanks again.
  4. Ok - working with 1 team in a league can be problematic - Typically these types of contracts are done at a league level, since they (leagues) want / desire consistency. However there are instances where the league lets teams decide for them selves who does the photography, in fact I benefited from a couple of those last year.
    My suggestion is to get the money for T/I photos at the site of the shoot... whether it's with the paper / envelope or a terminal setup where the parents can quickly look at and order from the proofs. The online thing for parents tends to be a mixed blessing - they don't have to pay for the photos sight unseen, but you lose potential sales because - well - they're parents and they're busy, so they forget to go online or forget you site, or something.. and they never order.
    Shoot me an e-mail and we can discuss off-line.

  5. Don't overlook high schools, you could check with the local school athletic associations and see if they would mind you photographing from the sidelines or whatever, donate pics to their school for yearbooks in return for access. You can set up a website for sales and hand out coupons or flyers to parents during the games. I'm doing just that in Texas, though we donate much of the proceeds back to the school.
  6. 1. If you happen to meet a parent that has a kid on a team, ask them to mention you to the “Team Mom/Coordinator” and offer the parent and coordinator free pictures if you get the gig. One gig will lead to another, and so on…
    2. Learn to make custom templates using team colors and mascot in PhotoShop for the packages you offer. Parents can go to MPIX or Costco nowadays and design their own T/I prints. Your templates have to stand out and look better than theirs.
    3. Offer photo buttons. Parents love them.
    Good luck
  7. I too was primarily a wedding photographer. I started looking around and realized that this was kind of a price war. Whoever had the lowest price and rebated the league the most seemed to get the job. Everyone was offering photo packages and maybe buttons. I started looking around for Photo Novelties and that was my "hook" to get some of these leagues. I started putting together packages that were different. Sports bottles, bag tags, sports frames, stainless mugs for the parents and I just wowed them. Several of them pretty much instantly ruled out my competition because this was new to them. Give it a try....-Annie

Share This Page