“Protect this House” by Cincinnati, Ohio Sports Photographer Vincent Rush of Cincinnati Sports Photography
By Vincent Rush, Ohio Sports Photographer
Ok, not really!
I was just echoing the most overused quote on Facebook, regarding photographers.
It’s school season and more specifically “Senior Portrait” season and among my very close and personal 1400+ Facebook friends, I am constantly seeing photos posted, either great, good, average or just plain poor, with someone’s name and the word “Photography” attached to it.
Then of course the subject or parent goes on to describe what an “Amazing Photographer” said individual is.
As a photographer myself, I am always amazed at some of the pictures that aspiring “photogs” allow to be posted in an effort to establish their brand and style.
In today’s world of photography, with camera technology and lighting techniques along with a basic understanding of Photoshop or other editing software, anyone can take acceptable quality portraits and produce a picture that any Mother would love.
I have never claimed to be anything special, other than an exceptional sports action photographer. I know my niche and what I’m good at.
Every photographer should take inventory and know what their true talent is…as well as what it’s not!
And even at that, I know the real secret to being a “Great Photographer” is in knowing what to delete and what to share with the world.
When I began building my brand, which is more important than building a business because without the brand, the business can’t survive, I was very protective about what I shared with the public.
That discretion allowed me to build my value and identity as a sports photographer.
Every “Photographer” I see on Facebook, has a few great shots that I myself wished that I had shot. However, I often see those pictures sandwiched in between mediocre snap shots that anyone with a “Point and Shoot” could have captured.
I am also seeing, in my opinion, waaaaay too many snap shots posted with a watermark identifying the picture as property of, “XYZ Photography”.
Is everyone with a camera today a professional?
I can however, also appreciate anyone trying to build a little business and produce additional income in today’s economic climates.
I admit, I had no traction in 2006, when I was given a Nikon D2x, as a gift and began shooting for the first time since 1990.
There was also no Facebook or social media back then, so I cannot say that I would have not taken the same route.
But even back in the day, I was very careful about what kind of pictures I exposed on my website and handed out at ball games.
Two good examples of what not to do come to mind;
I have a photographer friend that shoots a lot of low budget weddings and senior portraits.
Now my friend has really improved on their skill and mastery of lighting over the past couple of years and is really starting to do some outstanding work.
However, my friend also keeps damaging their “Brand” by publicizing some really, how do I phrase this…gnarly pics. By gnarly I am implying…non attractive photos of things like, overweight brides in unflattering dresses with even more unflattering tattoos, unless you’re a big fan of “Honey Boo Boo Child”
They are wedding pictures and Senior photos that may be only attractive to the Mothers of the photographed…if you know what I mean.
It’s OK to shoot those, and if your client is happy, that is all that really matters. However, photographer should use a fair amount of discretion on what to “Share with the World”!
There is a reason Victoria’s Secret does not put the women who actually buy their outfits in their catalogs, much in the same way Canali or Armani would not put ME in theirs!
Another example is a local sports photography business, consisting of two guys in my community.
They will cover a sporting event for football or baseball and while they capture some great images, they then dump 400 pictures from the game on their Smug Mug site, forcing a parent to have to sift through to find a photo worth paying $15-20.00 for.
I have had good success carving out a niche to where I rarely do general game coverage anymore.
Most of my business is now “client shoots”, where a parent hires me to come and cover their kid or their team for an entire game.
The price for these events I do range anywhere from $300-$400.00.
I then present the client with a CD of edited…I REPEAT…..EDITED photos and keep the total to between 60-80 shots.
I have a website at http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com that has numerous examples of sports photography and illustrates what I am talking about.
I also get asked every year to do a handful of senior portraits for $500, of which I provide 4 poses, on location, and present a CD to the parents. I typically do about 5 a year.
I asked one of my friends recently, what they charge for the same thing and twice as much work, when it came to senior portraits.
While I never got a clear answer, I assume it was around $250-$300, forcing them to shoot 8.3 jobs compared to my 5.
This friend commented that is was hard to get that kind of money in a small town. While I noted that I lived in a smaller town, I pointed out that it’s not the size of the town, but rather it’s the perceived value of the service rendered. That value has been diminished, not because they are not talented, but because they are not particular about what they post as their calling cards.
So determine, what you are worth and what to you want your value to be perceived as? They are in fact two different things.
By the way, two GREAT sports photographers that I admire in Sports Photography is a guy by the name of Rick Lohre @ http://ricklohre.com and Barb Trimble @ http://trimphotoandvideo.com/
And two Cincinnati photographers that I really like in portrait photography are Moon Beam Studios @
http://www.moonbeamstudios.co/seniors.php and JMM Photography @ http://jmmphotography.us/
Happy Shooting! Vincent Rush, Cincinnati sports Photography