“Hows your photography business going?”, I am often asked. I like to say, “I’m not really in the photography business. I’m in the “memories” business!”
Obviously that always brings the perplexed look and the invitation to elaborate.
I was recently discussing with a group of business colleagues the subject of pricing and amount of work that, in their opinion WAS NOT out there and in my opinion WAS available.
I went on to explain it this way; When a Mom or a Dad wants something special of their athlete playing their sport of choice, they have a few options.
1) Use their own camera with their “Kit Lens” or their “Point and Shoot”.
2) Hope that the minimum wage people at Life Touch Studios, that only shoot one angle, all the time and try to get as many “snap shots” as they can for the school year book, get one of their kid.
3) Hope the local newspaper has a decent photographer that day that covers the game
or the final alternative; Hire a professional sports photographer that understands the sport, angles, composition and works for the right shot.
I had one of my non photography business associates ask how I could charge so much to go shoot one kid playing a single game.
I asked him if he had any shots of of his kid playing baseball on his I Phone. He did and gladly showed them to me. I then pulled out my phone, went to my website http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com and showed him THIS gem.
I said..”THAT’s why a parent pays me to come shoot his kid in an event. I then showed him shot after shot of the same type of action shots that I had captured for clients.
I said to my friend, “The parent is not paying me to take pictures of his kid. He is paying me to create memories and give him something for his wall that no one else has of their kid”.
The next time someone calls you and inquires about your pricing, ask them a question before you throw out a price. Ask this simple question, that causes them to think.
“Pricing? well that depends. Are you wanting pictures or are you wanting memories? If you just want snap shots, I’m probably not your person. If you want something special that will still awe you 20 years from now, I might be your person”
THAT… is the difference!
By Ohio Sports Photographer, Vincent Rush
Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at email@example.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!
Regardless of what business you’re in, first impressions are everything. A great first impression and a professional look can help a youth sports photography business book more business, and increase its sales on every job.
Presentation when booking the shoot
You will need to adapt your dress and presentation for different situations.
If you’re approaching a coach before a practice, you’ll want to dress more casually (khaki pants or shorts and polo shirts) than you would if you were meeting with league or school officials.
It’s also a necessity that you have professional looking business cards on hand to leave with the person/people that you’re meeting.
Business cards should look professional, not printed at home on card stock, and have a simple layout with all your relevant information clearly visible (address, phone number, email address).
Also, try putting your picture, preferably a nice business portrait, on your business cards. It’s much harder for someone to throw away a business card with a picture on it and it also reminds that person of you.
One mistake that youth sports photographers make when trying to book new business is that they put down their competition. Never be negative about a competitor. This makes you look unprofessional and can cost you the shoot in the end.
Don’t assume that the coach/organization is unhappy with their current photographer. You want to expand upon what your competition is doing and present yourself as a better solution to their needs.
Some other important things to consider:
* Continuity is important. Everything should be branded with your company name and logo.
* No tobacco use in or around school property or the meeting area. Also, no visible tattoos or unacceptable piercings should be showing.
* Smile! Be a cheerleader for your business.
* Have a professional way to show samples.
* Presenting your samples electronically, on an iPad or Laptop, perhaps even with projector, will help you save money on physical samples.
* However, you will want to have physical samples of any specialty products that you offer.
* When making your presentation to a group of people be sure to have copies of your presentation to pass out. For a one on one meeting, having a single page flyer that outlines your services will suffice.
* Know your products and offers thoroughly. Have pricing available that will fit people and areas from all walks of life.
* Have a calendar and scheduling agreements with you, in case they want to book with you on the spot.
* Everything is about expectations.
* Make sure that your expectations regarding a shoot line up with theirs
* Do what you say you’re going to do when you’re going to do it.
Your professional image says a lot about you and your business and it can mean the difference between booking a shoot or watching your competition collect the sales.
This is the time of year, I like to post my meaningless diatribe about the “State of Major League Baseball” and my plan to…”FIX the game”. Oh sure, winning the powerball lottery has a much better chnce for me than this ever being taken seriously
Now, I posted this last year and got comments such as, “baseball doesn’t need fixing”, “The season is the perfect length” and “Fan attendance is fine”, These were, I assume…”PURISTS”.
Meanwhile, attendance and revenues were in fact down, weather at the beginning of April still sucks, fuel and transportation costs continue to rise and we had a very good chance of having a late October World Series in…Minnesota!
Oh and yes…the All star Home Run hitting contest is still boring.
Oh, and now there is talk of adding more teams to the playoffs and a slight re-alignment by MLB.
Apparently MLB does not think is fine to remain “status quo”.
So here is my annual “shout into the black hole” for 2012.
I was watching the opening game of the 2009 World Series last night and watching the mist and the cold of the night at Yankee Stadium, while simultaneously the NBA opening night game was on another channel and some college football game on another.
I have always wondered why baseball has to extend into November to finish the season. I love baseball and at least this year there seems to be a marquee match up, but it’s not always like that. Here is a plan that I’ve had in my own mind for fixing Major League Baseball, or should I say, enhancing MLB to cater to the fans and benefit the game it’s self. Bud Selig, if you read my blog, feel free to call me and discuss. I have more ideas than just this, but lets start with re aligning the divisions and creating a Regional plan that works.
I will also state that I am fully aware that the rating for THIS (2009) post season have been very good. But lets not forget that there is the benefit of a marquee match up and any time the Yankees are in the post season there is going to be a huge ratings boost. I will guarantee that if the series was being played right now, between the Rockies and the Twins, you would have a hard time giving advertising away and there more empty seats than a Vanilla Ice reunion tour.
I know baseball went through re-alignment a few years ago, but that means it can be done again, for the better of the game, by being better for the fans.
I also know that this is not the first time the idea has been approached by columnists, bloggers and various sources. But while google searching the realignment arguments, I have yet to find a posting during the first three pages that either 1) Makes Sense or 2) Presents a valid reason behind their plan.
And while there are those who scream that my ideas mess with tradition, I state back that the definition of stupidity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, simply because you’ve always done it like that, even if it doesn’t work.
Here’s a thought; Lets not change anything and re-address the issue in ten years when there are less fans and less revenue and we start caring about the health and the future game and less about upsetting the ghosts of the past. There isn’t really a corn field in Iowa where Shoeless Joe will walk out of the tall stalks to pass with you if you make him happy. It was a movie.
Baseball needs to make a radical shift in the way it does business and markets its self if it wants to continue to grow and develop a generation of fans from the ranks of the youth. Today’s kids have more alternatives than ever baseball has more competition than ever before.
Look no matter how much the old “traditionalists” with hair growing from their ears want to believe that the spirits of Jolting Joe DiMaggio, Ty Cobb, The Babe and Ted Williams are going to re-appear and curse the game if Major League Baseball breaks from tradition, the fact is that interest in the game, fueled by a weakening economy and and alternatives to going to the park such as High Def TV and 300 cable channels with several games on per night.
The Vincent Rush / Cincinnati Sports Photography Plan for Fixing Major League Baseball
Lets create 3 Divisions of 10 teams each in a way that makes sense regionally;
Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals
San Francisco Giants
Arizona D Backs
At the end of the season, top 8 teams in baseball advance to a seeded bracketed playoff system based on record. The winners of each division are in. If the winner of a division has the 9th best record, then a 1 game playoff or shall we say a “Play In” game would exist between number 8 and number 9, but only if that was the unlikely case.
First round best 3/5 next two rounds best of seven. This, although it does not guarantee, it does create a better probability of the two best teams meeting at the end.
Start the regular season on the 15th of April and end on the 15th of September.
Either reduce the regular season schedule by the 25 games lost or make up a portion of them in more double headers throughout the season as a way of enticing fans to come to the park knowing that they can get a full day of baseball for the money. Double headers were and are still great for families on a Saturday or Sunday. It does not matter if the players like them or not. The fans are the ones who buy the tickets. Hey, if I just paid Albert 27 mill a year…he’ll play 2 when I want him to play 2.
Baseball will make it up on the increased revenue from concessions, better weather and the laws of supply and demand. If there is any doubt as to this theory, ask yourself how many teams sold out the season in the current schedule?
Regional divisions will help foster closer rivalries, and encourage more fans to attend more away games because of the closeness. There will be less time difference conflicts that lose TV viewers.
Baseball as a whole and teams in general will save money on travel throughout the course of the season and can promote it as a environmentally conscious step to help reduce carbon emissions through decreased fuel consumption. Do you realize for example that the Yankees made 10 road trips to Chicago or further. The average team made about 10 long distance road trips. What if all the coastal teams could eliminate the cross country treks?. If MLB wanted to maintain some form of inter league play, they could work coordinate cross country match ups. The savings on travel would be into the millions for baseball and the teams.
As a result of the new start and finish dates of the season, there will be less chance of snow games, rain outs, temperatures in the 30’s and re-schedules. Baseball will also not be starting the World Series and competing with the beginning of the NBA season. The Series will end in October with only the NFL to compete with.
One conflict will be how to determine who plays in an All Star Game, or if it will be necessary to continue.
Or what if a team moves, folds or MLB wants to expand? What if Florida moves to Indianapolis? Then simply tweak the division by moving a team or two. The key is to be progressive and decisive and not wait 10 years to make up your mind.
Another obstacle, as I’ve said before, is the always strong opposition of so the called “Baseball Purists”. What is purity in the game any more? If these “Pure-ists” were committed to their mantra, all players would be wearing baggy flannels and using the old mitts of yester-year, there would be no designated hitter and there would only be two teams that played it out at the end of the season. And lets do away with all domes and field turf, and the middle relief pitchers.
I think it would also, at this stage of the game become a big part of the Bud Selig legacy. The game is in better shape than when he found it, That doesn’t mean that he can’t set it up to be even better 20 years after he leaves.
Chances of this becoming anything more than a pipe dream????? About the same as my dream of seeing the All Star Home Run Hitting Contest done with Aluminum and Composite bats.
As an adult, I would actually sit through a HR contest if I thought there was a chance of seeing a 600 foot shot or a light busted out of the tower. As a kid, I would run out to Dicks and buy whatever bat A-Rod or Josh Hamilton just hit one out of Yankee Stadium with.
Think of the advertising dollars baseball would draw or endorsement money players would pull down from the likes of Easton, TPX, DeMarini, Rawlings or Miken! And don’t cry about tradition again. Since when does a batter stand at the plate and hit off of a batting practice pitcher during a traditional game? The Home Run hitting contest should be the same type of freak show the NBA Slam Dunk contest is.
A 7-15 year kid knows nothing about tradition! Baseball has to quit marketing to the “wing tips” and start marketing to the flip fops, to continue to grow it’s fan base.
Vincent Rush is an award winning Professional Sports Photographer and owner of Cincinnati Sports Photography. Based in Ohio, Vince Rush has covered Bob Hope, Oliver North, Chris Gardner, The Cincinnati Reds, University of Cincinnati Bearcats, NFL Pro Camps, NCAA Track Championships and various professional sporting events throughout Ohio.
(Please note this post is written from the perspective of a professional photographer. If you want to do photography for charity or use it to provide social outreach or pure art, this post may not be something you’ll care to read. Thank you.)
Every time – every single time – someone says – “Your price is too high,” it means that you have the wrong prospect. You don’t have the wrong product or price. You have the wrong prospect.
A man with $2000 in his pocket out to buy a car walks into a Jaguar dealership, sees a lovely XJL sedan and says, “I like that. How much is it?” The salesman replies, “$120,000 sir.” The man says, “That’s too much.” Is it? Obviously the problem here is not that the Jaguar isn’t a nice car or that it costs too much. The problem is that the man simply can’t afford a car in this price range. He’s not the right prospect. There will never be a meeting of the minds here.
So this illustrates part one of this problem. Wrong prospect always leads to no sale.
What is the solution? Is the solution to sell a different product or reduce the price? Absolutely not. The solution is to find the person who can afford that price and wants that product.
Photographers often charge too little because they have an “opinion” based on their own experience about what the market will stand for. But that’s the core problem. The photographer isn’t the buyer. The photographer doesn’t necessarily represent the market. You should be aiming higher than your own income bracket if you want to grow your business so find clients who CAN afford your higher prices and sell to them.
Most often it’s your opinion that is the problem. It’s not the price. It’s not the product. It’s your opinion about what the market will stand for.
Let me give you another example. If you live in a world where the average income is $50,000 a year, you probably haven’t considered adding a Rolls-Royce Phantom to your garage. This may lead you to believe that since you can’t afford it, nobody can. But that’s wrong-headed thinking. Want proof? Rolls-Royce sells a model called the Phantom. It’s $380,000. Now they also sell a special edition of the Phantom called the “Year of the Dragon” edition. That version of the car costs $1.2 million. Guess what. They completely sold out of those cars – worldwide – in 60 days. So while you may not be able to afford that car, it doesn’t mean someone else can’t.
There are people in this world – in fact in your neighborhood – who can write $100,000 checks without even asking their spouse for permission. There’s plenty of money around, even in a bad economy. You just have to find it.
So study demographics. Which zip code in your area is the most affluent? Where are the country clubs? These are the places where your prospects for high-end photography exist.
Not everyone cares about making a great deal of money in their photography business. Some prefer the social nature of the job or the artistic nature of the job. For them, this isn’t going to resonate. But for those of you who would like to make more money, start thinking about finding the RIGHT prospects – the ones who can value and afford what you do.
An article by Scott Bourne posted on Twitter on Feb 6th, 2012
Re-Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!