“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!
“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.
And two Cincinnati photographers that I really like in portrait photography are Moon Beam Studios @
Happy Shooting! Vincent Rush, Cincinnati sports Photography
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!
An article by Scott Bourne
It’s a done deal. The war on photography is in full swing. Mindless, mind-numbing attacks on all sorts of photographers and their photography occur world wide. Even here in the USA where we are supposedly a “free” people, we’re not THAT free if we have a camera in our hand.
Whether it’s just badge-heavy cops who want to throw their weight around, or poorly-trained security forces who think that a camera means there is a terrorist nearby, it really doesn’t matter. The consequences are the same. It’s harder than ever to get the picture.
I’ve tried to fight it. I’ve written to politicians, filed civil rights lawsuits, you name it, but the bottom line is that the war is in full swing and it’s going to take extraordinary methods to win.
So I have decided to take the easy road. I don’t like it, and it might not be something everyone can or will want to do, but after a few years of this I know it works. The answer? Good old fashioned grease. I’m not talking bribes mind you, but the reality is, money is the best way to get the access you need and the best way to do it hassle free. The fact that it works also proves that almost none of this madness has anything to do with security and everything to do with power.
Want to get the best shot you can of the Seattle fireworks from the Space Needle, find a Capital Hill resident who will let you use their property for a fee. Need to go shoot pictures of airplanes at the airport? Offer to pay the airport management for access and security so your camera pointed at airplanes doesn’t end up in having you visited by the FBI.
Whether it’s special access in national parks or regular opportunity to shoot in public places, if you have a police escort, nobody will bother you. If you call your local police agency and ask who to speak to about hiring private security, you’ll be put in touch with local police unions who arrange off-duty police security for your event. So while these officers are off-duty, they still have all the power and connections of any cop and having them by your side will eliminate any pesky, nosy, busybody who has nothing better to do than to harass anyone with a “professional-looking camera.”
This works at all levels. Need early access to a park or refuge? A $50 bill given to the guy/gal who works the gate usually allows for early access. Sometimes the answer is just to rent access for a “private event” and make that event your photography.
For example, I wanted to make some stock shots of the Las Vegas strip years ago. I knew which hotel would provide me with the best shot, but the hotel policy regarding photography, combined with overzealous security guards made getting that shot impossible. My solution? I rented the suite with virtually the same view and got the shot. I also paid one of the bouncers at the hotel (er, excuse me “security people”) to come up and run interference for me. What is “impossible” under most circumstances becomes “no problem” with a few bucks placed into the right pocket.
Even if you don’t have the cash, you can save yourself some trouble by sometimes just taking an extra minute to notify authorities of your intentions. When I go to any national park, despite the fact that I have an absolute, complete right to photograph as long as I don’t go off road or cause the park to provide security and staffing for my access, I still stop in the ranger station and let them know who I am and what I am doing. It sometimes even yields free advice on where to find the best wildlife or best scenics.
I hate the fact that my country has become a place where everyone is suspicious of everyone else, but that’s the way it is. So you can either run from it or deal with it. These ideas are how I deal with it. They may not be your cup of tea but they have certainly kept me out of trouble. Hopefully they will help some of you too.
Sports can be hard. Photography can be hard. To be good at sports requires patience, practice and perseverance. So does photography. Sports offer constant opportunity for self-improvement and analysis. So does photography.
I used to play competitive sports when I was a kid. I played in high school football and golf tournaments and for some reason, I was good at both right from the start. I couldn’t break 100 on a golf course today for money, nor could I run a wind sprint – but I have enough experience with sports to be able to use it as a metaphor for photography.
While there’s plenty of negativity in the world today, athletes and photographers both tend to be optimistic. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t put the time in to do what they do.
When I was a golfer, I used to think my best golf was always around the corner. As a photographer, I still feel that way. I still feel like I can continue to make better and better photographs.
Another way that both sports and photography are similar is in their ability to both humble and even humiliate the people who participate in each.
When I was young I had a commanding lead in a high school golf tournament on my home course. I knew the course better than anyone. My putting was fantastic. At the turn, I had a four-shot lead and was going strong. I was confident. I had just won the tournament the week before in nearby Kettering, Ohio and thought this tournament was a lock. Then came the 10th hole where I dropped a shot on an easy putt I could make in my sleep. I found the bunker on 11 and dropped another shot. On 12 I managed to hook my drive and ended up behind a tree. One more bogey added to the score card. By the time I got to the 13th hole, I found out I was tied for the lead. I managed a par four on the 13th and 14th but dropped another on the 15th due another missed putt. I took my lead and threw it away and ended up second. It felt like finishing dead last.
Fast forward to my time as a photographer. Some of you remember my story of Cranes in the Fire Mist. To be blunt, this is a photograph that kicked my ass for more than a decade. Just as I would get close, some essential element of the shot would pass me by, and like hooking my drive behind a tree or missing an easy putt, I learned that misfortune can befall athletes OR photographers at any time.
The point of this post is simple. We engage in activities every day that are challenging because we like challenges. We do things that are hard because we like to test ourselves. We work at impossible goals because we are driven and optimistic.
Things like sports and photography can help us realize our strengths and our weaknesses very quickly. Both can lead to raw disappointment or abundant joy.
When photographers start to realize that there are many things in life that require similar dedication, it might give them the hope that they can outlast the next hard photograph. The few super successful pictures bring them back for more, despite the many failures along the way.
Moral of the story? Don’t give up.
Copyright Scott Bourne 2007 – All Rights Reserved
Follow Scott Bourne on Twitter at @scottbourne
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!
Now that the sun has set on the 2011 Eaton Little League season, and the kids are either on to football, soccer or Fall baseball, I am going through my files and picking out some of my favorite action photos from the season.
There is no pattern or theme to what I post, other than to keep fresh content on my web pages, for the purpose of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.
From the web site of Cincinnati Ohio Professional Sports Photographer Vincent Rush of Ohio Sports Photography, Cincinnati Action Photo and Team Pictures as well as Dayton Ohio Sports Photography and Cincinnati Portraits, Event Photo Coverage. Covering Baseball, Little League, Pee Wee Football, High school sports, Cincinnati Reds, MLB, NFL and University of Cincinnati. Vince Rush Photography and Monroe Hornets Action Sports Photography is Located in Monroe Ohio.