Advice and help on becoming a world class photographer by Sports Photographer Vince Rush

Posts tagged “Sports

You Only Get One Shot! That’s Why You Hire a Professional Photographer.

Donnie Nicodemus drives to the basket as Mom stand and cheers in the background, during SWBL Championship game.

Donnie Nicodemus drives to the basket as Mom stand and cheers in the background, during SWBL Championship game.

 

I get phone calls all the time from a Mom or a Dad, asking me to give a price to come out and photograph their son or daughter playing a particular sport or a coach will call me to come and shoot a team in an event.

My prices are not the cheapest. I generally charge between $250-$400 per event, depending on the circumstances.

While I don’t get a lot of resistance to my pricing, due to the reputation I have as a sports photographer, I still occasionally do get the; “Wow, That’s pretty high!” 

My response is always one of two questions, depending on what mood I am in.

Response one: “Are you referring to price or cost?” or two; “What criteria do you normally use, when choosing a professional sports photographer?”

Are you paying for photos or are you paying for memories?

If you are simply buying pictures then find someone with a camera from Best Buy and give them $25 and let them post 400 shots on their website.

However, if you have a special occasion and you want it captured for a keepsake, you need a professional.

When you hire a professional sports photographer to shoot action photos of a sporting event, you are not only paying for their time and effort, you are paying for their experience, knowledge of the game flow, understanding the angles and game momentum and anticipation.

You’re paying a professional sports photographer for their professional grade cameras with extreme low light capabilities. You’re renting their high speed professional grade lenses that can run $8000 to $10,000.00.

I’ve shot tens of thousands of action photos in little league baseball, select ball, football, basketball and other sports.

Every now and then I capture a moment like this.

Eaton, Ohio 8th grade basketball player Donnie Nicodemus was driving to the hoop in the Southwestern Buckeye League Championship game in Camden, Ohio at Preble Shawnee High School recently.

The lighting in the gym was not the worst I’ve shot in, but it wasn’t good either.

I was shooting a Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 80-200mm 2.8 lens and 5000 ISO and 1/800th of a second.

When I grabbed this frame and looked at the image, I realized that I had gotten Donnie’s Mom in the background.

This wasn’t just a picture, but rather a lifetime keepsake for Mom and son.

There is no greater satisfaction as a professional sports photographer than presenting a parent with a shot like this. I’ve shot a lot of pictures of Donnie as a result of little league photography. One I shot of him this past year was this pitching photo, with the Eaton Express, which became one of my favorites.

VCR_0106

 

Why do you pay a professional photographer vs “Mom or Guy with Best Buy camera”, you don’t pay a professional for pictures and images. You hire a professional for memories that will hold a special place in your heart and soul for years to come.

 

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 vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com

Vincent Rush is a an Ohio based professional sports photographer that primarily serves as a Dayton Sports Photographer and  Cincinnati sports photographer.

 

 

 

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Faces In The Crowd

By Ohio Sports Photographer, Vincent Rush

Are you shooting sports photography to earn a secondary income, or are you shooting sports photography because it’s a hobby that you have no intention of ever expanding into a business?
If you are doing it to earn an income, and are like most aspiring sports photographers, you shoot a Friday night or Saturday football game and capture hundreds of action shots and run home to your computer and upload your favorites to a website such as Smug Mug www.smugmug.com and then sit back and hope the cash starts coming in.
You will also notice that there are several other photographers at your local events, with the same intentions.
I’ve always said, live by the philosophy of “Observe the masses and do the opposite”
One of your “hidden treasures” in any high school event is the kids in the crowd.
I consistently sell more 5×7’s and 4×6 prints form my journeys up into the stands that the actual game photos, simply because…NO ONE ELSE DOES!
There is a secret though, don’t just fire off snap shots that anyone with an I-Phone can capture. Be a little creative and always take a second to make sure you don’t embarrass anyone kid or post up some idiot that is flipping the finger in the background.
Oh. Yeah…I’ve saw worse than that in the background of some of my photos! Examine them carefully. There’s an idiot in every crowd.
I particularly take care to remove bad acne in a shot like that. I do not want a kid with a developing self image to be made fun of by his peers so I am very meticulous in taking care of that detail before I post a picture.
If you don’t want to sell the pics, but still want the efforts to produce fruit, post them on a local kids or schools Facebook page.
Kids will tag themselves and share the photos, garnering you some free “Brand Exposure”.
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 vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com

I’m An Incredible, Amazing Photographer!

“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


No Joy In Mudville….Joey Votto Out 3-4 Weeks!

Joey Votto and Cincinnati Reds Photograph by Cincinnati Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

 

CINCINNATI (AP) Reds first baseman Joey Votto will have surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, sidelining him for three to four weeks.
The 2010 National League MVP hurt the knee in late June but kept playing. He had a medical exam Monday evening that detected the injury.
Votto was out of the starting lineup against Arizona on Monday night, getting a day of rest and a chance to have the knee checked. He went hitless in his first two games back from another All-Star appearance, then had a single and a double during a 4-2 win over St. Louis on Sunday night that pushed the Reds into sole possession of first place in the NL Central.
Votto leads the NL in doubles, walks and extra-base hits, batting .342.

Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds by Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/baseball/mlb/07/16/votto-reds-surgery.ap/index.html#ixzz20pmNtwC8

 

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 vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://cincinnatiSPORTSphotography.com Check out my about.me profile!

 


Sports Photography Trends: Summer – The Best Time For Booking High School Sports!

 

RIGHT NOW is the BEST TIME to book high school sports…do you have your marketing kits ready?  The grads have thrown their hats in the air, and the coaches are taking a sigh of relief, FOR THE MOMENT.
Many schools require staff and personnel to work for a week, or several days, past the last day of the classes for students, so NOW is the time to act!  These couple of weeks following classes are PRIME TIME for speaking with any high school coach.  During these weeks most coaches are more accessible and more willing to meet – and listen – to what you have to offer.
Take advantage of this calm time, as a lot of coaches are hard to locate during the school year.  When they are busy it is tricky to find a “best time” to speak with them, and finding the “best time” that they are willing to listen can be even trickier!  Very often they are busy, and will only give you a few minutes of their time, if that.  You want to approach them at a time when they have more time to listen to you.
Plan ahead.  Do you have your marketing kits together and ready to go?  Be sure to have samples of unique products that will make you stand out among your competitors.  Have a calendar with you for scheduling.  Have testimonial letters from other schools and coaches.  Be prepared to leave detailed information with the coach/decision maker so they can refer back to what you discussed.
One HUGE advantage to approaching school coaches now is that more than likely there areMANY coaches there at the same time.  Once you’re in the school, track down other coaches of other sports.  Now is also the best time to show up unannounced and visit with as many coaches as possible.  Make the most of YOUR time and the coaches availability.  Don’t miss these lucrative couple of weeks…the BEST TIME FOR BOOKING SCHOOL SPORTS!

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 vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!


One Sports Photographers Pipe Dream to Fix Major League Baseball

 

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.

Opening Day at Yankee Stadium

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;

Eastern Division:
Boston Redsox
NY Yankees
NY Mets
Toronto Blue Jays
Philadelphia Phillies
Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays
Florida Marlins

Central Division:
Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians
Cincinnati Reds
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals

Western Division:
Seattle Mariners
San Francisco Giants
Oakland A’s
LA Angles
LA Dodgers
SD Padres
Arizona D Backs
Colorado Rockies
Houston Astros
Texas Rangers

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.


You’re Charging Too Much For Your Photography!!!!

Little League Sports Photography by Sports Photographer  Vincent Rush of  Ohio

Batters Eye by Award Winning Sports Photographer Vincent Rush of Dayton Sports Photographers

Well not really – but I needed a catchy headline. Chances are you are charging too little. Let me explain.

(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 vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!


Dan Fleming of LaSalle become all time winningest Coach in Lancer history!

Sports Photography by Vince Rush of Cincinnati Sports Photography

By: Nick Chaney of The Enquierer

LaSalle coach Dan Fleming became the winningest basketball coach in school history as the Lancers (14-1, 7-0 GCLS) beat St. Xavier 39-22. Fleming won the 335th game of his career, passing Bill Cady (334) on the all-time list.

LaSalle forced 14 turnovers in the win while only committing five of its own. The win reflected the type of play the Lancers have been known for under Fleming.

“We’ve got a bunch of tough guys who are all about winning and competing,” said Fleming. “It’s not always pretty, but the majority of the time we’ve been able to come out on top.”

“(Cady) really got it started here at LaSalle. It’s an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as him,” said Fleming. “He’s a fine coach and an even better person.”

LaSalle senior guards Josh Lemons and Tyler Vogelpohl led the way for the Lancers. Lemons scored a game-high 15 points while Vogelpohl was the only other player in double digits with 11.

LaSalle took control of the GCL South race after last week’s win over Moeller. The Lancers take a break from league play tonight with a game against Northmont. Even after his record-setting win, that was Coach Fleming’s priority.

“(The record has) never been an issue,” Fleming said. “It’s always been about getting better for the next day, the next practice, the next game. Passing Bill Cady is nice, but we’re just trying to get better for tomorrow.”


The Right Place at The Right Time by Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

Eaton Eagles vs. Monroe Hornets by Ohio Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

Eaton Eagles QB, Trevor Pittman passes against the Monroe Hornets by Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

I am constantly preaching angles and anticipation are a huge factor in becoming a great sports photographer versus a picture taker on the side lines.

I had a client ask me to get some shots of their son playing football in Monroe, Ohio recently.

Trevor Pittman, seen in this shot, started the game for the Eaton Eagle at Quarterback.

While working the sidelines and watching where the holes had a tendency to open up on the line, I positioned myself in his potential passing lane on a 3rd and long situation, and was rewarded with this capture.

His Mom told me, upon seeing the picture, that it was his first and only passing attempt, to date, of his early career.

I feel that God blesses me with an ability to somehow, always be in the right place at the right time.

I was looking at some of my, so-called, local competitions web offerings recently on their site, and noticed a particular sport, that had something like 30 galleries and more that 5000 photos.

While some of the photographs were outstanding, they were like Easter eggs, hidden in a corn field, among countless unedited photos of the athlete in awkward body positions, either facing the camera or not, sometimes “floating” in air, with not subject matter, etc….

The sad part is, this individual could actually be a pretty good photographer if they understood this simple concept.When your moto drive is snapping off 8 frames a second, you’re going to get some show stoppers in the 8-900 shots you shoot at a game. The secret is, not to bury them in the site with the 700 bad ones.

A $5000 camera and a $6000 lens, will get smoked every time by a parent with a Nikon D90 and a kit lens, that does understand that concept.

I saw a photographer for the Hamilton Journal News in Hamilton, Ohio, shooting Little League tournament photography with a very high end Canon and a 400m 2.8 lens recently and most every shot they presented for game coverage was sub par and no better than some of the parents pictures from the sidelines with cameras from Best Buy.

One of the other Proverbs that I often recite is “Thou shalt protect thy brand and thy brand image”

As a sports photographer, if you want to continually get calls for high paying gigs and be able to charge premium prices, you have to understand marketing and how an audience thinks.

We are a microwave society today. A few years ago, a successful site on internet, subscribed to something called a “3 Click Rule”, that essentially stated, “If  a visitor to your web site can’t find what they are looking for in 3 clicks, they bounce off the site.

If you’re shooting a game of any sport and you “dump” 144 photos on the site in a gallery, with a good portion of the photos, unflattering to the subject or awkward looking, you’re going to cheapen your brand and never really be able to command top dollar for your work. You’re also going to lose a lot of potential customers that grow weary in searching for the Sports Illustrated shot of their son or Daughter.


Step by Step: Getting Your Name Out There

Cincinnati Reds Photos by Sports Photographer Vincent Rush

 

Over the years I’ve met and talked with thousands of professional photographers. One of the questions that comes up on a regular basis, especially with new photographers, relates to getting your name out there. A few of these I’ve written about before, but let’s see if we can come up with a list of projects to help you get started.

• Decorate the doctor’s office: I’ve been talking about this one for years. How much money do you or did your parents spend on doctor bills, especially with the pediatrician? Well it’s time for payback! The last class doctors takes before getting out of medical school is about decorating their office. They’re taught to not spend more than $50!

Think about your last doctor visit. There wasn’t much on the walls of the waiting room, unless your doc was a high-end neurosurgeon and then maybe they had a few Ansel Adams posters! So, here’s a great idea and it’s perfect for the pediatrician.

Offer to put some images on the walls of the reception area! Kids, family portraits, anything with a sense of children. Then in the corner, on the table next to that 1984 copy of Popular Mechanics put a stack of your business cards or brochures.

Here’s the deal – women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer. Who takes the kids to the doctor’s office? It’s Mom and she’s sitting there bored, with nothing to read. This is about the subliminal message you can plant with a few well done family and children’s portraits!

• Restaurants and coffee shops: They all need help, especially if you’re a regular customer. Helen Yancy told a group of photographers at Summer School about getting started at a local Coney Island restaurant in her area just by decorating the walls of the restaurant with her images.

• Meet and Greet: Take a couple of days and just wander around your local business area. Get to know the neighborhood and introduce yourself. Local businesses, sooner or later, have imaging needs and you want to let them know you’re there.

• Start your own network luncheon. Contact everyone in the area who has something in common with your target audience. Find an inexpensive diner type restaurant and get together once a month for lunch just to talk about what’s going on in the community.

• Get involved in your community! With or without a camera in your hand, get involved with the people you’re looking to support your business. Join Kiwanis, Rotary, Exchange Club etc.

• Do your own fundraiser! Vicki Taufer did one of the very first pet days in her area three years ago and today she’s one of the best known pet photographers in her community. She tied in with the local animal shelter, but you can set up a fundraiser with any organization.

• Is there a local children’s store? It’s another great one from Vicki Taufer, who when she was first starting, did all the children’s portraits of the clerks and owner of the local children’s clothing shop. They all became her ambassadors.

• Develop promotions and advertise! I know it’s obvious, but this is the first one in the list that will actually cost you some money, but you have to have a plan. If you think you can get away with running just one ad and then waiting to see the results, think again. You need to have consistency in your timing and in the placement/location of the ad.

• Cross-promote with other vendors. It’s easiest to explain within the wedding category, but essentially you’re going to give a discount certificate to any bride for the local florist and the florist is going to give the bride a certificate for something from you, but try and stay away from discounting. Give an hour of extra coverage or an addition 8×10 – go for added value rather than price reductions.

• Contact the PTA at the local schools. Isn’t it time we upgraded the bake sale concept? How about offering family sittings for a holiday card shot. It’s only September and you’ve got time to work with any local association or group and have an image in people’s hands in time for their holiday cards.

• Career Day and Adult Education: All of you are qualified to do a career day at the local school and help motivate an interest in photography with kids. Many of you are also qualified to teach an adult education class on photography. This is about getting involved in the community and don’t forget to do a press release to the local paper with a picture of you interacting with the participants at each event.

• Enter photo contests and competitions. Most of the national associations have some level of print competition. Local chapters have regular print competition as well as portfolio reviews. This is a great way to get feedback outside your immediate circle of family and friends.

It’s not costly to get your name out there, but it is labor intensive. This is where outsourcing comes into play. By not doing everything yourself you can find the time to market your personality and skill set. Your time is best spent getting to know your client base rather than sitting behind a computer editing images!