Cameron Indoor Arena during a pre-season practice in 2015 by Sports Photographer Vincent Rush
“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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
By Ohio Sports Photographer, Vincent Rush
“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
(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 email@example.com 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.
Trailing Valley View 12-8 with 17 seconds left in the game, Brookville 5th grader, Mason Stout, gets behind a Spartan defender to pull down a half back option pass and sprint 68 yards for the touchdown and the last second win on Saturday, October 1st in Germantown, Ohio.
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.
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!