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Youth sports - is this a reasonable pricing scheme?

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by Dennis Carter, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. Dennis Carter

    Dennis Carter

    Jun 29, 2007
    First, this is a hobby; period.

    As such, I will only sell through my website. I realize that onsite printing generates more sales; however, that is too much work. Not worth it to me. Again, just a hobby.

    Therefore, I'm thinking about the following:

    1. For parents: if they want exclusive coverage of their child, a $75 upfront fee is required. The fee will include a coupon for one free 4x6. Any additional prints must be purchased.

    2. For booster clubs and leagues: I'm happy to shoot on spec, if my schedule allows. If they want to guarantee that I'll be there for 3 games, then a $125 upfront fee is required. The fee includes a coupon for one free 4x6 for each athlete. Any additional prints must be purchased.

    The purpose of the coupon is to drive parents to my site after the event. Once they are online and have completed the billing and shipping information to receive their freebie, it shouldn't be too difficult to add just one more print of little Johnny, oh, and this one, too, and, yeah, that's a great shot, also, and.... :smile:

    Does this approach make sense?
  2. jerryshenk


    Jan 8, 2009
    I'm pretty much in the same 'club' as you..."it's a hobby" but, paying for that SmugMug site, a wireless flash trigger or maybe a SB800 would be REALLY cool;) 

    I'm, a parent (3 kids, 2 in college, one in HS)...kids have been in sports for 15+ years. I take pictures at games I'm at and I try to get shots of all the kids; then I put them on facebook and the kids all tag each other and I get to know a little more about my kids friends - you could say that's my pay;) . I'd never pay $75 for somebody to shoot pictures of my kid but, I'm cheap;) . You're certainly not gonna get rich at that rate either. I think once you start charging, things quickly sneak out of the "it's a hobby" stage into "it's a part-time business", 'cuz now you "have to" show up.

    Based on your stated facts, I don't think the real question is whether it's a reasonable amount to charge or not but, is it a reasonable fee for your time. I'd presume you have other things competing for your time...for me, it's work, wife, 3 kids, church youth group, time with friends, maintaining job certification, etc. How long is "an exclusive" gonna take you? You've got travel time, waiting time, the game and then post-processing. I think you'd be hard-pressed to do that in under 4 hours. Then you'll have the 'soft time' of being at games you're not paid for so that get to people know you. Then of course, you have to donate a portion of that $75 to the unemployed, health care, bailing out banks, buying up car companies, military deployments, photo shoots over NYC and whatever else taxes go for these days. This ends up with you making 10 bucks and hour if you're lucky. Maybe you just like being there and hanging out with the people at the game, maybe you have people IN the game....that totally changes the math;) 

    If you're wanting to move into a business...well, then maybe it's a good start but that's a different discussion.

    BTW, how much do you end up selling on smugmug? I don't have a smugmug site but unlimited storage, decent organization, high quality shots and easy printing all seem like good reasons to get a site.
  3. We shoot a lot of youth sports, and there are a number of factors you need to take into account.

    First is that unless you can absolutely guarantee that you will never take a picture of any other kid while you are doing an "exclusive", don't even try. You will run into all kinds of hassles with the league/officials/parents. Your best bet, in my opinion having been doing this for years now, is to approach the league itself. Once you have the league's OK, then each team in the league has given "permission" for you to be there shooting the games, and since you are looking to be paid, you need permission for anyone you photograph. What we do is to shoot games "on spec", but for an upfront fee we will concentrate on a given team or player, the upfront fee is to guarantee us a certain number of prints.

    Don't be surprised if, on occasion, you get a demand to take a child's images off your website. Sometimes this can be just an obnoxious parent, but it could also be an issue of a child custody dispute or even something as dangerous as witness protection. Don't be offended, just honor the request.

    Expect, as well, to give a percentage "donation" back to the league. I wouldn't directly call this a "bribe" .... but .... :wink:

    And be sure that you have an on-field credential from the league, so that you can roam the field for best shots.

    You won't get rich, at least we haven't, but it is lot's of fun, very satisfying, and gets my lazy butt out for some much needed exercise.
  4. i doubt that will work well but it could just be my market.
    This is my 4th year shooting sports and as soon as I mention a shooting fee they don't call back. My best bet continues to be shoot for spec on the weekends and when I get an invite, like the NC waterski championships I ask for exclusive shooter rights and help with advertizing. They announced my name and website and posted the info on their website.
    The best money maker for me continues to be private soccer on Sat & Sun, just show up, shoot and hand out cards at 1/2 time.
  5. That's how I handle it as well. There is no way that the people in my area will go for a shooting fee. I usually will offer to shoot provided that I get rights to position myself properly near the field and assistance with getting my photos to the parents.

    I generally sell a decent number of photos after an event. However, I spend far too much time on the photos--which makes my hourly rate very low. Fortunately, it is mostly a hobby for me, so I only shoot what I want. Some of the other photographers in the area just download the photos directly out of the camera. I just can't get myself to do that and end up spending quite a bit of time with post processing work.


  6. i'm using LR2 now and I can do 500 soccer pics in an hour, upload 60% size and be done until I get some orders.
    It's good for $6-10k per year (depending on how much you wanna shoot) which pays for all of my gear
  7. I process each photo individually using Capture NX2. I then touch some of them up using Photoshop CS4. It would take me all week to process 500 pics! :eek: 

    I would need to reassess my post processing workflow if I want to continue shooting sporting events.

  8. umm very nice advice in here

    lucky for me all i have to do is talk with coach/AD :biggrin:

    in IL, the IHSA covers the "photo realse" part for me :biggrin:. i also contacted the ISHA to make sure and they gave me the okay, song long as the AD or coach is on board

    i just can't shoot tournaments, to sell, useless I'm employed under a media, but then the pics would belong to them so whats the point :mad: 
  9. ouch fix the first one and save those moves for the rest. then batch them

    if you sell it then spend some time on it
  10. actionshooter


    Aug 26, 2008
    Unfortunately this is my post game process as well. I PP (crop, levels, USM whatever else I feel needs to be done) every picture. I've seen a few competitor websites that just upload the pictures OOC and say they you'll get a "professional edited picture" upon order. The pictures are small, horizons are off, they have poor color, etc. I don't know how anyone that does that sells anything.
  11. oh i crop them after they touched yup and a JPG using windows picture manager much faster for me then up load those

    if they order i spend more time on it
  12. to all

    what age group sells the best?
  13. under 17
    make sure they can't drive to the game so their parents are there
  14. so most likely the JV games :biggrin:
  15. i was refering to private soccer but

    jv is better for light
  16. private soccer ? private schools? or leagues
  17. JohnK


    Aug 6, 2006
    Pacific NW
    That's brilliant! What a sneaky, creative way to keep an eye on them without them getting secretive or defensive. I'll have to remember that one for when my kids get older.
  18. Dennis Carter

    Dennis Carter

    Jun 29, 2007

    Thanks for the input.

    Ok, well, that info in my original post was going to be my "Services" offered tab on my website. Perhaps I'll just leave it off and strictly shoot spec. If I get so busy (I can hope, right? :biggrin:)  that my calendar fills up, then I'll revisit the upfront fee thing.
  19. no schools, just private soccer leagues
    some call it club soccer
  20. oh i found one local just emailed them, thanks for the tip
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