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The Lucie Foundation, sponsors of the ipa awards  has started a new crowd sourcing website specifically for photography projects.  The charge is around 8% for successful campaigns and free (?) for campaigns that don't reach their goals. It seems you still receive the funds already raised but you're responsible for refunds if yo have to give the money back.  So, it seems that anyone doing this should be prepared to carry through with the project even if they don't get the amount of money they were asking for.  That way you can still give the supporters the premiums that you promised.  It seems to me that if someone is gungho convinced that a project would work and they have the money to back it, but don't want to use their own money, then this might be a way to get a project funded by people who would like to receive the promised item be it a print, a calendar or a book. 

 

One thing they say right up front is that most crowd funding will come from friends and (project) fans via social media contacts such as twitter, Facebook, Google Plus perhaps even the Alamy forum ... 

 

Lucie foundation crowd sourcing is here: http://en.fotofund.org/faq-2

 

(Supposed) Top 10 funding sites are listed here: http://www.crowdfunding.com/

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Just filed this story on crowd funding...

 

Aberystwyth Wales UK, Saturday 4 October 2014
MIKE PETKOVIC, hospital radio broadcaster  and video cameraman, now confined to a wheelchair following an accident while horserideing which crushed several of his vertebra, is hoping to raise £1500 from 'crowd funding' to help pay for an electric wheelchair.

photo ©Keith Morris / Alamy Live News

E8CEMC.jpg

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...

 

It might be fun now - but sit in the pouring rain, or the freezing cold, with your £6-10k investment earning you very little per match and the glamour will soon wear off. Especially if you could have done some weather pics for Alamy in the morning, filed them, and are watching the match on Sky Sports 1, with a beer in your hand.

 

FWIW I'm shooting for an agency shooting Premiership and Championship matches, and I'm into my second season of that. My 400mm was a trade up from a 300mm + funds from my business. The 300mm was a lens funded from weddings, portraits and commercial work (weddings excepted still and always likely to be the main income in my business). If I was only shooting football for the agency I'd struggle to justify it - fortunately I shoot some other sports which pay on usage, and some commissioned corporate sports work which satisfied my personal business plan. Keith is 100% right. Sports photography is possibly the genre with the most significant investment required and you need to have thought it through completely as to how you make it pay - otherwise you are like every other sports loving hobbyist who fancies a crack at photographing something they like to watch.

 

Sorry if that sounds harsh but it is reality.

I have shot sport, mostly very part-time, for over 40 years but earned my living from it at one time; and have had top-level motorsport pictures published in the last year. I was grateful when my son swapped from football and rugby to elite basketball - no cold, wet touchlines! The problem about shooting a sport you love is you don't get to watch the game as you would as a paying fan. Your view is much more narrow. When my son was playing and I got involved in what was happening in the game I stopped shooting without realising. And to get pics submitted quickly you may have to miss chunks of the game anyway.

 

It is not a way of getting paid for watching the sport you love - better to be a writer to achieve that!

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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I used the 400 2.8 as an example, however, only because it seems a mile away from what I'm doing now. I understand that on here I'm surrounded by a wealth of experience in different areas, professionals if you will, in your field, however, I've never worked with anyone, never been taught and never lifted a book on photography so finding your feet through your own mistakes is totally fine when you're dealing with lower end kit, but becomes a little daunting when you start to think about upgrading or feeling the need to based on the type of work you're doing. 

 

I started the crowdfunding campaign and immediately felt dread. How dare I go cap in hand looking for donations to help fund new kit. That's what I said to myself later that day. It's not very professional and after creating this thread I realised that I have long way to go still. 

 

With regards to shooting sports, and with my second game under my belt at the weekend (Partick Thistle v Motherwell), I looked around me at the other togs there with the big lenses and realised that while they have better opportunities than me when the action goes up the field, I have just as good a chance of getting shots when it's in this half. Aside from that, I really just enjoy doing it. 

 

It rained for the first half quite heavily, and it didn't phase me. When the elements or people tell me I can't do something, I make a point of doing it, so while others were popping on their water proofs, Thistle scored, and I came away with this shot 

 

15436061951_f4c172bfac_c.jpg

Partick Thistle vs Motherwell 4th OCT 2014 by campsiephoto, on Flickr

 

I got loads of other shots, and I'm still learning, so at least really all I need to do is upgrade my 70-200 f/4 IS to a 2.8 for the darker days and to help my AF system cope tracking in lower light. Not too concerned with selling pics just now because of the restrictions against but it's nice to just sit and take pics for a change with no pressure. There's a chance to get signed up with an agency, however, I'll address that if it ever happens, however, at the moment, I'm happy with just the practice. 

 

I think the crowdfunding thing can be useful, but you need to be able to give something back in return. 

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A nice picture - did it get used anywhere? That is the biggest challenge especially from outside the (non-Scottish) Premier League.

 

I frequently use my Canon 70-200 f2.8 with 1.4x or 2x converters and have had the results published in major newspapers. You just need to be very critical when assessing the results so as not to undermine your growing reputation. You could always buy a second-hand 100-400m f4-5.6 - not fast but I used one for motorcycle racing succesfully in awful weather - I was at ISO1000-1250 (my 1Ds3 is pretty much totally unusable beyond that) and f5.6-8 at 1/180-1/400 (I had to junk rather more than usual!). The Guardian and The Independent amongst others used pictures. I bought mine s/h but it had to go back because of a problem. If I needed that range I would buy another but I am hoping that its long overdue replacement will be available, and affordable, by the time I need one.

 

Despite sales  the motorcycle racing pictures did not pay for the 400mile round trip and 3 nights on the Brands Hatch camp site. None have sold subsequently as stock and of courses the liveries change every year so probably won't sell in the future either. I did it because I got the chance and wanted to get the practice. I did not have a lot of time to prepare or approach possible clients directly.

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From what I can gather the faster the upload to the agency you work for, the increased chance of your image being used. The guy I worked with on the first job was uploading shots around 2-3 mins after they were taken to SportPix. I am seeing a lot of football shots on Alamy News recently and I guess it's different for most leagues, but by far the English Premiership is the hardest to get into. SportPix togs can get access and sell via that agency and there's others like SNS Group however, our wee group is just a few guys who work for SportPix and showing us new guys the ropes. It's a good thing to start off with, and if we sell any images it's likely to be to fans or players. Too much licensing restrictions to try for anything other than that. 

 

My plans for Crowd-funding were really just a panic to try and achieve a few goals quicker than expected, but it's like anything, it'll come with time. 

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At Brands Hatch I was uploading ooc JPEGs as soon as I could get back to the media centre - I had prepared my caption material in advance using PhotoMechanic code replacement (half a dozen characters and I had rider, bike, sponsor, class etc captioned). I was not aware of photographers uploading trackside - mind you it was very wet.

 

Actually you are probably better investing in a light laptop and a 4G phone than a long fast lens - it will get more use. I use that setup with my Fuji outfit for news, it is a manageable weight (about 10lb/5kg in total) - I often have captioned images uploaded while the protest or whatever is still happening.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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At Brands Hatch I was uploading ooc JPEGs as soon as I could get back to the media centre - I had prepared my caption material in advance using PhotoMechanic code replacement (half a dozen characters and I had rider, bike, sponsor, class etc captioned). I was not aware of photographers uploading trackside - mind you it was very wet.

 

Actually you are probably better investing in a light laptop and a 4G phone than a long fast lens - it will get more use. I use that setup with my Fuji outfit for news, it is a manageable weight (about 10lb/5kg in total) - I often have captioned images uploaded while the protest or whatever is still happening.

 

I have a Dell 14" laptop that I tweaked to get more speed out of and fired an SSD drive in it for max speed. Boots up in about 10 seconds. I have my XMP metadata templates all organised for before any game or event too. I just use Adobe Bridge for meta data, its easy enough and comes with the CC package with PS and LR. All i need to do is input the description and upload via FTP. I use my 4G connection tethering to my iPhone to get access. I'm on a 4Gb cap and hardly ever use it up. 

 

 

 

 

It's a good thing to start off with, and if we sell any images it's likely to be to fans or players.

If you mean selling prints you may want to check but that may be restricted too. It is for the Dutch Eredivisie and all the FIFA matches I have covered and I am pretty sure that it is so for the EPL.

One of the challenges with football images from places with such restrictions is that agents supplied realise that editorial only means editorial only. This is why my images here are loaded with restrictions which make them look unsaleable.

 

 

I often wonder if even putting them on Flickr is allowed with all the restrictions in place. That's why I'm keen to progress so I can upload to an agency that is supported by the league via the right licensing. It's my understanding that it's Football Dataco that govern this. 

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To your original post about crowd funding if you have the balls to put it out there then why not - you can't really lose if all you are doing is asking people to pay for your kit with nothing in return. 

 

You'd certainly struggle in any football under DataCo restrictions to be able to use those images at all yourself - so a book or prints isn't an option from it. If you can raise the £3500-4500 for a reasonable condition 400mm f2.8L IS then why not. I think you might be waiting a long time.

 

On the subject of sports photography in general and football in particular then I'd caution your optimism. The market is going one way. Large agencies like Getty, PA and ActionImages (Reuters) who have subscription deals with the paper - yes speed of delivery matters but so does the commercial outlay of using a non-subscription image in preference to one already "paid for". Additionally, and certainly for larger profile leagues, and matches, those guys will either have a runner taking cards and processing images, or direct wifi/ethernet connection back to a picture editor. It is nigh on impossible to beat them to the screen of the papers and technology will drive them even further in-front of the freelancer or smaller agency photographer. 

 

Far better to be working lower league with less competition, and yet still a need to publish images from the matches.

 

It might be fun now - but sit in the pouring rain, or the freezing cold, with your £6-10k investment earning you very little per match and the glamour will soon wear off. Especially if you could have done some weather pics for Alamy in the morning, filed them, and are watching the match on Sky Sports 1, with a beer in your hand.

 

FWIW I'm shooting for an agency shooting Premiership and Championship matches, and I'm into my second season of that. My 400mm was a trade up from a 300mm + funds from my business. The 300mm was a lens funded from weddings, portraits and commercial work (weddings excepted still and always likely to be the main income in my business). If I was only shooting football for the agency I'd struggle to justify it - fortunately I shoot some other sports which pay on usage, and some commissioned corporate sports work which satisfied my personal business plan. Keith is 100% right. Sports photography is possibly the genre with the most significant investment required and you need to have thought it through completely as to how you make it pay - otherwise you are like every other sports loving hobbyist who fancies a crack at photographing something they like to watch.

 

Sorry if that sounds harsh but it is reality.

 

Agree with this and also funkyworm

 

"With the market as it is I would be very reticent at making a large investment to cover football."

 

I've shot football for years both in Scotland and the English Premiership. It's very hard to get anything used now as the top agencies have the subscription deals. Quite often I've had a much better series of goal celebrations as I've been the only one in the corner the scorer runs to and yet the shots used in the Scottish papers were from the SNS tog sitting up the other end of the pitch with the scorer's back to him.

 

If the papers want something from the lower leagues or junior football they will send their own tog along on a shift. You have to get something really newsworthy that everyone else missed to get used.

 

I did a game on Saturday but no real expectations of getting anything used. It was mainly to keep my hand in and it was on my doorstep.

 

I use a second-hand 300 f2.8 I bought a few years ago with a TC if required. Most of the money shots are goals and celes on a 70-200 though.

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Might thought is simple, if you bought a Nikon 70-200 2.8, a 200-400 vr , a 400mm 2.8 and a Nikon D4s you would still get change from £15,000

 

This compares well with starting any other business. When you usually need to risk 100k on stock, rent, rates etc

 

So for the price of a small new car you are in business. ... and if you don't make any money after 5 years you can sale them on for more than 50% of what you paid for them !

 

Oh yes, don't forget the insurance for them !!

Adrian

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Red snapper is actually right on this one. Make a business plan, go to your bank and present it and with a heck of a lot of luck you might just get a loan. Equipment is an asset. I know somebody who did, he got 5 grand.

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To your original post about crowd funding if you have the balls to put it out there then why not - you can't really lose if all you are doing is asking people to pay for your kit with nothing in return. 

 

You'd certainly struggle in any football under DataCo restrictions to be able to use those images at all yourself - so a book or prints isn't an option from it. If you can raise the £3500-4500 for a reasonable condition 400mm f2.8L IS then why not. I think you might be waiting a long time.

 

On the subject of sports photography in general and football in particular then I'd caution your optimism. The market is going one way. Large agencies like Getty, PA and ActionImages (Reuters) who have subscription deals with the paper - yes speed of delivery matters but so does the commercial outlay of using a non-subscription image in preference to one already "paid for". Additionally, and certainly for larger profile leagues, and matches, those guys will either have a runner taking cards and processing images, or direct wifi/ethernet connection back to a picture editor. It is nigh on impossible to beat them to the screen of the papers and technology will drive them even further in-front of the freelancer or smaller agency photographer. 

 

Far better to be working lower league with less competition, and yet still a need to publish images from the matches.

 

It might be fun now - but sit in the pouring rain, or the freezing cold, with your £6-10k investment earning you very little per match and the glamour will soon wear off. Especially if you could have done some weather pics for Alamy in the morning, filed them, and are watching the match on Sky Sports 1, with a beer in your hand.

 

FWIW I'm shooting for an agency shooting Premiership and Championship matches, and I'm into my second season of that. My 400mm was a trade up from a 300mm + funds from my business. The 300mm was a lens funded from weddings, portraits and commercial work (weddings excepted still and always likely to be the main income in my business). If I was only shooting football for the agency I'd struggle to justify it - fortunately I shoot some other sports which pay on usage, and some commissioned corporate sports work which satisfied my personal business plan. Keith is 100% right. Sports photography is possibly the genre with the most significant investment required and you need to have thought it through completely as to how you make it pay - otherwise you are like every other sports loving hobbyist who fancies a crack at photographing something they like to watch.

 

Sorry if that sounds harsh but it is reality.

 

Agree with this and also funkyworm

 

"With the market as it is I would be very reticent at making a large investment to cover football."

 

I've shot football for years both in Scotland and the English Premiership. It's very hard to get anything used now as the top agencies have the subscription deals. Quite often I've had a much better series of goal celebrations as I've been the only one in the corner the scorer runs to and yet the shots used in the Scottish papers were from the SNS tog sitting up the other end of the pitch with the scorer's back to him.

 

If the papers want something from the lower leagues or junior football they will send their own tog along on a shift. You have to get something really newsworthy that everyone else missed to get used.

 

I did a game on Saturday but no real expectations of getting anything used. It was mainly to keep my hand in and it was on my doorstep.

 

I use a second-hand 300 f2.8 I bought a few years ago with a TC if required. Most of the money shots are goals and celes on a 70-200 though.

 

 

The subscription from SNS sounds like you hit the nail on the head with regards to why I only ever see SNS tag on sports pics in the scottish media. I have a huge respect for their guys. Their coverage of the Commonwealth games was excellent, and would love to work with them, however, with my sound head on, so would ten thousand other guys. 

 

Just going to keep the head down, keep doing it and getting better. 

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Red snapper is actually right on this one. Make a business plan, go to your bank and present it and with a heck of a lot of luck you might just get a loan. Equipment is an asset. I know somebody who did, he got 5 grand.

 

After looking at the details of this, it's certainly worth investigating. At first I just registered for self assessment to keep everything right, but then it mutated into thinking about assets and kit, and how based on that, it's effectively going to run at a loss for a few years. Luckily I work full-time, however, I don't see how anyone without any start up funds could start a photography business from scratch. 

 

There's not even a place you can go to where you can get trade discounts for kit. A builder can go to ScrewFix or B&Q trade, a plumber can go to Plumb Centre etc etc, a photographer goes to Jessops to get full UK warranty, and gets a sore backside when he/she leaves. It's all a bit frustrating. 

Edited by Paulstw
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Any business you can start up without funds will be packed with competition. The start up costs are part of the the barriers to entry which is a key factor in determining the degree of competition, Now if you want to start an airline, the cost will be much higher but there will be far fewer competitors. But even starting out as a plumber or a hairdresser (assuming the basic skills and necessary certifications) needs tools etc. Try being a self-employed plumber without a van and a several thousand pounds of tools or the right certificates. It is why so many start out working for someone else first to use the wages to build the assets needed for the own business.

 

The entry cost to photography is peanuts compared to many trades and businesses. It is why licence prices are where they are. To be a professional sports and wildlife photographer requires more kit than a basic editoral stock photographer but it also needs a lot more working capital for travel, insurance etc. No one starts at the top which is what you are trying to do; most photographers will never, ever use a 400mm f2.8 lens or even a 300mm for that matter.

 

But good luck anyway - my advice as a former business consultant:  concentrate on developing your business skills before you spend £1,000s on kit that is not paying its way; buy the kit only when you have clear need that justifies the expenses (which is essentially what KM was saying). Business skills will earn you far more than jumping in with a £5,000 lens when you do not yet have a market for the results. You have already shown that a bit of imagination and commitment will make up for quite of lot of equipment "inadequacies". Sell those results until they have generated the deposit for the loan or lease and you can see yourself selling enough of the work from that extra kit to make the repayments. You might find you have developed your own (more intimate) style that is in demand.

 

BTW I tried using a 300mm f2.8 to photograph basketball at the far end of the court, as has been said all I got was back of heads. All my money shots were with lens 35-135mm and as often as not inexpensive 50-85 primes,

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Red snapper is actually right on this one. Make a business plan, go to your bank and present it and with a heck of a lot of luck you might just get a loan. Equipment is an asset. I know somebody who did, he got 5 grand.

 

After looking at the details of this, it's certainly worth investigating. At first I just registered for self assessment to keep everything right, but then it mutated into thinking about assets and kit, and how based on that, it's effectively going to run at a loss for a few years. Luckily I work full-time, however, I don't see how anyone without any start up funds could start a photography business from scratch. 

 

There's not even a place you can go to where you can get trade discounts for kit. A builder can go to ScrewFix or B&Q trade, a plumber can go to Plumb Centre etc etc, a photographer goes to Jessops to get full UK warranty, and gets a sore backside when he/she leaves. It's all a bit frustrating. 

 

 

You can also look at leasing if you have a proper business set up. I did this when I first started through WEX and Photolease.

 

http://www.wexphotographic.com/?/leasing/photolease.html

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Red snapper is actually right on this one. Make a business plan, go to your bank and present it and with a heck of a lot of luck you might just get a loan. Equipment is an asset. I know somebody who did, he got 5 grand.

 

After looking at the details of this, it's certainly worth investigating. At first I just registered for self assessment to keep everything right, but then it mutated into thinking about assets and kit, and how based on that, it's effectively going to run at a loss for a few years. Luckily I work full-time, however, I don't see how anyone without any start up funds could start a photography business from scratch. 

 

There's not even a place you can go to where you can get trade discounts for kit. A builder can go to ScrewFix or B&Q trade, a plumber can go to Plumb Centre etc etc, a photographer goes to Jessops to get full UK warranty, and gets a sore backside when he/she leaves. It's all a bit frustrating. 

 

 

People don't usually start up a photography business from scratch, they do exactly what you do....they morph from amateur to pro-am to pro (in business terms).

 

You used to be able to get trade discounts for kit via some agencies but you can start a business with a camera and a lens. Your problem is you want to shoot the expensive end of the market (In equipment terms) which is also not a market that pays too well. I has the same thing in the 1980s when I bought a 500mm lens (from photo earnings) just as prices for natural history started to wobble..

 

If you can justify the kit then you can often buy from the likes of WEX with a 12 month interest free loan (it's on certain lenses). I bought my a replacement 24mm TSE with one not that long ago - always happier to pay over the longer term. However, it's a lens that pays for itself every month - I normally have a real aversion to spending money on chasing images, it's rarely cost effective.

Edited by Guest
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Once you are established and a regular customer you might be able to negoiate a small discount or some extras especiallay from a dealer who works with professionals. Build up that relationshsup over time and you will find that you can get a bit extra off the price or get new equipment early after it is released. I managed to get the Canon EOS-3, 1Ds and IDs3 before most of the press got review models - David K published my resulting user reviews. I will have one of the first loan copies of the new Canon 7D mark 2 in November as well.

 

You can't expect too much discount (especially on new models so early adoption is expensive) as the margins are small which is why so many camera shops have disappeared.

 

BTW most dealers will price match so if you have a regular dealer they will usually match other dealers'  in stock prices. These days with so much online prices do not seem to vary much anyway.

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Ach in fairness for only holding said grip for two years I think I'm doing alright, but I always want to strive for more no mater what I'm doing. I really like shooting the football so I'll continue with it for now. It's a nice stress less environment. 

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Ach in fairness for only holding said grip for two years I think I'm doing alright, but I always want to strive for more no mater what I'm doing. I really like shooting the football so I'll continue with it for now. It's a nice stress less environment.

That is a perfectly good reason to shoot it but it won't be stressless if you can't make the repayments on a £5,000 lens!

 

Believe it or not we all want you to do well. Some of us have been through the same process, in my case not just in photography. It is about what you produce not how you appear; I have seen wonderful work being done with what many would regard as second-rate (or worse) equipment. Just need to get past the ego thing of looking the part or feeling defensivbe about your equipment - let the results speak for themselves. I still have to bring myself up short on that occasionally :rolleyes:

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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I'm happy to shoot with what I have, honest :) 

 

I have no choice but to make it work. Getting a loan for kit is out of the question for now, and leasing seems to cost the same. I have a 5 year plan. I'm halfway through it, with me surpassing what I had planned for now so all is good. I get silly thoughts sometimes jumping the gun but it's good to hear the voices of experience. Recently been contracted to StockPix so that's a positive. 

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I am pleased to hear that you are ahead of your plan. I am essentially 2 years behind you at the moment having just reinvented myself as photographer. I am perhaps better equipped as I was once in a position to justify some serious kit (that I couldn't justify now). That said most of what sells on Alamy can be taken with very modest equipment.

 

I am now trying to find my way and I know how flights of fancy can take wing ;)

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Making a business plan is one thing, shooting stock for royalties is another. Banks don't like people living on royalties, its classified as insecure and unstable earnings. Working on commissions, this and that is far better to include in a business-plan.

Stock-photography is something you should leave out, not mention in such a plan. Besides explaining the mechanics of a stock-agency to a bank-manager is an uphill venture all the way.

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