Ambrosiniv

Interesting point of view for a sports photographer

Recommended Posts

To be honest that comes with the territory when shooting pitch side - it's not usually team celebrations piling on top of you but sometimes footballers brakes fail and they come flying off the sideline.  My football shots are not on Alamy at the moment as I am working at securing rights to a new team - hopefully they will allow me to put shots up for editorial, but it is probably the subject I take most photographs of.  If you are not fast enough to side skip or do not have time because of grabbing the last second image then you try and hold the camera out of the way and roll with the impact lol.

The sports photographer that grabbed my attention was in the 2017 Indy 500 when he was the only injury (miraculously) of an incredible crash because being behind safety wire I can only presume he figured it wouldn't kill him so he kept shooting as the car hit the barrier.  This is the video - you really need the video to appreciate the sheer scale of what when on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QiAj5oOfz4

This is one of the stories https://www.theindychannel.com/sports/indianapolis-500/photographer-hit-by-debris-from-crash-at-indianapolis-500
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the dangers of photography! Yet, I'd love to be a sports photographer, it's one of my dream jobs. 

 

I wouldn't know how to start though. With landscapes and some other types of photography anyone can go and take photos, whether you sell them it's another matter. 

 

With professional sports, however, it's definitely not as easy to get into a position where you can even take the images. Which then makes it difficult for you to have a portfolio to show to prospective employers, etc... Catch-22

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Ambrosiniv said:

Yes, the dangers of photography! Yet, I'd love to be a sports photographer, it's one of my dream jobs. 

 

I wouldn't know how to start though. With landscapes and some other types of photography anyone can go and take photos, whether you sell them it's another matter. 

 

With professional sports, however, it's definitely not as easy to get into a position where you can even take the images. Which then makes it difficult for you to have a portfolio to show to prospective employers, etc... Catch-22

I'm lucky enough to live in a place where I can go shoot World Cup Events with little difficulty...and always plenty of amateur sport competitions as well...local races, triathlons, hockey games, rodeo...lots of places to showcase your talents, just might not have famous names in the photos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too live quite close to a sporting venue - a motorsport racing circuit (Snetterton, Norfolk, UK) - that hosts some sizeable national racing events, such as British Touring Car Championships, British Super Bikes and British GTs etc....in fact I'm currently tagging some from the GTs from earlier in the year.

 

I don't have a lot of experience in this field, and indeed Snetterton circuit is the only circuit I've been to, but it has some advantages over many others from around the country so I believe - the low fencing and proximity to the track. Often one can get a similar vantage to the pros, who may only be a matter of a few feet in front of us amateurs.

That story of the tog being hit by flying debris is sobering Starsphinx - in my few outings to Snetterton, I've only seen one minor incident, which happened farther down the track from where I was standing - there were no injuries....unless you count injured wallets!...but it's very dangerous, even behind the fencing.

 

I don't think I'll be embarking on a nationwide tour of racing venues any time soon - still learning, but having great fun....car and bike track days are proving invaluable, however,  for practising panning skills, and they have the advantage of being free entry too, though as you say MandyD, no famous names.

 

On a side note, I assume any and all images taken at racing venues (or any privately owned sporting arena) are strictly editorial only?

I don't want to be treading on anyone's toes, and I certainly don't want to fall foul of racing drivers/teams/venues lawyers!

 

Gareth :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Gareth said:

I too live quite close to a sporting venue - a motorsport racing circuit (Snetterton, Norfolk, UK) - that hosts some sizeable national racing events, such as British Touring Car Championships, British Super Bikes and British GTs etc....in fact I'm currently tagging some from the GTs from earlier in the year.

 

I don't have a lot of experience in this field, and indeed Snetterton circuit is the only circuit I've been to, but it has some advantages over many others from around the country so I believe - the low fencing and proximity to the track. Often one can get a similar vantage to the pros, who may only be a matter of a few feet in front of us amateurs.

That story of the tog being hit by flying debris is sobering Starsphinx - in my few outings to Snetterton, I've only seen one minor incident, which happened farther down the track from where I was standing - there were no injuries....unless you count injured wallets!...but it's very dangerous, even behind the fencing.

 

I don't think I'll be embarking on a nationwide tour of racing venues any time soon - still learning, but having great fun....car and bike track days are proving invaluable, however,  for practising panning skills, and they have the advantage of being free entry too, though as you say MandyD, no famous names.

 

On a side note, I assume any and all images taken at racing venues (or any privately owned sporting arena) are strictly editorial only?

I don't want to be treading on anyone's toes, and I certainly don't want to fall foul of racing drivers/teams/venues lawyers!

 

Gareth :)

Well I am lucky enough to have some famous names here...Olympic training grounds and all...World Cup venues...I just need to get out and do it. I did shoot some World Champs in rodeo yesterday at the Stampede...alot of chances here.

Edited by MandyD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Gareth said:

...

 

On a side note, I assume any and all images taken at racing venues (or any privately owned sporting arena) are strictly editorial only?

I don't want to be treading on anyone's toes, and I certainly don't want to fall foul of racing drivers/teams/venues lawyers!

 

Gareth :)

 

Actually in pretty well all cases not even editorial,  private use only, if you don't have accreditation. The BOC/IOC had images from non-accredited photographers taken at London 2012 removed from Alamy. Applies to most professional sport and other events, no accreditation then no sales allowed even for editoral. You might get away with it but do you want to go up against lawyers for motorsport teams and organisers? Bear in mind you are on private property and you have entered into a contract when you bought your ticke; check the terms and conditions that apply to your ticket you will be amazed at how restictive they are. Even with accreditation the rules are strict.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
typo
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the clarification Martin.

 

Looks like I will be pulling them then. Serves me right for not doing my homework first - I wonder where I stand with track days? No ticket required for these, I should probably go and chat with the press office.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Gareth said:

Thanks for the clarification Martin.

 

Looks like I will be pulling them then. Serves me right for not doing my homework first - I wonder where I stand with track days? No ticket required for these, I should probably go and chat with the press office.

 

 

It’s all a bit of a minefield. I live in the ‘golf coast’ and the Scottish Open is currently on a few miles away. I went over on Tuesday and was able to walk around everywhere (including inside areas which will now be entry only by ticket) since the golf course, like most of them, are on public land. The golfing pros were only a few feet away practising on the greens. The local council has granted a temporary ban on public access for the tournament which came into effect at 00.01 the next day. I read the photography policy carefully. Only personal use during the competition, but outside those dates, there was no restriction. You have to do your homework.

 

Similarly, our local horse racing course is on public land, and you can walk all over it even during the races. Indeed I have a photo of a family with two small children riding bicycles through the course during a race meet. But then, Scotland is a lot different in terms of public access to England.

musselburgh-scotland-4-may-2018-musselbu

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Martin P Wilson said:

 

Actually in pretty well all cases not even editorial,  private use only, if you don't have accreditation. The BOC/IOC had images from non-accredited photographers taken at London 2012 removed from Alamy. Applies to most professional sport and other events, no accreditation then no sales allowed even for editoral. You might get away with it but do you want to go up against lawyers for motorsport teams and organisers? Bear in mind you are on private property and you have entered into a contract when you bought your ticke; check the terms and conditions that apply to your ticket you will be amazed at how restictive they are. Even with accreditation the rules are strict.

 

But what if you haven't bought a ticket ?

You could be there as a contractor working, that has nothing to do with the media (and not signed/had any paperwork given to you regarding the issue). 

Guess that would be one for the lawyers to sort out (and get richer).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Ambrosiniv said:

Yes, the dangers of photography! Yet, I'd love to be a sports photographer, it's one of my dream jobs. 

 

I wouldn't know how to start though. With landscapes and some other types of photography anyone can go and take photos, whether you sell them it's another matter. 

 

With professional sports, however, it's definitely not as easy to get into a position where you can even take the images. Which then makes it difficult for you to have a portfolio to show to prospective employers, etc... Catch-22



The way I have fallen into it with football - and which should work with other sports - is through an educational establishment.  My son was accepted to a football academy and I went along to take pictures as a mum.  The other lads and coach were interested in what I had taken and asked if they could have some.  The coach allowed me to attend games and I provided small download images free to him and the boys.   I learned to take football pictures - and was able to shoot more teams through the academy links.  I then contacted a higher level local team and (fingers crossed) will be working with them this season and I charge for my work.

Pretty much all sports have lower entry-level, and youth, setups.  These are often run on a shoestring out of love (yes even the horse car and boat stuff - money goes into equipment competition arrangments are done by volunteers out of love) and are absolutely delighted if a half competent photographer with proper kit (by which I mean an entry-level DSLR and cheap 70 to 300mm lens) wants to attend if they can have some of the pictures.  Go where the children and amateurs learn and learn alongside them the necessary angles and light and that key ability to anticipate.  Let the organisers and competitors have some small files for social media without charging and build from there. 

2 and a half years ago I could not sell myself as a football photographer - I did not have the experience.  Right now I could not sell myself as either a motorsport or horse sports photographer but I could find organisations to go along and learn.   In all sports even the big famous international places have lots of minor stuff going on that few pro photographers are interested in - it gives you a toehold.  Big international stuff all wants accreditation or approval and this is usually going to include something showing you can do the job - to take pictures of premiership football as an independent you have to show you have had a certain number of images published in the national press and paid for.  Most photographers at this level will be employed either by club or press - but to land those jobs you have to be good enough to get picked which all comes back to starting at the bottom.

If all else fails, look for an up and coming individual and see if you can persuade them to take you into places as their personal photographer - then introduce yourself to the other photographers, be clear you are learning and just get your face known.  

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Gareth said:

Thanks for the clarification Martin.

 

Looks like I will be pulling them then. Serves me right for not doing my homework first - I wonder where I stand with track days? No ticket required for these, I should probably go and chat with the press office.

 

 

No need to remove material you've already submitted if it was lawfully taken.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, AlbertSnapper said:

 

But what if you haven't bought a ticket ?

You could be there as a contractor working, that has nothing to do with the media (and not signed/had any paperwork given to you regarding the issue). 

Guess that would be one for the lawyers to sort out (and get richer).

 

At the end of the day you are still not accredited to cover the event and if you are on private (even if temporarily so) property your rights to make and sell photographs are limited. My advice: ask a lawyer, but even then I suspect you would not get a clear cut answer ;)

 

As a contractor there will usually be some form of contract (clue is in role title!) in place, perhaps with your employer if not with yourself. For smaller events, of course, it may simply be an exchange of emails or even just a conversation.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Ambrosiniv said:

Yes, the dangers of photography! Yet, I'd love to be a sports photographer, it's one of my dream jobs. 

 

I wouldn't know how to start though. With landscapes and some other types of photography anyone can go and take photos, whether you sell them it's another matter. 

 

With professional sports, however, it's definitely not as easy to get into a position where you can even take the images. Which then makes it difficult for you to have a portfolio to show to prospective employers, etc... Catch-22

 

Careful what you wish for... its not always what it is cracked up to be. I could write a dissertation about why I couldn;t wait to get home after the last world cup, and many of my colleagues would not only agree but add extra points.

 

When it comes down to it, it is work and you need to look at it from a cold, cynical, business perspective before making the decision. Especially as a freelancer. What are your sales channels? What will be the competition from colleagues? Is it likely that Henkie Dayrate from X-agency which provides subscription deals with the papers be present? What are the countries/competitors with good chances and do they correlate with my sales channels? Can I provide a unique angle? What are my costs? How much time will it take? Not just being there but organising etc. I reckon Brazil cost me at least month time work to organise my travel and accomodation. Are there other stock possibilities?  Remember sales prices dont necessarily echo costs. And then what are the chances of getting in to shoot the matches you hope to? Or even a decent spot without some numpty security guard bullying you. There is a pecking order and Mr or Ms Freelancer is not on top. I know there are many who have gambled to stay in Moscow for this competition because that is where the most matches are... but if everyone does that many are disappointed, and so it has transpired. In South Africa and Brazil I gambled by doing matches which weren;t so easy... which meant less competition, at one match there were only 15 of us. But meant extra transport costs and time ... and the major agencies are still there. Not to forget that these events are a magnet to the criminal fraternity... many of my colleagues have been robbed.  

 

My Dad asked the other day if I regretted not covering this years competition as I have done the past three. I'd rather stick knitting needles through my kneecaps.

 

 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Sally said:

It’s all a bit of a minefield....

It certainly is Sally, I've been doing a little research into the legality of motorsport photography (as a hobbyist/amateur photograper) and even the motorsport photography forums seem to be vague.

I think, however, I've satisfied myself that for the time being at least, I won't be photographing any actual racing events.

Just dug out my old ticket for the British GTs, and sure enough, there it is in tiny print on the back - section 17:

 

The use of photographic equipment is allowed for private non-commercial purposes only. Any other recording or transmission of audio, visual or audio-visual or any information or data by any method in any media relating to the Event or any part of it is prohibited. The ticketholder hereby assigns to MSV (by way of present assignment of future rights) the copyright in any audio, visual or audio-visual materials produced by the ticketholder at the Event.

 

Furthermore, section 18 states that our likenesses may be used without our knowledge, because simply by being there we have given our tacit consent to be filmed by TV cameras and CCTV etc. Understandable and to be expected, but I'm not taking any chances uploading any images, especially if they've got me on film shoving my camera into the drivers faces on the pit lane during the lunchtime pit walk....and then the lawyers put two and two together!!

 

Starsphinx, your advice is spot on. If one wants to make it as a sports photographer (and that's a really big 'if') then it's a matter of starting small at the local level, for free....at least for the foreseeable future!

I'm realistic (funkyworms advice is ringing in my ears lol) I'm not getting any younger, my back is shot and my right ankle is kaput, so it's probably never going to happen for me, but I'm having fun at the bike track days, and maybe if I ingratiate myself with some of the local riders, and I get a thumbs up from the Snetterton office, I can upload them here....maybe!

 

Gareth :)

Edited by Gareth
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no desire to make the top - I enjoy what I do with local teams and I don't know about others but I cannot shoot properly when not enjoying it.   I have my own health issues which stop me finding ordinary regular employment.  My aim is to make a small self-employed income selling shots of local teams, any other sports that come along, and uploading to Alamy.  If I ever do shoot at one of the big stadiums - be it by paying for a session with a pro photographer or maybe a local team making a final - it will be rare treat experience to be savoured and enjoyed.  Besides which I will no doubt suffer my usual problem of starting to watch the football and forgetting to shoot it lol.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Gareth said:

 If one wants to make it as a sports photographer (and that's a really big 'if') then it's a matter of starting small at the local level, for free....at least for the foreseeable future!

Gareth :)

 

Ermmm... for free?

 

Publishers may not be willing to pay for images, but it doesn;t make them charities. Giving them images for free only increases their profit, and decreases yours or anothers. Every now and then I am at an event who have a volunteer doing the photos which are available for media to use. Instantly those events are lot less interesting to cover. A well meant act of charity can make life difficult for others.

 

And dont think its about name or reputation. If you are free they'll know your name, because you are free.

 

I also work as a film extra, and see often commercial TV companies using the hopes and aspirations of many to underpay whilst they are making a tidy profit. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, funkyworm said:

 

Ermmm... for free?

 

Publishers may not be willing to pay for images, but it doesn;t make them charities. Giving them images for free only increases their profit, and decreases yours or anothers. Every now and then I am at an event who have a volunteer doing the photos which are available for media to use. Instantly those events are lot less interesting to cover. A well meant act of charity can make life difficult for others.

 

And dont think its about name or reputation. If you are free they'll know your name, because you are free.

 

I also work as a film extra, and see often commercial TV companies using the hopes and aspirations of many to underpay whilst they are making a tidy profit. 

He was replying to my post about learning the ropes of sports photography.  I said I provide small low-resolution images free to the organisers and hosts at the bottom entry level of sports.  If a photographer is completely new to something with no experience they are not going to produce top quality shots straight off no matter how good they are at photography themselves.  I consider providing images to organisers and hosts a reasonable exchange for them allowing me access to get the experience and learn the ropes.  I can now take good shots of football matches that people do pay for.  I could not do that if a couple of years ago a manager had not let me attend the teams matches to get the experience and learn.  I certainly did not have the money to pay for the experience - and the manager did not have a budget for images.  In many sports, there will be the same thing - low-level teams, competitions which rely on friends and family with smartphones to record efforts  - they will welcome photographers with no experience (of their particular sport) wanting to learn and surely it is only polite to pay for this experience with the shots you produce.

At no point would I ever provide hi-res images to publishers for free - just lo-res images to the people who let me take them as a thank you for the opportunity.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

3 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

I have no desire to make the top....

 

I'm probably gonna struggle to reach all the way up to the bottom! :D

 

3 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

He was replying to my post about learning the ropes of sports photography.  I said I provide small low-resolution images free to the organisers and hosts at the bottom entry level of sports.  If a photographer is completely new to something with no experience they are not going to produce top quality shots straight off no matter how good they are at photography themselves.  I consider providing images to organisers and hosts a reasonable exchange for them allowing me access to get the experience and learn the ropes.  I can now take good shots of football matches that people do pay for.  I could not do that if a couple of years ago a manager had not let me attend the teams matches to get the experience and learn.  I certainly did not have the money to pay for the experience - and the manager did not have a budget for images.  In many sports, there will be the same thing - low-level teams, competitions which rely on friends and family with smartphones to record efforts  - they will welcome photographers with no experience (of their particular sport) wanting to learn and surely it is only polite to pay for this experience with the shots you produce.

At no point would I ever provide hi-res images to publishers for free - just lo-res images to the people who let me take them as a thank you for the opportunity.

 

Precisely. All the motorsport photography forums that I've looked at, suggest similar advice. 

With only a handful of events under my belt so far - most of them track days - I have very little (nothing?) to offer, but I'll keep practising, and maybe some day I can get to know some of the local amateur riders, show them my work, perhaps they'll like it perhaps not. I'm sure I'm not undermining the pros - there simply aren't any present on track days anyway....most of the time I'm on my own.

 

I'm having a blast though - never really thought I'd want to shoot motorsport, watch it on tv, but there's something about being there! 

 

Gareth.:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Gareth said:

 

 

I'm probably gonna struggle to reach all the way up to the bottom! :D

 

 

Precisely. All the motorsport photography forums that I've looked at, suggest similar advice. 

With only a handful of events under my belt so far - most of them track days - I have very little (nothing?) to offer, but I'll keep practising, and maybe some day I can get to know some of the local amateur riders, show them my work, perhaps they'll like it perhaps not. I'm sure I'm not undermining the pros - there simply aren't any present on track days anyway....most of the time I'm on my own.

 

I'm having a blast though - never really thought I'd want to shoot motorsport, watch it on tv, but there's something about being there! 

 

Gareth.:)

I found that about football - previous years I would have been watching the world cup final even though we are not in it - now I have no interest unless England are playing because I would rather be at a match.  Yesterday I was pitchside for a pre-season friendly involving a much higher up club at the same time England was playing and I never even had to think which I was going to watch.  I am also a fan of national hunt racing.   Being there you get the sounds, the smells, the sensations that you simply cannot experience watching TV.  Sport is faster, more brutal, more visceral when you are actually there.  Being able to photograph it, to try and freeze that, is magic.  I often think still photography can catch something video cannot.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I dont know either of your situations, and I dont want to start wrongly second guessing or getting into arguments.

 

I would just say, dont sell yourself short. If you are making product for the market, then put it on the market. I learnt the job by falling down and standing up. (Bad translation - but you get the gist)  I cant recall if I have sold anything from the first football game I covered. I definitely have from the second, and I was for sure still learning the ropes. Despite my relative inexperiance I was still making product, and that product has market value, even if I only had a handful of keepers ('scuse the pun) from those first matches.

 

The problem is with free labour whilst people learn the ropes is that it becomes structural. I see it in the entertainment industry here. Dutch placement students dont get paid and certain functions are structurally using this free source of labour. They are, in essence, learning to be unemployed. They will never do the job they are learning on their placement, because every year there is another steam of placement students to do that work for free. I understand from colleagues in the UK that much the same is happening with certain sports photography.

 

Good luck with your ambitions.

 

groetjes,

 

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, funkyworm said:

 

I dont know either of your situations, and I dont want to start wrongly second guessing or getting into arguments.

 

I would just say, dont sell yourself short. If you are making product for the market, then put it on the market. I learnt the job by falling down and standing up. (Bad translation - but you get the gist)  I cant recall if I have sold anything from the first football game I covered. I definitely have from the second, and I was for sure still learning the ropes. Despite my relative inexperiance I was still making product, and that product has market value, even if I only had a handful of keepers ('scuse the pun) from those first matches.

 

The problem is with free labour whilst people learn the ropes is that it becomes structural. I see it in the entertainment industry here. Dutch placement students dont get paid and certain functions are structurally using this free source of labour. They are, in essence, learning to be unemployed. They will never do the job they are learning on their placement, because every year there is another steam of placement students to do that work for free. I understand from colleagues in the UK that much the same is happening with certain sports photography.

 

Good luck with your ambitions.

 

groetjes,

 

Richard

I tend to agree. I was offered the opportunity to take photos of an event which would have provided free photos for those in the event and allowed me to upload to Alamy, but at the last minute one of the participants wouldn't agree to the latter part of this. It would have taken up the best part of three days of my time and I could have done it "for the experience", but I decided not to do it. I'm not a professional photographer, but I still value both my time and my (developing) skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Sally said:

I tend to agree. I was offered the opportunity to take photos of an event which would have provided free photos for those in the event and allowed me to upload to Alamy, but at the last minute one of the participants wouldn't agree to the latter part of this. It would have taken up the best part of three days of my time and I could have done it "for the experience", but I decided not to do it. I'm not a professional photographer, but I still value both my time and my (developing) skills.

Walking away from a bad deal like that makes you one in my book. Full marks for not queering the pitch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, spacecadet said:

Walking away from a bad deal like that makes you one in my book. Full marks for not queering the pitch.

Thank you. I just hope they ended up without any photos, or at least poor quality ones. A bit precious, if you ask me, to object to the possibility that I *might* make some money out of photographing them by increasing their publicity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Sally said above I will not do anything entirely for free - I have got access by providing images to managers/organisers that gave me access but I have always been clear I also reserved the right to sell images to other markets.  Part of the reason I have not put sports images onto stock/microstock is the majority of what I have done to now has been youth, and I work closely with coaches on safeguarding issues.  

Right now I am still consolidating work with a local adult team very much on the up - and while images are for sale (and being bought) on my own website I will not put them on stock sites until I am firmly through the door.  Mind you my biggest problem is going to be local press which I have discussed on a  different thread. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now