Well I didn’t really want to have to blog about this subject, but I guess I should for all of the dedicated photographers out there trying to cover events for all sorts of reasons. We all know that making money shooting High School sports, local events, or hometown Motorsports is about impossible. Yes we can sell a few prints here and there for a couple bucks, but most of the time covering your cost with print sales is not easy to do.
When I go a shoot a race, or a car show for a publication, I know that I am not getting paid for it. That’s ok with me. I am covering something that I really enjoy and some of my work gets published. Now when I am considered the photographer for a event, or a track, then I put the extra effort in to making sure the people that I am covering, get good quality material. This includes research into the event, scheduling time to go to the event. Plus maintaining my gear, buying new gear and traveling to the race or game etc. Not only do I need my camera gear, but I also need computers, software, website, internet, and anything else I can’t think of as I write this.
Now days it is hard enough competing against people with cameras and phones at events. I try to give them a different angle, or a better quality image than they can get with their phones. All of this said, I Do it because I think it is important to capture today’s events for generations to come. This way they will be able to see what things were like ” back in the day”.
My website cost me $250 a year to keep up and running. I have to sell a lot of $2 prints in a year to pay for that. Not to mention my software that I pay for every month. I know it’s my choice, but come on, when you put in the work and time for years, and someone comes in and gives pictures away? Really? Yes this just happened to me. I have been covering races at SDR for 7 years now. Missing only a few races in all of those years. I have sold a good bit of pictures through out the years, and I am thankful for that. But when someone comes in and says “I am just taking pictures for my own website, I won’t sell any”, I said sure no problem thx for asking.
After a long night at the track and another 5 hours sitting at my computer the next day. I did sell a few images from that weekend. The track does a great job of promoting my pictures, and I try to do my best to promote their club. I think it works great for everybody. Remember that person that said I am only going to use them for my site? Well guess what? They were not only used for the website. The other night they posted almost 300 images from last weekends race that I covered. Yup 300 pictures from the race. Now I say how many people are going to purchase one of my $3 prints when they can just right click one of the 300 that are all over Facebook. Nobody is gong to spend a nickel if they can get one for free. No matter what the image quality is.
I feel betrayed for sure. I thought their images were going to be used to promote their site, not to be giving away to all of the riders that raced that night. I talked to this person and they said I am so sorry, as the continued to post 30 image at a time well after I was told I am sorry. The damage is done. I think it’s crap for sure. I guess this could be considered whining, and yes I am upset about the lack of respect from someone else in the field.
Again this raises the question. Is it all worth it? No I am not going to stop shooting, but it makes me wonder how much commitment one should put into something that can be gone at any moment. This rant has nothing to do with the track I shoot at, or any of the publications I shoot for. They are all great and work hard to help out photographers and writers that supply them content. This is about individuals that just step all over years of hard work and dedication for their own gain. Not cool 😎..
I guess that’s it for now. I have to go charge batteries and get ready for a full weekend of shooting. I would love to hear from you guys on what you do in these cases, and what you have done in the past.