Youth Sports Photography - Little League season is around the Corner

Started Feb 10, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Youth Sports Photography - Little League season is around the Corner
Feb 10, 2010

I shoot youth sports and last year was one of my worst year in terms of profit and sales. This year I have been attending a lot of pre-season Little League meetings and what I am hearing is not very good.

Around this time of the year I am usually planning the packages the league wants then contacting my printer to print photo envelopes for the teams/leagues. I am getting a lot of requests to reduce my basic package cost that is included in the players sign up fees. This registration fee has increased $5.00 over last year because of budget deficits. I am barely making a profit on the basic package and they want me to cut costs even lower.

If a la carte item sales were up, I would consider lowering my basic package price but these a la carte sales have DECREASED. This year I am deleting Ball*Stars from my sales offerings and will offer photo and engraved baseball bats which will give me a larger profit margin. I am also adding photo imaging on tiles, Christmas ornaments and paper weights.

We have increased our photo collage, poster prints, embroidery and airbrushing fees accordingly.

During the meetings, parents want prices to be lowered but what they do not understand the cost to produce those pictures have gone up. My paper, chemistry, folio and other business costs have risen as well. One parent said they could use their Nikon or Canon DSLR to take the team, individual and action shots. Tha tis true but many parents do not even have a clue how to organize a photo day so that it is run professionally. Many of the leagues we shoot have 800-1,100 athletes. We use five digital cameras equipped with strobo-frames, flashes and one EOS 1D Mark II to shoot the teams and one EOS 5D to shoot buddy images. This allows us to get this all completed within 4-6 hours.

Further, I asked the parents are they willing to purchase the mats/folios, go to Costco to print up the images and do small photo shop work? It takes time and we are best equipped to do the job. On average, it takes us 2 weeks to process one leagues worth of images and get those images back to a team Mom. I wonder how many of these parents realize that.

So how are other sports photographers faring in these economic times?

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