Kids Sports Photography Biz - Advice needed

Started Oct 7, 2011 | Discussions thread
pdqgp
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In reply to cmvsm, Oct 15, 2011

cmvsm wrote:

Looking to step a foot into kids sports photography. We live behind a very large sporting complex, and have everything from football, soccer, baseball, and field hockey going on just about every day of the week. Age groups range from 4 to 12 years old.

Not looking to get rich by any means, just another avenue to enjoy photography a little more and make some pocket money while I'm at it. I take lots of pics of my own kids, and have gotten some really nice keepers. Most parents are using iphones.

Anyone have any advice on the best way to start or a good read on the subject?

Lots of good insight in this thread. Just like you, I started out a few years back wanting to do more with my photos than enjoy them or get some pats on the back. I continue to shoot for fun, for my family and yes, I do make some money, what I consider decent. Getting a start was tough though.

I have kids ages 5 and 8 and I race cars. I started my side business completely by accident when a pilot racing a car offered to pay me to shoot him driving. That same day his friend came up to me. I was flattered and walked away the next week with $200. Then more the next and so on and so forth.

I quickly got things ramped up by referrals and bringing posters to the meets. People really got into seeing themselves in 24x36" sizes and hung them in their garages, their trailers for the cars, etc.... and things went from there. To this day, I shoot more than I race and continue to do everything from signatures on message boards for more or less exposure, to poster prints at all of our track days and with clubs that I strictly shoot at but don't participate in.

With my kids I started by handing out the free images everyone talks about. Only there, I was direct and asked if those taking them would like to have me specifically concentrate on their child. My fees were and really still are low. I sell images, not prints and I bundle them on DVD's. Each game I have 1-2 families that pay $45 to $125 USD for me to shoot my various packages.

The hard part is not every week will work out. Just today, really quite frankly sucked. The games I shot were at 2pm and under harsh fall sun. Kids were too bunched up and the wind was horribly strong. To top it off, to avoid shooting in the sun, I had to have the parents all lined up across the field from where I was shooting, so of course the backgrounds were not great. Poor field and timing luck. I literally went from having a good 12-20 keepers for each client to maybe 2-3 today. I'm really upset and disappointed, but can't let it get me down. The parents understood.

Good luck in the venture. Key is to get a good reputation, build a following and ask for the business. Today, the upside was I secured team photos for next week from the team on the field next to us and the opposing team my son played today. The league hires a firm and their 1099 contract photogs to do the same so I suppose I compete with them, but hey, may the best photog and shots win. So far, I've done quite well over the past few years at getting my fair share of the business and it's not price based. People won't pay any money if the pics aren't great.

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  • tim

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