In the press

Travelling back from Leeds allowed me to catch up with the local papers. This isn’t my usual routine when travelling, usually it's rifling through the various sections of the Guardian, then miserably failing to complete the crossword. It was a Sunday and I was on my way back from taking some head shots for the Leeds Roller Dolls and these papers had been saved for me as each had an article featuring Leeds Roller Dolls accompanied by some of my photos.

It’s nice to see your work in print, and for me, this is why I shoot Derby. Partly for myself and partly to help give the sport the exposure it deserves. There’s no money in it. Local papers have been squeezed over the past ten years as the internet has taken away their lucrative advertising streams, and while I believe that people should be compensated for their work, pragmatism has to take precedence. Roller Derby is still a niche sport, no editor is going to pay for images and so you have to take your professional head off and just accept, that for now, that is how it is. It may change, we just have to play the long game.

It’s good to get work in print as it takes away the feeling that you are preaching to the converted and are actually helping to develop the sport and expose it to new markets.

Posting images on Facebook is fine to support those involved, but it does very little for myself. Images I think are good, seldom get likes. People ‘like’ images that show family or friends, puppies generally increase interaction. It’s just the way it is on social media. ‘Likes’ make you feel good briefly, but they really say nothing about the photographer or image, they aren’t aimed at myself, rather comments on those in the images.

Having a team’s media rep brief me on images they are after before a bout gives me a challenge and the knowledge that they will be used. However only a few teams ever ask me beforehand.

This got me thinking. Those that do, seem more switched on to marketing and the power coverage in the press can give them. Think of articles as free advertising. Do a media audit. Count up the number of column inches the media has given you, images and text combined, and then multiply that by the cost on the publication’s rate card. You will soon see the value (monetary) the paper puts on the space it’s given you. The press can be your friend.

Derby doesn’t seem to make the most of the photographers out there as far as I can see. Some teams do, but from my experience most don’t. Photographers turn up, do their thing and then go home. Teams don’t have a plan in advance, just happy to have the bout covered and then be reactive and ‘like’ images on Facebook, with little idea how good photography can enhance and promote the sport.

So, to keep me on my toes. Set down a challenge. Make use of the images, because I enjoy reading the papers and I’m sure others feel the same. If you have a plan up front you can get so much more of the content being created at every event.

Thanks to Vikki from Leeds Roller Dolls for the clippings and good luck to the Rebel Roses at Beach Brawl. 


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