The results are - Part 3

“A picture can tell such a great story. Derby needs photographers to capture the moments that pass by in the whirl of a fast paced game.”

“Thank you, as always, for documenting our sport and taking awesome photos. One day I’ll show them to my grandchildren :)”.

In this third (I did type turd initially, must be thinking of Richard) post I’m going to look at the comments in ‘other’ for ‘Should leagues pay to use images’ and the comments section. Thanks for all the comments they have been really insightful, and really nice although I wasn’t looking for plaudits but they are appreciated. I’ve picked a few out, but as the survey was anonymous I can’t credit the authors.

For ‘should leagues pay to use images’, 26% of respondents said that leagues should pay to use images, 26% said no, 19% don’t know and the rest, 29% were ‘other’ with comments. The majority of the comments were erring on yes, depending on the circumstances, if it was for leagues to make money, but with the caveat that leagues are broke and can’t afford to do so. I can fully understand that in most cases. Some respondents indicated that compensation could be other forms rather than monetary. From  my own experience, someone from the league talking to you to make sure you are orientated with the venue and running order of the day and maybe being bought a coffee goes a long way. For the many years I’ve been shooting Derby I have only once been offered travel expenses, something I have since learned is occasionally offered to other volunteers. Some teams are better than others at making you feel welcome but I also feel this is down to personal relationships I’ve built up. I’d be interested in other photographer’s experiences. I’m not going to name and shame but I would say that I’m always happy to shoot at the Walker Activity Dome.

As for the additional comments several themes came out. First, several respondents felt that NSOs and volunteers were underrepresented, especially when doing certain roles. Personally I felt from the wording that it was a general feeling, the lack of images just compounded it. How to depict this and keep the number of shots down etc… is a poser. Also capturing what they are doing is much harder, especially if there is no distinct action or interaction which therefore make less compelling shots. I have gone back and reviewed several bouts I shot this year to look at the ratio of skater/referee/NSO/volunteer shots. NSO and volunteer shots are on the low side and usually depict people I know, as for me that relationship makes things easier as you know how the images will be received. Knowing who wants or doesn’t want their photo to be taken is difficult. Perhaps if these groups asked for a posed shot sometime in the proceedings I’d be more aware they were receptive of images being taken around the track and as that rapport grows more images will be generated.

“Not knowing enough on the ethos and trends in photography I’d say it's important to have honest conversations about expectations prior to events to ensure both parties feel they benefit from the experience.”

The quote above captures my thoughts entirely. Personally I’d like to see waivers consigned to the history books and better relationships built. I feel that it’s usually just a box ticking exercise for leagues as often I have seen bad practice from photographers not being stopped at events because there’s ‘no-one to do it’, but everything will be fine because a waiver has been signed. Events where I have a contact, we have discussed the running order, safe shooting positions any requirements and time frames for images for the press etc... make my life much easier. It also builds those all-important relationships.

Events where I been just been told to ask the head ref are however more common and I feel unfair for the head referee. First, what do they know about photography (they may be avid photographers themselves, but maybe not) and our requirements and issues that may arise and secondly they have enough to do and are far too busy managing the game to police photographers. This is where bad practice creeps in and isn’t checked as there is no-one to do it.

“Many skaters and coaches use photographs to look at game tactics, strategy of other teams etc. You can actually read a lot from a good series of shots. Also, more shots of defensive formations and offensive formations would be good when jammers are in the pack rather than skaters alone on track or not in formation.”

The quote above raises some interesting points. Generally when shooting Derby I’ll shoot RAW files as this gives me more leeway in post-processing to get the most out the images. I also edit harshly to reduce the number I post. If a team asks for images for the press that need to go out that night I will also shoot small Jpegs. Generally when I shoot I fire a burst as the action can be random and the third or fourth image in the sequence could be the most compelling (also in focus). If teams and coaches find the images useful, perhaps the sequence would be more use to them. If a team were to request them I could shoot appropriately if they wanted to use the images for analysis purposes, not only would the images get extra use but the relationship would improve as one would become integral to the working of the league.

These have been my thoughts on the comments from my perspective, some appear on re-reading a bit scrambled to be honest. Other photographers may have different views. While a good photographer sometimes needs to distance themselves from their subject to be objective, a good rapport helps to get the most from the subject, their needs and wants, as well as those of the photographers. Any form of image creation should be a two way process.


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