A Free, but Priceless, Marketing Service for Sports Photographers

Today we have a guest blog post from Paul M. Walsh of Walsh Photo in Bennett, WI.  With 20+ years experience as a photojournalist, he specializes in editorial, sports, general assignment and aerial photography.  In 2002 he was named Ohio Newspaper Photographer of the Year by the Associated Press.  He has had images published in Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, and USA Today.

As a former daily newspaper photographer, I have been to a lot of sports picture days over the years.  I used to have 38 schools that were in my newspaper circulation area in Cleveland, Ohio.  I attended sports picture days for one reason only – to get a head shot of every varsity player and coach, as well as a team photo, with advance permission from the athletic director.

I would use these for the sports section tabloids, as well as for file photos for Player of the Week, etc.  This kind of event was a real headache for a newspaper photographer who also had to produce a newspaper every day.

This would also be a unique way to get your foot in the door with a school, and to keep a contract.  Supplying the local newspapers and TV stations with file photos of the varsity athletes is of great value to these media outlets.  It is also something that they don’t typically have time to gather and that is usually needed on a deadline.  The media outlet may also print that the photo was courtesy of “ABC Studio”.  (Free advertising!)

This is an idea that will cost you very little for expenses.  It will also build your relationships with the school athletic director and add to your contacts with the sports editors from TV stations and newspapers.

Due to your efforts, when watching the sports update on the ten o’clock news and your team is mentioned, there will a headshot of that athlete instead of a stock graphic.

photo lab tips for sports photographers

What you would need to supply is:

  • A good head shot of each athlete with the jersey and correct jersey number for that season.
  • A roster supplied by the athletic director.
  • A playing schedule for that season.
  • A team photo.
  • And possibly a few posed action shots of the top players from the team.
  • Remember to have each JPG file named with the player’s name, and the whole package should be noted that this is for EDITORIAL USE ONLY!!

This is something that no regional or national studio is going to offer.  Your competition isn’t going to think of this one.  The school will not want to lose this great service you are giving to them.  You are going to build relationships with sports editors.  A “win/win”!!

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