Sports Photography Marketing; Actions, Products, Portraits, And More Page 2

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SB: Describe the image library work you do; it sounds like a good market in this area of photography.

AB: We shoot a preselected set of scenarios for our sports clients. Then the client can edit “X” number of images from the shoot overall as part of the budget, and opt to add more images in the future with a pre-negotiated rate of “Y” dollars per image. The primary difference in this type of assignment is that we don’t have a specific use for the images in mind while they are being shot—we shoot knowing that they will be adapted to many different things by the client.

SB: What marketing tactics are you using to find clients for this type of work?

AB: Our current marketing plan is pretty intense. It includes direct mail postcards, e-blasts with ADBASE Inc., and portfolio sites at Workbook online, Creative Hotlist, and AtEdge. We are also listed in the trade group “find-a-photographer” pages at American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and Editorial Photographers (EP). We have advertising sourcebook pages with AtEdge and Workbook; a fan page at Facebook; and our own website,

Our rep, Robin Krasner at iGroup (, has been sending out a press kit and a promo-zine as well as making sales calls, showing the book, and networking. The promo-zine, Renaissance 1, is a quarterly periodical our rep sends to creative directors and art directors around the country.

SB: How do you feel about personal marketing in this area of photography?

AB: Personal marketing—e.g., in person contact with our client base—continues to be the most important part of our marketing efforts. From portfolio visits to social networking, we find the ability to put faces to names and meet the voices from the phone invaluable.

We’ve recently participated in two AtEdge sponsored mixers—an opportunity to meet art buyers and art directors one-on-one, in a friendly cocktail party atmosphere. We also participated in the Month of Photography in Los Angeles’ (MOPLA) portfolio “speed dating” session—both events were a great opportunity to meet and talk to potential clients.

SB: Which marketing tactics are giving the best return on your investment these days?

AB: Last year the e-blasts worked great but this year the “click through” numbers have been down, partially because of the churn in the client base, and partially because it’s the least expensive way to advertise, so many photographers are doing it. With the many layoffs that are happening, there are a lot more returned e-mails, and those who do get the e-blasts are less inclined to open them since they are getting an overwhelming amount each day. What seems to be working best right now are the press kits and the promo-zine, both are “big” pieces of mail. Plus portfolio visits, either by Robin or by Therese and me—this technique always works.

SB: What recommendations would you make to a photographer looking to make a career move into this area of the photography business?

AB: Understand the difference between shooting news/documentary images for a publication like Sports Illustrated and shooting commercial projects for a company like Nike—they are not mutually exclusive, but the goals and methodologies are different.

Like any area of photography, set goals, do your research, and figure who is going to pay you to do what you want to do.

Find your own voice. I’m not saying you can’t make money shooting what everyone else does, the same way they do it—just that I think if you want to show yourself to the world you need to be unique in some way.

Author’s Note:
This is only a partial list but for more information on this field of photography check out the following websites:,, and Also be sure to read Sports Photography: How to Capture Action and Emotion by Peter Skinner.

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