It May Not Be Monday Night Football, But... The Youth Action Sports Market

Are you interested in taking action shots of youth sports events and selling pictures on-site? It can be a great way to start earning money with photography, and the market is more accessible than you might think.

Is There A Market In Your Area?

On-site event photography can be done as a business or as a weekend hobby; either way, it's important to start out right and make sure there is a market in your area and in the sports or activities that you plan to shoot.

Before you go off and begin your investment in time and equipment, there is one thing you need to do first: market research. Just because your sister might want you to take pictures of her son playing soccer doesn't mean there is a market for the service.

To begin your research, start by talking to local league presidents or event organizers. If you don't know who to contact about doing local events, just look for advertisements and community event calendars in the local newspaper or on television. Most ads will have a phone number or website for signing up for the event. This contact may not be the event director, but the contact should at least know how to put you in contact with the right person. Once you contact the person in charge of the event, propose the idea to them.

Let them know what your prices will be and get their reaction as to whether they think your service will be a hit. If they believe it is a good idea, go ahead and get their permission to come and do some of their events. If they're not willing to commit, then they may not really think it's that good of an idea. If you can talk to parents or participants directly about your idea, even better. Their response will be valuable in determining the viability of your new business venture.

Loading and unloading the necessary equipment for doing on-site event photography and printing can be a big chore but can also provide personal satisfaction along with profits and opportunities to do more events.
All Photos © 2006, David Whitson, All Rights Reserved

Offering to give back a percentage of your on-site proceeds to the hosting organization is optional, but it's a good way to get your foot in the door and a great way to give back to the community. Ten percent is fairly common, but giving much more than this will dip into your profits.

Before jumping in, also talk to others doing on-site event photography and industry experts. If you don't know of others doing on-site event photography, search the Internet and find people who specialize in doing on-site event photography and printing to get their insight on what you are planning to do.

If you make the decision to proceed with this venture, don't offer to do the National Finals of some youth sports event as your first gig. Start with small, local league games or a small local tournament/jamboree/event. Once you get the hang of it and understand what your workflow should be, then you can begin to take on the larger events.

Once you get the commitment from the event official, there are a few things that you want to make sure that they can provide for you. First of all, make sure that they have a prime location for your booth or table setup. A prime location is one that is near the most foot traffic of your potential customers. Good locations are near a main entrance, a concession stand, or a common location such as where event times, locations, and results are posted.

Another item you'll need from the event official is assurance that you will have electricity. If they ask for requirements, a normal 15-20 amp circuit is usually sufficient to handle the devices for a small network of computers and printers.

Before you go on-site to do your first event, just make sure you've set up your network and gone through the process at home or at the office. It's important to make sure you and your team understand the workflow, because once you get on-site and you're in the last few hours of the event, all you have time to do is make, sell, and print pictures.