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gunther

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Mar 3, 2004
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Good day to all. I was looking for information on a topic when I came across this website. I am looking forward to some feedback from members here about business practices. I have been photographing youth sports for about 10 years, lately I have noticed as I have been trying to expand my business, that many potential clients are getting kickbacks from the photographer for the opportunity to do the team photo's. Is this normal across the country? If this is normal, what is the rate of return to the leagues? In the past I have not offered anything extra back to the league that hires me, but it is looking like I will need to start doing this if I want to expand. Any information from past experiences with this is much needed. Thanks to all. Good day, Gunther.
 

mark

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Nov 13, 2003
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I assume you are shooting school sport teams? Or like little league teams? What are you considering to be a kickback?

What I have seen is a free team print for the coach and orders from the parents. The photog makes the money from the parents. I never thought this was a kickback. For school portraits things get rather silly and the freebies fly but the photogs make a mint off the often terribly shot portraits of their kids.
 
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gunther

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Mar 3, 2004
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mark said:
I assume you are shooting school sport teams? Or like little league teams? What are you considering to be a kickback?

What I have seen is a free team print for the coach and orders from the parents. The photog makes the money from the parents. I never thought this was a kickback. For school portraits things get rather silly and the freebies fly but the photogs make a mint off the often terribly shot portraits of their kids.

Thanks mark for the input. Yes, little league and the like. I called the local park district and the girl in charge was straight forward that they make good money off of the photographer that is doing their work for baseball and soccer teams. In the past the only freebies I gave was an 8x of karate instructors at karate school. And that was only after I was told I would not be doing any other classes unless they got freebies. I was stunned then and still bothered by all of it. I feel the parents of the children being photographed are paying higher pack prices to cover extra money back to league officials. I try to keep my prices low, but competitive with others.
 

blansky

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Mark, I think what he means is that in some cases if you want to have the opportunity to shoot the entire league, (being their official photographer) that you must kick back money or trophies or uniforms to get the contract.

When I was in LA shooting model, actor and commercial composite photographs for agents, I had to kick back.

Essentially what happened was, the agent would bullshit people into thinking that they could be a TV actor, or actor in commercails etc and tell them they needed headshots, or composites done. Then they gave the poor schmuch a list of photographers and they chose one. The photographer had to kick back to the agent a certain amount of money. This padded the income of the agent, so it was in their interest to try to sign up as many victims as possible, even if they had no chance at being an actor. Sleazy.

The problem is once this kickback thing starts it is almost impossible to stop it. There are always photographers who will undercut you and agree to kick back to someone to get the job.


Michael McBlane
 

removed account4

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gunther:

i photographed a whole little league - girls's softball, t-ball as well as harball for an entire summer. i think there were something like 80 teams in the league. i never experienced any sort of kickback scheme.

... but i did have a weird experinece with a guy who was the manager of a camera store that wanted my business. since i got a better deal at another place ( custom cropping &C for free! rather than a fee) he got his team to boycott my photos. :smile:
 
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gunther

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Mar 3, 2004
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Thanks to all who comment here. I realize that at some higher levels there are deals under the table. I don't think it should be in little league or even high school sports. I have sponsered teams in the past because my son was on a team and I wanted to. I guess I will keep looking for work in this area because it is something I enjoy doing. I realize now it's not quality of my work but how much someone else will make from my work! Good day.
 
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