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Anyone Shoot Gymnastics Meets?
Old 10-06-2005, 09:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I am being tapped to shoot a gymnastics meet. The idea is to get the following shots:

1. Formal team photo for the host team.
2. Action shots of any and all the gymnasts during events.

I will be selling photo packages in various configurations of the above.

HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS:

1. They have asked if I will be charging the organizers of the event a general fee to shoot the event in addition to the money I make on the packages. Is it customary to charge a fee like that? If so, how much? (I'm leaning away from this - although it would be nice to have a guaranteed income level).

2. Any advice from experience that can help?

Greg

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Re: Anyone Shoot Gymnastics Meets?
Old 10-06-2005, 09:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Greg,

Sometimes, I'll put in the contract that the organizers book me w/a retainer of $xxx. Once my sales exceed that number, I refund the money.

Mike
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Re: Anyone Shoot Gymnastics Meets?
Old 10-06-2005, 09:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I was a gymnast for 10 years. My best advice for you is to watch gymnastics on tv and try to learn some of the movements so you know the best times to take the shots. Most of the pictures I have from gymnastics are on the beam since movements on that apparatus are generally slower and easier to photograph. Hope that helps.

Erin

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Re: Anyone Shoot Gymnastics Meets?
Old 10-06-2005, 10:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hello Greg,

Things have evidently changed since I photographed meets a few years ago. In this market anyhow, we had to pay the organizers a fixed fee to let us do the photography or give them a percentage of sales.

As far as advice for shooting I will give you what advice I can. Remember this is from shooting about three years ago so some things have changed.

1. Get a fast and long lens. (I once had to use a 50mm 1.4 wide open at iso 800 the gym was so dark)
2. Get a body that has low noise up to 800iso. (I am assuming you are shooting digital)
3. Get a monopod. (I never tried with an IS lens so that may be a better alternative)
4. Get the fastest cards for your camera.

When shooting gymnastics you are not allowed to use flash so everything has to be done with available light and most of the venues we shot these meets in were poor. When I was shooting I was using a D30. Bad autofocus, terrible noise at 800iso and above. I might actually consider shooting them again with my 20D or especially if purchasing a 5D.

For ladies I found the balance beam to be the best event to shoot. The D30 autofocus was too lousy in those low light levels to shoot floor routines. I was able to get some decent shots on the parallel bars by focusing on a fixed position and just shooting when they reached that position. But I was shooting a 70-200mm zoom typically zoomed out to 200mm and wide open to 2.8 so the depth of field was non-existant. On the balance beam I was able to actually focus on the gymnast and get some good shots.

For guys, I found the rings and the horse to be the best events. The head stays in pretty much the same area most of the time so if you get focused there you can get some good shots. The rings are also good since they are in the same plane through a lot of the exercise.

Whether shoot ladies or men, after they finish the event there is almost always a handshake or a hug with the coach. GET THAT SHOT!

I tried two different methods for previewing the images at the event. I networked a few desktops and let people look at the images on those and I printed wallet size images on a sheet for each gymnast. I can't really say one way was better than another.

I received a schedule before shooting that listed all of the gymnasts and what order they were going in each event. I positioned myself at a good spot for the event I was photographing and I used smalle notepad to write down the name of the gymnast and the starting image number. When I filled up a card I would raise my hand and my son would run over and get the card and take it back to my wife who downloaded it into the computer and entered the gymnasts name and starting and ending numbers. The computer then either moved the image to a shared directory and built a web page for the kiosk computers or printed a proof page for the gymnast depending on how we were running things at that event.

Hopefully some of that is of use to you. If you have any questions let me know and I will be happy to try to help.
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Re: Anyone Shoot Gymnastics Meets?
Old 10-06-2005, 11:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Here's a website of someone that shoots this type of event regularly. http://www.digitalmagicphoto.com/ My daughter was in Gymnastics and the advice you're getting in here is great. You may have to go to the view photos section to see some typical shots.

Some of the best shots come from the floor event and beam. The floor does require a fast frame rate but the results are usually better because of the better backgrounds or lack thereof. (see the backgrounds on the beam to understand)

You're workflow has to be perfect (fast) if you're selling at the event to maximize your revenue. Also, posting to a website for ordering is important for all the family that is remote but wants to order pictures.

Good Luck,
LSC [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: Anyone Shoot Gymnastics Meets?
Old 10-06-2005, 03:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Greg,
What Mike and Daryl said is right on the money. I shoot a lot of gymnastics and I also am the photographer for On Tour Dance Challenge. Both gymnastics and competition dance are shot with available light so you will want a fast lens. My suggestion is to see if you can shoot some of their pratice sessions. Than way you can get an idea of the routines and see what your timeing is going to have to be. It takes a little pratice.

By the way I give them a percentage of what I make. The owners then push sales for you to the parents.

Terry
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The next guy will pay
Old 10-06-2005, 04:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ditto above statements, the only time I charge a promoter a fee to photograph an event is when the promoter asks for a photographer to ‚Äúcover‚Ä? the event and the promoter receives images via print or CD or a whole book for the fee they pay me.
Most of the time I pay the promoter a % of my sales.
Sometimes I can negotiate coverage images for the promoter instead of a % of the money I collect.

If you do collect a fee from the promoter, be sure they receive something for their $, minimum a really great print from the event with your name on it. Cause the next photographer will.

ddc
 
 
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