Photo Eidetic Shooting Kids Sports

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by dmax35, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. dmax35 macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2012
    Curious to hear some feedback about posting/sharing photos of kids playing sports or candid shots.

    Both my boys play spring soccer and I often hear parents complain about the lack of quality of action shots etc. So thinking I have the equipment to so and would be willing to post them on Smug Mug etc at no cost allowing exclusive rights to the photos.

    My question is, if I shoot let say a couple of toddlers etc playing around candidly and just happen to capture funny facial expressions etc and post them. Obviously I’m not going to go up to every parent and ask permission to do so, Am I crossing the line or violating some photographers code of ethics?
  2. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Being from the UK there might be a slightly different moral stance but if your child is there then you have every right to snap some pictures of them. I would focus on your child first and then see if there is any interest from others.

    Going the route of shooting them all and then handing round a URL might get people on edge as it seems like your trying to make a business out of it.
  3. twitch31 macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2013
    This is tricky territory even in relatively laid back Australia. For school events there is a specific request from my kids school to not post any shots online showing any kids other than our own. For non-school team sports I did post shots of other kids playing however I knew all the other parents and I put them in a password protected gallery and I took that gallery down after the season. I would not however post candid crowd shots, especially of kids.

    This is the world we live in now....
  4. Melizard macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2011
    I think the approach described by twitch is a good idea. If the gallery isn't open to the public you aren't as likely to get complaints. I think you should talk to the parents at the games, and get their contact info while you're at it. A lot of people will probably appreciate the chance to get good quality shots of their kids, but I think it would be weird to not ask first as a courtesy.
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    You are in sensitive territory. There is a difference between what you are "allowed" to do, and what people (parents) will let you do. Generally speaking (though there are exceptions) you are 'allowed' to take photos freely in public on public property. However, you are restricted from what you do with the photos.

    You have more latitude to publish photos if you are a media outlet - freedom of the press and all that. You have less latitude if you are trying to sell the photos (as you are). As well, are truly on 'public' property?

    The final consideration is what happens if someone - an anonymous 3rd party - scoops some images from SmugMug or wherever you are posting them and suddenly a parent finds their little Sam's face is being used to sell make-up in Upper Elbonia. They won't sue the make-up company - based in Lower Elbonia - they'll come after the photographer. It may not be a successful lawsuit, but it'll cost you.

    Talk to lawyer to get a sense of what the law allows in your jurisdiction. There are some very good (and free) model release templates on the web if you go looking for them. Make sure the release relates to your jurisdiction.

    So.... like others have said... keep the access to the images very limited. Get a parent's permission before you start. Be patient. Be generous. Earn their respect. If you get a really good photo of child the first time.... give the parents a small print for free as a way to introduce yourself to the parent (though make it clear this is a one time thing)! Take the team photo for free, perhaps. In order to get their free print a parent will need to contact you... and you will get their contact info. And trust.

    Once a few parents have come to trust you, they will let the other's know you are OK.

    Final thought .... figure out a distinctive (not weird, just distinctive) hat you can wear when shooting. Then when a parent sees a strange person with a camera pointed at their kid they can immediately tell it is you.

    You can be generous (as an introduction to yourself) with kid photography, because parents and grandparents will constantly want a "new" photo of the child as time goes on. Different age milestones, different sports teams. If you are "the photographer" that they trust you will get called to take those photos.

    Good Luck.

    By the way... I am not a kid/sports photographer... all of child specific advice above are my observations of how photographers (who I know) operate. The legal ramifications are the kind of knowledge any professional photographer needs to be aware of.
  6. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    Maybe I can help. I was President of a football organization here in Alberta for several years. This is how the teams under the parent organization handled it. During our registrations, we would let the parents know of a clause that was on our Registration forms. Quote: "I hereby give consent as parent or guardian of the above registered athlete to have name and or photos of said athlete published on the XXXXXX website." This was asked to be done by our parent organization to protect all of us. All teams under the umbrella did it. Different phrasing but same idea.

    We always thought that it was better to take preventative measures than have to deal with it when it is to late and someone is upset. Keeps the lawyers away in most cases.

    We were all volunteer staff for a Non Profit Assc. but still liable.
  7. dmax35 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2012
    Thanks for the feedback, the info provided is valuable and does bring up great points. As mentioned I have no plans on making any money as I have a full time job that pays well. I would grant access to parents via password protected albums and dully note if they are offended with said photo's I'll kindly delete them. I choose Smug Mug do to it's versatility and protection.

    I've spoken with the parks and rec and have been granted a official press pass to aid in any pissed off soccer mom.
  8. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    The summer camp I volunteer with (and likely most places that kids sign up for) has a similar question on the registration form, where parents must explicitly allow or deny photos of their kids to be taken for camp promotional purposes.

    At the end of each week of camp we sell USB sticks (used to be DVDs) with photos of everybody. Nobody's ever had a problem with that and we feel it is a reasonable thing to do. Many of those photos will later show up on our website, Facebook page, brochures, advertising banners, etc.

    Every once in a while we will have a parent who signs "NO" to the form, and we respectfully and carefully ensure that the child in question does not appear in photographs. You never know why people might not want this, it could range from simple discomfort, or FUD, or real issues like domestic issues (mother takes child away from abusive father, father vows to hunt them down -- you wouldn't want him to find the child via the picture you just posted).
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Sounds like you have things well in hand. Take the time to introduce yourself to the parents, with the official press pass in hand. My experience with parents is that they are wonderful people once they've had a chance to meet you.

    I would suggest not 'giving' your photos away (except for the initial intros or promo) simply because people tend to not respect 'freebies' - and the people who give them away. Even a nominal fee will give you much more respect in their eyes. Also, very quickly you will realize that you need to upgrade your equipment. It doesn't matter what you currently have, the nature of photography simply demands that when you start a new project you need new kit. It's a kind of photonic law. ;) Even a nominal fee will help pay for the new stuff.

    Even if you are not charging money, understand that you may still be bound by the restrictions of 'commercial use'. For instance, you can not use any images to promote yourself (or a gallery show) without permission. I know that this example may not be applicable, but it does illustrate some pitfalls. If you decide to have an "art show" using some of the images.... perhaps the cafe across the street wants to hang some of the images for a couple of weeks. As "art" you probably don't need the parents' permission to use the images that are hanging on the wall (children may be treated differently under the law, though - so don't take this as legal advice.) However, you must have permission to use any of those images on a rack card or website promoting the art show since at that point they are no longer "art" and have become "commercial" since they now 'promoting' the show.

    I don't mean to keep throwing water on your idea.... I think it is great you want to do this. Just be cautious with the images, and what you do with them.
  10. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    You're the parent of two toddlers. You are taking a look around Flickr and you come across a picture of them taken in your local park by someone you don't know. Your reaction is...

    As the photographer, that's the reaction you will be confronting.

    My advice would be to take photos of your own kids' soccer team and email the parents of the other team members (1024 x 768 or less). Don't post them online. Don't muck around with passwords and galleries - people just want to see a few shots of their own kid. Alternatively (or additionally), make a photobook using the high res originals for the parents at the end of the season.
  11. admwright macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2008
    One other thing to think about. If you speak to the other parents and get two or three saying they do not want you photographing their children it is going to get really tricky taking shots that do not include their child unless you can take tight shots only of your child.
  12. kirsch92 macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2009
    I would second the advice to talk to the parents and give them an idea of what you want to do.

    My son has been on the same soccer team for a few years, and the parents have become pretty close knit.
    One mother is a professional photgrapher. She and her husband shoot every game they can with two cameras (he shoots video at times).

    At the end of the season when we have the team party, they have a slideshow of all the best shots.
    Eveyone gets a DVD with the "best of", the Team Movie, as well as a folder containing every shot their kid is in, in full res, no charge.

    Nothing goes online, and we all love it. None of the rest of us even bring cameras anymore...
  13. arogge macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2002
    Yes, you should not give away all rights to your work for nothing. Parents want more quality, and if you can deliver more quality, you should get paid.


    It would be either:

    That sucks. What else?

    Good photo! How do I buy a copy of this photo?

    I've come across this problem several times myself, when I've found a photo of me that I wanted a copy of, but the amateur didn't have a sales ability and didn't leave a contact address. It's all about "sharing" low-resolution copies but not selling, and that's how to lose money when a buyer is interested.
  14. Resin macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2013
    I believe the word you're looking for is etiquette, not eidetic.
  15. dmax35 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2012
    It started out that way. My fat finger spell checker changed it.
  16. twitch31 macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2013
    I certainly don't feel this way, I'm sure it's a cultural thing but it would be considered extremely rude here to ask or expect any sort of payment from parents with kids in the same sports teams as our kids. I would far rather be known as a generous person that can take a decent photo than to try and squeeze a couple of bucks from friends.
  17. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I think it depends. If the photographer is only shooting at events where their own child is playing. If the photographer is not spending too much time taking photos of the team that they would not have otherwise taken. If the photographer is not spending too much time in post production. In other words... if the photographer was there anyway, and takes a few snapshots of the team playing... but essentially gets to watch and enjoy their own child playing and if they are not taking anytime away from their own family at home to process the photos that they took... then perhaps charging other parents is not appropriate.

    But... if this parent starts acting like a professional photographer then they need to charge. If they end up missing some of their own child's plays in order to get a shot of another child. If they end up spending hours on the computer at home processing the shots. If the other parents are expecting and/or asking for particular shots. If this parent starts printing onto paper (at their expense) shots for parents. If they end up digging through older folders of images to find a particular shot that a parent didn't want last year, but now wants. In this case they need to start charging. To be 'generous' they could charge a nominal fee that is far less than a non-parent professional might charge to the other parents. Or they could do the team photos, etc etc.

    It really depends on how much time, effort, and materials this parent is spending. And how much fun it is. At some point the expectations of the other parents might take all the fun out of it, leaving the stress of deadlines and missed shots.
  18. MCH-1138, Apr 15, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013

    MCH-1138 macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2013
    Need, could, or should?

    I think I understand what you are saying, and generally agree that one could charge for his or her work, especially if the group's expectation is that he or she will be "the photographer" and will perform as if hired to shoot the event. But that doesn't mean that one needs to do so.

    Another solution for missing your kid's great play or spending too much time on post-processing or worrying about deadlines is to refocus priorities. In other words, if you haven't been hired to be "the photographer," it is perfectly okay to just enjoy the game and maybe grab a great shot when you can.

    But even if you are going to be "the photographer," whether or not you want to charge is -- it seems to me -- an individual decision.
  19. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    .... Should .... :)
  20. arogge macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2002
    Unfortunately, unlimited generosity doesn't pay the bills in a monetary economy. I think the rude thing to do is when parents demand photos for free, and they want them immediately, and can you blow up this one and make that one lighter and can you crop out this person and can you just e-mail those to me tonight and thanks you. :confused:

    There's a big difference in cost between point-and-shooting for personal consumption and doing photography for a whole team while having a public expectation of consistent quality.
  21. dmax35 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2012
    When and if they get that way, I'll explain to them to go suck pond water and shoot thier own dang photo's.

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