Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Softball: NC State Huddle

Sunday was a crazy day... The ACC Softball Championship game, senior photos for the Terrapin baseball team, and the NCAA Women's Lacrosse tournament all kicked off at 1pm. Earlier in the week I sent out a call-to-arms for DCSB shooters and writers, but my rally call fell on deaf ears. Nobody was willing to come out and cover one of the events for us, and I was forced to improvise.

Dave and I planned to cover the softball and baseball events but that left the women's lacrosse event up for grabs. It was arguably one of the most important events but I wanted to make sure that we had coverage of the softball game. The baseball seniors mattered a lot to us as well because we covered 12+ games for the Terps this season. To blow them off on their senior day would not be good...

But this post is about NC State Softball...

Before the teams were introduced Dave and I talked with an assistant coach for NC State. She asked who we shot with and if they could pick up some pictures from us. We both responded that she could, and Dave offered her our card. The tough part here is working within the confines of the DCSB while also supporting the teams. Al's position is that he doesn't want to offer photos for free to people, and I agree with that position to a certain standpoint. But I think there's a difference between offering photos for free to parents and fans vs providing photos to the teams themselves. There is clearly a difference in selling a $10 photo for private use to the parents of a player vs providing a photo to the NC State University for use in their media guide.

Right now we're young and trying to figure all of this out. Should we charge MORE to NCSU for the photo since they are an organization that plans on distributing the photo? Or should we charge LESS because our organization will get more reach and we'll get in good with NCSU? I don't know. Selling the photo is a quick win for us, but what's the long term cost? I don't know.

I've pursued software development for so long and issues like this come up often. When they arise I never have doubts in picking the correct path. Experience guides me in the right direction. But with sports photography all I have is intuition. So far my experience in sports photography has taught me that the players in this game are very different from the players in software development. They are territorial, predatory, arrogant, belligerent, and confrontational.

Can I draw upon my successful experience in software development to help me plot the right path in this confused environment? Maybe. Julie offers a lot of ideas and insight, but she also lacks experience in this domain. Both of us are software engineers and as a result we try to keep our head above water and above the fray. Will that strategy work in photography?

The nice thing about shooting huddles is that the regular sports photographers consider this beneath them and thus don't pay much attention to them. That offers me a chance to shoot something unusual that might be valuable to someone.


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