I asked A Boy Named Tsunami to share some of his knowledge about how a league can keep its photographers happy! You know I'm a fan of keeping your volunteers happy, and yes, photographers are definitely volunteers who cross the line into being a sponsor. I often get sick and tired of hearing "Well, they are just following their hobby, why should we care?" Art takes a lot of work folks, and if you don't reward people who work hard at it, you won't have any documentation of your bouts. Pay attention and please read the following from a photographer.
Care and Feeding of your Roller Derby Photographer:
A Boy Named Tsunami
your team is the proud owner of a new roller derby photographer.
Congratulations! Your team photographer (or videographer) makes the team
look good. It’s his* images that your town sees when it thinks of your
team in action. He works both during the bout, and then spends time
processing those photos during the week – probably as much time as you
spend at practice. His contributions help your team succeed.
why do you have to take special care of your photographer? Isn’t he
just another one of the volunteers? Well, yes and no. The photographer
straddles the line between being a volunteer and a sponsor. He
volunteers his time, AND he gives you something that has tangible (and
legal) value – his photos. He’s both volunteer and sponsor at once;
that’s why he takes special care.
On the volunteer side:
all about the relationship. As in any relationship, communication is
key. Knowing what each side’s expectations and needs are. Photographers
need appreciation, just like the refs, NSOs and all the other volunteers
who help out on bout day.
your photographer on or in touch with your bout planning committee?
Photographers need to be involved in decisions that affect them. Are you
sectioning off areas near the track for special fans? Make sure they
aren’t where the best shooting positions are. Is your new venue going to
make it impossible for him to set up his flashes? If you make it harder
for him to shoot, you’re not going to look as good in the photos. It’s
time to talk.
your photographer shoot from center track, or in other high risk zones?
It may be time for him to be insured like the skaters and the refs in
those areas. Make sure that he and your head referee are communicating
about when and where shooting from the center can happen.
your photographer get comped into bouts? Get compensated for travel to
away bouts? While things like this aren’t always necessary, it should be
something that the team considers along with all the other volunteers.
On the sponsor side:
every sponsor/team relationship, there is an agreed-upon exchange. For
instance, a local restaurant may give the team money, in exchange for ad
space. A photographer gives you photos. You not only get the enjoyment
of seeing them, but the team may also use them for advertising or other
promotion of the organization. What compensation does your photographer
get? Is it a beer and thanks at the afterparty? Is it ad space to
promote his business? Is it cash? I’ve seen examples of all of these.
Any of them could be appropriate – as long as both the photographer and
the team are in agreement.
thing to consider is the use of photos (especially in the age of
instant on-line sharing). Do you have a media agreement between your
photographer and team concerning the use of images? If not, here’s what
the law defaults to: the photographer, or any other GWAC (Guy With A
Camera) at the bout, owns the copyright to the photos that he takes. He
can: publicly display them, sell prints, and use the photos for any news
or other editorial usage online or in print. He cannot use the photos
for any business (advertising) purpose without the written consent of
the skaters in the photos. Skaters and the team can only use or
distribute the photos with the photographer’s explicit permission. If
those rules work for you, great! If not, you and your team photographer
need to sit down and talk, and come to a mutual agreement.
aren’t that hard to care for. Generally, they love the sport of roller
derby as much as everyone else in the organization, and they’re willing
to do a lot to help your team succeed. In the end, it comes down to
communication and coming to a common understanding of each side’s roles.
If you pay attention to this, your roller derby photographer should
provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment!
this post, I’m going to refer to the photographer as male, like me,
even though there are a lot of great female derby photographers!
Check out Tsunami's work!