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Old Mar-23-2012, 12:23 PM
#1
MikeAldrich is offline MikeAldrich OP
Major grins
HS Baseball/Maxpreps questions
So, I recently have been referred to Maxpreps by one of my friends who photographs sports up north. He doesn't shoot for the company himself, but several of his friends do. I looked into them and got accepted as a photographer but haven't taken it any further yet. It's been several years since I have shot any sports and most of my experience is in ice hockey and youth sports.

I was wondering if anyone here shoots for Maxpreps, I know some of you do, but I was hoping to get some of your thoughts on them. I've seen some negative feedback about their standards of sharpness and such on other threads, but I'm guessing there must be some positive feedback as well.

I was mostly interested in shooting for Maxpreps cause they are a legit reason for being there and photographing the games. But really, what's the difference between me shooting for them and me going out and shooting for myself and selling on my own website?

Either way, I really want to get out and start shooting sports again. Right now it seems like baseball is the sport to shoot. I have little experience shooting baseball and the stuff I have done is little league, not high school. I'm guessing there is a considerable difference. I'm hoping to get some advice on how to approach shooting games.

First off, is it cool to just show up and shoot? Or do I have to get permission first? Is someone gonna question why I'm there, and if they do, what do I tell em? This is where Maxpreps seemed appealing cause they eventually give you creds and a shirt and stuff. Being a high school sport, are there rules to shooting? Do you have to shoot from designated area's?

These are just some of my concerns and I would really appreiciate any advice, thanks in advance.

-Mike
__________________
“The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.” -Demetri Martin

http://www.shuttershockphotobooth.com/
Old Mar-23-2012, 07:02 PM
#2
pipster is offline pipster
Big grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeAldrich View Post
So, I recently have been referred to Maxpreps by one of my friends who photographs sports up north. He doesn't shoot for the company himself, but several of his friends do. I looked into them and got accepted as a photographer but haven't taken it any further yet. It's been several years since I have shot any sports and most of my experience is in ice hockey and youth sports.

I was wondering if anyone here shoots for Maxpreps, I know some of you do, but I was hoping to get some of your thoughts on them. I've seen some negative feedback about their standards of sharpness and such on other threads, but I'm guessing there must be some positive feedback as well.

I was mostly interested in shooting for Maxpreps cause they are a legit reason for being there and photographing the games. But really, what's the difference between me shooting for them and me going out and shooting for myself and selling on my own website?

Either way, I really want to get out and start shooting sports again. Right now it seems like baseball is the sport to shoot. I have little experience shooting baseball and the stuff I have done is little league, not high school. I'm guessing there is a considerable difference. I'm hoping to get some advice on how to approach shooting games.

First off, is it cool to just show up and shoot? Or do I have to get permission first? Is someone gonna question why I'm there, and if they do, what do I tell em? This is where Maxpreps seemed appealing cause they eventually give you creds and a shirt and stuff. Being a high school sport, are there rules to shooting? Do you have to shoot from designated area's?

These are just some of my concerns and I would really appreiciate any advice, thanks in advance.

-Mike
Below are the Maxpreps rules. The rules might be bent on the numbers. Another exception is the one that says they have to be shot in large-fine, you can shoot RAW and convert to JPEG. The rest are set in stone.

There are four main differences between shooting for yourself and Maxpreps.

1. You can set the prices on your website and Maxpreps sets the prices on their site.

2. With Maxpreps you can get credentials which may help you to get in certain venues that you could not get in by yourself.

3. On your site you can get away with any crop dimensions you want and Maxpreps requires 1600x2166 pixels.

4. You can put photos on your site that do not meet the the Maxpreps rules.

If you shoot and post process to Maxpreps requirements then you can have a second revenue stream other than what you get from your site.

Since you will be shooting high school games it would be a good idea to get in touch with the Athletic Director to see if they have any rules regarding photographers. Some schools have pretty strict rules and some do not and some will not let you take photos that you plan on selling. Depending on the venue you may not need any permission. Just common sense to shoot the game and not be part of the game. Always remember that you are working and not a fan. Never question a umpire/referee's call.

The two main differences between youth baseball and high school baseball are the size of the field and the speed of the ball/players.

The focal length of your lens will be the determining factor on what and where you can shoot from. You want to shoot tight and crop tighter.

There may be areas that a photographer can or cannot be. If you plan on shooting from the dugout you probably need to get the coaches permission to be there. If you are on the field then you will at least need to get the Umpires permission. They have to determine what to do if the ball hits you or you get in the way of a player.

Make sure you have insurance.

Photo Gallery Rules
High-quality images only!
  • Must have 25 images to post a gallery.
  • Maximum of 200 images for regular season galleries.
  • No red-eye images.
  • No dark images.
  • No grainy images.
  • No oversharpened images.
  • No out-of-focus images.
  • No black and white images.
  • No excessive noise reduction.
  • No washed out images.
  • Images must be shot at large-fine.
  • Must crop and size all images for print processing.
Old Mar-23-2012, 07:10 PM
#3
JimKarczewski is offline JimKarczewski
Major grins
I shot for them for about oh.. 4 games and gave up on their stupid ass rules. Cropping was the biggest PITA for me...
__________________
Jim Karczewski - http://www.jimkarczewski.com
Old Mar-24-2012, 07:30 AM
#4
MikeAldrich is offline MikeAldrich OP
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by pipster View Post
Below are the Maxpreps rules. The rules might be bent on the numbers. Another exception is the one that says they have to be shot in large-fine, you can shoot RAW and convert to JPEG. The rest are set in stone.

There are four main differences between shooting for yourself and Maxpreps.

1. You can set the prices on your website and Maxpreps sets the prices on their site.

2. With Maxpreps you can get credentials which may help you to get in certain venues that you could not get in by yourself.

3. On your site you can get away with any crop dimensions you want and Maxpreps requires 1600x2166 pixels.

4. You can put photos on your site that do not meet the the Maxpreps rules.

If you shoot and post process to Maxpreps requirements then you can have a second revenue stream other than what you get from your site.

Since you will be shooting high school games it would be a good idea to get in touch with the Athletic Director to see if they have any rules regarding photographers. Some schools have pretty strict rules and some do not and some will not let you take photos that you plan on selling. Depending on the venue you may not need any permission. Just common sense to shoot the game and not be part of the game. Always remember that you are working and not a fan. Never question a umpire/referee's call.

The two main differences between youth baseball and high school baseball are the size of the field and the speed of the ball/players.

The focal length of your lens will be the determining factor on what and where you can shoot from. You want to shoot tight and crop tighter.

There may be areas that a photographer can or cannot be. If you plan on shooting from the dugout you probably need to get the coaches permission to be there. If you are on the field then you will at least need to get the Umpires permission. They have to determine what to do if the ball hits you or you get in the way of a player.

Make sure you have insurance.

Photo Gallery Rules
High-quality images only!
  • Must have 25 images to post a gallery.
  • Maximum of 200 images for regular season galleries.
  • No red-eye images.
  • No dark images.
  • No grainy images.
  • No oversharpened images.
  • No out-of-focus images.
  • No black and white images.
  • No excessive noise reduction.
  • No washed out images.
  • Images must be shot at large-fine.
  • Must crop and size all images for print processing.
Thanks for the reply Pipster, good information. I think I will try to make contact before heading over to shoot. My best 2 lens are 300 F4 and 70-200 F2.8, would these be long enough to shoot from the dugouts?
__________________
“The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.” -Demetri Martin

http://www.shuttershockphotobooth.com/
Old Mar-24-2012, 07:32 AM
#5
MikeAldrich is offline MikeAldrich OP
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimKarczewski View Post
I shot for them for about oh.. 4 games and gave up on their stupid ass rules. Cropping was the biggest PITA for me...
Thanks for your reply Jim, I haven't even looked into their cropping rules yet, but I did notice they were very specific.
__________________
“The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.” -Demetri Martin

http://www.shuttershockphotobooth.com/
Old Mar-24-2012, 08:32 AM
#6
JimKarczewski is offline JimKarczewski
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeAldrich View Post
Thanks for your reply Jim, I haven't even looked into their cropping rules yet, but I did notice they were very specific.
Not only that, they zoom in too 100% on your images and if they don't see ABSOLUTE perfection, they will tell you to start removing images. They are obsessive, to a fault IMHO considering parents don't really care if there is slight movement in an image, have they seen parents crap??????
__________________
Jim Karczewski - http://www.jimkarczewski.com
Old Mar-24-2012, 09:13 AM
#7
MikeAldrich is offline MikeAldrich OP
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimKarczewski View Post
Not only that, they zoom in too 100% on your images and if they don't see ABSOLUTE perfection, they will tell you to start removing images. They are obsessive, to a fault IMHO considering parents don't really care if there is slight movement in an image, have they seen parents crap??????
Oh man, well, I think I may give em a try anyway, just for the experience. I will certainly prepare myself for your "I told ya so's" though . My main reason is just so I can get my foot in the door of HS sports. I feel like it I approached a team backed by Maxpreps, I would have a better chance of getting permission than if I went at it alone. It's really just a starting point for me.
__________________
“The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.” -Demetri Martin

http://www.shuttershockphotobooth.com/
Old Mar-24-2012, 12:41 PM
#8
pipster is offline pipster
Big grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeAldrich View Post
Thanks for the reply Pipster, good information. I think I will try to make contact before heading over to shoot. My best 2 lens are 300 F4 and 70-200 F2.8, would these be long enough to shoot from the dugouts?
Those two lenses will work from the dugout when shooting the infield. All baseball fields and the dugouts are not the same. If you could only take one lens I would recommend the 300. I shoot baseball with a 500 and do not feel like I am missing anything. Granted I am not in the dugout but instead I am out past the 1st or 3rd base bags except when I am shooting the pitchers from behind home plate during the warm ups or through the fence during play.
Old Mar-25-2012, 10:30 AM
#9
MikeAldrich is offline MikeAldrich OP
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by pipster View Post
Those two lenses will work from the dugout when shooting the infield. All baseball fields and the dugouts are not the same. If you could only take one lens I would recommend the 300. I shoot baseball with a 500 and do not feel like I am missing anything. Granted I am not in the dugout but instead I am out past the 1st or 3rd base bags except when I am shooting the pitchers from behind home plate during the warm ups or through the fence during play.
Thanks again Pipster, I appreciate the feedeback.
__________________
“The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.” -Demetri Martin

http://www.shuttershockphotobooth.com/
Old Apr-06-2012, 12:05 PM
#10
r9jackson is offline r9jackson
Major grins
r9jackson's Avatar
More about MaxPreps
Mike,
Pipster and the others have summarized how MaxPreps works quite well. They have a very high bar for photo quality standards and some don't agree with them. However, when I talk to people in the sports photography industry and from coaches and parents they all say how professional the photos are. I have had more than my share of photos rejected and it frustrates me mostly because I did not catch the problem before posting or that I knew the photo was a second tier quality.
If you want to be among the best of high school sports shooters you will be well served by being a part of MaxPreps. What some of the forum posts don't mention is the role MaxPreps plays in lobbying state sports authorities on supporting premier quality photos of their high school athletes. Several states have now adopted formal relationships with MaxPreps and that will gender respect and recognition for those of us who shoot for MaxPreps and even those who do not that aspire to producing quality sports photographs. Because of the relationship in Arizona I see that most of the coaches have heard of MaxPreps and that helps me generate sales on both my site and MaxPreps site.
__________________
Randy

SmugMug: www.randyjacksonimages.com
Email: randyjacksonimages@cox.net
Photography Blog: http://randyonphotography.com
Old Apr-07-2012, 05:23 AM
#11
perroneford is offline perroneford
Major grins
I tried to join MaxPreps a few months ago on a lark. Went through the online forms and got to the last page and saw they wanted samples. I was sitting in my office at the time and not in front of lightroom. So i grabbed some images off my webpage and submitted them.

I got a rejection letter the next day saying that some of my images "were not sharp". They said I could re-submit. I just laughed and went on my way. Seems like a good idea for some to pursue, but I don't shoot many HS sports unless I am on contract.
Old Apr-08-2012, 09:26 AM
#12
MikeAldrich is offline MikeAldrich OP
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by r9jackson View Post
Mike,
Pipster and the others have summarized how MaxPreps works quite well. They have a very high bar for photo quality standards and some don't agree with them. However, when I talk to people in the sports photography industry and from coaches and parents they all say how professional the photos are. I have had more than my share of photos rejected and it frustrates me mostly because I did not catch the problem before posting or that I knew the photo was a second tier quality.
If you want to be among the best of high school sports shooters you will be well served by being a part of MaxPreps. What some of the forum posts don't mention is the role MaxPreps plays in lobbying state sports authorities on supporting premier quality photos of their high school athletes. Several states have now adopted formal relationships with MaxPreps and that will gender respect and recognition for those of us who shoot for MaxPreps and even those who do not that aspire to producing quality sports photographs. Because of the relationship in Arizona I see that most of the coaches have heard of MaxPreps and that helps me generate sales on both my site and MaxPreps site.
Thanks for the reply Randy. I'm defiantly excited to get out and start shooting for Maxpreps, though I haven't had the opportunity to do do yet. I contacted a few Athletic Director's via email at some of the local high schools, but i haven't heard back from anyone. Any advice for what to do in this situation, I think I may feel somewhat awkward just showing up at a game unannounced to shoot. Should I try contacting the coach's?

I'm not sure how well known Maxpreps is around here. All the local schools are in the Maxpreps database and they have homepages there with scores and such posted, so it seems as though someone is updating. They have no photo galleries listed, so there seems to be a good opportunity there get my foot in the door.

I also noticed that the season is wrapping up really soon, so I may have to wait for fall sports before I can get out there.

As far as the photos you take at games, you mentioned generating sales on your site as well as Maxpreps, do you post on your photos on your own site as well?
__________________
“The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.” -Demetri Martin

http://www.shuttershockphotobooth.com/
Old Apr-08-2012, 09:32 AM
#13
MikeAldrich is offline MikeAldrich OP
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by perroneford View Post
I tried to join MaxPreps a few months ago on a lark. Went through the online forms and got to the last page and saw they wanted samples. I was sitting in my office at the time and not in front of lightroom. So i grabbed some images off my webpage and submitted them.

I got a rejection letter the next day saying that some of my images "were not sharp". They said I could re-submit. I just laughed and went on my way. Seems like a good idea for some to pursue, but I don't shoot many HS sports unless I am on contract.
I can't believe you got rejected, I just checked out your site and your images are awesome. I guess the standard of quality at Maxpreps concerns me a bit, I'm hoping it will just make me try harder to get better images.

Where are you located in FL?
__________________
“The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.” -Demetri Martin

http://www.shuttershockphotobooth.com/
Old Apr-08-2012, 09:13 PM
#14
perroneford is offline perroneford
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeAldrich View Post
I can't believe you got rejected, I just checked out your site and your images are awesome. I guess the standard of quality at Maxpreps concerns me a bit, I'm hoping it will just make me try harder to get better images.
LOL. Like I said, I wasn't too concerned. The standard at MaxPreps isn't all that high. I could have resubmitted images, but just wasn't all that concerned.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeAldrich View Post
Where are you located in FL?
Tallahassee. I cover several FSU sports.
Old Apr-09-2012, 04:01 AM
#15
johng is offline johng
Sports Shooter
To the OP: In some states, a partnership with maxpreps is very beneficial because they really are imbedded. In other states, it really provides no benefit. For example, in north east Ohio where I live, schools are listed on maxpreps but people don't really know about them. I spoke to them about a partnership a couple years back, but I contacted another shooter that had signed up with them and maxpreps wasn't helping his business any. I've heard similar things from shooters in other states - some places it's a big help and others it's not. In my case, I decided a partnership wasn't going to gain me anything so there wasn't much point. Florida may be different though.
Old Apr-09-2012, 08:51 AM
#16
JimKarczewski is offline JimKarczewski
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by johng View Post
To the OP: In some states, a partnership with maxpreps is very beneficial because they really are imbedded. In other states, it really provides no benefit. For example, in north east Ohio where I live, schools are listed on maxpreps but people don't really know about them. I spoke to them about a partnership a couple years back, but I contacted another shooter that had signed up with them and maxpreps wasn't helping his business any. I've heard similar things from shooters in other states - some places it's a big help and others it's not. In my case, I decided a partnership wasn't going to gain me anything so there wasn't much point. Florida may be different though.
Indiana is also one of those states they care less about. Yes, they have an "agreement" with the IHSAA but nobody, at least here in NW Indiana, knows about them.
__________________
Jim Karczewski - http://www.jimkarczewski.com
Old Apr-09-2012, 08:52 AM
#17
HotShotsPhotog is offline HotShotsPhotog
Beginner grinner
Mike, I am new to this forum so take this for what it is worth. I have a personal site as well as my shooting for MaxPreps. I have had a personal site for 5 years and started with MaxPreps a few years ago. I feel MaxPreps is a beneficial asset, however I primarily shoot for my site and customers yet also upload some but not all qualifying events to MaxPreps. They have a further reach and recognition, this helps.

One thing to keep in mind in that shooting for MaxPreps will make you a better shooter IMO. I catch myself not keeping quite as many images any more. One thing to keep in mind is that MaxPreps requires any indoor event to be strobed, even with low noise high ISO cameras. I use a D3 and D700 which have good low noise qualities, however they are still not good enough. Night events, friday night Football also must be strobed, even under the lights. This one I have not been able to do. I just do not feel comfortable popping a strobe on the sideline of a football game. Many very good photogs do with great success, however I prefer the higher ISO settings with a f2.8 lens and just post them on my personal site.

The cropping issue isn't so bad. I crop to a ratio of 1 x 1.354 in LTR 4 then create an action in CS5 to resize the image via the proper pixel count. One set for landscape orientation another for portartait. I only do this for the MaxPreps images it reduces the overall file size and thus the image quality for anything over an 8 x 10. I am told the reason being files are more manageable at this size and the sales are within those guidelines. Every image submitted is reviewed by their people untill you are a longtime regular shooter who they trust. The ratio is to allow for automatic cropping of the customers final images without removing any critical areas. This ratio seems t be the best for varying images sizes, it is explained better on their site.

Continue to pursue MaxPreps, it can't hurt.
Old Apr-09-2012, 11:11 AM
#18
perroneford is offline perroneford
Major grins
@HotShotsPhotog

Thank you for this post. And this leads me to yet ANOTHER reason why I am glad I didn't bother with MaxPreps. A great proportion of the games I shoot are night games. Softball, soccer, etc. And MANY are indoor, including volleyball. The governing body of Florida High School sports simply DOES NOT ALLOW strobes in these sports. Even at the college level the NCAA, various conferences, and even some venues will not allow even placed strobes (ceiling, etc.) to be used during competition. I am currently in negotiations with Florida State to put strobes in their volleyball facility. You wouldn't believe what you have to go through. I am shooting women's HS softball on contract this season. When I inquired about using strobes for games, that went up the chain and came back "no way".

MaxPreps is in a tough spot. They have to place standards up so as not to be inundated by every Joe with a 20D or a D3000 and a 3.5-5.6 zoom lens trying to take shots through the fence. Fair enough. But when a pro, or semi-pro, is shooting night or indoor on a D700, D3s, 7D, or 1DMk4 with fast glass, I think some allowances need to be made.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the same set of my photos that MaxPreps rejected, got me accepted into the Sports Shooters Academy. So what does that tell you?
Old Apr-10-2012, 05:26 AM
#19
HotShotsPhotog is offline HotShotsPhotog
Beginner grinner
The topic of strobe use in sports is a good subject for another thread but I am afraid it is a topic that has been bounced around on several sports shooter forums. You have to decide if it is worth it for you as a photographer. You as a professional or advanced amatuer must be able to offer the consumer something they cannot attain themselves as perroneford stated, the through the fence shooter, or sideline moms and dads wih their iphone. The problem I see is that given the economy quite a few parents are happy with the free ipone pic of there son or daughter from 100' away rather than one taken by a pro with a D3 and a 400 f2.8, or maybe its just me.

www.hotshotsbyroger.com
Old Apr-13-2012, 12:28 PM
#20
MikeAldrich is offline MikeAldrich OP
Major grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by HotShotsPhotog View Post
The topic of strobe use in sports is a good subject for another thread but I am afraid it is a topic that has been bounced around on several sports shooter forums. You have to decide if it is worth it for you as a photographer. You as a professional or advanced amatuer must be able to offer the consumer something they cannot attain themselves as perroneford stated, the through the fence shooter, or sideline moms and dads wih their iphone. The problem I see is that given the economy quite a few parents are happy with the free ipone pic of there son or daughter from 100' away rather than one taken by a pro with a D3 and a 400 f2.8, or maybe its just me.

www.hotshotsbyroger.com

Thanks for the reply Roger. I agree that with the age of cheaper quality digital camera's, parents are making it a bit tougher to make a living shooting youth sports. I don't have strobes, so I mostly concentrate on outdoor events. I've never shot basketball and figure skating and gymnastics don't allow any sort of flash at all. Strobing football is new to me, I have to admit. I'd be quite nervous about my lights. I used to strobe ice hockey games a few years back when working for another company back up north. For the most part the lights were safely outta the way, but it seems like they would be quite vulnerable on the football field. The only issue I ever had shootin hockey was players or coaches complaining due to the flashes. I've even had coaches unplug the lights on me while shooting. Fortunately, we were contracted to the events so the coaches had to comply or were asked to leave. It's an unfortunate situation cause I can understand were they are coming from.
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