Monday, September 5, 2011

The Monday Poll: Photogs Gone Wild

In a very special The Monday Poll VFTD examines the troubling rise in belligerence amongst photographers of tournament paintball. Case in point: the angry thread in the NPPL forum over at ***, oops, I meant PBN. (VFTD doesn't have a policy of denying the existence of certain other paintball-related websites.) It seems that someone within the NPPL hierarchy modified their league policy with respect to so-called media. In this case, photogs. Part of the problem seems to have arisen when the changes in policy were dictated to a seven year old for dissemination on the league's website. Or wherever.
The larger issue seems to be that the league has scaled their media pass fees in accordance with whether or not the photogs in question make their photos available to the league. (Apparently.) Hordes of angry photogs have gathered their metaphoric pitchforks and are gathering around the metaphoric curtain walls of castle NPPL--along with their torches--they present quite a metaphoric sight. [Enough already.] (Sorry about that. Got carried away. Not literally. Or metaphorically even, but you know ...) Given that VFTD recently raised the issue of vanity photography at tournaments I couldn't let this pass without some comment.

So here it is: Right now all the "professional" photogs at events are cutting their own throats competing with each other for the attention (and cash payments) of mostly a bunch of broke ass kids. Which is their right. (But if they intentionally "under"-value their own work why so upset when the league does the same thing?) If however the league was to limit the number of photogs allowed at any event that scarcity would do a couple of things; keep everyone from tripping over hordes of photogs and increase the value of the ones who are there. Which might be a win, win sort of situation.
It also seems to me that in general the raging photogs are confusing their interest in signing up teams willing to pay for pictures with the general promotion of paintball much less the promotion of the league everyone is participating in during such an event. If 100 photographers take a combined 50,000 photos of an event is the promotional value greater than if 5 photographers take 100 pictures each? Suffice to say it's a weak argument. (And, no, the aesthetic value of the photographs isn't particularly relevant. I know, it's a sad indictment of our culture & times but true nonetheless.)

What's your view? Check out this week's The Monday Poll (sidebar, d'oh!) and choose the option that best represents your point of view--or, as usual, feel free to post up in the comments. (But you won't 'cus you're a--say it with me now--lazy slacker.)


Gary Baum said...

Oh God here we go again......First of all I would be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying this (sound familiar Mr. Baca?) I had nothing to do with the current NPPL Media regulations but for those of you who are old enough and been around long enough will recognize these "new" regulations are basically a really poor rewrite of the 2007 NPPL regulations proposed under Bruce Freidman of Pacific Paintball, who owned the NPPL until the Great Paintball Crash a few years ago. I then personally worked with Bruce and the league to modify and rewrite the media regulations that did away with the requirement that photographers provide images and established the current system of allowing freelance photographers on the field, so perhaps I am to blame after all for the sidelines congested with "pro photographers".

And is KGB-khrome attacking me for providing him with images that I do not charge him to use? And as he said I am personally to blame for all of this!! All of the NPPL Ads that use my images are required to have my logo visible which drives more traffic to my site which increases my ability to sell banner ads . Yes I do make money doing this, probably more than any photographer ever has in the sport through banner advertising on my site which IMO is the only way to make consistent money in paintball photography. It works for Google doesn't it? They provide free services which are supported by advertising and I do the same. I do not hire myself out to any teams and I really only consistently shoot the pro teams for FaceFull, APG and Headshot magazines and major paintball companies...I am not such a bad dog after all

Anonymous said...

Can we just create a NPPPL (National Professional Paintball Photographer League) and let these cry babies just buy and sell photos of each other.

Gary you da man! But SERIOUSLY consider helping reign in this mess. Make a credential list or do something to scale back these "professional" amateurs. Maybe make a stipulation that if you're working freelance you forgo the necessity to complain that you work in vain without a profit. Bring some honor back to paintball photography!

Anonymous said...

This is a sign of how bad paintball is right now. We are talking about the people taking picture like they are as important as the people playing. Nothing against the them but really.

Don Saavedra said...

Not wanting to give your images away for free is not the same as thinking you are as important as the people playing. It's saying that I'm at least as important as any other business doing work and, hopefully, earning money.

Baca said...

I'm surprised you haven't yet suggested they unionize.

Don Saavedra said...

I would suggest they all raise their rates, but that could amount to collusion so I played it safe.

Anonymous said...

How about, no one gives a crap about PB photos and they are all pretty much useless?

Give passes to the ones who make living out of shooting sports and selling them to real mags. Oh wait, there is what, 1 or 2 such people?

Then, its pretty clear the rest are hobbyist, eq - rubbish.

raehl said...

Don, I don't understand all this about "giving away images for free".

NPPL is not asking for free images. They are willing to pay $75 for a copy of the images you take at their event, and they are willing to pay it in advance. If you don't want to sell your images for $75, then don't.

Don Saavedra said...

They are offering a discounted pass in exchange for free use of the images, with no terms or limits on use or any other controls the photographer might want to put on their images. They are not paying anybody anything.

Anonymous said...

Technically, if they charged the photog fee up front, and then gave the guy the $75 upon receiving the images, they would be paying them. Just because they simplify/combine the transactions doesn't mean the guy doesn't get paid.

Don Saavedra said...

That's what a business owner likes to hear: "Technically, you ARE being paid. After a fashion..."

raehl said...

No matter how you phrase it, the photographer who chooses to attend a NPPL event has two choices:

- Provide photos to NPPL and have $75 more
- Don't provide photos to NPPL and have $75 less.

Any business owner would quickly recognize that they are being offered $75 for their photos.