Saturday, January 25, 2014

PSP Bitch Slaps Photographers

Bet that title got your attention. If you haven't heard the bleating yet the PSP has changed its policy regarding the herds--or is that hordes--of photogs that frequent PSP events. Now I'm not going to try and convince you this was a good idea--or a bad idea. I am agnostic when it comes to the policy but otherwise sympathetic concerning its' intent. As regulars know I am not a fan of paintball's brand of vanity photography. Sorry. I'm tired of the amateurs playing at being a photographer and the professionals whining about cheap players undervaluing their genius and all of them acting as if they are entitled to turn a buck at somebody else's event.
It wasn't all that long ago the herd was bitching because players constantly low-balled them on pricing--but what did they expect when there were dozens of photographers to choose from? Then the league started charging a fairly modest fee for a pass and the herd roared against that unfairness too. (The only thing wrong with the fee was that it was too low. There were still too many photographers hanging about still getting squeezed but this time in both directions.) And now there's the newest policy. Truth is that while we're always hearing from the herd they aren't the only sort of photographers working PSP events.
And that distinction is going to be more fully recognized with the new policy. Photographers and videographers representing the Media will be provided access. (On what basis I don't know.) As will photographers and videographers working for league sponsors. It's not like events will be blacked out all of a sudden. There will be plenty of peeps making a visual record of the events--just like there have been in the past. What there (apparently) won't be is the same sized herd of vanity photographers.

Before you start in on the usual harangues let's address them right now.
It will limit paintball's exposure. Baloney. It may limit the PSP's exposure but surely that's their call, right?
It's a lot of hard work for a small return, if that. Not my problem--or the PSP's for that matter. Unless somebody kidnapped you and put a gun to your head and forced you to take pictures all day it was something you chose to do and nobody owes you anything for it.
Players are cheapskates. Not the PSP's fault.
Players and teams will lose out if the prices to shoot vanity goes up. What is really meant here is that players and teams will not value the product sufficiently to pay the extra cost if it goes too high. And this is the PSP's fault how?
Real sports don't charge photographers. No, they supply legit professionals media credentials (which the PSP will be doing) and real photographers don't photograph the players and fans at the Super Bowl trying to sell them vanity shots of their experience at the big game.
League sponsors will hire cheap not good to fulfill their media requirements. Again, if true, not the PSP's fault. You don't like their hiring practices take it up with them.

In the past the herd was allowed to grow out of control but now it needs to be culled. Hey, circle of life and all that. Hakuna Matata. A (self) select few will still be allowed to do the vanity photo thing but their numbers will be restricted and the fee raised. We could continue to debate the fees being charged but not the merits. Their league their rules.
The intent all along has been to find some balance wherein the league retains control of access but those interested in vanity photography have suppliers and those suppliers can turn a profit. Is it the right balance this time? I don't know, maybe, maybe not. But it's certainly not a get richer scheme or a crush the little guy under our jackboot plot either. Like it, don't like it, that's fine just don't be stupid about it.

[Disclaimer: my personal opinion. Nothing to do with the league. I couldn't resist the title though, it was too funny.]


Anonymous said...

Do you go to all the PSP events? I do and some fields have very few if any photographers on them!

Baca Loco said...

That's because nobody is paying them to be there. And, yes I've been to every event in over a decade. What's your point?

splatkid10 said...

Baca, as a divisional player who would attend PSP events and hire a vanity photographer...and someone who loves math I'd like to do a little to show that this did kick those aspiring "shops" (think Spantastik, 1904, etc.) in the nuts pretty hard.

Let's use Spantastik as an example and let's assume they send 3 people to every PSP event this year AND that they pay their fees up front. So it's $5k for the first photographer and $2.5K each for 2 and 3. ($10k for all 3 for the season).

So let's take one event, $2k/3 photographers = $667/photographer for entry fees to shoot. No business is merely that easy...add in a plane ticket, food, equipment, hotel, car, etc. And let's just assume that all that can be had for $333 at each event for a photographer. (I believe that is a low #, but can be offset over a season by driving to certain events, hotel room crashing, etc.) So that means that each photographer has expenses around $1000 and that in order to turn a profit they must make more then that at each event.

Now my next question is what was a company like Spantastik making per photographer last year at an event? If it's $40/player and there's 10 on a team...$400...maybe have 5-6 teams, then yes people will make a profit. I don't have that data.

My issues with the new rules are these...a lot of these photographers take divisional pictures, and let's not kid ourselves, paintballers are cheap and broke. While the rising costs will be justified with fewer photographers, will the people actually pay? That remains to be seen. Next, how are the 5 companies chosen? It say's first come first serve...but what if ignores your email? Not saying it will happen, but it could and I'm not sure how many companies will compete for spots, but this to me sounds like a potential lawsuit (or cause for headache for the PSP staff that deals with this) if the selection process is not clear.

Their comment in the press release about one having more room to work with on the field...not every match is the finals at Cup, I think they all find enough room on a 150'x120' field...

At the end of the day what is most disturbing are that, "Media and Sponsor's photographers" are given essentially a stay, but maybe deservedly so. I mean if I was paying a lot to sponsor a tournament series I may want to have a photographer on the field for free filming my ETV series...yet it also allows the PSP and their sponsors to decide what is filmed, what isn't, putting in a tiny way...a stranglehold on the free press idea. Yes I just made a comparison of the PSP to a communist nation. Obviously extreme but by controlling what 5 photogs get passes, who the media is, and allowing sponsor photographers, they do control what media is passed on essentially. I know it's very extreme but that's the FEEL I get from this.

Which leads me to my next point, with the dying of the NPPL, and the lackluster showing by the APL so far - we are heading down the road of a monopoly in national paintball events which the PSP clearly controls. And while all can be said that it is the PSP's league and you don't have to play, at the end of the day tournament paintball does not make careers and is something all but the pros (and probably even some of them do) do for fun on the weekend to escape work, life, and other troubles. Is the tightening of the noose on photogs the beginning of something much greater? I don't know - but it could be and is that where we want to go?

splatkid10 said...

Please excuse the poor grammar, I have only had 1 cup of coffee so far this morning.

Anonymous said...

Me and my friends play paintball in the woods and we always have fun.

PSP? Never heard of them…

Baca Loco said...

I'ma cut you a break. As a normally sensible regular you get a pass except let me point out the bulk of your comments were addressed already and that the rest are a marginally coherent appeal to emotion.

How many PSP events have you attended as a player and paid for vanity photography?

What entitles aspiring shops or anybody else with a camera the right to shoot a PSP event?

What nefarious scheme could possibly follow from regulating media in a way that vanity photographers don't like?

splatkid10 said...

Marginally coherent appeal to emotion eh? That's a good one, but I do not think I was really appealing to my own emotions too much.

-4 PSP events since World Cup 2012 as a player. I've paid for "vanity" photography at only one (Cup '13).

-I see what point you are making here, but the PSP has allowed this to happen over the years. I think using the word 'right' is quite strong, essentially if I say they have a right to photograph PSP events that is more powerful then having a drivers license because that is a privilege. Using the word right makes almost any argument I come up with poor because generally we associate right with freedoms and liberties. So if you had used, "What entitles aspiring shops or anybody else with a camera the privilege the shoot a PSP event?" I would say the fact that it has been occurring for years. If states raised the cost of a drivers license considerably-when people have had the privilege of driving at a fair price for years, that would put a burden on those who could not afford it to drive and you can see the uproar we'd have there. I think the notion that something has been occurring for so long that it becomes a norm is a legitimate argument and point to be made.

-I want to address the "vanity" bit here. I paid for my vanity pics at Cup for my two teammates and I that guested on a team. I wanted the pics for us as a nice way to remember the event and trip we had to Cup. I don't see that as excessive pride in myself. I have the background set on my computer of the three of us on a breakout. I can look at that photo every time and be like that was an awesome event and I had a great time with those guys. Is that option still available to me in the future at PSP events? Yes, albeit at a higher price (most likely), and depending on that price maybe I can't afford that "nice touch" for my friends and I next time. The nefarious scheme is that you regulate who's in and who's out. Depending on who is doing that regulation, the selection process can be unfair. Here's a bad scheme for you. I get $50k (season passes for all 5 "vanity" companies) and 4 friends together. I then control vanity photography at all events.

At the end of the day, your view of these photographers is much different then mine. You see a nuisance, I see someone who can capture a special moment and event for my friends and I. I assume that comes because you have been at the pro level for so long. I reread your post over and over, and I still don't see how the system of last year was an issue. If the issue is on the pro field that is easy to regulate, but on the 8 (10?) divisional fields at cup it didn't seem like an issue.

Happy to continue this discussion, and do want to make it clear that I am not a photographer nor do I hire them at every event I attend. Something about this just rubs me the wrong way. Not to mention, this is a blog, if someone doesn't argue against the author then the blog would be quite boring!

Anonymous said...

You guys are something else...

Baca Loco said...

Good job, splatkid--and you're right. About comments. The more the better.
1. While you and others may have an expectation based on past events you and they are presently receiving notice that the terms of attending in a particular role are changing.
What happens if you won't sign a waiver? You don't get in.
What happens if you violate a serious rule? You may be suspended and removed from the event.
My point is that even under the best of circumstances your attendance is conditional on following the rules set by the event holder. Semantics aside you have no rights or privileges that aren't granted by the event holder.

Feel free to choose a different term if you don't like vanity. Call them memento photographers if you like. It doesn't change anything.

How many photographers are there who would like to shoot PSP events but none are ever close enough or they can't afford to come? Isn't that unfair too? Right now the only ones who come to shoot momentos are the ones who can afford to do it. The new rules won't change that.

As to claims of potential unfairness--whatever that means--or higher prices to customers--both are completely speculative and you expect to change someone's mind or alter a decision based on hypotheticals?

I don't care about the vanity photogs one way or the other. I do find their collective sense of entitlement annoying. As you find it convenient if you happen to want a photo or two of that event. Neither point of view is relevant to the issue at hand. (And it isn't what used to happen either.) For whatever reason--and I don't know anymore about it than what has been posted--the league is changing their media policy and have every right to do so.

splatkid10 said...

I'm glad I have today off and no one has called me in - it means I can fully enjoy sitting on my couch debating in the blogosphere. And I did get you to agree on one thing (blog posts), which I can hope lends itself to continued success! I would also like to note - I use Google to find your blog, and it seems searching "View from the deadbox" is becoming more popular, kudos...although I'm not sure if this is a function of more people searching or it's because I search it from my computer...I could probably Google the answer...regardless congrats from at least my laptop!

I will agree that attendance is conditional. I just really wonder if there was indeed a problem before and if so is that this is the proper answer. I don't know what a season media pass cost last year, and how many were sold but I would be curious to know. Because assuming they sell out this year they stand to make at least $50,000 off vanity photographers. Which does make you wonder...between last year media passes, and the fees charged by the photographers...the photography "industry" at pep events must be somewhere between 50k-100k dollars a year...and if the PSP can grab more of that cash to pay Baca's new salary....ahhhh just playing!

As for the semantics bit - all I will say is that words do have meaning. I wouldn't just brush that idea off, it's important when solving complex issues.

From a math perspective I don't know if that is necessarily true (again speculative...). Using Spantastik as a good example (or someone who I think would continue filming this year at PSP events) maybe the new photography costs WILL stop them from being able to make a profit.

"As to claims of potential unfairness--whatever that means--or higher prices to customers--both are completely speculative and you expect to change someone's mind or alter a decision based on hypotheticals?" -Campaigning politicians seem to do this regularly...changing someone's mind based on a hypothetical.

One of the most interesting things, and off topic, that I've gathered today is your distaste, dislike, diswhatever towards these men and women who take photographs at paintball events. Your pro games still go on, you still won world cup, and events continue. I'd love to hear what the reasons that you and I both don't know, caused the league to change their media policy...for better or worse.

Nick Brockdorff said...

In my view, the new media policy actually benefits media.

When not everyone can take pictures, more work will be available to those that can.

If 30 people had a media pass last year, and 10 gets one this year, it stands to reason that those 10 should get 3 times as many orders.

It allows for more professionalism and profitability for the photographers.

We WILL be missing the "up and coming" types, that do groundbreaking and creative work, but like paintball teams, they can do that at local level, before they step up to Pro level :)

Baca Loco said...

I last time and then you are welcome to the last word. :)

In the great scheme of things I assure you VFTD remains a tiny blip. An influential, powerful and modest blip.

And it's conditional because you don't have any RIGHT to be there.

Congrats, you have accidentally stumbled over reality. Vanity photogs are vendors. They are there to sell a product just like every other vendor so why should they be treated any differently?

You played the non-starter "privilege" card. I generously, ignored it--and you've already conceded the issue.

Then if the PSP has any interest in continuing to allow vanity photographers to work their events they'll make adjustments.

Hence the state of the country.

You're projecting splatkid. The fact you have that impression is in spite of everything I've said and continues not to be true. I can object to the near universal sense of whiny entitlement on display without it being personal in any way shape or form.

I imagine we'll hear more about this.

splatkid10 said...

Not gonna lie, I'm somewhat confused by the last post Baca. I'm trying to reference the paragraph breaks from my post to yours but doesn't matter...last WORD! :)

...til next time.

NewPro said...

Bottom line: the more regimented/legitimate our sport becomes, the more structured it becomes. The days of the free for all have been replaced by fee for all. The photographers who are in it to make money will carry on, the hobbyists and weekend flashers will have to start covering more local events to satisfy their lust for providing pics free of charge and thus battling the evil money gouging psp horde.

Anonymous said...

If less photographs are taken and shared on FB etc it does not only hurt the psp but paintball in general. The effect of 500+ guys each posting and liking and sharing pictures of themselves or teammates is going to be reduced (in theory). Remember those 500 each have 300-500 friends who look at their wall and don't play...

Not trivial exposure for the sport. I daresay more reach than PBA! (obviously i of content is different, but the relevance is higher)

Judging from some of the arrogant self justified photographers that have butted heads with the PSP in the past, I think this is likely the result of the PSP not being concerned about preserving a mutually beneficial relationship since the photo peeps made themselves more of a burden and liability than an asset.

Finally, it was very clear for many of the photo guys they viewed the psp as a kind of photo safari vacation where the animals occasionally paid you. People that complain they spend so much and sacrifice so much need no longer worry. That weight has been removed from your shoulders!

Baca Loco said...

If you want to try the social media outreach thing at least go with the hot item and use Instagram.
Your hypothesis also assumes your 500+ have never posted photos of themselves playing paintball before and have no other outlet for getting pictures of themselves playing besides PSP events.
Otherwise you're on target. :)

Nick Brockdorff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Brockdorff said...

You are getting old(er) Baca, Instagram is SO yesterday - Snapchat and Vine is what the kids do these days (apparently :D)

I'd ask for an SFS, but I don't have a blog.... that's how old I am :D

Baca Loco said...

Aging like a fine wine.

NStoer said...

My take -

I understand wanting legitimate photographers for Pro and I'd even be okay with going D1 and up, maybe even D2.

...But.. I remember myself playing junior sports and having my own or other peoples parents wanting take pictures of their kids and be more involved with the game. Unfortunately paintball is the only sport where we block spectators with a big black mesh; sideline photography of paintball just doesn't really work like football, basketball, baseball, hockey, etc.

In layman's terms, allow the low divisions - the ones where people are just getting into competitive paintball - to have cheap / affordable photographers; PSP makes some money, people are more involved, and it makes everyone happy happy happy.

Missy Q said...

I just don't see where the big deal is hidden among all this.

Who cares about the photographers, how many there are (or aren't)? It just seems like a tiny, tiny deal, the sort of thing the league shouldn't even be wasting time on. Were they really influencing the result, or the customer experience?
Why not focus on reffing. Why divert attention that could be focused on improving the product?

Photographers don't even register on the importance-scale to me. All the time spent fannying around with teen-photog-fans is just time that could and should be spent elsewhere in my opinion. Stuff like this is a 3 minute discussion followed by whatever decision you like, then move on. Why dwell on something so hopelessly unimportant.

Reiner Schafer said...

Missy Q, they aren't very important, but that doesn't mean there isn't a need for some guideline/rules specifying who and how many people are allowed to be on the sidelines. You can't leave it limitless. I doubt the PSP is getting all flabbergasted about it, but that doesn't mean that other people (affected by the new rules or not) won't have an opinion. The internet just lets people express those opinions so much easier these days. If a change like this would have happened in the 1980's, you might have seen a 3 or 4 line blurb in a magazine mentioning it 3 months after it took affect.

Baca Loco said...

Missy, I think Reiner has the proportion about correct. And to perhaps confuse what's a suitable topic at VFTD and what the PSP is doing or why is a category error. It's a hot topic du jour so it gets VFTD attention but I assure it has zero impact on me doing my job and you won't really see any results there until events are played.

Don Saavedra said...

Let's all be honest. If it weren't for photographers showing up to empty fields and loading their film, nobody would have invented the paintball marker in the first place.

Baca Loco said...

Hey Don
Y'all still using film? Really? :)