Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The secret to getting a press pass...



As a photographer, how many times have you gone to an event and thought how much fun it would have been to have unrestricted access to go back stage, behind the scenes, to places where the "normal public" simply is not allowed to go and take pictures?

Well, today I'm going to share with you a secret on how to get a press pass, the secret that I have used to get press passes to 9 out of 10 events that I request them for.

Are you ready?

I ask... yup, I ask, I find out who the public relations person is for the event and drop them an email requesting a press pass.

Okay, there is a bit more to it than that, but not much.

Make it easy for them to say "yes" to you, this can be done in a few easy steps:

Provide them with a business card and/or an online venue where they can view some of your photography (a website, blog, or an online portfolio on a site like 500px.com).

And because they are doing me a favor by providing unrestricted (and free) access to their event, I will say "thank you" by letting them know I am happy to provide a disk containing some of my images (usually 14-20 of what I consider to be my best from that day) for them to use for promotional purposes. I provide these images without a monetary charge, but I do request that they give me photographic credit (both name and website) each/anytime they use one of my images.

Another thing that will help them say "yes" is if you tell them you intend on sharing with your readers that you'll be photographing the event (assuming you have a blog), as this will give them a bit of free publicity prior to the event date. Free publicity to a PR person is pretty enticing.  ;)

Put all this information together in the first email you send requesting a press pass as these poor folks are pretty busy organizing the event and don't have time for a "back and forth" email conversation. I also recommend an email over a phone call as (again) they are busy and a phone call will interupt their day, where as an email can be dealt with at a time that is most convenient to them.

Not only have I had the pleasure of photographing fairs, festivals, races, museum exhibits, and other events I normally would have paid to see, I got to see them in a new, exciting way AND I get to combine it with my love of photography.... it really doesn't get much better than that.


97 comments:

Anonymous said...

Giving away images for free for promotional use? Really? That is why photography business is hurting in the music/concert industry and in other types of photography. No one cares about photography credit. It doesn't help the business. PR expects to get free images because of this. They benefit and the bands they promote while you get three songs to shoot for free. That sounds fair? Do not give away images for free for promotional use. You are only hurting the pro photographers and devaluing the images worth.

Scott said...

I think I was pretty clear, I am not doing it to build a business (it’s not a business model).

I am not doing it because I was asked.

I am doing it as a thank you gift from me to a vendor by my choice, because I want to not because I have been asked to, in fact RARELY have I been asked for images.

Many wedding photographers will put together (free) images for the caterer, the florist, and others involved in the wedding, is this bringing down the photography business?

And I disagree, I am not devaluing the value of MY image, I give it as a gift because it DOES have value, otherwise it would be a pretty sucky gift.

I think it rather absurd that I am ruining the photography business because I give away images. It’s like saying that soup kitchens and food pantries are ruining the restaurant business.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first posting. You are ok to published how to get a press pass. But you have to be responsible and also tell the lea gal implications. Because of posting like this more artist like Kathy Perry and Rihanna make you sign a released giving then the rights to all the photos you take. Making you a guy with a camera. If you start selling those photos for anything other than editorial used you could be. In a lot of legal trouble.

I would have said if you want a free pass contact a local newspaper, negotiate with them( it could be free as long as the y get you in, or reality for a small newspaper they really pay more the $25, but tha could be gas money). Instead of giving them a couple of free pictures send the a link to a blog with a great review, or the newspaper that published your pictures. That is what they really want free promo. But don't de-value you as a photographer in order to avoid paying for a concert.

When I shoot concert now they are paying guest with pro camera taking pictures. One the paid to be there. Two PR would not likely go after them because they did not sign a release like a pro have to. It's ok as long as you follow the rules.

If you give free pictures for everything, then the profession will likely be in the same position as the shoe shine business, gone. It is enoght with China copying every tech making the rest of the world lose jobs because they can do it (copycat, forge products) and really cheap, and camera makers charging you 400% more for a pro camera. For you can buy the latest phone and portrait your self as a pro with a Nokia 44 megapixel phone.

As a test of reality, in my area more than 50% of the pros are out of business including famous wedding photo Jeff Hawkings. 10 years ago Hawkings had everything good clientele, guru photo marketing, photo books videos PPA honor member, now he is struggling to survive reinventing himself in another area of business.

Scott said...

“make you sign a released giving then the rights to all the photos you take”

I want to be clear; I give them the right to publish my image, NOT the rights/ownership to the image itself. In the release I give them with the image(s) it states clearly that it can be published in relationship to the event only, they DO NOT have the right to use it in any other way (or to sell it).

I give as a gift, a “thank you” gift, NOT as payment for access to the event.

Might I suggest that if folks do not want to provide images as a thank you, don't.

I find it hard to believe that by giving away a dozen images I am bringing down the photography industry.

And let me state again: I have NEVER been asked for images, I give them freely, as is my choice.

Barry O said...

My post will most certainly be deleted but until it does... What fucktard wrote this? Someone so rich they can afford to work for free?

Scott said...

OMG Barry, seriously?

Show me one place in the post or in my comments where I said this is a business model, that people should work for free. PLEASE, SHOW ME!

One last time, if I give an image AWAY, it is as a gift given by choice, NOT AS A REQUEST FOR PAYMENT!

Barry, moving forward please try to practice civil discourse, I do not subject you to name calling and would appreciate the same courtesy in return... otherwise find a new place do empty your spleen.

And to others, I will not censor your comments, but please have the courage of your conviction, stand behind your words and comment under your own name, as apposed to taking anonymous pot shots.

Mark Marquez said...

From the perspective of a newbie/slash hobbyist. I find it difficult to photograph events, but at the end of the day, asking is what you need to do-if you want to be the best concert photographer there is, then that is where you need to go and find a way to get in. I have asked neighbors if I could photograph them and it really seems that at times, I can't even give my photography away? I suppose that we all have to start somewhere and the reason why some are successful and some are not is because the successful ones get out there and knock on doors, make phone calls and for every 20 NO's, they will appreciate the 1 or 2 YES's.

Anonymous said...

I'm behind you Scott on this one. I shoot professionally but do not make a "living" off of it. I guess some would call me a hobbyist or amateur since my main income is not from shooting. I believe a professional is anyone that can charge for an item and get paid by a customer. we can definitely agree some pro's are MUCH better than others. To suggest that I charge full price for my images to make sure the pro down the street makes more is kinda anti-American. The free market should decide what a pro and customer want to exchange when it comes to compensation. I have been told I should charge more by other pro's near me and I don't care to. I'm happy - I look at the small business I run as more that just "money" to fulfill my needs. Most people come to me because they love the work I do compared to the local studio that charges four times what I do. Many past customers of the studio come to me after seeing the quality of my work. Trust me, these are "rich" clients and could afford the studio experience! They come because of the quality of my work. As a professional myself, I'm sick of other pros constantly complaining about being undercut by price. Make your work sell itself is my belief! Maybe those that are complaining have inferior work based on the price they charge???

Anonymous said...

Continued ....

I should also add that sometimes I actually give kids images free or give extra sessions! Why? Some of these kids have recently lost a parent or friend and I do it to fill an emotional need they might desire. Yes, I actually do some free work! Sorry to piss you off but the compensation is not money but the smile I put on their face. The act of just "giving" on my behalf hopefully teaches these kids something they can share in the future. I love the free market that lets me do what I enjoy and can share with others.

Paul M.

Scott said...

Thanks for the support Paul.

Paul Danger Kile of DangerIsMyMiddleName.com said...

Your decision to provide a gift is a generous one.

Trey Ratcliffe allows people to share his images in a non-commercial way. That put's his photos in front a lot of eyes. Some of those people will buy prints, some will commission him to take photos, some will pay for a commercial license. I suspect that everyone is grateful for his generosity.

Josh Hagins said...

I have been known to offer free images to get my foot in the door and that has ended up bringing me business as a way of networking.

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