Hawks basketball and photos

After repeated guarantees that the Hawks would credit my photos they still seem unable or unwilling to do so. On Friday night, I attended a home game and decided to not shoot it when, yet again, the game night flyer used my photos without credit.

Heres some facts on what’s happening in case I get silly and shoot for them for free again.

  1. On at least 4 occasions they have promised to credit my work (in writing)
  2. The actually REMOVE my name from all images (my software adds it automatically when they down-load the image)
  3. They pass my images on to others with no reference to who took them and with no requirement to credit the photographer.
  4. They ignore the “Createive Commons” license which is shown twice on every page where they can down-load the images.

I don’t know what else to do to get what I believe is rightful acknowledgment for my work.

As I actually enjoy shooting these photos sometimes, I had some ideas.

  1. Get an agreement that every photo used without acknowledgment would incur $1000 fee.
  2. Get paid a ‘reasonable’ amount to do the work.

Last year, I was keen to shoot to learn how to do it. In order to do that, I agreed to cover each game and supply all photos for free. On top of this, I had to pay full price for my seats (season tickets) including the seat that I would not be using. All I heard from the Hawks was ‘please make sure you get XXX’ or ‘make sure you get different angles’. When I tried to achieve these objectives (which I believe I did) there was no feedback at all. I still don’t know (apart from them using my images everywhere) if they like them or not and if I’m getting better at shooting sports.

This year, they would not talk about any photos (apart from telling me they wanted to me shoot every game) before I had fully paid for my tickets again. I have taken time off work for the ‘head shots’ they use in player profiles etc and had already taken time off work for the team shot when they cancelled it (with 15 mins notice). I’m still waiting for the call to tell me its back on.

I had some ideas last year about some shots (one is below)


When this was shot (its taken over 1/4 a game) the sign in the background was rolling like it normally does. This made blending very difficult.

I took about 6 hours to blend this together (from about 800 shots using a normal panorama bracket, 50mm 1.4 lens). I printed this out at about 1150mm wide and gave a copy to the Hawks. I expected them to ask me to do a ‘proper’ one with the ads not rolling as this was just a ‘proof of concept’ shot. They said it was ‘nice’ and took it away and I never heard anything else on the subject. I thought that a team that was very short of money would want anything they could merchandise. A Signed version of this (or more seriously a proper) shot would make them some money with the fans.

  1. The 70–200 2.8 VR is a great lens for this.
    Sometimes I’ll use the 28–70 2.8 if I want to shoot from under the ring. I’m using (currently) a Nikon D2x and it has the 1.6x magnification feature that all DX sensors have. This makes the 70–200 slightly too long. If/when I get the Nikon D3, I’ll hopefully get better results shooting this type of sport.
  2. Using the D2x, there’s many focusing points. When a player jumps, you naturally move the camera up to follow but It’s generally not enough. I’ve learnt to use (in portrait mode) the bottom middle focusing point and try to keep it on their body. This way when they shoot, the frame works out quite well.
  3. A D70 (where I started) doesn’t have the focusing speed, frame speed or processing speed to do a decent job
  4. Anything slower than a 2.8 in the Wollongong Entertainment Centre is too slow and has too much depth of field to be useful.
  5. Manual (roughly 1/800 sec, F2.8, 800ASA) and tungsten WB is the only way to shoot. Otherwise when moving the camera to follow players shooting, you will get some back light or reflections off advertisements and the camera will set incorrectly. Using spot metering and auto is not good enough (well at least for me).
  6. Just shooting shots are easy to get but not that interesting. As always, you have to constantly think about the context of where the images will be displayed and try for something interesting. Any player with the ball in a running/dribbling shot is normally interesting.
  7. If the ball is not in shot, its generally crap. see point 2.
  8. Frame rate is important. In a normal game I shoot about 400–800 images. 95% of the shots I get will be properly focussed, 50% will be framed properly but only about 3% will have everything in place to make a ‘good’ shot.
  9. FOX camera people are assholes that have no respect for anyone else on the court.
    They will stand in front of you, stand on top of you, bash cameras out of their way etc.

Anyway, thats what I know about basketball so far and I’m looking for comments/opinions on what I should do about the acknowledgment issue. Has anyone had any similar issues?

3 Replies to “Hawks basketball and photos”

  1. Mate you got no chance of getting ANY money from the Hawks, why do you think that their best and award winning photographer (namely me) stopped working for them after 5 seasons. They dont pay, because stooges like you and me (well I was one once) will turn up to games and give them images for FREE. I made more money selling to Basketball Australia for the Boomers tour in Vic than I did from 5 season with the HAWKS. If you love photography, take photos os something that pays, otherwise just keep working for the Hawks for free, cause they won’t pay you a cent.

    Brad Cronberger
    Studio 18 Photographics / Contemporary Photography
    NBL “Best Photo” award 2003

  2. Hi Kevin,

    I would deal with it in the same way you deal with your “real” job – get a contract in writing; if you don’t want $ but do want credit get a contract that says that and if they don’t credit you then get your lawyer to tell their lawyer to tell their client what they have to do.

    If they won’t sign the contract then by all means continue to shoot for your own enjoyment but don’t supply images to the Hawks.

    I understand that you may not have wanted to charge $ in the first place as you were teaching yourself and perhaps didn’t feel that you could charge like a professional would. I think that you are selling yourself short. I am sure you have taken on IT jobs where you didn’t know exactly how to do it and had to work it out as you went but I bet you still took money to do it because you had faith in your own skill.

    Obviously your images are good enough to be used in the flyer, if they can’t even provide you with credit – which would cost nothing – and are cropping your credit out – which costs time (effectively money) then they are not dealing with you on good faith and I would deal with them as you would any customer that didn’t deal fairly with you – withdraw your labour

  3. Yeah that sucks, maybe ill do one game, just to have some newer shots, I think we should focus more on building wedding portfolios, thats where the money is.

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