Art and Photography

Shooting kids soccer games

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 6th, 2009 5:15 pm
Deal Addict
Feb 10, 2007
2219 posts
It really depends on the league. I know some leagues actually restrict parents from taking any photos at all. Reason being they bring in a "professional" (quoted because a lot aren't) and take cuts from their margins. They use scare tactics to make parents fall for this. "we want to make sure that these photos are used appropriately and with good intention rather than giving access to possible creepers"

I shot a few local soccer events and like some posters have said.. Its boring... Esp when you don't know the kids. The longest 2 hours of my life.. I don't think I've yawned more at any other event lol.

Saying this I agree it is very hard to do esp with the Canadian market where sports isn't a #1 priority like the states.

But take everyone's advice with a grain of salt. If you want to try it why not? What do you have to lose? Contact some local leagues and see what they have to say about it. There will always be a market if you create value for a customer.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 22, 2007
1760 posts
Since winter is approaching, I'm gonna assume it will be held indoors? Unless you mean next summer then ignore my post. I tried to shoot at my brother's volleyball game a few weeks ago and found that you need a ast lens to freeze motion. I brought my 70-200 f/4L and only get a decent exposure with a shutter speed of around 1/250 or so with f/4 and 1600 ISO. Some of the "better" pictures can be found on my flickr, but most of them have movement blur from the players or the ball.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 11, 2003
5728 posts
My suggestion is that before you take shot #1 you confirm with the parents that it's OK to photograph their kids, otherwise you could have some very upset parents


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Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 12, 2008
2714 posts
ya i'd be suspicious of any weirdo with a creeper lens taking pics of my kids.
Deal Addict
Feb 10, 2007
2219 posts
i know parents who have been asked to put their cameras away when they were taking photos of their own kids....

and this is outdoors at a public park meaning no such rule should apply legally but of course you dont want to be "that" person

over protective much?

but yes as others said always approach and ask first. if you tell them you'll provide an online gallery for them lots of times they will say its ok.
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2006
4031 posts
I shoot soccer, about 6000 to 8000 shots a year which get whittled down to about 10% keepers. But only as an unpaid "volunteer" team photographer.

Started out with a Canon G1 in 2001 shooting my daughter at U6 and has now evolved to a Sony A700 + Sigma 50-500 (works really well hand held with the in-body IS; have great shots even at iso1600 and iso3200 in the rain). Since then I've also been involved on the coaching side and as a member of the club executive.

I can only speak for the Vancouver area - I've not heard or seen anything to do with club sanctioned photographers having say over freelancers or parents at field side. From the club executive side I've never had to deal with "creep" issues where a parent has complained - only complaints have been about the volunteer coaches.

From my personal perspective, I've always approached my fellow parents at the beginning of the year, explained what I wanted to do, how I was going to do it. I've always insisted on using a password protected photo site (SmugMug) and never used last names in descriptions. I've also made it clear I would never sell shots of their kids commercially (ie to a local paper) and made it clear I hold all rights to use of the photos, explaining that neither can they sell one of my photos to the local paper. I've never had one parent question me on it.

Last year's team (U13) paid for all my expenses in terms of print materials and web sites costs - the girls all received a photo album at season end.

Locally I've seen one photographer regularly who tries to sell shots taken at tournaments. I can't recall him ever approaching parents to ask permission to take photos - he usually will speak with the team manager to get contact info for the team. You might want to contact him, he's a nice guy - don't think he would bite as you are in a different city. Here's his site.

Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2004
1508 posts
CSAgent wrote:
Dec 3rd, 2009 12:10 am
I blame Sony for this. They were the first to have Live View on DSLRs. Years later and Sony still suck - they should just abandon it altogether.

I know two photographers who dropped about $10k or more into a Sony system (bodies, lenses, flashes, etc.) and are now, 6 months later giving it up totally. They came from Nikon backgrounds.

They are having a helluva time trying to get rid of everything though (4 months and counting with 0 interest anywhere), no one in their right minds want to get into Sony gear heavily. (No offense Korruption, I know you're the only resident Sony user in these parts.)
All right, I'll bite. What exactly about Sony sucks ? The A900 is by all accounts an incredible camera, has perhaps the best viewfinder out there, in-body stabilization, and is an incredible deal (as is also the A850). The Zeiss lenses are beautiful.

I'm guessing the people you mention bought the A900 if they spent that much money just 6 months ago. It's not hard to see why it'd be harder for them to get rid of top-end Sony gear, as there's far fewer people out there looking for gear, but if they bought comparably spec-ed Nikon or Canon gear, they would have had to spend a lot more than $10K. And they still wouldn't and couldn't have that beautiful Zeiss glass (at least, not with AF), nor would they have the same viewfinder or in-body stabilization.
Deal Addict
Apr 13, 2006
1016 posts
If you're shooting with a 70-200, or anything smaller, parents won't be interested.

Unless you stand out from the crowd, both with equipment, and with skill, they usually don't actually care and will just use your watermarked photos.

The market is there, but without knowing the right people in the right places, its extremely tough.

I only shot 3 soccer games this year of kids, 2 U13 games, and 1 U12 game. I ended up profiting about $550, and actually just realized I still have 2 games to upload from that tournament. Yikes.

To give an idea of what you need to do to get sales, here's an example gallery that I shot. The team bought the CD of full-resolution photos of the one game for $300.
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