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Rolling in the big bucks?

Posted Apr 07 2013 12:00am
Recently, we at Running Shots (RS) decided to charge a nominal fee for people who request for high resolution copy of their photos. We also decided to extend this to include a hard copy. The move unexpectedly has caused some unhappiness and misconception among the runners. Some runners seem to think that that was our ultimate motive when we started Running Shots i.e. to make money and worse runners seem to think that we are rolling in the big bucks from these "sale".

Nothing is further from the truth.

To begin with, RS was set up by a runner friend who was also a photography enthusiast. His main objective than was to return to the running society a little bit of what he has benefited from since he started running. Over time he realised that as a one man show, he couldn't possibly cover every event and so roped in more similarly like minded people.
Once the race photos are uploaded, we do admit that we get a good ego boost when people like and commented on our photos. Along with the thousand of likes and comments, come request for high resolution photos which we originally provide free of charge. However, over time as the number of photos increases and the request increase, we decided that we have to impose a token charge to cover for:
1) The time our photographers spent to take photo, process them, upload them and if there are request, to process these requests
2) Cost incurred by our photographers in going down to shoot the events. Most run events starts very early and our photographers have to take taxi down, or if driving, park somewhere. All these require money 
Of course earning enough money from photo sale to cover the above is not our objectives. It is just to defray some cost and right now frankly what we get is not even enough to cover a taxi fare from Jurong to cover say, the 2XU run. Which leads me to my next point:
Rolling in the big bucks. I will be candid. Since we started imposing charge, we have a grand total of 4 requests for photographs netting us a princely amount of S$28. Just as a comparison, we spent double that amount to print the photos for the Venus Run photo contest. And I haven't even add in the cost of the transport to each and every event! Rolling in the big bucks? Don't make me puke! And for those who think we are being paid by the event organiser, dream on. Except for one race recently where the event orgainser was kind enough to pay us a token amount, we have got absolutely zero for the rest. And for this particular event, one of our photographer commented that the amount is so little compared to what one single professional photographer can charge for covering an event!
But I am not complaining. We went in with our eyes open that we are not in this for the money. We sacrifice our time, our equipment, our sleep and our money as a form of service to the running community. We do not expect any rewards although it will be nice of course. But we will still shoot with or without. The token amount we charge is merely to cover some expenses and frankly as a deterrent to too many request for high resolution photos.
Last but not least, for those who think our photos  are crappy, yes we are aware our photos are not "pro" quality. We have always emphasis quantity over quality as we shoot for the mass and there is absolutely no time to frame a shot properly or get the best exposure. We will try but when there are thousand of runners and with changing light condition, it is not always possible. And most of us are too poor to own prime lens. Maybe if we are really rolling in the big bucks?
Finally, for those who like our photos, a big thank you. Much appreciated. And for the detractors and critiques, we will try out best but if our best is not to your standard, there are many other people taking race photos out there.

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