An Open Letter to Race Photography Companies

Dear Race Photographer,

Thank you for coming to my race and standing in the sun/rain/wind/etc. to take a photo of me. Thank you for taking a photo of me when both my feet are off the ground and I look my skinniest (no thank you for taking a photo of me when I’m frowning and both legs are on the ground with all my weight pushing into them).  I really want to buy your photos because you got that one great shot.

However, you want to charge me at least $80 to purchase the other 15+ photos where I look disgusting. I do not want to own these and in fact, I’d prefer you destroy them. What makes you think I want to spend soo much money for photos where I look my grossest? Yes I completed that event – but I don’t want to purchase proof that I looked like death doing it. I know you feel like you need to charge a lot to make a profit. BUT if you charged $5 per digital download, we runners would buy that one, two, or three photos we love. You would actually make a profit and we would no longer need to “steal” our photos. $80+ for a digital download is too much.

Meg (and other runners, triathletes, cyclists, swimmers, etc).


10 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Race Photography Companies

  1. Pingback: Running with Santa’s Elves | PhD Strides

  2. So when you steal, you steal. This used to be a business I owned, with tens of thousands of happy customers until I figured out why my margins were shrinking… blatant theft. You admitted it yourself in your post, I guess you feel that you are entitled to my work for free, free to you and no profits for me, and since I don’t work for 15 hours a day to make pro photos free to thieves I hope you are happy with iPhone images that look like silhouettes and the knowledge that you are a THEIF. Best of luck on the unemployment line where you will end up when your company is put out of business by the next generation of entitled individuals. Not bitter just wizened by your flat out admission.

    • Thanks for your comment. My point is actually the opposite. I don’t want to “steal” images, I want to pay a fair price for them. For most who participate in races, an additional $60-80 (if not more) to purchase photos on top of the other mandatory race fees (and if applicable transportation and lodging costs) is not possible. We want to buy photos and would likely buy more if they were reasonably priced. This would benefit both the photographers and the race participants.

  3. Our photos start at $7.99. Your full set is $29.99. No reason to steal at any rate. If you went into Macy’s and they had a dress you liked, and you thought it was overpriced, does it justify you walking out with it. Nope, you go to the pokey if you get caught. Why is it so hard for anyone to understand it is the same for photographers, photographer pay, travel, payouts to races for the privilege of being the official race photographers (yes, they make money on this), time, effort, equipment and lots of training went into creating a consistent and honest company that has the right to shoot on the course. There is lots to consider, it is not as simple as you may think initially. just saying….

    • Photogirl, that’s awesome! I know many runners/athletes would happily pay the prices your company charges. I know I have paid similar prices for race photos (my best example of this is photos I purchased from the 2012 Nisene Marks 5k from The Foggy Bay).If I recall correctly, their prices were very similar to yours. My argument is towards photo companies such as MarathonFoto and Brightroom that charge $80 for to download a full set of 20-ish photos that may include one or two (at best) good photos of me or $20 to download one photo. My argument supports what your company charges: runners/athletes will pay reasonable prices. We want to buy photos, we just want to be able to afford them.

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