Why are sportive photos so much costlier here in UK than on the continent?

by rbx   May 31, 2012  

For Tour of Flanders sportive, the price for all my photos (22) + additional event photos (18) was EUR 20 (~£16). This included the photos in medium resolution, high res, and a kml file with exact location of each photo.

For the recent King of the Downs sportive, the price for one single photo download is £9.5. If I want all my photos (8), the cost is £36. (Just for comparison, if I had 22 photos here, the cost at this rate would've been £99!)

Is there a particular reason for the cost of sportive photos in the UK to be so high?

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Supply & demand? Or perhaps they think that people willing to pay £30 to go for a bike ride are seen as well-heeled and an easy target.

When you see the amount of cash people spend on their cars and bikes I'd have thought a few more quid for a photo isn't going to break the bank. Mind you, every dick with a smartphone thinks they're David Bailey nowadays.

Perhaps the Flanders customers on average have a different buying pattern or maybe the 'togs just see the market differently. It's not compulsory.

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posted by Simon E [1946 posts]
31st May 2012 - 14:22

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The clue's in the word 'sportive' and the interpretation of it here and on the continent.

Naturally, many companies are seeking the maximise revenue that MAMILs etc generate in that marketplace. I can understand buying a nice photo to put on your wall but that's just to buy an image that they've created by pressing a shutter button? So that's printing and framing on top, right?

Just a thought but I assume there is nothing to stop me setting up my camera and tripod on the queens highway and taking photos of all and sundry on a sportive i.e. it can't be licensed or anything. Once you've composed your shot, how hard can it be? All that's left is to set up a website and upload a few thousand photos to it. If you have number recognition software, you're laughing.

If there are any sportive photographers on here, I'd love to know if there's more to it than that.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [551 posts]
31st May 2012 - 15:04

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Simon E wrote:
Supply & demand? Or perhaps they think that people willing to pay £30 to go for a bike ride are seen as well-heeled and an easy target.

When you see the amount of cash people spend on their cars and bikes I'd have thought a few more quid for a photo isn't going to break the bank. Mind you, every dick with a smartphone thinks they're David Bailey nowadays.

Perhaps the Flanders customers on average have a different buying pattern or maybe the 'togs just see the market differently. It's not compulsory.

haha next we will have people with their Iphone and instagram flogging 'arty' sportive photos for £50 a pop

posted by ALIHISGREAT [110 posts]
31st May 2012 - 17:34

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Who're you buying photos from? The sportive organisers or a third party tog?

If its the organisers they'll have had to pay a tog to take the pictures and that increases costs, being a photographer isn't cheap, gear costs, travel, insurance and time cost (it takes bloody ages to edit 3000 digital images, trust me) coupled with potentially low sales means that high prices might be needed to produce any profit at all. Couple that with a general lowering of photography standard (everyone with an SLR is now a pro...), a race to the bottom on most photography pricing because amateurs with day jobs are willing to massively undercut you just for some pocket money or 'exposure', the belief that digital images cost nothing to produce hence should generally be available for free and the fact that in the facebook generation everyone just uses online images for free without considering copyright means that making any living from photography is increasingly difficult.

There probably is some level of profit in there but remember, just because its possible for a random to rock up with £500 of photography equipment and no experience doesn't mean the guy taking the photos has so few overheads, more likely he's a 20 year vet with £10k of equipment just looking to make ends meet.

/end rant

Disclaimer: I do the odd bit of photography (covered the Oldham tour series event for road.cc last year, but mainly live music and festivals) so I may be biased.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
31st May 2012 - 18:19

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drheaton: Thanks for the explanation. My comments weren't intended to denigrate the skills or business acumen of professions photographers; more a question of where that money goes. I guess it comes down to how much the rider values the image and that's where the professions offer the better deal.

It's interesting to hear about amateur competition with the explosion of decent DSLRs etc but I guess without a tie in with the organisers, they would always struggle to advertise that they were around. How much do the Organisers like Kilotogo make I wonder? How does the quality compare to mainland Europe if they can do 18 photos for 20 euros?

Personally, it would have to be a bloody stunning photo for me to shell out. A bit difficult as by default, I would be in the shot!

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [551 posts]
31st May 2012 - 18:58

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In both cases, it is a 3rd party tog associated with the sportive organisers.

Read your 'rant', but that still doesn't explain the huge difference in prices. Going by the quality of equipment I saw at both RvV and KotD, and the quality of photos, there isn't much difference. If at all, the quality of photos from RvV is slightly better.

I'm not trying to devalue the skill and effort of a sportive photographer, or in any way question their right to price their output wherever they think is correct.

What I'm trying to figure out is what helps a tog on the continent price their photos so much cheaper than the ones here on the island. Equipment cost, processing time, insurance, and travel mustn't be SO different.

So, I can just hypothesise on two factors -

  1. Higher, (perceived) ability and willingness of riders to pay for photos here in the UK. This could be due to many first/few-timers taking part.
  2. Scale of the event on the continent - ~15,000 participants versus ~1500 for KotD. If most costs are fixed, sorting automated, and purchase rates similar, this could make a HUGE difference in returns for photographers even at much lower prices.

Wonder if we have someone on road.cc who's shot an event on the continent Big Grin

~rbx

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posted by rbx [243 posts]
31st May 2012 - 19:03

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rbx, its likely to be both of those, volume means more people to sell to so more potential revenue for a single days work. The costs for shooting a 1500 and 15000 entrant event would be similar so spread them across each possible sale and it greatly reduces overheads per image sold. The volume will make a massive difference. Likewise living costs, I don't know the ins and outs but it'll be considerably more expensive to live in the south east as opposed to France or Belgium.

It's difficult to deny though that the with sportive entry itself being quite expensive the entrants are likely to have some disposable income (hell, most spend fortunes on top end racing bikes just to pootle around the countryside) so they are a profitable demographic, if anyone's likely to spend a few quid on a picture of themselves on their prized possession its MAMILS. At least, that's how organisers will see it.

rbx and arriere, no offence taken, I wasn't really ranting, photography is a funny business because generally you get what you pay for but there's no reason a photo taken by someone with a cheapo SLR should be any worse than one taken by a ten year pro on a £5k camera. The trickle down of technology in DSLRs means even cheap cameras are excellent and high end photographs are accessible to more people.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
31st May 2012 - 19:39

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rbx wrote:

  1. Higher, (perceived) ability and willingness of riders to pay for photos here in the UK. This could be due to many first/few-timers taking part.

If anything I would say thats going to be the other way around.

Lower ability and willingness of riders to pay for photo's in the UK could be a factor in the price being higher.

Not that i'm claiming to know anything about it, but I would think sales abroad would be higher, because alot of these sportives attract riders for all over the world just wanting to take part in a ride which the pro's cover.

Where as in the UK, they are not so prestigious, riders may think, well it was only down the road, I don't need a photo of that.

So with a lower uptake on photo's in the UK is going to force the price up to break even before you even think about profit. Abroad, you'll set a level where its easy enough to make profit, but still cheap enough that people with purchase a memento of their ride, just so they can say "I was there, LOOK"

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posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
31st May 2012 - 19:51

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