June 15, 2011
Between The Berms
You Should Be In Pictures... I want to break from my usual weekly rundown of current shooting sports buzz to talk about why shooters need to do a better job when it comes to photos.
Last week I found myself searching for photos of various shooters for local press to use in their stories. In particular, I was looking for images of Sarah Irish who placed 5th in the Women's Open division at the IRC.
Stealing a page from the Smith & Wesson playbook, shooting organizations had previously set up Flickr accounts for USPSA, SCSA and ICORE to house high-res images of as many shooters as possible. Considering she's a rising star, there were already images of Sarah available, including her competing with a revolver.
Often companies form teams, recruit shooters, design jerseys and even put out a press release... well maybe. However, for some unknown reason, the notion of building a media library of images of each team shooter completely escapes the marketing department.
The sets of images on USPSA's Flickr account cover more than 340 individual shooters and SCSA's cover over 110 individuals, providing a good base for the organization's ongoing PR efforts. But while there are 34 images of K.C. Eusebio between the two accounts, not one of those pictures shows his new affiliation with Team HK.
And trust me when I tell you, if anybody is likely to use a pic of K.C. it's going to be me, especially as we approach the Steel Challenge, the USPSA Nationals and the IPSC World Shoot where he'll be a major player later this year.
So what do you do about your own PR photos?
Second, get a photographer. The advice I gave Sarah, after explaining the problem, was to find a good photographer, either locally or at a match, that can take at least one good portrait shot of her in her new team jersey.
Ideally you want several shots for a photo editor to choose from but for PR it is possible to get a away with one good head shot - a stock photo of sorts. Start with one if that's all you can do and build out the library over time. Keep in mind the photos have to show your face - sometimes a challenge in competition shooting.
Fortunately, in the shooting sports there are a couple good photographers that can help you. Teams, like Rudy Project, can look to Yamil Sued who has shot Smith & Wesson's team the last couple years as well as FNH USA's. If you look through the photos in the USPSA, SCSA and ICORE Flickr accounts you'll see many are credited to Yamil. He's a classically trained photographer who is also a shooter, and thus understands everything from portraits to action shooting shots. You can find him on Facebook.
Scott Durkin, who like Yamil is out of Arizona, is another excellent photography resource. He's also a magician with Photoshop, which comes in handy when you need to make a Glock logo disappear from the t-shirt of a new Team S&W shooter. I know, he did it for us for a picture we ran in this column several months ago.
Stuart Wong is a photographer at the Colorado Springs Gazette, the state's second largest daily paper. He's a shooter too so if you can get him to take some pictures of you that you can use for PR, you'll have images that are absolutely print worthy. You can see some of his work on The Gazette Photo Dept Facebook page.
Paul Hyland out of Boulder County, Colorado shoots a lot of the women's Super Squad during competition. You'll frequently see his pics (and video) on the WomenofUSPSA blog. You can see a collection of Paul's work on his website BritinUSA.net.
For you Canadian shooters, Mark Hamrol out of British Columbia, another USPSA shooter who knows his way around a camera, is the guy to hunt down. I shot with Mark some during the 2010 USPSA Nationals and he knows his stuff - so much so that I looked to use some of his pics instead of my own.
All the photographers mentioned know their way around a range and how to work with the ROs. They know which are the best stages to shoot and where the best shots are going to be on those stages.
There are of course other good photographers around the shooting ranges that I didn't mention because, well, I don't know them. If you know some, approach them and see if they will help you build your own library of PR shots. Keep in mind it may cost you a little money, but is well worth it.
If you want to deliver value to your sponsors, or work your way into a sponsorship, then people will need to see more of you. Wearing that cool new team shirt as you collect your trophy at a match of 300 shooters is good. But a picture of you seen by the 128,000+ subscribers of The Shooting Wire might deliver a bit more value to your sponsor.
Just a suggestion.
- Paul Erhardt, Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network
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