Friday, May 27, 2011

Are race photos worth it?

In most big races, a professional photography outfit has photographers snapping pictures of the runners at several points during the race. Then after the race, you get an email with links to proofs of your pictures and an offer to purchase them. In my case it's usually easy to resist because either you can barely see me in the photo or I'm in some horrifically unflattering pose. But occasionally there's a real gem.

Looking strong at Elizabeth 8K, not looking so strong at Big Sur

I really like these two pictures, for entirely different reasons. The photo on the left, from the Elizabeth 8K, shows me looking quite strong. I think I'm fairly close to the finish, with a good-looking stride and good posture. And I'm absolutely drenched with sweat; that shows what it's like to run a good race. The photo on the right, from the Big Sur Marathon, shows me in a very different light, around Mile 22 when I'm nearly totally exhausted and reduced to walking. I think it says a lot about what it takes to complete a marathon.

But I don't think I like either picture enough to buy it -- at least not at the prices they're being offered at right now. Carolina Snapshot actually has a fairly reasonable deal for an individual photo: $14.99 for a web-resolution individual image. Depending on what "web resolution" is, I can imagine myself going for that deal. But not for an 8K race I was using as a tune-up. MarathonFoto has a $14.95 offer for a 5 X 7 print, but the cheapest digital photo is $44.95. If I bought a photo the main thing I'd be using it for is to share on blogs and Facebook, and I'm certainly not going to pay $44.95 for the privilege.

If either of these companies offered a reasonably-priced web-resolution photo, say 800 X 600 resolution, for 5 bucks, I probably would have bought one of each, and maybe one or two more from Big Sur. Instead, they've priced me (and I'd wager, thousands of other runners) out of the market. I'd love to see a race photo company try that out; I'd like to think they could do better than they do with their pricey $70 framed photos.

Details of today's workout are below:

Today I had a recovery run on the schedule; Mark wanted to run too, and we told ourselves we'd maintain a slow pace, definitely slower than 9-minute miles. We didn't quite make it, completing the 6.38-mile DART loop in an 8:49 pace. It just goes to show how hard it is to hold back when you're trying to run slowly with someone of comparable ability. Oh well, it was still a pretty relaxing run, and I've got another recovery run on the schedule for tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. I've never bought because the cost seems high. I think they'd get a lot of takers at the $5 for an 800x600 digital version.

    I guess they must be doing ok with the prices they have or they would probably try something different. Until then, I will proudly share the watermarked version