When it comes to race event photography, Gameface Media has quickly become a name a lot of photographers and event organizers recognize, whether it be for better or worse.
In case you’re unaware of GameFace Media, they are recognized as one of the worlds largest photography publishing companies that provides free race images to competitors of events such as mud runs and marathons.
In 2015, it was announced that Gameface Media raised $4,000,000 in a financing round led by Copley Equity Partners as well as Bialla Venture Partners. Promising, right?
But fast forward to 2016 and 2017, and hundreds of photographers have gone months without any form of payment for their work for Gameface Media, all while Gameface Media is continuing to offer free images to race attendees.
When you are hired by Gameface media to join their team, they project the idea that you’ll be compensated very well ($50 per hour with a minimum of 4 hours per event) and that you’ll be paid shortly after each event. Per their website:
What does it mean to be a Gameface photographer? It means consistent, hourly pay; you’ll never be paid only a commission based upon what gets sold.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case for quite a few photographers, and Gameface Media is giving various responses as to why it is taking so long to issue payments, some still haven’t received payments in over year. I’m owed nearly $1,000 for two events I shot in Virginia, and I personally know a laundry list of other photographers who are also owed.
Photographers have received either no response or email responses stating that “sometimes it take a while for sponsors to pay Gameface Media therefore payments to photographers are delayed” or that “As further investments and invoice collections arrive, we will continue to pay photographers back pay from 2016”.
Here are a couple of screenshots from emails I’ve received:
Sadly, Gameface Media has never been the one to contact the photographers to give a status update regarding any form of payment or delays, it has always come down to the photographers asking about their payment. Additionally, Gameface Media is continuing to seek and accept new race events as well as request support from photographers.
Aside from the receiving payment, Gameface Media is quick to terminate contracts with photographers if they do not attend an event. It’s been noted by many photographers that after shooting multiple events and going unpaid, after the next event they do not attend they received a template email stating “Due to you not attending XYZ Event, you violated the terms of a legally binding contract and your account has been terminated with Gameface”.
Per Gameface Media:
When a photographer cancels their commitment to an event, whether it is 2 weeks out or 2 days out, it has a noticeable and significant impact on our product and can sometimes mean short-staffing an event due to not being able to find a replacement photographer last-minute. Due to this, our new cancellation policy is as follows:
When you cancel a contract with us we may, at our discretion, immediately remove you from our system. Factors that will play into this decision are things such as how long you have been shooting for us, whether you have found a replacement prior to contacting us, when you cancel your contract in relation to the event date, the reasoning for cancellation, and the nature of the event. It is our goal to keep as many dependable contracts in the system as possible.
Quick to call out being dependable and needing to keep operations running smoothly, Gameface Media clearly has a skewed vision of how their company should be operated and how much they lack respect for photographers who work to make them “successful”.
Gameface Media has a real problem on their hands, and it’s one that is really rubbing the backbone of their business model the wrong way, with that backbone being us photographers. It’s very unfortunately that we have come to the point that many of us feel as though we will never see payment from Gameface Media.
We enjoy photographing these race events and really wish Gameface Media would take a step back and see just what kind of damage they are doing for their reputation. They have clearly bitten off more than they can chew and just like the saying goes, if it seems to good to be true than it most likely is.
Have you worked for Gameface Media or are you working for Gameface Media and have yet to be paid for your services? If so, comment below and let us know your opinions.
About the author: Nick Sutton is a professional photographer based in Hampton Roads. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Sutton offers his services through his business Kinetic Stills. You can find more of his work and connect with him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.