View Full Version : PLEASE HELP, AND leave ANY advice you can.
27th of January 2008 (Sun), 16:46
My name is Stephen. I am 18 years old and I AM going to be a sports photographer, whether its for the AJC (Atlanta Journal Constitution) or Sports Illustrated. I have a Canon Rebel XTi, with a 70-300mm lens. I have amazing shots, I know some of my work is good enough, I just need to know what my next step should be. I need to get some contacts, my girlfriends dad knows a guy that works for the Atlanta Thtashers, and he taled to him and he got me a press pass to any four games I want to go to. So i can be down on the ice where the players are. I really really am dedicated to do WHATEVER I need to do to get better and get my name out there. Please leave any advice you can. Here is my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much,
27th of January 2008 (Sun), 17:13
I'll give you credit, you sure set your goals high. As with anything else you need to start at the bottom and work your way up.
It may be helpful if you provided a gallery for someone to look at. Don't take this the wrong way but, just because you think your photos are great doesn't mean they are what SI or the AJC are going to think are great too.
27th of January 2008 (Sun), 18:31
Keep building skills, portfolio, and networks.
Its all about who you know!
27th of January 2008 (Sun), 20:08
Post a few on the sports forum and see what the working pro's think of them.
27th of January 2008 (Sun), 21:21
Stephen you have a very long road ahead of you and there's no quick way to do it. Go to school, shoot and practice as much as you can. Start shooting youth sports for someone in your area, work your way up and along the way improve your skills and your gear. As for the hockey game your 70-300 will not be fast enough. I will also be surprised if you get into the hockey game to shoot. They just don't give out media spots to people that want to be sports photographers, they are reserved for members of the working media. What would happen if you were to get hurt or worse yet cause someone else to get hurt? It took me along time to get to the point where I am now, covering MLB games. I'm not against people just starting out but you do have to work your way up. Post some pictures and let's see some of your work. Good luck.
27th of January 2008 (Sun), 23:27
Well, it's been said and can't agree more. #1 you need to post some images for people to see, saying they're great isn't going to cut it and your definition of great could be a heck of a lot different than working pros and editors - when I see anyone use the phrase "good enough" it makes me cringe a little - good enough is NOT good enough. Just visit the sports forum and you'll see tons of "great" photos that wouldn't leave many working pros bodies (i.e., deleted).
Working for SI or any company for that matter isn't easy. These companies only work with professionals, those who have experience not only capturing images (note how it doesn't say taking some photos), those who can transmit live, write captions, have a great work ethic, can shoot anything and everything in any situation, can find the story within a story, etc. It's not easy at all, doesn't mean it can't be done though - it's just hard. If you think about it for a second there's thousands of seasoned veterans that can't land jobs with these companies; they don't hold job fairs looking for photographers.
I was shooting for four years before I got published in a "real" magazine. That was mostly because I didn't want to submit crap and knew my stuff wasn't as good as the working pros, so I spent the time learning. I can guarantee you any company right now you call is going to ask for your work history - and since you don't have any I know the answer as well. The best advice has already been given, start shooting youth leagues or high school to build up a portfolio and knowledge. It's not going to happen overnight.
As for the NHL games I would be VERY surprised if it works out and I can guarantee if one working pro finds out the Trashers media director will get an earful. The NHL & NHLPA are strict with the media passes, there's wire services out there that are not issued media passes so I don't think for half a second they will issue them to someone with no experience and no outlet for the images (i.e. clients). If they did the NHLPA would raise hell as well as the working photogs.
In the NFL I've seen "friends" shoot a game for no reason other than they knew someoene but the NFL has a lot more room than hockey - there's limited holes in the glass and spots to shoot from. I know if I got bumped from my spot for a kid wanting to shoot I'd be in the press box in 4.2 seconds flat PO'd and letting the media director know it.
Last thing is you're going to get some bad advice from people that don't know. There's a small percentage of actual pros on this board, guys/gals that make there living from photography. Especially in pro sports, actually that'd be a good question to ask in this forum...I know I make about 80% of my living from pro sports, 10% from youth, 10% from coaching, and it's not easy.
28th of January 2008 (Mon), 06:53
Where I've been fortunate enough to cover some NHL events, there are 20,500 seats for fans and 8 locations for pro photographers. EIGHT. Not exactly a good ratio, if you know what I mean. Like Mike said, this isn't like NFL or NCAA or even HS football, where the sidelines, while crowded (sometimes REALLY crowded) are several hundred yards in length and a few friends of Management, alumni and other non-pro's can be accommodated. With the NHL, there is no room. You MAY be able to get press access on one of the mezzanine levels (I've heard of "Press" access being granted up there to non-working press) but NHL credentials are very difficult to get.
The reason why pro or even NCAA teams give credentials is because the images taken by the photographers are going to promote their team. This means that not only are these photos going to be consistently top quality, but they need to end up somewhere, and this means somewhere other than your MySpace page. They want the images to help them sell their team and promote their team's brand name, and even pro's who shoot for established media outlets have to constantly demonstrate the viability of their wire services and publications (unless they shoot for AP, SI, et al).
I join Jeff in commending your aspirations, Stephen, but you need to work your way up to this level. Hockey is NOT an easy sport to shoot. I also concur with Chris' comment on your 70-300 being a bit slow for anything other than the brightest of indoor venues.
I would start by shooting every youth and HS event I could get to. Are you in High School right now? If so, are you on the school paper and/or yearbook? If you are "dedicated" as you claim, then you need to be ready to WORK long and hard to advance from HS to NCAA then maybe get a break into shooting the pro's. SI has maybe 15 photographers (I don't know the exact number - just guessing from the names of the people I recognize who shot for them) on staff shooting full-time. The ACJ maybe has the same number? In any event, like I said, it's great to aim high, and I give you props for doing so, but you have to understand the amount of work required to get there.
How about posting some of your shots - that's really the only way to get constructive criticism and go from you thinking your shots are amazing to having other folks who look at thousands of sports photos every week think your shots are amazing.
28th of January 2008 (Mon), 06:58
Great opportunity. Good luck with it. But being 18, you need to continue with life, go to school, gather experience. Have goals, go towards them, but work as hard as you can. Talent gets you somewhere, but good old fashioned hard work is just as important.
29th of January 2008 (Tue), 10:53
I have amazing shots, I know some of my work is good enough, I just need to know what my next step should be.
You don't need some of your work to be good enough, You need ALL of your work to be good enough. You need to be able to post more than just a small number of "good enough" images for an employer. In todays market, where everyone and their brother has a dSLR, they can get ANYONE to provide them with "good enough" images.
Your next step should be not to say that your images are good enough. Your next step should be to learn that you images are NEVER good enough. Having a huge ego about your work is never going to get you to learn how to do it correctly.
I need to get some contacts, my girlfriends dad knows a guy that works for the Atlanta Thtashers, and he taled to him and he got me a press pass to any four games I want to go to.
Start learning to take good pictures and get your own contacts. He is not a contact. Once you break up with her, hes not going to help you anymore. This business is cut throat. Ive read a lot of your other posts, and you arent ready. You cant even figure out how to post an image online. You thin kyour going to be able to run around trying to find a wireless connection with your laptop, then connect via ftp, resize to the publishers requirements (do you know the differences between raw and jpg? differences between 1500x1500 at 72 and 300 dpi? most of all, do you know how to manipulate your images with software to fit these requirements WITHOUT needing to be taught by the publisher?).
Sorry to be harsh, but you aren't even close to ready. Take it one step at a time. If you start skipping steps, you are going to make a bad name for yourself. Also, stop posting 300 threads about the same topic. Id hate to see what would happen if you sent an employer 30 e-mails with your resume (if yo ueven have one).
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