Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read More.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Guest
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Motorsports Talk 
Thread started 15 Mar 2015 (Sunday) 10:34
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

How to become a pro motorsports photographer in 5-6 years?

 
urbanfreestyle
I am a squirrel who loves rubbing bottles and I have Nuts in my drawers, too!
Avatar
1,981 posts
Gallery: 9 photos
Likes: 207
Joined Dec 2013
Location: Exeter, Devon
     
Mar 30, 2015 10:44 as a reply to  @ post 17497964 |  #16

I can certainly vouch for that last line judging by the most 'popular' or should i say 'unpopular' photographers in the car scene down here.


Facebook (external link)
Fuji XE1 | Fuji 18-55 f2.8 | Helios 44/m | Pentacon 135mm f2.8 | Manfrotto 055CX PRO3 | 3LT Mohawk ballhead | Lubitel 2 med format camera | Zenit EM 35mm camera |

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)
Arte ­ Automobilistica
Senior Member
308 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Oct 2010
Location: Devon UK
     
Mar 30, 2015 14:50 |  #17

aphphoto wrote in post #17497964 (external link)
You've absolutely got to be a self-promoter and a bit of a prick to make it today.

:lol:


NelPhotos.co.uk (external link)
Work: 7D + Sigma 100-300 4
Play: Kiss X4 + 15-85 IS + 10-22 + 50 1.8 II + Vivitar 1 70-210 3.5
EOS-M + 18-55 + FD 50 1.4 + FD 135 2.8 + Tamron 35-80 1A
G9, SX280 HS + CHDK, Casio EX-FH 100, Toshiba L505-144 & iPad 2

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
SE ­ Smith ­ Jr
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
Avatar
565 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Jan 2008
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Post edited over 3 years ago by SE Smith Jr.
     
Mar 31, 2015 01:56 |  #18

This is exactly why I dreaded making this post in the first place.

I went to the bookstore earlier and hit the magazine rack, and there are God knows how many different publications featuring all kinds of racing cars and racing events. Please don't tell me that there are only a handful of photographers that are making money supplying media for this entire market.

Anyway, it looks like I'm on to Plan B: Contacting these publications and asking them directly.

Thanks.


-Steve

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
DC ­ Fan
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
5,871 posts
Likes: 42
Joined Oct 2005
     
Mar 31, 2015 03:06 |  #19

SE Smith Jr wrote in post #17498968 (external link)
This is exactly why I dreaded making this post in the first place.

I went to the bookstore earlier and hit the magazine rack, and there are God knows how many different publications featuring all kinds of racing cars and racing events. Please don't tell me that there are only a handful of photographers that are making money supplying media for this entire market.

Anyway, it looks like I'm on to Plan B: Contacting these publications and asking them directly.

Thanks.

So far, this thread has produced no evidence that you have any experience at generating material on a publication's deadlines. Pictures have little value until they're in the hands of the clients when the clients want them, and not when a photographer wants to send them out. Not everyone who wants to be a "pro" also wants to learn how to meet a deadline. Do you have a 4G phone and know how to to use it to upload images? Can you quickly prepare images on a notebook PC? Can you get images out of a camera that can be immediately ready for use? Do you know what photo editors really want and how fast they want it?

Proving the ability to perform these tasks is at the heart of becoming a "pro."




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
aphphoto
Senior Member
422 posts
Likes: 20
Joined Nov 2010
     
Mar 31, 2015 08:43 |  #20

SE Smith Jr wrote in post #17498968 (external link)
Please don't tell me that there are only a handful of photographers that are making money supplying media for this entire market.

Anyway, it looks like I'm on to Plan B: Contacting these publications and asking them directly.

Thanks.

You've been given some facts what you choose to do with them is up to you. I can tell you that most of the motorsports photography in the top levels of the sport are controlled by one agency and a handful of full-time pro photographers in each country. Most of the websites are dependent upon amateurs submitting work for free and paying their own way. Most of the news sites are subscribed to one or two service bureaus or wire services.
You have been keeping up with the news on Sports Illustrated and some other major users of sports photography, right? How whole legions of photographers have been let go and reporters told to take pictures with their iPhones?
Do you understand that it is getting harder and harder to get credentials to cover motorsports? That the insurance companies are forcing tracks to tighten up considerably so the websites and blogs and so on won't be getting access any longer at many locations?
Not trying to crush your dreams but you need to be going into this with your eyes wide open.
You've still yet to answer any questions about your experience, your knowledge of the industry, any existing connections, etc. Are you willing to start at some local track shooting stuff that nobody cares about? Are you able to produce the quality of work? Able to produce something better and different than everybody else - including the hundreds of fans with cameras who will work for free? Able to shoot for 12 hours and process pictures until 3:00am then do it again the next day? Have the technical skills to process and upload the pics from the media center or your car with captions and copyrights and other details all complete? This ain't just about calling up a magazine and telling them you think you'd like to be a motorsports photographer.


who gives a rat crap how much gear you can list?

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Bicknell55
Senior Member
347 posts
Gallery: 34 photos
Likes: 13
Joined Feb 2009
Location: Lititz, PA
     
Mar 31, 2015 19:12 |  #21

Take note of the photo creds in the magazines. I think you'll start to see the same names over and over. And just because the photo was published doesn't mean the photographer was paid well or even paid at all.

Generally each genre of major professional racing has around 10-15 folks following the circuit week to week. Over time some will retire but unless more cars/teams/sponsors/$ comes into the sport there will continue to be more photographers than work.


If you can't fix it with a hammer you've got an electrical problem.
http://www.brentsmithp​hotography.com/ (external link)http://brentsmith.smug​mug.com/ (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
aphphoto
Senior Member
422 posts
Likes: 20
Joined Nov 2010
Post edited over 3 years ago by aphphoto. (2 edits in all)
     
Mar 31, 2015 20:04 |  #22

Bicknell55 wrote in post #17499870 (external link)
Generally each genre of major professional racing has around 10-15 folks following the circuit week to week. Over time some will retire but unless more cars/teams/sponsors/$ comes into the sport there will continue to be more photographers than work.

Of those 10-15 (and talking top level series) about 6 are making money. The rest are losing money and subsidizing the motorsports with other work, most likely with a 9-5 job as well. Some of the biggest names in the business are down to 1-2 clients per weekend which doesn't pay the bills.
Also you need to understand that the magazines pay per shot and you're not paying for your travel, food and hotel off that never mind putting anything towards equipment, insurance, etc. Magazines in sport are definitely not where the money is.


who gives a rat crap how much gear you can list?

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
autoidiodyssey
Member
202 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Aug 2010
     
Apr 02, 2015 11:17 |  #23

aphphoto wrote in post #17499920 (external link)
Magazines in sport are definitely not where the money is.

I'd have to agree with this statement. One of my photos was used on the cover of Grassroots Motorsports last year. It paid a few hundred, which was nice. I spoke to the magazine's art director in Daytona last year at the 24. He said that there is not much of a market, at least at his publication, for event coverage. When they are laying out the magazine each month event coverage is one of the first things they look to bump when they need space. It makes sense, in this day and age, event coverage in magazines is old news.

He also said that writing was much more important than photography. He said someone who can write well and take okay photos was more valuable to him than someone who couldn't write and took great photos. You have a much better chance of getting in print, and getting paid, if you can provide a finished product. Words and photos. At least when it comes to the smaller publications. If they are looking to run a story about an event and have to choose between a well written story with passable photos and great photos with no story they will take the finished product every time.

You also have to consider that you will be competing with people closer to your son's age. Both in terms of energy and financial needs. In the Motorsports sharing forum there is a thread with shots from the 12 Hours of Sebring. The photographer in that thread notes that he worked a 21 hour day on race day. Are you up for that? The impression that I have from looking down this road is that it is much easier to pull off as a 25 yr old with no mortgage or kids to put through college.

You classify yourself as an "amateur hobbyist". Have you attended a full race weekend and shot everyday like you would have to if you were covering it for a publication? If not, I would recommend attending a race at a spectator friendly track and approach it as if you were being paid to cover it. That means get there before the cars hit the track on the first day of practice (Thursday or Friday) and leave after the cars are on the haulers (Sunday night). Take photos of everything for 8-10 hours each day at least. Then when processing all of the photos make sure everything is key-worded with driver and sponsor info and a caption. It is a bunch of work.

That being said, if this is your dream don't let anyone here discourage you. Much of what the people in this thread are saying is true. It will be very hard to make a living as a motorsports photographer. But they also might be trying to scare off the competition. ;-)a


_______________
flickr (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
JacobPhoto
Goldmember
1,434 posts
Likes: 39
Joined Jun 2005
Location: La Verne, Cali
     
Apr 09, 2015 10:30 |  #24

autoidiodyssey wrote in post #17501998 (external link)
I'd have to agree with this statement. One of my photos was used on the cover of Grassroots Motorsports last year. It paid a few hundred, which was nice. I spoke to the magazine's art director in Daytona last year at the 24. He said that there is not much of a market, at least at his publication, for event coverage. When they are laying out the magazine each month event coverage is one of the first things they look to bump when they need space. It makes sense, in this day and age, event coverage in magazines is old news.

He also said that writing was much more important than photography. He said someone who can write well and take okay photos was more valuable to him than someone who couldn't write and took great photos. You have a much better chance of getting in print, and getting paid, if you can provide a finished product. Words and photos. At least when it comes to the smaller publications. If they are looking to run a story about an event and have to choose between a well written story with passable photos and great photos with no story they will take the finished product every time.

You also have to consider that you will be competing with people closer to your son's age. Both in terms of energy and financial needs. In the Motorsports sharing forum there is a thread with shots from the 12 Hours of Sebring. The photographer in that thread notes that he worked a 21 hour day on race day. Are you up for that? The impression that I have from looking down this road is that it is much easier to pull off as a 25 yr old with no mortgage or kids to put through college.

You classify yourself as an "amateur hobbyist". Have you attended a full race weekend and shot everyday like you would have to if you were covering it for a publication? If not, I would recommend attending a race at a spectator friendly track and approach it as if you were being paid to cover it. That means get there before the cars hit the track on the first day of practice (Thursday or Friday) and leave after the cars are on the haulers (Sunday night). Take photos of everything for 8-10 hours each day at least. Then when processing all of the photos make sure everything is key-worded with driver and sponsor info and a caption. It is a bunch of work.

That being said, if this is your dream don't let anyone here discourage you. Much of what the people in this thread are saying is true. It will be very hard to make a living as a motorsports photographer. But they also might be trying to scare off the competition. ;-)a

Agree 100%.

On most race weekends, I need to have the images culled, edited, captioned, and zipped along with an original story and race results sitting in the editors inbox by 9am Monday morning. For some clients, that's 3 to 5 images. For others, it's 50 to 100. Any later than Tuesday 9am and you're old news as they're already prepping for the next weekend.

Also, you can't just regurgitate the press release from the sanctioning body about who won, you'll need to highlight the other stories. Which hometown hero had a rough day? Which championship contender improved their standings? Who debuted a new car or sponsor? Who's in contract negotiations for the next season? THOSE stories are the ones you need to know off the top of your head so that when a client asks for an image about those drivers or teams, you already know you have a shot that tells the story.

In the end, pressing the shutter button is the least important part of becoming a successful motorsport photographer.


~ Canon 7d / 5D ~ Novatron strobe setup + Vagabond
~ Some L glass, some flashes, the usual

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
lusospeed
Member
Avatar
178 posts
Likes: 4
Joined Dec 2012
Location: pennsylvania
     
Apr 09, 2015 19:11 |  #25

SE Smith Jr wrote in post #17498968 (external link)
This is exactly why I dreaded making this post in the first place.

I went to the bookstore earlier and hit the magazine rack, and there are God knows how many different publications featuring all kinds of racing cars and racing events. Please don't tell me that there are only a handful of photographers that are making money supplying media for this entire market.

Anyway, it looks like I'm on to Plan B: Contacting these publications and asking them directly.

Thanks.

If you dreaded making this post, then why did you bother? Unless of course you knew what the predictable answers were going to be.

Much of what has been stated as a reply to your question is the bitter truth, while some of it is pure rubbish and comes from individuals who don't do it for a living. Much of it is just pure common sense, regardless if you do it full time, or on the side.

In your initial post, you mention about making the jump from amateur hobbyist to a professional motorsports photographer. That is your first mistake. You want to become a "professional motorsports photographer". Perhaps you need to first understand that what you seek is to embark on a full time career, which means running your own business. I'll assume that you want to earn a living from it. You are putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. Perhaps you need to transition from a hobbyist to a professional photographer, which means that you not only need to up your skill set, but also invest in equipment, and learn to run a business. Photography is a service industry, and pushing the button on a camera is but a small part of it. Fixating on motorsports is a big mistake, and embarking on such career path where the focus is so narrow is a HUGE mistake.

You ask how you go about getting a job with a motorsport publication. First off, there might be a hand full of motorsport publications around the world. Here is the reality on that one. Those publications DO NOT have someone at events spanning the globe. They don't have someone at a specific event either. They don't have a dedicated staff photographer. Magazines like Racer, or Autosport will get their images from agencies like LAT or Getty. If you doubt me, just pick up a copy and look at credits for the photos. These publications have contracts with the agencies for the supply of images. Often you will see a photographers name followed by LAT. Sometimes the author of a given piece will also do the photography.The other way that motorsports publications get their images is directly from the manufacturers. Depending on the series, car companies will have someone there working for them. their images get uploaded to their media site, and anyone that needs them for editorial use can download them, for free. Also, most sanctioning bodies also have a photographer, who also shoots for them, and those images are also available for download for editorial purposes, for free. There are some individuals who will work for teams. They too will generate photography, and those also usually get placed on teams websites, and are also made available for media usage, for free.

Here is some more reality for you with regards to magazines, since you mention the number you see on the stands. You can pick up as many magazines as you want, and you can contact as many editors as you want, but in the end you will find the end result to be rather disappointing. The first obstacle you will run into is even getting a reply from editors. I could write a novel on that subject alone.

Beyond that, some more reality. When you pick up certain magazines (I won't name specific ones) that feature vintage coverage of events, as an example, and you see maybe 4 or 5 pages dedicated to a given event, rest assured that the individual who shot, and possibly wrote about it, didn't cover his expenses. Magazines either pay by the feature, or they pay on a per page rate. They DO NOT cover your meals, your lodging, your travel, or any other expenses.

Websites? Forget it. There is no money doing anything for 99.9% of them. Most who brag about shooting for a website will not tell you how much they have made because they have made zero from it. Websites are a means to get a credential, beyond that, they are bottomless pits.

As mentioned in a previous reply, motorsports photography is a cut throat pool to dive into. There are a few who are making money at it, a few who cover expenses, and a ton that lose money. When you need to do it as a business, reality sets in real quick. Displacing those who are making a living from it is next to impossible. You don't get to that point just by taking pretty pictures. these are individuals who have been doing it for many years, and have established relationships with teams, car companies, series... take your pick.

There are some realities that those who do it for a living face as well. it is equally difficult for them because you will have individuals that somehow think that they will get a foot in the door by working for next to nothing, or for free. It is hard to compete with someone who is willing to work for free. The problem is those individuals are paying their way to an event, which means lodging, food, sometimes a rental car or a flight, and any other number of expenses, and then working for teams, team owners, drivers, etc... FOR FREE. What they fail to understand is that they are not only screwing themselves, but also screwing those that are actually trying earn a living. When you charge zero for your work, it becomes very difficult to then demand payment at some point in time. It also makes it difficult for those that make a living to ask for a respectable sum for their work. To put it in a different light, think about it this way. You go to a race, spend your money, go there for a weekend and work for free for someone, or a team who is spending ten of thousands if not hundreds of thousands on tires, fuel, personnel on any given weekend. There is a cavalcade of weekend wannabe motorsports photographers who have been doing this for many years, and continue to do so.

Perhaps, instead of fixating on motorsports solely, you might want to consider the broader range of photography where motorsports is but a small component of a bigger business plan. I do this for a living and have been doing it for quite a few years. At one point I had a full time job, and in the course of time built up a photography business that allowed me to transition to my own business, which I do full time, and make a living from. I have been shooting motorsports for many years, but make that a very small part of my overall business. Everything I've pointed out to you is not fiction, or an assumption on my part, it is based on my experiences and the realities of this business. There are other opportunities in the automotive industry. There is work in the magazine industry that has nothing to do with motorsports. the opportunities are there, as well as working for car companies, or aftermarket suppliers for the auto industry. Again, you need to look at the bigger picture, and understand that if you want to make a living from it, you need to understand the field that you're getting into, and the land mines that lay in your path.


http://www.lusospeed.c​om (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
330cic
Member
208 posts
Likes: 20
Joined Dec 2006
Location: Austin TX
     
Apr 25, 2015 14:47 |  #26

As with any craft, first you need the passion. Then you need the results. Then you need the contacts (or the luck).

Kinda like "how do you become a millionare? First, get a million dollars..."


SteveH
Canon 7D, Sigma 10-20, Canon 50 f1.8, Canon 18-135 IS, Sigma 70-200 f2.8, Sigma 150-500

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Jethr0
Senior Member
Avatar
848 posts
Gallery: 38 photos
Likes: 434
Joined Aug 2012
Location: ON, Canada
     
Apr 26, 2015 18:20 |  #27

330cic wrote in post #17532227 (external link)
As with any craft, first you need the passion. Then you need the results. Then you need the contacts (or the luck).

Kinda like "how do you become a millionare? First, get a million dollars..."

^best answer in this thread IMO. It's the basics.

I too had dreams of shooting Motorsports for a living. The reality is that there is money to be made, but it's not what you're (OP) seem to be dreaming of. I have the passion. I worked on results for a number of years shooting 30-40,000 pics per race season on my own time. I eventually got More keepers than throw aways. I happened into a few opportunities to shoot at track days as the only guy with a camera there (Porsche, Lamborghini clubs, and motorbike). Vanity = sales. I set up a tent/booth and sold cd's and printed pics on the spot. This is where the money was for me. The bikers bought 4x more than the car guys. This spawned into more specific requests to shoot for the local clubs and local race series. Solid part time income that barely pays for the gear I buy. AWOLPhoto does this but on a much broader scale and seems like he does well at it.

Don't pin your hopes and dreams on a saturated market. Unless you have the skills and contacts to skip the first bunch of steps in the ladder.


www.jefflowe.ca (external link)
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeff​lowe.ca (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
STIC
Goldmember
1,627 posts
Gallery: 360 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 981
Joined Oct 2012
Location: Palmerston North, New Zealand
     
May 16, 2015 03:28 |  #28
bannedPermanent ban

Not sure whether you're looking at this the right way, or how realistic your goal may be but here's some info from personal experience:

I have had a passion for cars and motorsport for years, and as such, spent a lot of time with like minded people which led to me spending a lot of time at the 'track' with many friends who race. As I owned a camera, I tagged along with it and shot a few cars at such meetings...

Turns out, I'm quite good at it, and seeing as I was involved with some of the guys who kicked off the drift scene here in NZ, I began covering their meets for them (for a small fee and accommodation/booze/fo​od). I submitted some of the images to a local mag and got published (and paid a modest fee), and was supplying the mag for a good year doing this.

Once "in" with the magazine, I was asked if I could help them out by shooting some feature cars in my area...they liked the photos and I asked if they wanted me to write the articles too...when asked if I thought I could do that, I said I'd let them be the judge...and after the first submitted article, I became their freelance writer/photographer for the region. Approx 18 months of this (averaging a motorsport event and around 3 articles a month) and their editor moved on and I was offered the job...

Loved it, but it didn't last more than a year due to the fickle world of publishing (and the fact that it was a privately owned mag with a limited budget).

I have also worked for another private publishing company involved in heavy transport and been a freelance writer/photographer for the local paper for several years...

I have NO formal qualifications as far as writing or photography goes (I did get some on the job training in the Adobe suite when working at the paper as a graphic designer), so I'm not sure what educational paths would be relevant.

I DID have a passion for motorsports and vehicle photography however, and have always enjoyed writing, but in my case (and I suspect, with most others too), it was the work i submitted itself and being in the right place at the right time that were the contributing factors...


7D MarkII l 50 1.8 STM l15-85 IS USM l 100-400 IS L l 2x converter l 580EX II l Wireless remote l A computer l Some software l A vehicle to get me around...;)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
gonzogolf
dumb remark memorialized
28,988 posts
Likes: 964
Joined Dec 2006
     
May 16, 2015 05:13 |  #29

Firstly you need to understand the unintended insult in your question. Anytime some with no demonstrated aptitude in a given field assumes they can master it within 5 years while others who have toiled away for years doing good work but not gaining traction you show a lack of understanding and appreciation of the very thing you aspire to do. As said above there are few staff jobs, you just need to go out and be better than everyone else, snd know the right people and catch a few lucky breaks along the way. Other than that its a simple thing.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
pureadrenalin
Member
112 posts
Gallery: 6 photos
Likes: 11
Joined Oct 2007
     
May 26, 2015 14:20 |  #30

I'm a freelance pro.

It's simple. Pick up a camera, go shoot a bunch of stuff, pay your own way, and hope something gets picked up.

I might be calling myself a freelance pro though...

And none of my stuff has gotten picked up....... unless you are really, really good, and have a really unique style, there is little chance of breaking through into a paid gig that you can live on. Not trying to be harsh, it's just reality.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

13,773 views & 29 likes for this thread
How to become a pro motorsports photographer in 5-6 years?
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Motorsports Talk 
AAA
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!


COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.


POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.0forum software
version 2.0 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©
for photography-on-the.net

Latest registered member is Lausti
725 guests, 412 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 6430, that happened on Dec 03, 2017

Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.