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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 07 Jan 2011 (Friday) 20:13
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How do I get into sports photography?

Senior Member
530 posts
Joined Jan 2009
Jan 14, 2011 15:00 |  #61

Very informative posts by Mr.Janes in this thread.

39 posts
Joined Feb 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Jan 15, 2011 00:38 |  #62

I was afraid you'd say that, but it all makes sense.

I think I may take Methodical's advice and shoot for a least a season (fortunately lacrosse season is only a couple months long), maybe try to use the %20 of sales to the club as an incentive, as well as try to do the team's T&I shots.

If that all fails, then I'll take your advice and just leave the lacrosse market. Thanks to the both of you!

Mike ­ R
4,319 posts
Likes: 5
Joined May 2006
Location: 06478, CT
Jan 16, 2011 18:50 |  #63

keithj0nes wrote in post #11644331 (external link)
I was afraid you'd say that, but it all makes sense.

I think I may take Methodical's advice and shoot for a least a season (fortunately lacrosse season is only a couple months long), maybe try to use the %20 of sales to the club as an incentive, as well as try to do the team's T&I shots.

If that all fails, then I'll take your advice and just leave the lacrosse market. Thanks to the both of you!

It may be dependent on the area but 20% is TOO HIGH.

Mike R (external link)

Senior Member
784 posts
Joined Apr 2006
Jan 17, 2011 08:02 as a reply to  @ Mike R's post |  #64

I have no ambition of being a pro sports photographer but I do make a living with my camera. I only shoot my sons team and for the most part I shoot for free. If a parent wants prints Ill charge them, talking to a potential customer and getting a lead is worth way more to me. A link to my flickr can land me a landscape photo image and a substantial job.
People ( the parents) like going through my shots, they all ask me why I have such a good camera and thats when I go into sales mode. I see it as free advertising and after selling in the vicinity of 20k to teammates last year "Sorry" if Im stepping on your toes.
Yes I was pissed about having a parent submitting my pics to the local paper. Making a stink over a couple hundred dollars would do more damage then good. Who knows maybe I will be good enough some day to make a switch into sports photography.

canon 50D | canon 30D | canon 135mm f2 L |
canon 60mm macro | canon 17-55 IS| canon 70-200mm L f4 IS| sigma 10-20mm|a bunch of bags.

Senior Member
295 posts
Joined Sep 2008
Location: Central, PA
Jan 19, 2011 08:54 |  #65

philwillmedia wrote in post #11603281 (external link)
I've posted this several times elsewhere on POTN - people are probably sick of seeing it.
It's essentially related to motorsports photography but the principles are the same for any sport.
It's a bit long, I know, but It covers most things you probably need to know and, dare I say, it tells it like it is.

A quick few words about my background.
I started my motorsport photography over 20 years ago when I stopped competing in rallies.
The biggest problem I and fellow competitors had back then was getting pics of ourselves.
When I finally parked the rally car, I still wanted to be involved. I picked up the camera and started taking pics at club level events to national championship level from spectator areas and selling them to competitors.
After a while I started submitting to a couple of motorsport magazines. It took a while but eventually, after about 3 years, I started getting some images published and then it snowballed from there to the point where I was able to get accreditation.
Today, I cover all types of motorsport and supply several magazines and agencies with images. I have also covered a number of different sports and events for image libraries including Federation Cup Tennis, International Netball, Wrestling, Pro Golf, AFL Football, International Soccer, Pro Cycling and several other sports and events. Later this week I will be coveruing the World Tennis Challenge in Adelaide.

Firstly, what is your reason for wanting media credentials.
Are you a member of the media?
What can you give the organizers by your presence?
Media creds are usually only given to WORKING media. This means people working for and supplying bona fide media outlets ie: Magazines and newspapers and other recognised media outlets such as websites and press agencies.
I’ve been shooting sport, mainly motorsport for over 20 years, and still do club level and grass roots sports.
I supply several magazines and newspapers as well as photo agencies.
I often get asked…
”How do I get a pass to shoot from where you are?”
My reply usually goes something like this…
“How long have you been photographing (insert name of sport) and what outlet do you work for?
To which they reply something like…”Oh I never do. I just want to get in and shoot from where you are. I’m just taking photos for myself”
Ask yourself this…
If you’ve never taken a photograph of an American Football (substitute for any sport) game, would you approach the NFL (again substitute relevant organization) and say to them “Hey Mr NFL Media Man, I’ve never taken a photo of a grid iron game before but I think I’m a pretty good photographer, I’m not shooting for anyone except myself so you won’t get any publicity but can I have a media pass for the Superbowl…"
Seriously, what do you think they would say.
It would probably be cool to be there and you’d get off on it and brag to your friends, but seriously…
Unless you are working media, why should you be there.

Media credential's ARE NOT a free pass to get in to an event.

Admittedly, sometimes I have seen some people with creds who probably shouldn't have them - and people who probably should have them who don't - however it's not for me to make that decision.
I do sympathise with people who wish they could get creds for events and can't.
Event organizers are after publicity. You shooting for yourself does not give them that publicity and they do not have an obligation to give you a media pass just because you think you should have one. It is up to you to justify why you should be accredited.
Remember that the 'togs you see shooting at a track or sporting event etc are being paid by somebody therefore IT IS A JOB. They are not there for the fun of it.
Imagine if somebody came into your work place and thought it looks like cool job, do you think they'd just be able to start doing what you were for the fun of it?
Also, there is a whoooole lot more to it than just standing by the track and taking photo's. There are deadlines (sometimes very short) to meet and as a rule I would suggest that for the same amount of time spent trackside there is at least 1/2 to 3/4 of that time to be spent on editing, sending images etc when the day at the track has finished. If you spend 8 hours at the track, then you will usually spend another four to six hours, at least, once you have left the track on editing etc.
I attend a lot of events where I don't have creds so I do know what it's like from behind the fence or in the bleachers, but I still manage to get good and sometimes great images.
It makes you see things differently and find different angles and ways of shooting.
I'd estimate that about 50% of events I go to, I don't have the magic press pass and pay to get in like everyone else.
Sometimes I'm just there for being there, and sometimes it might be a sport I've never shot before but want to see what it's like. Occasionally I do manage to sell some images.
Also, just because you have good gear doesn't mean you should be there either.
I've seen some 'togs with basic DSLR's and kit lenses take some better stuff than guys with 1D's and white lenses (and Nikon equivalent). I occasionally use a 400D with the 10-22 lens and have had those images published. I also use a sigma 10mm fisheye.
In closing, I will say this...
If you want to have creds for big events, start shooting the grass roots of that sport (no it's not glamorous like the big events - but you'll probably make more money) and start supplying images to publications etc.
This is a great way to get yourself known to event organisers. They learn to know who you are and that you are committed to photographing their sport and being known is half the battle. This is not going to take 5 minutes and may take several years, yes... I did say years.
To do this you need to have passion for both the sport and your photography.
You must be prepared to put up with the elements, rain, hail, shine, and depending on the hemisphere, maybe snow (not generally an issue in Australia) etc etc.
Just like any job, sometimes it will NOT be fun and just plain hard work.
It just depends on how hard you are prepared to work to get there.

Except when learning to swim, always start at the bottom.
I see too many people trying to start right at the top. it doesn't work that way.

Apologies if this appears blunt and straight to the point, but it is fact.

Well put.
I started small, picking up a camera out of will to play with it 5 years ago.
I didn’t think it would turn into something I love now.

2 Years later, I was asked by a friend to shoot some Paintball. I figured, why not.
Now, 2 years after that, I shoot for 3 of the largest magazines/publications that feature the sport, along with having my name widly recognized in the sport, and have no issue securing press credentials, having my work published, or seeing my photos all over the internet.

Now-a-days, people think, my works so popular here, let me roll that into another sport. I tried that, learned, and read. I said, hey, if I can shoot such a hard sport, I should start shooting easier, more relaxed sports such as football and soccer.
I learned that just because you’re known in another, doesn’t mean someone in another sport has any clue who you are. I probably have had the dream to be on the sidelines of a pro NFL game, or sitting on the 10th tee at the US Open, but like this man above me stated, you need to start small.

Most local high schools are the key, or heck, small divisional college football programs are looking for photos of their teams for marketing, merchandising, or booster/media purposes. I contacted the local editor for the newspaper asking about freelance possibilities. No more than 2 weeks later, I had already shot 4 events, 2 of which were homecoming football games and a state XC meet.

Just contact papers. They are the best way to start off if you really want to shoot sports. Since then, they’ve given me opportunities to shoot NCAA sports, AHL Hockey, and things are only growing.

Take chances, communicate, the worst thing you’ll get is a no or sorry, we can’t afford a stringer or can’t supply you with credentials. But at lease you’ve tried right?

Jeff Stinson
Mid-Atlantic Photographer – (external link) (external link)
Canon 1D Mk III | Canon 1D Mk IIN | 17-40L | 24-70L | 70-200L | 50 1.4 | 300 2.8L

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How do I get into sports photography?
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