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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Motorsports Talk 
Thread started 18 Apr 2011 (Monday) 03:45
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Formula 1 Question

 
travisrockphotography
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Apr 18, 2011 03:45 |  #1

I have a question for anyone who shoots/has shot formula 1 professionally (I use that term loosely, as many people have different definitions of that word in this field) what hoops did you have to jump through to get media credentials for a race? Out of curiosity :) Thanks in advance!


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philwillmedia
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Apr 18, 2011 05:48 |  #2

Plenty of hoops.
Have a read of this. It's brilliant.
http://www.brendanmcfa​rlane.co.uk …-than-an-f1-photographer/ (external link)

and if you want to be really bored, read on...

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.
Pertinent to the OP, I've just recently returned from the QANTAS Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne.

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...
THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS.
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.
The only thing you start from the top is digging a hole.

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


Regards, Phil
2013/14 CAMS Gold Accredited Photographer | 2010 & 2011 V8 Supercars Aust. Accredited Photographer | 2008, '09, '10 South Aus. Rally Photographer of the Year | Catch Fence Photos - 2009 Photo of the Year (external link)Finallist - 2014 NT Media Awards
"A bad day at the race track is better than a good day in the office" | www.freewebs.com/philw​illmedia (external link)

  
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DazJW
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Apr 18, 2011 07:23 |  #3

It'd be interesting to get the perspective of someone who's just "made it". I'm not convinced it's the same now as it was a decade or two ago given that print publications are dying off and struggling for money while circuits are locking down photo rights and every spectator has a camera.

I think I've found an possible first rung opportunity in my local area and I could have commented today on whether I'd progressed with it if Canon hadn't screwed my autofocus accuracy up during a repair and had me lose an event's worth of photos. To say I'm gutted is an understatement.
I'm just hoping no one else gets in on the opportunity before the next event.

As a side note this thread should really be in Motorsport Talk.




  
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philwillmedia
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Apr 18, 2011 07:55 |  #4

DazJW wrote in post #12244285 (external link)
It'd be interesting to get the perspective of someone who's just "made it".

A mate of mine, is in his mid 20's and is good - really good. He shoots for Suttons in the UK doing F1 - he left Aussie three years ago to do exactly what you want to do and is only now starting to get established in the F1 scene but is living on the bones of his backside and definitely is not making a fortune.
When he left Oz, he was just starting to make people notice his work here, but decided he wanted to chase the F1 circuit, so sold everything lock, stock and barrel to do it.

DazJW wrote in post #12244285 (external link)
I'm not convinced it's the same now as it was a decade or two ago given that print publications are dying off and struggling for money while circuits are locking down photo rights and every spectator has a camera.

He's writing that article in the "now".
This is a direct quote from Brendan McFarlane's article...

"When I look at what has to happen before you get the opportunity to take photos at Grand Prix in 2010, it makes me wonder how anyone can make the grade these days."...

I'd say that's pretty close to "now"


Regards, Phil
2013/14 CAMS Gold Accredited Photographer | 2010 & 2011 V8 Supercars Aust. Accredited Photographer | 2008, '09, '10 South Aus. Rally Photographer of the Year | Catch Fence Photos - 2009 Photo of the Year (external link)Finallist - 2014 NT Media Awards
"A bad day at the race track is better than a good day in the office" | www.freewebs.com/philw​illmedia (external link)

  
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DazJW
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Apr 18, 2011 09:10 |  #5

I mean about getting a decent grip on the ladder, not reaching the top (if you consider F1 the top).
Both your post and that blog post refer to breaking into the business via magazines a number of decades ago.

"Made it" was perhaps too strong an expression to use.




  
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philwillmedia
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Apr 18, 2011 10:00 |  #6

Take my word for it Daz.
It still applies today...if anything, it's harder than it was even as little as five years ago.
I see it constantly and 99.9% of people don't get anywhere near the top.
They don't have the intestinal fortitude or the drive to do it.
They are not prepared to do the little stuff - to learn the ins and outs or to do the hard yards that go with it. It all becomes too difficult.
They just expect to be able to ask for media accreditation and get it without any proof of why they should be given access - eg, who they are working for. Usually it's no one. They just want nice photos for themselves.
Having nice shiny new gear simply is not enough.
Don't get me wrong, there needs to be new people coming in to eventually replace old farts like me, but the bulk of people don't want to do the work to get there.
They just want to do the high profile, big name events.
That piece I wrote above, was only written about two years ago. I constantly edit it and update it to keep it relevant to now.
What makes you think it's easier now, when almost everyone has a dslr, than it was 20 years ago when I first started.
No offence to the OP but the question was "what hoops did you have to jump through to get media credentials for a race?" is typical of what I hear at every major event I do.
Nobody ever says "I'd one day like to shoot F1 or WRC or whatever. How do I go about getting credentials to shoot at cr@ppy club events, that none of my friends will care I was at, but so I can get to know a few people, make some contacts and learn the ropes and start to build my portfolio and really gain some experience of what goes on at a racetrack and what I need to do."
It's always "How do I get a pass to get where you are?" or some derivative.
Every other photographer I shoot with gets asked exactly the same thing.
I offer to take people out to local club events but they always decline because it's not glamorous enough. There's no wank factor in it.
Basically all it means is they don't want to do it badly enough.
I still do small club events today.
Within the space of three weeks in March this year I went from the lowest possible type of motorsport event - a little khanacross held in a cow paddock (literally) with a tin shed as the control centre and a field of 35 entries - photos at http://www.freewebs.co​m …os/album?albumi​d=11193141 (external link) - to the Aussie F1 GP with its fancy pit building, media centre and all the infrastructure - photos at http://www.freewebs.co​m …os/album?albumi​d=11311201 (external link) and http://www.freewebs.co​m …os/album?albumi​d=11395146 (external link) and http://www.freewebs.co​m …os/album?albumi​d=11298526 (external link)
The week after the GP, I did a hillclimb, again with the pit area in a cow paddock and a converted bus as the control centre. That was followed the next week by a drift meeting at the local track.
I reckon I'm qualified to comment.


Regards, Phil
2013/14 CAMS Gold Accredited Photographer | 2010 & 2011 V8 Supercars Aust. Accredited Photographer | 2008, '09, '10 South Aus. Rally Photographer of the Year | Catch Fence Photos - 2009 Photo of the Year (external link)Finallist - 2014 NT Media Awards
"A bad day at the race track is better than a good day in the office" | www.freewebs.com/philw​illmedia (external link)

  
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DC ­ Fan
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Apr 18, 2011 10:06 as a reply to  @ DazJW's post |  #7

A few years ago, when the United States Grand Prix was in Indianapolis, there were many experienced, established, professional photographers who could not get credentials because of the limits placed by the F1 organizers.

The talk was that a limited number of photo passes were reserved for photographers from each nation, and once that limit was reached, there were no more passes. So, those photographers had to buy general admission tickets and take pictures through the fences, just like any other spectator.

That talk was clearly confirmed in the linked McFarlane story, (external link) which said "each individual race organiser...has no more than 12 passes available to distribute for members of the national press."




  
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DazJW
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Apr 18, 2011 10:24 |  #8

philwillmedia wrote in post #12245047 (external link)
if anything, it's harder than it was even as little as five years ago.

That's what I'm getting at. Every year now there are less and less magazines and newspapers with smaller and smaller budgets as they're being killed off by websites.
The photographers, like yourself, who talk about how they got into the business (which I massively appreciate as it removes some of the stumbling around in the dark for those of us who aren't there yet) always seem to mention getting stuff in magazines some time in the past and I'm just wondering if that route is even there any more. I can't think of any motosport magazines I've seen in shops anywhere but now I've thought of that I'll have a very good look next time I'm in Smith's or a newsagents.

Personally I'm not fussed about getting into international championships. I suppose if I do pursue motorsport photography it's something I might have to head into eventually in order to be making money but I'm in no rush to be following Bernie's circus around.
The "in" I'm worried about having missed is pretty much the lowest class of vehicle at the lowest possible level so I'm not trying to run before I can walk, I'm trying to take it seriously - looking at public liability insurance and that sort of thing.

And I'm in now way suggesting you're "old hat" and not fit to comment.




  
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philwillmedia
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Apr 18, 2011 10:41 |  #9

It's harder now because everyone with their 1000d and kit lens think that because they have a nice new camera and all their friends tell them they take nice photos think they have a God given right to shoot trackside.

DazJW wrote in post #12245195 (external link)
The photographers, like yourself, who talk about how they got into the business (which I massively appreciate as it removes some of the stumbling around in the dark for those of us who aren't there yet) always seem to mention getting stuff in magazines some time in the past and I'm just wondering if that route is even there any more. I can't think of any motosport magazines I've seen in shops anywhere...

There's plenty of UK magazines you could try submitting to...
ever heard of Autosport or Motor Sport?...and those are just two we get in Australia.
There would be at least several other smaller ones as well.
I just did a quick Google search and turned up a few more, so they out there - you just need to find them.
If your stuff is any good, with a bit of persistence, it may eventually get a run.


Regards, Phil
2013/14 CAMS Gold Accredited Photographer | 2010 & 2011 V8 Supercars Aust. Accredited Photographer | 2008, '09, '10 South Aus. Rally Photographer of the Year | Catch Fence Photos - 2009 Photo of the Year (external link)Finallist - 2014 NT Media Awards
"A bad day at the race track is better than a good day in the office" | www.freewebs.com/philw​illmedia (external link)

  
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kelly ­ andersen
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Apr 18, 2011 18:24 as a reply to  @ philwillmedia's post |  #10

Philwill is giving good advice, I started shooting motocross eons ago and was a track photog at a few tracks and worked My way up to drag racing. The problems is, everybody with a camera thinks they are a photographer.You need to be good at what you do before you start making contacts, some of the crap you see on websites look horrid and guys say, hey great pic's man, all that does is feed bad info to guys that arent very good. It is not easy getting any media cred's now days because of some of these guys. Some guys can con their way into stuff, but they dont last long and can cause you alot of trouble in the long run,bad news travels fast in this business. Best thing to do is hit the local track and meet the track photog. and see if He'll take you under his wing,or offer to work at the track for rail time. Websites are good also,but their is so many now,most tracks dont let alot in. Big time stuff nhra,indy,nascar among others want a sample of published work and a letter from the editor requesting media cred's. I've shot nhra for going on 10 years and they still put restricions on some times. Just keep plugging away and getting better and keep asking where you can and it will come together, most of all, BE SAFE !!!!


Kelly Andersen- Drag Illustrated Magazine

  
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travisrockphotography
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Apr 18, 2011 20:23 |  #11

Phil, and everyone else- thanks for the input. Perhaps I worded that improperly- what I meant was how do I go about establishing myself in the motorsport world. My biggest concern is the strict regulations and rules the FIA has on, well, everything. The sport, the media, everything is strict when it comes to them, so I figured the guidelines to acquire paddock / pit access would be just as difficult, if not more difficult than becoming an actual F1 driver (ironic you posted that Phil!)

Truth be told I'm not sure how to go about getting into the motorsport scene in new england, and I'd like some insight as to how I could dip my foot into that territory. Thanks to you all that have contributed! Sorry if this is in the wrong section, feel free to move this mods!


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Bicknell55
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Apr 18, 2011 21:21 |  #12

Travis,

There is a lot of racing within a few hours of your area, be it dirt or asphalt oval or road course events. Unfortunately there is also a large number of photogs in the region, so "dipping your foot" into the territory won't be easy.


If you can't fix it with a hammer you've got an electrical problem.
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travisrockphotography
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Apr 18, 2011 22:40 |  #13

Yeah, unfortunately the wedding market is also like that up here. People are taking photography certification courses, going out and buying a 5D MKII kit, and charging 2400 a pop and people are paying it because they have a 'certification as a professional photographer'. That's a reason a client gave me a few weeks ago. My rate is also 1200 for the day, with a friend backup shooting. absurd.

ANYWAY. Thanks for the insight. I think my best bet is probably lime rock?


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andrewc
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Apr 19, 2011 01:58 |  #14

F1 accreditation procedure here...
http://www.fia.com …/PrinciplesProc​edure.aspx (external link)


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andrewc
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Apr 19, 2011 02:08 |  #15

DazJW wrote in post #12245195 (external link)
I can't think of any motosport magazines I've seen in shops anywhere but now I've thought of that I'll have a very good look next time I'm in Smith's or a newsagents.

Cars:
Autosport
Motorsport News
Motorsport
F1 Racing
F1 Magazine

Then most of the weekly and monthly car magazines have a motorsport section of some degree, both modern and classic car magazines.


Norwich Photo Motorsport Photography • Facebook Entry • Canon EOS 7D / 50D / 40D / 24-105L / Sigma 100-300 f4 / 50mm f1.8 / Tamron 28-300 / 2x Canon 580EX2 flash / Interfit and Lastolite studio gear / Manfrotto supports / Lowepro Stealth Reporter AW650 and Computrekker

  
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Formula 1 Question
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