I have posted here for a little while so many of you "know" me by now which is why I am turning to you all with this issue. I have been into photography for a while but it wasn't until I discovered sports photography this year that I really found what I love in it. That said, I have been able to get hooked in with our local high school and have been granted full access to any event from the AD (I have been shooting for them since the later part of the football/soccer season).
That's the good news. The thing is, I really want to use this as a means to continue progressing and hopefully it will lead to bigger things. I don't see doing photography full-time until much later in life (I own my own business (unrelated) now and have a family that depends on the income from that. I also enjoy what I do so a total change just isn't a consideration right now. Still, I don't want to think of sports photography as merely a hobby since it seems to belittle it. I do sell images online for the HS parents and also shoot some travel/premier soccer and rec sports for the community I live in. I don't think that qualifies me as a pro by any means but I do hope that I can use those sales to fund my "hobby" and expand my gear.
Getting to the point, what do you all think my next logical step would be? Should I just shoot HS and community sports and hope someone notices me? Should I send photos into local papers and hope they are interested? I'm just not sure. I have tried contacting a couple of folks from SportsShooter that live very close to me just to have coffee and ask them some questions. I guess I'm hoping that maybe I find a local mentor. I've been clear that I am not looking to take their jobs since both of them shoot pro sports mainly (which I am light years from it seems) and I am not looking to be full-time anyway at this point. I've gotten no reply from either. I have also sent some galleries and email to the editors of a couple of area papers and the Sr. Editors were very gracious and sent the info on to the photo editor...again, no response. Thing is, I noticed that one of these papers (more of a local paper as a I live in a metropolitan area) doesn't seem to have any coverage of the HS I shoot for, still, nothing. Am I completely barking up the wrong tree here. Admittedly, I am naive to how this all works so I am just trying to reach out to people I think I should.
Could some of you offer some advice on the best way to network this? I am willing (and have offered) to work as an unpaid assistant for some pro photogs just to gain experience (seems like a win-win to me) but that doesn't seem to work either. Basically (and don't take this the wrong way), it seems like an elite club that doesn't take new members. It gets me down a bit and kinda makes me think I must be spinning my wheels in trying to network. Maybe there too many sports photogs already and I'm simply not welcome? Lastly, I thought about trying to hook in with some of the other guys I see shooting at the HS games but I feel like it's just going to be more of the same. I'm nice to them and we seem to get along well enough since you never know but still....okay, enough already. What do you guys think or what was your experience early on? Did you get lucky, was it networking?
Peace all. Scott.