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Friend wants to get into sports photography

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by swhyno, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. swhyno

    swhyno New Member

    As a reporter for years and someone very lucky to have been in the industry for a while, I was a bit baffled as I tried to help a friend who's trying to break into sports photography.

    My friend is in her mid-30s and lives in New York City with a background in event planning for sports teams - worked on the MLB All-Star Game and had been with the Florida Panthers.

    But after a long time of being laid off and taking photos realized she had not only a passion for it but some raw talent. But I'm not sure what to tell her to do next. Just looking for ideas with where to start.

    Thanks all.
  2. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    If she can get credentialed - whether it's for high school, college or pro sports - then tell her to just start going to games and taking photos, and talking to other photographers there. It's pretty tough to get a job just doing sports photography, so she probably has to brace herself for either 1) just doing freelance for a long time or 2) being willing to branch out into news / profile photography.

    I'm not really much of a photography myself, but a big part of it seems to be being able to market yourself and to project a good image. If your friend is gorgeous, that certainly doesn't hurt - my friend Sarah is, and as a result, she magically seems to get much better access than one of my male photog friends. The same thing goes with networking and being able to talk though, in terms of getting better positions for shoots and getting your subjects to open up.
  3. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    A photog I worked with once told me, if you can shoot sports, then you should be able to shoot just about anything a newspaper would need, like the cows in the middle of the field for wild art or the Lions Club giving the big check to the scholarship winner. Of course, that was back in the film days when we didn't ask the Lions to send in their own photo ...
  4. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I don't know how true that is.
    I can shoot sports fairly well and if there was a news event, I could figure it out and get usable art.
    But if you needed me to shoot feature art, forget it. No shot in hell - and if I did, it'd likely be me trying to recreating a picture I saw somewhere, which isn't exactly honest, no?
  5. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    Can't echo the sgreenwell's point enough. While I admit that I work in pretty much the next to last lung on the professional ladder (Last being a free blog), any freelance work we have goes to people we've networked with at games who were there shooting sports either for themselves or for free for the team we were covering.

    I've developed a bit of a passion for it myself and have even started shooting weddings (Pretty well IMO) and the key really is to get as much experience as you can and try to shoot as many different types of assignments as possible.

    Oh and whatever you do, make sure you take the time to get a GOOD camera. You can be the best photographer in the world but you're job is going to be 3,000 times more difficult if you're using an older/cheaper camera vs. saving up the $1,500 or so for a good prosumer DSLR.
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    The money just isn't in photography unless you have connections. Freelance photographers overpopulate the Earth. If she worked in sports event planning, perhaps she can contact some of the photographers she might have contracted. But many contract photographers are very guarded about helping out others because the jobs are so limited.
  7. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    I'd say it's right up there with recreating the final hole of the women's state golf championship ...
  8. I hope her husband makes lots of money. In which case, have fun and go for it. Otherwise, it's way too competitive a field right now. There are things I am passionate about (talented even) but that doesn't mean I can make a living at them.
  9. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Ba dum ching! Enjoy your headliner!
  10. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Most sports photographers I know make little-to-no money shooting sports. They hang out and hope parents buy a good pic. The ones I've known in person made money off of wedding photography.
  11. PeterGibbons

    PeterGibbons Member

    There really is almost no way to make a liveable wage shooting just sports any more. Especially pro and college sports, there are way too many doctors, lawyers, and other guys with more money that brains basically giving away their work so they can get a credential and tell their friends how cool they are because they get to be on the field. What they aren't saying is how they spent $15,000-20,000 on camera gear to work for some crappy "wire service" that's paying them between $0 and $100 to shoot a game.
  12. ADodgen

    ADodgen Member

    I know this has been dead a while, but I wanted to reiterate how very, very true this statement is.

    If she wants to get into it just to do it, she can, but if she wants to make a living at it, she'd better be VERY good.
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