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Thread: Sports photography - how did you get started?

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    Member CapnBloodbeard's Avatar
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    Sports photography - how did you get started?

    There's a few threads talking about how people got started in wedding photography, studio photography and the like - how about sports photography?

    I know there's a few sports photographers on here - so how did you get started in your field?

    Interested in hearing from anybody doing a bit of work for newspapers, with an agency, freelance etc.

    Sports photography is probably my main interest, so it's something I've always wondered about.

    My curiosity was aroused after viewing the rather ordinary images taken by a colleague's wife who runs a bit of a business who somehow seems to have a press pass for a number of major sporting competitions :P
    Last edited by CapnBloodbeard; 04-11-2011 at 10:50pm.

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    a press pass is an appealing thought.
    Last edited by falke; 05-11-2011 at 4:32pm.

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    Hi I think if you want to get paid and don't bother trying if you dont. You dont start being a sports photographer you start photographing sport, sport that is accessible to you get proficient, get known by those who are involved in sport that is accessible to you, gradually more sporting events will become accessible.
    Please though dont give free images for access dont give iamages away.
    Thanks Steve
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    What atky said

    Like all careers start at the bottom and work your way up
    Darren
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    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    There are plenty of ways you can get started like your local kids sports, my hubby plays hockey and the mens games are much faster and have better action than the little kids but the kids are cuter. Equestrian sports are often very open so you can get quite close to the action within the normal spectator areas (best not to use flash on horses unless the owner gives you permission - a local tog has made a few horses camera shy by hiding in the bushes and flashing them - he is not popular). Rodeo can be fun shots too.
    I used to do Triathlons and Delle Carr (not sure about his name but something like that) would be waiting by the side of the road where it was a little uphill so that the bikes were going a bit slower, in a spot with a great background and just wait for the action to come to him. A serious long lens is very helpful. What sports do you want to photograph? Go and make a web portfolio then send letters to magazines that cover those sports. I have girlfriend who has done exactly that and has regular magazine payments.

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    Was sitting on the beach one day and got to watching a kite surfer and took a few happy snaps and it just grew from there. Now many thousands of dollars and three cameras later I don't do anywhere near enough but still love it.
    Peter.

    Some of my photo's are at www.peterking.id.au

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    I'm not sure I would call myself a sports photographer - I have no affiliations or accreditations, but I have sold a fair few images over the last year. I love motorsport, and when my bike broke down and I was unable to ride I started shooting. I took several hundred shots an afternoon, posted them on a smugmug site and showed a few low-res previews on the local forums. I'm now regularly signing on at club-level events with a media pass. I can't really comment on the ease of access for other sports events as I stick to what I love the most.

    It always helps to talk to the people you are shooting, always be polite and friendly and flattery gets you everywhere!
    Ryan

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    RSK Photography - Perth based Motorsport Photography

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    Hi Mate,

    It is a very tough and competitive field out there and a very hard one to crack.

    I started 20 years ago and fell into sports by accident. All I knew was I wanted to get paid to take pictures. Tried many avenues until I landed a job in Cairns at an action packed tourist attraction which taught me the skills to capture a nice clean sharp image every time.
    Because the people that also worked there were very active in adventure sports I would go out and hang with them getting some really cool shots. Decided one day I would send 3 of my shots to a high profile mag and scored the cover and an inside shot.
    Everybody want's to be a rockstar and these guys were no different and because of this they were some of Aus's best adventure athletes. Shooting them regulary was certainly a challenge and also alot of fun. I got my first taste of international sport when I applied and got photo accred for the 1996 Mountain Bike World Champs held in Cairns. More images were published and had the title page of Aus's top Sport mag that also covered the event. Since then it has been an honour to have been able to shoot events such as the Olympics, Aus Open Tennis, Ashes cricket series, V8's just to name a few. Accred these days are alot tougher than back then.
    Now I generally work freelance but send the majority of my work to an international agency in London.
    My recomendations on how to get started is to choose one sport and get very good at it. Send the odd image to the local Newspapers and enter competitions. Once you have mastered the first sport then move on to others.
    It is a very long hard road to become recognised and be able to make a living from sport photogaphy, but patience will certainly pay off in the end.
    Hope this helps
    Peter

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    Thanks for the lessons Peter, certainly sounds if you're living the dream.

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    I got intersted in horse racing photos by looking in magazines and wanting to take photos like that one day. Can remember being there for a young members meeting at the local racecourse (was a new thing they were trying to get younger people intersted in teh sport) and they went around the room asking what people wanted to do. All the others were the usual owning, socilizing I pointed to a photos on the wall and said to take photos like that. They chuffed and hid their laughter. Now all these years later Im taking photos like the one on the wall, know the photographer who took that photo and of that group only myself and the coordinator are still involved in the sport. I did do many years taking photos as a spectator and then sent off what I thought were good photos to a number of magazines and one of those Im still sending photos to (albeit by email now) nearly 15 years later.

    I also take photos of equstrian - I got my start in that from advertising in a horse magazine in the classifieds and another magazine contactd me to take photos for them at events and it went on from there. That magazine folded but over time you just kept apporaching or being approached by others via contacts made over time not to mention the online equetsrian sites that now have photographers takign pics for them. I've also taken photos for the equestrian/racing website for many many years.

    But in horse sports as mentioned you get started by finding photos you like then learning how to take that type of shot and then going out there and pushign yourself to take better photos (and moving on to better equipment you know what you need to get the results you want).
    Last edited by auriestar; 30-11-2011 at 7:20pm.

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