How do I get Started in Sports Photography?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 June 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Sports photography can be a very exciting and rewarding field to get into, but above all, it is still a job and a profession. While it may sound like a good deal of fun to be at the game and on the sideline every time a team is on the field or court, there are duties that must be performed. The best way to get started in sports photography is to prove you understand those demands and show how you can meet them.

There are a number of ways to get started in sports photography. The best way involves either finding a newspaper or a sports team that needs, or would like, some additional photos. In most cases, this is likely to be a high school team, but there may be some semi-professional teams, or even minor league teams, that would appreciate another photographer. These initial jobs will likely pay minimally, or even not at all. The one thing they will do is provide valuable experience and clips for your portfolio.


In most cases, finding a major paper to volunteer for may be difficult. Most would like to see samples of work, even for those who are volunteering. When a freelance photographer is on assignment, he or she is still representing the newspaper. Therefore, those who are beginning in sports photography may wish to consider a weekly paper or some other sort of community newspaper. In most cases, these newspapers will be more than happy to let you share your talents with them. While this is far from being a professional photographer, this sort of photojournalism can help get you started.

The important thing, at this point, is to try to get as much exposure as possible in the sports photography arena. This includes shooting photos of multiple sports under multiple conditions. This will help to prove how versatile of a photographer you can be. If possible, also try to remember that shooting with digital and film may be an important aspect as well. If not, shoot with a digital camera only, as this is the way the industry is going.

Once the clips have been established, keep trying to always network and work your way through the system. Once those connections are made, there may be opportunity to move up from time to time. However, without a substantial amount of networking, those chances will be very rare. In the end, patience is the key to getting a good start in sports photography. If the talent is there, the opportunity will be present as well.



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Post 3

What kind of degree would best prepare me for a career in sports photography? I have been shooting pictures all my life but I am only now getting ready to go to school. I know that you can get degrees in photography, but there are ways to specialize and direct your focus. What should I do to maximize my chances of finding work?

Post 2

My wife is a wedding photographer but she makes a little extra money doing youth sports photography. A lot of parents like to get a shot of their kid in a uniform, holding a football or a baseball bat. She will usually do shoots one or two weekends in the fall and the spring.

It is an easy gig she says, especially compared to the wedding shoots.

Post 1
A friend of mine works as a sports photographer. He loves his job, but whenever anyone asks him about it he is careful to emphasize that it is a lot more about photography than sports. And it is not easy.

People have this perception that you just hang around watching the games and you snap a shot when something obviously cool happens. But you have to be constantly ready to shoot, wrangle a lot of equipment, get shoved around by players, coaches, and officials and generally run around like a pesky fly. Plus you have to travel a lot. For the right kind of person it is great, but those people are less common than you would think.

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