Freelance Sports Photography
You have mastered the art of taking outstanding photos of sports
events? Now, you want to get down to the real business and maybe sell
your pictures or have them published in a trendy magazine or online. For
a beginner in this field, it may seem a daunting task. Here are some
ideas on how to get your freelance sports photography business started.
Expensive Equipment? Not Necessarily…
If you think that you need the latest camera models to get started,
then you probably have to think again! For beginners anyway, standard
digital SLRs have sufficient capability for most shoots. In any case,
making such a hefty investment at such an early stage hardly seems wise.
Most expert photographers agree that, while the equipment is an
important tool, it is not the most important success factor in sports
photography. Skill, talent, and other personal abilities have a greater
share in making a great shot.
Internship with a Professional Photographer
Sports photography is not taught anywhere. Some universities (and
they are very few) offer photojournalism courses, which are not exactly
the same. Hence, most sports photographers are self-taught. A good way
to get hands-on experience is to arrange for an internship with a
professional photographer. Many photographers take interns as assistant
photographers. The pay may be low, but it is an excellent way to learn
the trade. Getting an internship will generally mean contacting the
photographer and showing him your images.
Getting your photos published
Magazines are always looking for new ways to depict sports. Build a
portfolio of excellent photographs and have it sent to various editors.
If your photographs suit that magazine’s needs (in general, in relation
to articles that they write) you are sure to get a call. Once you start
publishing, you will soon make a name for yourself (if you maintain a
standard of quality). Some photographers write their own articles in
order to make their photos more saleable. This makes the work of the
editor easier and provides you with a better chance of getting
A word of warning…
The photography industry has undergone tremendous overhaul since the
advent of the digital camera. Digital cameras enable almost anybody to
take pro-like pictures with very little effort or investment. The
equipment costs little and the cost of marketing the pictures is also
insignificant with the internet. Thus anybody can take shots and have
them published on the Net, gaining access to clients worldwide.
Professional photographers have therefore sprung up by the millions in
the last few years. Competition is thus severe.
Thus, to be successful there is a need to differentiate from these
millions of “pro” photographers. This can be achieved by developing a
unique style. Once your clients get used to this style, you will be able
to set the price for it. Alternatively, you can specialize in a sport
that is relatively underserved by others. This will enable you to
produce photos others are not. Of course, if the sport is little known,
the pay will also be meager.