So you want to get your sports photography published?
Summer 2018 really is the summer of sport and a great time to work on your sports photography. With top-billed international events such as Wimbledon, the football World Cup and the Open championship all taking place and of course, our favourite stops on the World Surf League tour of surfing!
With these major sporting events comes a wealth of opportunities for both amateur and professional sports photographers. The appetite for quick, exciting and fresh content has never been so strong. However, it’s no longer enough to simply capture the perfect action shot. In order to get your work noticed, secure the best sports photography jobs and get your work featured in major publications, you will need to put in the extra hours to make sure your hard work is recognised.
Fortunately, the photography experts over at Peli UK are here to help (they make sick waterproof camera cases that are practically indestructible!). We teamed up with them to write this article and offer their sage advice on how to get your sports photography featured – just in time for the highly anticipated 2018 summer of sport.
Network with your local publications
Whilst it’s always a good idea to set your sights high when it comes to sport photography, it’s good practice to start by contacting local, smaller publications to see if they need another photographer. This can help you to make a name for yourself in the industry and add more relevant photography to your portfolio. After you’ve got a few placements in smaller magazines and publications, you can work on targeting the larger more well-known platforms.
Top tip: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get to shoot the sport photography you want at first! Use this as an opportunity to perfect your skills, shoot a wide range of sports and network so that you have a better chance of securing jobs in your desired field.
Get inspired – The best women’s action sports photographers
Contribute something other than your photography
There’s a sea of sports photographers out there, therefore, it’s going to be a challenge trying to compete with other talented professionals and secure the best jobs. However, one of the ways you can get an edge above the competition is by offering something extra with your photography.
For example, if you’re a competent writer why not try your hand at sports journalism? Publications need content to keep going, therefore, offering them the whole package is likely to make them more inclined to feature your work. Alternatively, you could team up with a professional writer and work on getting your work featured that way. No matter which option you choose, offering something different alongside your work is a great way to show off your skills and get featured.
Cater your deliverables to their platforms
If you know the publication you want to get featured in is really strong on Instagram, show them you understand how to shoot for that platform. That you can cater the shots to be either 1:1 squares or portrait aspect ration so they take up real estate and jump of the screen at their followers. Showing that you really understand the digital platforms where your photos are going to be published is a huge bonus to any publisher.
Get inspired – How Fran Miller made it as a top women’s surf photographer
Know the sport inside and out
In sports photography, the only way to catch those crucial shots is by learning the ins and outs of the sport that you’re shooting. This will help you to know exactly when to poise your lens in anticipation of the perfect action shot, as well as knowing how to make the best use of your time to get as many good pictures as possible. In this past Winter Olympics, there were many terrible examples that came from Getty Images of sports photographers not understanding snowboarding. One photographer even wrote a satirical article to them called “Get a Clue“!
Once you’ve got a good grasp of the rules, what is considered ‘stylish‘ or exceptional, and names and faces of the players or key athletes, you’ll have a better idea of which of your photos are likely to be newsworthy or not.
Develop relationships with the athletes
One way to make sure you ‘get the shot‘ as well as open yourself up to the possibility of shooting some more candid and personal moments, is to develop a relationship with the athletes themselves. Not only will they be more comfortable with your presence (and that big lens in their face), you could also arrange specific shoots and exclusives. One great example of this is the relationship that young surf photographer Morgan Maassen has with the 6x world champion surf Stephanie Gilmore. Over the years Morgan has shot so incredibly stunning and unique sports photography and videos with Steph that are poignant of their friendship.
Getting your sports photography noticed in such a competitive field is no mean feat. But, with the right attitude and motivation, you’ll be able to break through and get featured with ease! Remember, with the fast pace of news and the increasing number of digital platforms, the appetite for great content has never been higher So stay positive and put yourself out there.
Header image of the stylish Stephanie Gilmore by the incredible Morgan Maassen
Have you got any additional tips on how to get sports photography noticed? Leave us a comment below and offer your suggestions!