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Old Feb 13, 2004, 7:58 PM   #1
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Default How to become press photographer at events?

Hi all,

Didnt really know where to post this one. So I decided here because maybe people here have the most experience in photography. I was just wondering, if anyone does this for a living, how do you become a press photographer for special occassions? Such as associated press, or a simple photographer for sport events, or press photographer for a movie premiere? Just wanted to know because it intrigues me. If anyone does this for a living, how do you make your money then? Do you go to the events, get your press pass, shoot away? then what do you do with the pictures? The whole photography as a professional career really amazes me so I guess I just wanted to know how to start. THANKS EVERYONE!!!

Sincerely,
Yulian
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 10:11 PM   #2
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Press passes are given out only to photographers who work for specific organizations (news papers, magazines and the like.) They are arranged ahead of time and probably require proof you are the person you say you are to pick up the pass.

I have read a few accounts on dpreview (I believe) of a person pretending to work for a major daily newspaper and getting a press pass. They were found out fairly quickly are certain to get into serious trouble the next time they fake their way into getting a pass.

As to how you get a job in the business or sell your pictures freelance, I don't know.

Eric
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Old Feb 13, 2004, 11:56 PM   #3
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You usually have to work for the Press to get a Press Pass.

Sometimes you can apply for a press pass to a specific event. You should apply before the event and in writing.

I was fortunate to get a press pass from a local TV station for a Buccaneer pre season games a few years ago. I happened to get a series of shots on the Buccaneers' first-ever blocked punt. The TV station wasn't interested in still shots, but the St. Petersburg Times was. They were planning a special on the art of a blocked punt and didn't have a good picture of the block.

The Sports Editor offered to buy my pictures, so I immediately said I'd rather have a Press Pass to another game... He smiled and said that everyone in the Times building would like a sideline pass to a Bucs game... So I got $40 and about 15 copies of the article... and they gave the slides back afterwards...

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Old Feb 14, 2004, 12:34 AM   #4
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Wow... great replies so far. Quick question jb, when you applied for the press pass to the tv station, did they ask you about your photography experiences? I guess I want to know if they require a high education in photography or photojournalism or do (tv stations, or newspapers) just pass out press passes to anyone who applies for one? I hope my questiond dont confuse anyone. Just want to know a bit more. :lol:

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Yulian
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Old Feb 14, 2004, 1:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YDanusas
Quick question jb, when you applied for the press pass to the tv station, did they ask you about your photography experiences?
A friend who worked at the television station got the pass for me. I never knew the "behind the scenes" politics that were involved. This was back before Tony Dungy became the head coach... I suspect it's even more difficult now...

I have applied for credentials to hydroplane races and things like that. Usually they want to know who you represent. They want to make sure there is a reason to risk giving you a pass. Some events have a special ticket that includes a press pass.

The best thing to do to get a press pass for an event is to contact them before the event... usually in writing. It is very difficult to show up the day of an event and get a press pass...

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Old Feb 15, 2004, 6:14 AM   #6
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To echo almost everyone else, to get a press pass you must either work for a media outlet (newspaper, magazine etc) or a free lance photographer on assignment from such an outlet. In either case the start of getting a press pass is a "letter of assignement" from which organization you are working for at the time. The letter of assignment is written by the editor or owner of the media and basically says that you are working for them for the event and give your name, their name and the company phone number. Also if you work for yourself you can also get a press pass BUT you must provide proof that you are who you say you are. In any case this must be done well in advance of the event

Once you get established and known getting a pass is much easier. It is starting out that you need to jump through hoops. One way to start is if you have a local weekly paper see if they are interested in photos from you. Most don't have a staff photographer but use local correspondents. It is a good way to start.

I've put my 2 cents worth in (although with inflation it may be worth 1 cent :lol: ). Hopes this helps.
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Old Feb 16, 2004, 7:44 AM   #7
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There is a weekly paper in most medium to large towns (often more than one) that might be a good place to start. You would have to, of course, convince the editor that your a good photographer; offer to shoot a few jobs (not just sports) for free. If you turn in good results, they'll pay you a little, but more importantly, you have a good chance of getting an event press pass. Once you build a portfolio, it gets easier.
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Old Feb 16, 2004, 7:32 PM   #8
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It will also depend on the event - when I was in university the engineering 'newspaper' got press passes for events like the autoshow. In that case the show's sponsers were trying to get as much exposure as possible.

I've pretended to be a press type in a former job when scouting out the competition's events. Again business to business types want as much exposure as they can - they'll let anyone show up within reason. Public Relations companies will give you access and story ideas on the hope you'll be able to get their spin published.

I'd suggest that you work the free local newspaper angle and also check out some of the trade publications - other than photography. If you can get a portfolio that way you'll be much better off when you try for passes to entertainment venues.
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Old Feb 16, 2004, 10:05 PM   #9
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WOW.. lots of positive motivating posts. I will try and contact my local newspapers tomorrow to see if they need a "free" photographer to shoot an upcoming event. I was at "Mooseport" movie premiere last week and saw a bunch of press photographers signing in a booth. Man was a I intimidated. These fellas were lugging at least TWO dSLR's on shoulders. Of course the always popular "red lined" L canon lenses were everywhere and so were the Nikon ED, DX, "gold line" lenses. I think I'll start with a very very very low key event with my G2 (blah) and then work my way up. THANKS EVERYONE FOR THEIR INPUTS!

sincerely,
Yulian
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