Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jan 27, 2010, 7:09 PM   #1
Member
 
Dartheyeball's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Overland Park, KS
Posts: 35
Default How does one 'break in' to sports photography

While I was trolling around these forums, I came upon an interesting posts regarding photographers who sometimes 'give away' their work for nothing thus undercutting the serious pros who have to make a living out of it. I guess I would be one of those typical photographers who have done it really just to gain experience. When I was in school, I worked for the yearbook at my college and though I did get access where most other people did not, I basically worked for peanuts. The thing is that I want to move forward with photography and I want to somewhat bring in income from this even if its a side job. I really enjoy doing it, but I don't want to do it for free. Yet how do you move forward without stepping on the toes of other pros in the field. Most employers know that they can offer a novice or one that has little experience what would seem to be a decent 'wage' that would be laughable by a real pro. I guess what I am getting at is that I want to do jobs and what not that would net me experience but I don't want to set a precedent that I'm free because I lack experience. Hopefully you all get what I am trying to say.

__________________
Why are you always talking to yourself? Well I have a penchant for intelligent conversation.
Dartheyeball is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jan 27, 2010, 8:10 PM   #2
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Well in general there are two types of paid sports photography work - journalism (shooting for papers or other media outlets) either as an employee or as a freelancer (where you are paid by assignment or by photos published) and the second is as an event photographer where you are paid for the image files or printed photos by parents/athletes or other interested parties.

The challenge is - no one is going to pay you until you're already an accomplished sports photographer. So you need to learn how to shoot sports and practice. You won't get paid while you're learning and that's OK. But there's a difference between not getting paid and giving your photos away for free. Giving photos to parents or media doesn't help you 'break in'. It really doesn't. YOu're not going to get better by doing that because anyone taking your photos for free isn't going to give you constructive criticism and/or instruction.

I would caution you though - there is very little paid work out there right now. Newspapers and media are laying off seasoned photographers left and right. So there are thousands of experienced photographers out there who have lost their jobs and want new ones. Some of them are doing event work. Between them and parents with DSLRs it's very difficult to make a lot of money. BUT you can make enough to help you buy better equipment. I started with the original Canon rebel 300d. I made enough doing event work and freelancing to buy my 1dmkIII, a whole series of professional grade lenses and flashes plus plasma TV and some other goodies. I will say in the last year it has gotten much more difficult to make enough money especially when you consider the money uncle sam takes.

So, next question - what camera gear do you currently own?
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 27, 2010, 11:43 PM   #3
Member
 
Dartheyeball's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Overland Park, KS
Posts: 35
Default

Thanks for the quick reply. I just recently purchased the following:

Nikon D70S w/ 18-70mm lens
Nikon 35mm 1.8
Nikon 50mm 1.8
Nikon 85mm 1.8
Nikon ED 70-300mm 3.5-5.6
2 1 Gig 133x CF cards.

In a perfect world it'd be nice to make money off of photography, but I know that I am 'not there' yet when it comes to photos. I selected the D70s due to my budget and I wanted a DSLR that is versatile and good for sports photography. I know that I am still lacking in gear, but I can eventually save up and get a good 2.8 70-200mm lens. My goal was of course sports but also the prime lenses will prove to be useful for other things as well.

The future will hopefully yield a Nikon SB 600 flash unit and a 2.8 zoom lens. One of the areas I want to learn is shooting soccer. While I have done it before, I haven't done enough of it to get the hang of it. My other issue was that even when I had access at the time; my equipment was always lacking. Based on your advice, I'll approach this as an opportunity to learn.
__________________
Why are you always talking to yourself? Well I have a penchant for intelligent conversation.
Dartheyeball is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 2010, 5:49 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
rjseeney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Taylor Mill, Kentucky
Posts: 2,398
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dartheyeball View Post
Thanks for the quick reply. I just recently purchased the following:

Nikon D70S w/ 18-70mm lens
Nikon 35mm 1.8
Nikon 50mm 1.8
Nikon 85mm 1.8
Nikon ED 70-300mm 3.5-5.6
2 1 Gig 133x CF cards.

In a perfect world it'd be nice to make money off of photography, but I know that I am 'not there' yet when it comes to photos. I selected the D70s due to my budget and I wanted a DSLR that is versatile and good for sports photography. I know that I am still lacking in gear, but I can eventually save up and get a good 2.8 70-200mm lens. My goal was of course sports but also the prime lenses will prove to be useful for other things as well.

The future will hopefully yield a Nikon SB 600 flash unit and a 2.8 zoom lens. One of the areas I want to learn is shooting soccer. While I have done it before, I haven't done enough of it to get the hang of it. My other issue was that even when I had access at the time; my equipment was always lacking. Based on your advice, I'll approach this as an opportunity to learn.
You can certainly learn with your equipment, but it is lacking for sports in many areas. First is the body. You have an aging body, and even Nikon's current low end cameras will focus faster (with the right lenses). I've shot sports with the D80 (the generation after your body), and when I moved up to the D300, it was a world of difference..not even close. Even my d5000 does a better job than the D80. Also your tele lens isn't the highest quality. You should have the VR version minimum. Sigma and tamron make some very good lenses that are easier on your wallet.
rjseeney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 2010, 7:40 AM   #5
Member
 
Dartheyeball's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Overland Park, KS
Posts: 35
Default

Though some of the equipment is behind the times in terms of age and technology, that will just have to motivate me to work even harder to get good shots. Unfortunately my budget wasn't all that great and I had to get the best DSLR, lens combination that I could afford. Down the road, I could look into getting a newer DSLR body and upgrading my lenses as well. In regards to Sigma and Tamron, I have had some bad experiences using their lenses with other Nikon DSLRs. That's what caused me to move towards sticking with Nikon. Thanks for the info!
__________________
Why are you always talking to yourself? Well I have a penchant for intelligent conversation.
Dartheyeball is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 2010, 9:06 AM   #6
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Yes, you'll definitely want to hone your skills. I would strongly suggest getting peer review on your shots via on-line forums. And by "peer" I mean other people shooting sports. It can be very rough on the ego but you'll get better 1000% faster. We have a sports forum here at Steves, and there are sports forums over at dgrin.com and fredmiranda.com - although I will say the standard over at Fred is very high - lots of pros there. So it can be tough to get good constructive feedback there. But it's very worthwhile - I've seen quite a number of shooters blossom in just a year's time by actively seeking feedback online and listening/applying what they learn and seen others that have been shooting sports for years and still do a poor job because they don't seek that constructive criticism from other sports shooters. So go out, shoot a game, post images and get some feedback - repeat.

If you have a thought of making money I'd be very reluctant to give photos away until you're proficient. As with anything else, first impressions are lasting impressions. Give someone a photo that they think "man I could do better myself" and they'll never be a client down the road.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 2010, 3:09 PM   #7
Member
 
Dartheyeball's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Overland Park, KS
Posts: 35
Default

I am hoping to really get better. I will definitely post pictures for critique. I am not worried about my ego at all. One who wishes to learn must accept criticism in order to improve. I'll make sure not to give away photos especially now. The next question I would have is how do you make inroads with local teams? Do you just go up, introduce yourself and offer your services or is that too upfront? Even though soccer is a few months away, what would be the correct protocol in order to get hooked up with a few teams in the area? My idea was just find a schedule and show up, introduce myself and see if the teams participating wouldn't mind if I shot their games.
__________________
Why are you always talking to yourself? Well I have a penchant for intelligent conversation.
Dartheyeball is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 28, 2010, 5:10 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
rjseeney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Taylor Mill, Kentucky
Posts: 2,398
Default

As John said, it's tough to make a living doing sport photography. I shoot team pics for several local sports leagues. I decided to offer as part of my package a game shoot where action pics would be available for sale after the game. I found that parents love to look at the pics, but very few buy. I know others in the area who offer the same services (that's where I got the idea) and they do very little from action shooting. Now the team pics, I can do very well. You will need help and I'm lucky I have a responsible, trustworthy teenage daughter who enjoys making a little extra cash. Doing a team shoot alone would be very difficult. You should also consider a photography specific insurance policy to cover your gear (you will be traveling with it and using it outdoors) in case of damage or loss. Your policy should also cover errors and omissions should something go wrong (you should have this insurance if you a taking any paid gigs). My policy costs a little over $500/year and is worth the piece of mind. You should also have backup equipment (especially with an older body).

I'm like John (although not as good), and have made enough to pay for some very good equipment and other fun things for my family and I. Hopefully you'll be able to say the same!!
rjseeney is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:36 PM.