If you are someone who would rather not pursue a conventional engineering or medical degree and look to carve a unique niche for yourself, then this article is for you.

Every day, we come across dozens of sports-related photos on social media and in newspapers and magazines. These are the works of sports photographers. The primary role of a sports photographer is to capture athletes in action at sporting events and artfully present those photos to the readers. Memorable portraits of players when they win or lose a game are documented for posterity.

How to become a sports photographer

Making a career as a sports photographer requires more than a natural flair for photography. The basic educational requirement is a certificate course or a bachelor’s or master’s degree in photography. Aspiring or accomplished photographers interested in sports are ideal candidates for pursuing this career.

In addition to an academic qualification,  the aspirant needs to have photography equipment, photo-enhancing software and a press pass to take up this career.

Career options as a sports photographer

Some sports photographers work with newspapers or magazines, complementing the sports commentary with their photographs, while others work as freelancers, taking photos of sports events and selling action shots to magazines, sports enthusiasts or newspapers. There are also opportunities for sports photographers to work for specific sports teams and take pictures that are mass-produced for commercial purposes.

Skills required to be a sports photographer

Attention to detail: To take great action shots, a sports photographer needs to be able to pay attention to every minute detail of the game. Still photography, too, calls for sound observation skills.

Storytelling and composing: You should be able to use the photographs to tell a story and be able to compose and arrange the photos in a sequence that is visually appealing.

Social perception: You must be able to comprehend the actions and reactions of your subject – in this case, the players. A key aspect of sports photography is to capture the reactions of players both in the winning and losing teams.

Technical skills: A skilled sports photographer needs to be up-to-date with evolving technology, industry news, and developments in hardware, software, and other tools and resources.

Other desirable skills include creativity, patience, concentration, critical thinking and active learning.

Job outlook and salary packages

Sports photography in itself is a highly competitive field.

The average salary of a sports photographer in the UK is estimated to be £27,000 per year whereas experienced professionals earn around £45,000. Average salaries in the US range from  $37,000 to $67,000 a year.

How to become a sports photographer

To become a sports photographer,

  1. Take up an accredited course, diploma or degree in photography
  2. Learn nuances of  the sport(s) you wish to cover
  3. Buy the right equipment
  4. Look out for an internship
  5. Make a portfolio
  6. Look out for business opportunities / apply for jobs.

A sports photographer works both indoors and outdoors. The job is highly demanding, involving a lot of travel to sports events, but it is also extremely rewarding. If you are willing to put in the work, you are sure to excel in this unique field that offers a wide range of opportunities.

If you would like to know more about this career option, please contact us here.

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