Advice for Becoming a Paid Sports Photographer

Regular visitors to our site already know and appreciate the benefits of good photography. From taking memorable family snaps that’ll last a lifetime to action shots from a fishing trip or crawling through a gap in the fence to photograph a derelict building frozen in time. Photography can inspire new ideas, help tell forgotten stories and bring back the golden era of music.

We know you love photography and enjoy snapping the many wonders of the modern world. Whether on the latest, most expensive piece of kit available on the market to unexpected moments of joy recorded on an iPhone. The device matters less than the final product, and although the best equipment helps capture the best images, timing, an open mind, and inquisitive nature are just as valuable.

What about photography as a living? Your images could accompany anything from online sportsbook reviews to an upcoming local fete. With a camera in hand, the possibilities are endless, and you can make cash from your passion if you are looking in the right places. This article aims to help you find those places by leading you to professional photography.

Turn your passion into a profit

Could you turn your hobby and passion for taking photos into a well-paid career or, at least, a reliable income to help boost your monthly wages? From being a wedding photographer to taking pics from the pitchside at the top professional sports fixtures, there are many avenues into the industry. And in this article, you’ll find some valuable ideas.

Our writers suggest the type of photography work you might find when starting and the more advanced jobs available to experienced photographers. Then there’s the dream of becoming a full-time, paid photographer. Is that manageable? You bet, but success doesn’t come easy, and like anything worth pursuing in life; you must work for it.

We’ve found, researched, and listed our favorite ways you can make photography pay in 2023. We have included a wide range of tasks relating to amateur and professional sports, and you’re sure to find something that suits your skill set. Read this article, prepare your cameras, and head out to take pictures worth buying.

Still-image documentaries

Many of the most famous sports documentaries are videos, but have you ever taken the time to appreciate a still-image docu? Photographs of a boxer training for a fight or a college football star preparing for the draft are exceptional. 

You get a more insightful and passionate view of the event or sport and the athlete’s emotions. In a pic, you can tell more from their eyes than their voice. A still-image documentary is a window to the soul. It tips bare the self-doubt, unbalanced emotions, work, sacrifice, ambition, and focus. 

If you are a talented photographer, why not give it a try on a local athlete to help build your portfolio? We’re confident that after creating a still-image documentary, you’ll value it higher than any video documentary you’ve watched or produced. 

There’s an old English proverb that says, ‘What can’t talk can’t lie,’ and that’s never more true than with sports photography.

Ringside photography

If you’re a photographer looking to get paid and a boxing or combat sports fan, why not try ringside photography? You can apply for press accreditation as a freelancer or with an employer. Magazines, sites, and newspapers have journalists jotting notes and writing fight reports at ringside. 

But they also require images, and what better than from a photographer brave enough to get up close and personal with the fighters? You’ll get an unbeatable action shot when perched on the side of the ring with your camera in hand. If a boxer falls to the ground at your position, you can be sure some big-name outlets will pay hard cash for your shots. 

Imagine reading the newspaper reports of a title fight and seeing your photographs attached with credit and the wages in your bank. That’s when you know your career is heading in the right direction.

Training shots

Too many journalists, content creators, and photographers focus on the main event. They enjoy covering the fight night or game day. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, games’ results make headlines, but it’s the smallest part of an encaptivating story. If you’re willing to dig a little deeper, you’ll find a unique and exciting angle.

Photographing a training camp or the start and finish of a camp is a great way to get behind the scenes. It shows the trials and tribulations of an athlete on their journey to the top. You’ll see how they started the training camp, perhaps with weight to lose and sharpness to find. And by the end of the regime, the improvements are apparent.

Successful sports photographers look for unique and memorable ways to tell a story. You’ll need permission from the athletes, coaches, and all involved. You can’t just rock up with a camera and start snapping, but many sports teams are accommodating, especially outside the big names, such as the NFL and English Premier League clubs.

Follow the crowd

All the attention at a major sporting event is on the athletes, but what about the crowd? They play an essential part in creating a spectacle and atmosphere. If you have been following a boxer on the approach to a big bout, you could take some time to get the crowd involved. 

Photograph their arrival at the venue, capture the color and noise, and make predictions. It’ll make their day and ensure you capture the essence of the occasion. During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, we witnessed that sport is nothing without fans. 

It’s boring without fans. Even the players think so. Take the time to snap the main ingredient of a big night of sports; the audience. If the athlete has commissioned you, they’d love to see themselves in action but would also enjoy seeing the crowd as that’s a feature of the evening they miss backstage.