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How to Become a Sports Photographer & Make Money

how to become a sports photographer
photo credit: AGB in AR

Many times when photographing our kids in the backyard or even during a school sports event we feel that we can take our skills to the next higher level and start shooting photographs on a professional basis. That, however, is easier said than done. You see, there are a lot of factors involved in taking professional quality sports photos and a lot of them have nothing to do with the gear or our ability to shoot great photos.


how to become a sports photographer
photo credit: wwarby

Amateurs often ask the question, “How to become a sports photographer?” Sports photography requires more than just a love for sports and for photography. This is one of the most demanding photography genres. It requires you to invest heavily in expensive professional equipment and also have all the right contacts.

how to become a sports photographer
photo credit: Sangudo

The lens is the most important part of your gear.

You will need at least a 200mm prime with a fast aperture. Any camera that was launched in the last couple of years will do, but preferably you will need something that can shoot at 7, 8 or higher frames per second with excellent noise handling features.

How to Become a Sports Photographer – Showcasing Your Work

how to become a sports photographer
photo credit: AGB in AR

To be honest, sports photography can be an awesome source for heartburns. There is simply too much competition at the basic level. Sometimes it can take years to get an opportunity to shoot in a major sporting event.

Due to rampant downsizing in the in-house press photo departments of major newspapers and publications, the future appears to be somewhat uncertain for budding sports photographers. The opportunities, however, lies in freelancing. Your best bet could be trying for the local papers initially instead of going for the big publishing houses. This way you can build up a profile of works and also gain invaluable experience on the job.

Related Post: How to Publish Your Photos in Magazines

Getting Access

Become Sports Photographer
photo credit: RTD Photography

Unlike popular belief, getting access to a sporting event is almost 50% of the hard work done. As a fledgling photographer, you are not going to get access to major events easily and certainly not without a press card and an official endorsement from the event organizers. Those are restricted for professional photographers who represent major publications or agencies and who have completed the necessary formalities to get an endorsement.

So, how to become a sports photographer when you cannot get access to a major sporting event? Start from the second or even the third tier events. Look for entry at the local school or college events and take it from there. Invariably you will need to speak with the PR person at such events and offer your services. This may or may not work at times but is worth a shot. You could even approach someone you know in the organizing committee to give you a permit.


  • Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your "master guide" here at PhotoWorkout.

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