Georgia Bulldog’s Freshman Running Back #35 Brian Herrien Scored his first collegiate touchdown. At the same time, UNC’s Safety #15 Donnie Miles could not stop him during tonight’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, September 3, 2016, at the Georgia Dome. [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 45600, 1/4000, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 240)]
I just got this question today and thought it would make a great blog post.
“How do you get credentials to be able to shoot at some of the college football games? Huge UGA fan and would love to be able to shoot at a game if possible.”Instagram Follower
I would first send a link to my photos and ask for feedback on my work before I presumed I would be good enough to shoot the game. Always be sure people can see what you can do when asking permission to shoot for a sports team.
I highly recommend getting your domain name and a website. Your website will be your online portfolio.
You must first establish you can shoot good action photos and the best place to start is in your community shooting the recreational leagues. Once you have 10 to 20 great shots, please put them in an online gallery that you will use to ask for access to the next-up venue.
The question you will get from the Athletic Director or Coaches is what you plan on doing with the photos. For example, you may say I want to offer these to the parents and players. However, if you sell them, you may compete with someone who has a deal with the school, and they will turn you down.
You ask around until someone wants you there to shoot photos. Then you build a better portfolio.
For college football, the Sports Information office for the Athletic Department is who gives out credentials. Here is a list of the type of photographers credentialed at Division 1 games.
- Sports Illustrated
- Associated Press
- USA Today
- Local Newspapers
- Wire Services other than AP
- Zuma Press
- Icon Sports
- Athletic Image
- School Newspaper/Yearbook
- Shooters for Athletic Department
I suggest not going straight to the major Division 1 schools but finding those smaller ones. They don’t have everyone and their brother or sister asking to shoot the games. They are more likely to let you on their field. However, they may want you to make some of your photos available to them for purchase. When first starting, you may want to give them some to get your first access, but once you have a portfolio of good images at that level, start charging for your pictures.
There is a level of shooters above most of the editorial shooters. Those are the ones hired to shoot for advertising purposes. So, brands like Nike, Under Armor, Addidas, Coca-Cola, Gatorade, and brands around the sport, will employ the very best to get them those “unique” images.
Now along the way, you may find that you have an opportunity to help another photographer cover a significant event as a photo assistant. They help by carrying extra gear or are helping by editing images. So if you ever get that opportunity–TAKE IT!! Assisting is about learning from the best. You will learn about the expectations before all the pressure on you.
While a list of people is lining up to ask for credentials for shooting University of Georgia football this year, very few are asking to shoot their Track & Field. Every Sports Information office has trouble getting photographers to shoot some of their other sports. If you want to build a good relationship with them, see if they need coverage of their other sports.
Always ask them for their photo needs. They have to fill out a media guide each year. Believe it or not, they need fewer photos of the seniors than everyone else. Sports Information people are looking for fresh images of the players before next year. The following year, they will need many more pictures of the rising starters. You still shoot the star players but keep the client’s needs in mind.
Study the photographers at the top in the industry. See what they are getting and do everything you can to make your photos as good as theirs. Also, look for unique shots as well. Just be sure always to have safe pictures.