To my dear wonderful listeners:
First and most important of all: welcome to Big Lens Fast Shutter. I hope Syd and I will be able to provide you with information that will make you want to start shooting sports and/or be interested in how the magic happens behind them gigantic glass.
Both of us will be posting weekly blog posts on this site, so come back and tell us how wonderful we are. :)
This week, I’d like to give my 2cents on the difficulty of being different in sports photography.
With more and more work going to mega agencies (bless them), a lot of sports photographers are cowering in fear of losing their jobs. Some have already lost it and doing something else and some have had their work reduced to the point that they are considering taking up a second job as a French waiter. In a nutshell, the picture out there is not rosy: It sucks to be working as a sports photographer at the moment.
Having said that, non-sports photography jobs out there are suffering from the same plight. Which in turn should make you feel slightly better if you are considering becoming a professional short shorts hunter. So what can you do to increase your chance of having a future wielding big lenses and having more male fans than female ones? Simple: shoot different. There are enough cookie cutter photographers out there. This is not because they don’t have any skills, on the contrary some of them are … gulp, better than me. The problem is that their client is asking for the same type of pictures out of them, day in and day out. Why? Because the end client, it be newspapers, magazines, websites, etc… is asking for the same lame pictures. Why? Because they think that if they use something different, they won’t be able to sell their products. This obviously does apply to other things in life, but in essence people don’t like changes and are comfortable with status quo. Hello music industry.
If you are lucky enough to get a job working as a staff photographer for a newspaper, you will be told to take lame pictures every single day of your existence there. “Creativity is for artists, not for photographers.” I have no idea if someone said that, but I won’t be surprised if an editor out there blurted that to one of their photographers. That might be a good mantra to follow until they sack your mantra following ass. Armed with your exceptionally standardised but easy to replace skill set, you are now faced with the stark reality of having to compete for jobs with photographers who are also exceptionally standard.
What are you going to do ? The answer is, what could you have done? You could have used your free time to shoot something creative. Something different. You could have negotiated with your employer to retain rights or at the least have the right to use your “other” photos for your portfolio. You could have gone to museums, read books, watched films, gone places where you would never go if you were content with becoming a cookie cutter sports photographer.
As more and more photographers are produced daily, there are finite number of jobs out there. What I am trying to say here is that this is a survival skill, not an Apple slogan circa 1997. After reading this, if you still have the balls/ovaries to become a sports photographer, your first thought should be, “Tomorrow, I’m going to shoot different and I’m going to shove this blog post into Ryu’s bleep’n bleep”.
That’s the spirit. :)
*Please Read Below*
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