Sports Photographer

Capture images of athletes, sports teams, and crowds in action.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Sports Photographers do?

A Sports Photographer takes pictures of sporting events, Athletes or a particular sports team. As a Sports Photographer, a specific team may employ you as their official Photographer, or you might freelance and offer your pictures for sale to magazines, newspapers or the general public. If affiliated with a publication or team, you are usually provided unrestricted access to sporting events, arenas and athletes.

Your work as a Sports Photographer is your front row ticket to all sorts of venues. You use this proximity to capture the emotion behind a game or event, or even try to record an Athlete’s real personality: A grimace of a Pitcher, or the beautiful sway of an Ice Skater, is made into a work of art and inspiration by your lens.

You need to love sports to succeed here. You will spend a lot of time at athletic arenas, and not all of it will be action-packed. A typical day may include following a team or Athlete from morning training until after end-of-game-interviews. When times are slow, you may try to record the atmosphere by taking photos of the sporting arena or team owners. But even though nothing seems to be happening you need to be there for when a great moment arises. That way you can snap the shot that will make your career.

The close proximity to Athletes and Managers tends to make Sports Photographers begin to feel like one of the team; even freelance Photographers can feel as though entitled to a jersey at the end of the season.

Should I be a Sports Photographer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Photographic Specialist

    How to become a Sports Photographer

    Most Sports Photographers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9cddaa&chl=no+college+%2864%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|bachelor%27s+%284%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,64,64
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