How to Become a Sports Photographer (Best 9 Steps)

Proper dedication and passion can help you to become a successful sports photographer.

You need to be certified by completing a minimum degree from any known organization. Try an internship and submit a CV to the desired company.

In this context, I’ll share with you how to become a sports photographer.

Moreover,  you’ll get the overall footprints that are required to be a sports photographer. You’ll get all the information in one bundle.

Let’s get started. May I?

What Does a Sports Photographer Do?

Function of Sports photographer

An ideal sports photographer has many responsibilities.

They were specially hired to capture photos of athletes’ movements from different angles.

Additionally, they’re working for many creators, like blogs, magazines, and newspapers.

Sometimes, a sports photographer works for a website that collects and sells stock images.

To get more sales, you have the proper knowledge of capturing photos from various angles.

Similarly, you must provide them with different images of a particular subject from different angles.

As an ideal sports photographer, your captured photos should be like storytelling through images.

This makes you a bigger difference than others. The more emotion attached to the image, the more it will be appreciated.

If You are Interested in Concert Photography, Read More > How to Photograph a Concert.

9 Blueprints to Become a Sports Photographer

I want to congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. I hope, you’ve almost been interested in becoming a sports photographer as a career, right?

Well. To become a PRO sports photographer, you need to follow guidelines. I’ve made a list to help you step forward in this photography journey.

So, let’s have a look:

01. Gathering sports photography knowledge

You can’t be a good photographer by seeing only random videos online. It’s better to gather knowledge from any reputable school, event, or online coaching.

They’ll teach you from ABC to advanced photography. It not only improves your clicks but also fixes the framing and angle.

You can do 2 Year Photography Diploma from Algonquin College.

02. Training requirements

Another important thing is knowing the exact training requirements.

It’s better to learn from the professionals rather than from the immediate or beginner-level photographer.

Find the proper institutions and learn how to control both DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

A bachelor’s degree in photography or journalism can provide you with a strong foundation.

To become a PRO sports photographer, you need to gain in-depth knowledge. Learning both auto and manual clicks is essential.

03. Gaining Knowledge of Sports

I highly recommend focusing on a specific sport. It’s challenging to learn the rules of multiple sports.

You need to learn the rules, like the scoring system, penalties, and other issues. This helps you to click the right photos based on the situation.

Focus on your favorite athletes and teams. Update yourself about their news, statistics, and performances. As a professional, you can’t neglect.

04. Licensing or Certification

Certification indicates how much commitment you have in this field. Similarly, it also gives conceivable clients faith in your skills and proficiency.

Ask for a certificate or license from your reputation organization.

You must attach it when you’re applying for a sports-related photographic job. It makes a massive difference with a random photographer.

05. Skills, experience and Personality Traits

The more experience and skill set you have, the more you’ll get an advantage in selecting a sports photographer vacancy.

You must have a strong understanding of several things like camera settings, lighting, and composition as well.

As a professional, there is no way to avoid it. Take your time and enrich your skill set.

Additionally, you need to build up the right time capturing. I mean, you need to understand when you shouldn’t miss to capture.

06. Develop a Personal Style

Building a personal style allows you to stand out from the crowd. Moreover, it develops unique and extraordinary portraits that reverberate with viewers.

When you understand your shots are perfect? If your pictures mean something like telling a story.

You can follow your favorite photographer and follow their shooting style. It helps you to improve your shooting experience.

07. Find an internship.

There is a Proverb, “Practice makes you perfect!”. You can’t be a good photographer until you practice more.

I highly recommend you look for an internship after completing the course.

You should mail your favorite photographer for internship facilities. It’ll be a good chance if you’ve got an opportunity to work as an assistant.

Never lose your hope! Find out and practice more and more.

08. Getting the Right Gear for Sports Photography

The right equipment can help you to reach your goal easily. You must have a camera(mirrorless/DSLR), tripod, and 2/3 lens(based on your financial conditions).

However, you should also know about the use of mirrorless cameras and DSLRs.

You must also know the uses and facilities of Zoom/Prime lens.

You must also collect the neck strap, extra lens hood, cleaning kits and raincoat. These help you to shoot under certain conditions.

09. Use of Sports photography resources

The last thing is “Resource”. Resources are powerful to boost your photographic experience.

You must be capable of using the various sports photography resources to learn their functions.

By doing this you are able to enrich your skills and portfolio.

Here is the some top listed sports photography resources that include, the authority site name, address and their chief functions:

(i) American Photographic Artists (APA).

They generally provide helpful information for sports photographers, like education and, most importantly, career consultation.

2055 Bryant Street

San Francisco, CA 94110-2125

Tel: (800) 272-6264, ext 10

(ii) National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)

NPPA is an ideal platform for multimedia journalists and videographers. Additionally, they are one of the best platforms for sport advocacy.

120 Hooper Street

Athens, GA 30602-3018

Tel: (706) 542-2506

(iii) Society for Photographic Education

SPE is another excellent community like NPPA. This is a non-profit organization providing education and consultation.

You’ll get a scholarship facility to boost your photographic skills.

PO Box 6653

Cleveland, OH 44101-1653

Tel: (216) 622-2733

(iv) The NewsGuild-Communication Workers of America

TNG-CWA is another excellent community located in North America. They portray the journalists and other media persons.

501 3rd Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20001-2797

Tel: (202) 434-7177


Related Reading > How to Make Money As a Photographer.


What qualifications do you need to become a sports photographer?

You don’t need any high academic background or qualification. In this regard, you must have a passion, photographic sense, and most importantly knowledge of the sports.

Do sports photographers make money?

Definitely. As an experienced sports photographer, you can make at least $30,000 to $100,000.

The exact salary depends on how much experience you have and the project you have completed.

How hard is it to become a sports photographer?

Nothing is easy. Proper dedication can help you to reach your desired goal.

If you’ve a minimum amount of knowledge then it can be easy for you to understand the lectures and strategies.

As a beginner or novice, you need to spend a pretty enough time on it.

How much do sports photographers make in the US?

The actual salary depends on the state. For example, NYC or LA might make $70k-$100k.

However, if you’re much experienced then you can get more. Similarly, if you don’t have enough experience then the salary can be $20k-$50K annually.

How many hours a week do sports photographers work?

 Actually, it depends on the events. So, it’s difficult to mention the exact time in a week.

However, you may have to week 12+ hours from shooting to editing. If you’re dependent on another editor, then the time can vary.

Do sports photographers travel a lot?

Yes and No both. If you are hired for the local sports, then you don’t need to travel frequently.

On the other hand, if you’re pretty experienced to manage international events, then you may have to travel a lot.

In this journey you may get huge facilities from residence to food.

How do I become a freelance sports photographer?

To become a successful sports photographer, you need to develop your skill first.

Take a degree, earn a license or certificate and lastly build a strong resume. Don’t forget to do an internship from a reputed photographer.