Thank you Wade.Troy, I moved this to the sports forum, and left a redirect,
First thing folks will say, is show me your pics, so I hope you have some other shots you can put in your gallery.
Take care and good luck,
Thank you Geoff,Sorry Troy, as a member its a big no no to just sponsor anyone. Before I received sponsorship I posted a lot on another forum and another member took me under his wing, helping me improve, and in the end sponsored me. I got in after a little help from one of the founders.
It is good to get to know the people you sponsor and as Wade has mentioned we really need to see your work. It is the work that gets you to be a member but also your reputation. And when sponsoring someone it is the sponsors reputation that is put on the line.
Sportsshooter is meant ideally for the working media, people who have deadlines and caption their work. Many others have made it in, but have a high quality portfolio. Not to say you aren't qualified, but not having seen your work, or posting here it is tough to sponsor you.
Chris,As a non SportsShooter member but a person who started like you and have progressed to a 'semi-pro', first thing first, I'd seriously reconsider putting your 400 up for sale. You have a 600 which is a fantastic piece of glass, but the 400 would be a lot more versatile, IMHO, and you'd appreciate the add'l stop a lot if you're shooting night sports (even w/ a D3/D3s). The 600 is a great luxury, but it can also be too long if you have proper access...say for a baseball diamond (infield). Great for shooting in from centerfield on the batter, or down across midfield from the end zone/baseline at a soccer/football game, but again, more utility to be gained from the 400. If you can't do both, I'd say dump the 600 and use the 400 w/ a TC1.4.
As far as getting started, yup, credentials/access is strictly controlled, and it's pretty certain that as a new shooter you won't be granted them, especially w/out an association w/ an accredited organization like Geoff and the others have. Even then, it's pretty difficult at the pro sports level.
Take a look at this article by Jerry Lodriguss. Even tho' it's for Canon equipment, a lot of what he says holds true...and make sure you're ready for 100,000+ shutter clicks doing a weekend gymnastics shoot (just ask Geoff).
What I would suggest, from my experience, is to start and shoot locally, e.g. high school sports; access is a lot easier. Just make sure to build a relationship with the AD. And even HS access gets restricted in post-season play, JFYI.
Then become active here (or other places like Fred Miranda, etc) and post frequently and be prepared for criticism. Look at other posts by the pros and advanced shooters...learn from that. Build your portfolio. Recognize that a lot of the sportshooters members are, as Geoff said, PJ pros. That means being able to show variety, not just the shot of the baseball player, but the 'athlete of the week' shot, or something off the playing field. Look at SI and see what a Bill Frakes is publishing, whether it's the Derby winner or the top prospects at the NFL Combine. You'll occasionally see a SS portfolio review here (in fact, search for some threads) and you'll see this advice given to folks; it may surprise you what ends up in their submission (non action shots). And look at the work of some of the more active shooters on SS.
Finally, I would add, respect the pros and the fact that they're making a living...i.e. don't go in to the AD and offer to give away your images in return for access; don't give away your pictures to the parents. Establish some value for your work/time. This will help you network w/ the pros...I subbed for a weekly paper sports shooter this winter and have been published, and have been asked by the editor to do other shoots, e.g. Athlete of the Week, events, etc. Non-sports, but it's helping me build my editorial shooting skils, as well as captioning.
Your nature shots are unbelievable! I loved looking through your portfolio.
Your post starts out like a dad who just got a camera, then out of nowhere comes this amazing body of work! Very humbling approach I might add.
Good luck with your SS.
I have often wondered why you were not a member of sport shooters. Not that I am qualified, but your stuff looks to be right up there with others I have seen.
Not looking to hijacked the thread, just adding to the reason's why people get chosen or not based on their portfolio.
I agree Troy that your wildlife shots are top notch. As a wildlife and sport shooter myself (at least that's what I consider myself anyway), the two are a little different in regards to shooting. One of the things about shooting sports is really knowing the sport you are shooting and anticipating what is going to happen next. This helps you not only in getting your focus on the right player/spot at a given time, but also your positioning at the field/court as well.
I have thought about trying to join SS myself, but I know that my images are not up to par and photography is still only a hobby for me. Maybe one day when I have more time with my job and with my family I will try and see if I can do more with it and maybe start a business, but for the time being I still like learning new things and shooting new subjects/sports to see if I can conquer that. I am an avid sports fan myself and feel that I can follow most games that I shoot, but I still find myself lagging behind sometimes and missing the shot I am trying to get in my head, and that is very frustrating.
The best advice I can tell you is to get out there and shoot, shoot, shoot. Shoot anything that you can find even if it's little league. You have a huge advantage being in FL where the weather is good all the time (and you have minor league teams and spring training going on with good access down there). Remember that you can also shoot from the stands (get a field level seat) and still get good shots to get you acclimated to shooting sports if you don't have a credential.
Thank you all. This has been a valueble thread for me personally. Thank you all for the nice comments.Troy, I too am a big fan of your nature shots and feel you are a very talented photographer!! You have great potential to be a sport photographer since you already have the knowledge of photography with the huge advantage of being an athlete and therefore understanding where and when the action will occur. I have been involved in sports all my life as a player, a father of a daughter and son that have been multi sport athletes, and a coach. I started taking pictures of my kids when they were just starting out and have been doing so for the last 10 years or so. I graduated to a decent camera, the D300, about 2 years ago and picked up a 70-200 VRI about a year ago. My own personal experience has been one of frustration. I was able to get field access to my kids High School events through the AD. It's a large High School with about 3500 students and 57 sports teams. Although time constraints don't allow me to shoot nearly as much as I would like to, I have still done a fair amount of shooting at several different events. My frustration comes from posting here and comparing my work with the others on the site, I just can't seem to get to their level. What you will find on the Sport section of the Cafe are a Great bunch of Photographers that are willing to help. Many are published in areas from local papers all the way to the Mecca of Sports Illustrated. When you think about it, where else can you get that kind of knowledge and advice from such highly skilled people. I have not posted much lately but have pretty much been sitting back watching and learning. Hopefully as the quality of my stuff gets better I'll post more frequently. Good Luck on your quest to become a Sport Shooter member, I'm sure once you start posting here you will be able to get someone that will both Mentor and Sponsor you.
Lots of good advice given so far.
One question you must ask of yourself. Why do you want to be a SS member?
As stated, its mostly for those "in the biz". But each of us must decide our own paths. The answer to that question, should afford you some direction. If you just want more access. SS isnt the place for you. If you want to work your way into being a working photojournalist, then perhaps you may want to pursue it. If you are thinking shooting sports is going to make you money...quit now and run away as fast as you can. :biggrin:
be honest with yourself above all else when considering that question.
Its a different ball game working on a deadline, and having to have not only the shots, but the post processing and captioning skills to git r done on the fly. Its not for everyone. And its not for much money either sadly.
You've carved a niche for yourself it seems in nature and leading folks around to shoot nature. If thats going well at all.....you'll make a lot more coin doing that in regards to the amt of time spent getting there.
You said..."I've been shooting for almost 2 years now"....tbh, thats not much time at all, and to be leading other photographers on safari...well thats pretty darned good. Some might even put it a little differently....
Which leads me back to my original question....why do you want to join ss?