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Sports Photographers

The Job

Sports photographers are hired to shoot quality photos of sporting events, athletes, and crowds cheering on their home teams. Their work is published in newspapers, magazines (such as Sports Illustrated), Web pages, social media sites, books, and other sources.

They are usually trained as photographers but also must have thorough knowledge of the sports they are assigned to shoot. Many sports photographers specialize in shooting one or two sports, such as soccer and hockey—both fast-moving, unpredictable sporting events to capture in photographs.

To be able to capture quick movements and subtle details on the athletes' faces, sports photographers must have good equipment. They need cameras with fast shutter-speed abilities, tripods to hold cameras steady, and lenses of varying lengths to achieve appropriate depth of field for the intended image.

Sports photographers also need to be at the right place at the right time to get the best shots. Location is key when shooting sporting events. If photographers are too close to the action, they might get injured or, at the very least, interrupt play. If they are too far from the action, they will inevitably miss shots. They need to know where to position themselves to be able to capture the best moments of the game, such as a winning goal or a perfect header in soccer.

In addition to taking pictures, sports photographers may also spend some time developing film and printing photos. However, most now use digital cameras, which eliminate the need for separate developing and printing time. These photographers shoot a sporting event and then head back to their office to download the pictures onto a computer for printing or editing. Sports photographers may also use drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) to capture images.

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