I’m a 21 year-old sports photographer who began shooting football two years ago. I am now one of the youngest club photographers in the United Kingdom working for the press covering the Luton Town Football Club away games.
How did you get involved in football photography?
Back in November 2010, I was collating images for my college project where I chose to take pictures of Dunstable Town FC games. They soon asked me to become their club photographer, for which I thank Paul Harris – the club secretary and everyone else who is associated with the club.
You soon became a regular photographer for Conference National outfit Luton Town. How did that come about?
I was getting positive feedback from the match photos that I was supplying to the press, so I asked to be given the opportunity to cover some pre-season friendlies with Luton. From there, I applied for a Conference press licence and got the appropriate liability insurance and once I received both, I was given the job of covering all of Luton’s away matches – an opportunity too good to pass on.
What have been your highlights so far?
The past two years have gone so quickly, with many highlights. Those that immediately spring to mind include Dunstable reaching the fifth round of the FA Vase only to be beaten by the great Whitley Bay and shooting the game versus Luton in the Beds Senior Cup final which Luton edged 5-4 in extra-time.
Has your football photography opened up other opportunities?
Absolutely.Thanks to covering Luton Town’s away games for the press, they’ve assigned me to other sports including local boxing events. I’ve even started to venture into other forms of shooting including weddings! I am very lucky to know some great sports photographers, such as Gareth Owen who is Luton’s club photographer amongst many others.
Do you think your age gives you any advantages or disadvantages?
It all has been advantages for me, I’m always learning new tips and advice from Gareth and others that I have worked with. Starting this early is an advantage in its own right as this is something I want to pursue further and ultimately end up snapping in the (English) Premier League. The only disadvantage is that I haven’t learned to drive yet, but I am given lifts to attend all of the matches.
What equipment do you use?
Currently I use Canon 7D and 50D bodies. Lenses include a Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens, a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 and a 1.4x extender. But you should never be put off by not having the latest cameras or lens, use what you can afford. To this day, one of my favorite images I took was taken using a Canon 450D and 70-200mm f/4 l lens.
What pieces of advice can you give from experience to up and coming sports photographers?
Firstly, you should realise that you don’t need the latest Canon 1D series camera, Nikon D4 or the Canon L series lenses that you see photographers using during Premier League matches to capture some great action shots. Use what you can afford and if you are able to sell your images to the local papers then save the money earned and put it towards new or good second hand equipment.
Do not be afraid to fill up the memory card as you may have to take multiple photos before you get that perfect picture of the player making contact with the ball when jumping up for a header or sliding in on a challenge. It can be lead to a lot of deleting and editing afterwards but if your photos make the back page then it makes it all worthwhile.
Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Accept constructive criticism as it does help to take advice from others.
If sports photography is something you are thinking of doing, go for it! It’s an enjoyable experience and it is not so often you get to be so close to fantastic action. Just don’t let the weather or poor floodlights put you off (laughs).
Liam’s football photography can be viewed here.