How do you go about getting on field to shoot NFL games?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by john_decker|1, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. Is there a way a semi-professional/hobbyist can get a press pass to take pics of an NFL game?
  2. I'm betting no, there isn't. Unless you know the team's owner LOL.
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Is there a way a semi-professional/hobbyist can get a press pass to take pics of an NFL game?
    Get Sports Illustrated to give you a letter of assignment and then you can apply. The likelihood of this happening is zero, so I'm not sure it's worth trying.
  4. Or find a blog that is published that is willing to get you an assignment sheet. But then - be prepared to show proof of liability insurance, equipment insurance and general business insurance.
    A guy I worked with a few companies ago started a MN Vikings blog - back in the 1990's - more of a "Newsletter" I guess - since blog wasn't in our vocabulary back then. Anyway he started this thing and then got a press pass to the sidelines. He shot film back then and was able to get some spectactular photos ... But all of this was saturation and proliferation.
    I asked if he could bring me along - just to carry his gear / help / schlep stuff / be his gopher what ever... he said - Sorry - can't do it. They limit the access to 1 person per pass and you have to be a working photographer.
  5. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Or find a blog that is published that is willing to get you an assignment sheet... back in the 1990's​

    I suspect it's quite a bit different these days. Both teams and leagues have clamped down. I talk to a lot of the local sports guys (I shoot with them at fights) and I don't know anyone getting access without major credentials or shooting directly for the team.
  6. Get a job as a freelancer or staff photographer with the newspaper that normally covers your local NFL team.
  7. Since I've done it, I know it is possible--but my circumstances were unique.. While I was at Kodak working on PJ products, the company employed Richard Mackson who was also a staff photographer for Sports Illustrated. (He has quite a few cover credits. He was also the driver for K-Lab.) Various members of the R&D staff served as photographer's assistants for individual assignments. I went to a Buffalo Bills game with Richard. I carried the extra camera (Nikon F5 with 400 mm f/4) and about 30 rolls of film (This was about a dozen years ago.) I also took my Minolta SRT 101 with 28-210 lens. (No motor drive, manual focus, manual exposure.) I didn't get any shots worth sharing.
    More recently, I bought a front row ticket to a Bills game and took my D200 with 70-300 lens. The combination of 5 fps shooting and continuous autofocus produced several shots that are not bad.
  8. Yes Josh - I agree - all major sports have cracked down on official access - best best is to know someone who knows someone.
    The second best bet is to buy a ticket - close to the field and then hope you don't run afoul of the gate agents. Locally - The NBA franchise is the worst when it comes to bringing a camera in... Although based on their record - they should allow you to bring in whatever you want!
  9. David raises a good point. The lens I used at Packers-Bills game was just under the 6 inch limit for Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. I'm not sure if is a league rule or a local one. I've been refused entry with the same camera and lens at a Miami Heat game. There were no problems at a Pittsburgh Pirates game. (If you show up, they are happy.) None of these venues will allow a tripod or monopod.
  10. I work for a well respected 'blog' in the soccer/futbol arena and travel extensively gaining field/photo credentials with no difficulty. HOWEVER, when we approached out local NFL franchise to shoot/cover the game for a onetime piece that was to explain to our european readers the difference between 'Throwball' and proper Futbol, we were informed that NFL has strict guidelines that prohibit website or blog reporting from covering their games. If you elect to buy a ticket, caution..don't get too close or you won't be able to see over the throngs of players that crowd the line between the 30 yard markers.
  11. perhaps referring to American Football as 'throwball' might have had something to do with it?
  12. See if there are community newspapers (as opposed to the big papers) in the NFL area that would want a shooter to contract with them. We primarily shoot HS sports for the paper, but we are asked sometimes to work a Texans game or college game in the Houston area.
    Good luck,
    Signature URL deleted. Not allowed per Terms of Use.
  13. If you look on Most NFL teams sites, Canon has a contest , shoot like a pro.
    You enter, they pick, your name, you win, win a camera,Lens and the right to shoot that game,then you have to pick out your best photos and they post them as well.

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