Press pass (or accreditation) -- how to get them

Discussion in 'Sports' started by german, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. Hi,

    How does one get a press pass or proper accreditation to photograph local
    college and professional sports?

    I photographed special events for publication in Hollywood and had a lot of
    work published there.

    Now, I've never held a press pass.

    Please advise.


    G. Silva
  2. You will hve to get a letter from the people you take photos for and submit it to the athletic office , or media office for the school or proteam you want to photograph. They are, not that easy to get, if you are a freelancer.
  3. Press passes for pro sports are getting harder and harder to obtain. As Michael said, submit a letter from your editor to the appropriate media person at the school or venue you want to shoot at. Colleges are getting harder and harder to shoot as well. There are now way too many "lookeloos" on the sidelines...

    Be warned though, freelancers often get denied unless they are accredited with a newspaper, wire service or major magazine.
  4. I was a reporter/editor/photographer for about 15 years and have been on the other side of the fence in PR for almost as long. I'm always amazed how many people think there is some kind of universal press pass that will get them into everything. To start with, press credentials are generally only given to staff reporters/photographers of legitimate news organizations, or to freelancers working either on a specific assignment or on a regular basis for a publication. In short, if you're not working for a publication that's going to print your work, you're not press and should not be given any kind of press credential. Credentials are not for the general public or wannabees, they are for workikng press. Generally speaking press credentials are also specific to an event, location or organization. And what authority they give you is very variable. Some newspapers I worked for issued credentials that were basically just an employee ID to prove you worked there. They mean absolutely nothing as far as anyone having to honor them. In New York, the police department gives out ID to reporters regularly covering police events and certain city government events. These are supposed to be recognized by cops on the street in letting you cross police lines. Here in Washington, the House and Senate give our press credentials that let you have access through restricted areas of the Capitol and related buildings. Same at the White House. But none of these will get you into a pro or even college football/baseball/basketball game, and the sports credentials won't get you into the White House. At the trade association where I work now, we ask to see some type of press ID at our annual convention in NY. But that's just to convince us you're legit. We still need to issue you the appropriate badge for you to get into seminars or onto the convention floor. Bottom line is if you've been hired by a publication (other than the local weekly throwaway) to actually shoot something and actually be published, then the PUBLICATION will be given credentials that are assigned to whoever they choose to send, namely you. But if you're an amateur just looking to shoot a game for fun and nobody's hired you to be there or has any plans to publish your work, that's nice but please don't bother the busy PR people who are already swamped dealing with legitimate working professionals.
  5. What?!?!<br>
    You mean this doesn't work?<br>
    <img src="" border="0"><br>
  6. That's the secret hat! You weren't supposed to tell them about that.
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    There are other ways to get access for sporting events that don't require working for a publication. I shoot professional boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts (UFC-type fighting) and always get credentials from the promoters. I sell my photos to news publications, other publications, for endorsements by the fighters, and to the gyms that sponsor the fighters. I get the same type of pass and access that the people working for the newspapers and magazines get. I know a few people who shoot pro baseball and football locally (San Francisco) who get passes through these types of connections.

    For me, it required building credibility with the participating organizations, who then went to the promoters on my behalf. I photographed in the gyms, training sessions, small events, and eventually they wanted my photos for the matches. Now I'm a known entity to them and it's relatively straightforward to get passes. It is, as is pointed out above, per event.

    The City of San Francisco gives out press passes, but a) they don't guarantee access except for obvious news stories, b) the rules for getting them are strict, c) they only have a limited number, and d) the best thing about them is that you can park for stories in places that would get a ticket without the pass.
  8. Hi. I came across this fascinating thread since being involved with a photographer who works out of Copenhagen in Denmark and it just so happens that our most-recent advice column looks at this issue. I'll admit it, I found this thread from a Google search with the words press pass for photographers and forums in the discussion. I sincerely think our advice column is worth a bump to benefit both new readers and those who have already contributed to this thread. If you're interested to know how a professional photographer has approached the issue of gaining press credentials then feel free to head over to the in-depth advice column blog post that we've written up for the benefit of all photographers here: Copenhagen Photographer Matthew James

  9. Some years ago, I worked with a local group of reporters who were starting a weekly television news program, operating a studio video camera. When they learned I was a still photographer, they added me to the list of reporters receiving passes issued by the city police department. The most important thing was not the pass but the cell phone number of our editor, who seemed to know everyone in town, and who would talk to the police if they proved reluctant to give me access. Like Jeff (Spearhead) I found that I could sometimes park much closer to what I had to photograph than if I hadn't had the pass.
  10. In some of the smaller markets for covering news events it helps if the local police know who you are and also that you get along with them. For any college or pro events the local newspaper usually simply makes a call to the sports information office and passes are either left at a will call booth or sent directly to the office to be given to whoever the paper wants to send. Some time back I could just make that call myself at the university here and go shoot for fun. Since I knew most of them it was easy. These days it is almost as though you are asking for the food from their childrens mouth. NCAA and all the pro sports and racing venues insist on complete control and ownership of anything taken on the sidelines or even in the stands outside of media people. You agree to this simply by using your ticket. I don't bother with it any more.

    Rick H.
  11. Try to attach yourself to a publication and get a letter from them. The problem is, many events now have their own photographers and are happy to supply publications with full rez TIFFs at no charge.
  12. By far the easiest way is to be friends with someone who issues them. Some people say it's the only way.

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