Thoughts from the sidelines during bowl season:

So you’re a sports photographer and proud of it.

We’ll I’m here to say that I’m just one of many photo editors proud of you and appreciate your dedication and visual talents in bringing your awesome images to wire services; web and print publications.

I’m new to the job, but the job is not new to me.

If you are about to make the leap to the proud; the few the sometimes forgotten  here are five things to think about while on assignment.

1. We live very much in a digital age where time is king which spans a twenty-four hour news cycle.  That wonderful image that you have in the second quarter of the game is going to be overshadowed by someone who sent a lesser image 10 minutes before you hit send. Get into the mind-set that every quarter, every half, every period is your deadline.  Understand that there is a market out there for the FIRST image; understand there is a market out there for pre-game images.  Be a story-teller!

2.  Once you step into that arena of coverage; EVERYTHING is a valued image that may have an economic impact for you and your client.

That helmet sitting on grass near the sidelines: that sports drink bottle on the bench; those player-filled sports shoes in the rain, snow, mud.  The kids playing a sandlot game at the corner field.

This is a pop-culture society that places a value on still images.  It’s not enough to know your market…you need to know where the future is heading in your market.

3. Don’t stop shooting when the game clock shows no time left.  Make sure you tell the final story of both the winners and the losers.  Follow-up stories need images to help tell those stories that may run days later.  Although you are covering an event; you are really covering athletes and their emotions.   Those images have value for days, months, years to come.

4.  Don’t short-change the technical.  Make sure that your camera sensors are clean; make sure you have a solid white-balance; make sure you have the correct time stamp on all cameras and computers you use, make sure your images are in focus!  Take pride in the professional and correct cutlines you provide.

5. Above all be professional; be humble: be proud in the quality of work you produce and learn as much as you can from those that came before you.