Members of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate their 3-1 win against the San Jose Sharks to win the Stanley Cup during game six of the Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center in San Jose, California on June 12, 2016. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Wick Photography)
Well it’s certainly better late than never that I put a blog together with my favorites images from the year.
2016 was quite the roller coaster of events for both myself and the teams I covered. The world of freelance photography took me all over the country this year covering everything from the U.S. Open at Oakmont to the NFL playoffs, getting a relief from the snow to document the BNP Paribas Open in California, spending a week covering the world champion Maine-Endwell little league baseball team, and the road to the Stanley Cup Final with the Pittsburgh Penguins. For those experiences and being asked to tell their stories, I am forever grateful.
So much has changed in the world of journalism, especially in the past year, but I remain optimistic that myself and other photographers will continue to push forward and find their voice.
Happy New Year, everyone! Enjoy some of my favorite images below…
It may have just been preseason for the Steelers but it was great to get back to shooting some football this past Labor Day weekend, wrapping it up on Saturday with the first games (and wins) for the Pitt Panthers and the West Virginia Mountaineers.
And just like the players and referees who need some practice getting back into the swing of things, the same goes for every photographers no matter how many seasons you’ve been covering a particular sport or team.
One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is not to overthink how you cover a game. Over the span of a season you’ll get a feel for the team’s tendencies (i.e. Do they pass or run a lot? Deep routes and short 5-10 yard gains?). There are so many analytics websites out there that you could just as easily look at a chart and determine it that way as well. But going with your gut on where to best position yourself based on different variables will more than likely yield the best results. Reading up on your local teams can also give you more detailed information and befriending those same writers can go a long way in being a step ahead on the news that might develop and your images getting more play. Of course you will always miss something as you can’t possibly be in perfect position for every big play. However, always take into consideration how much time is left, what kind of weapons a team may have, etc. Don’t be afraid to take a chance and go with your gut instinct because I think the saying will almost always be true: ‘Go where everyone else isn’t.’ It just might pay off for you.
Well it’s been a month since I posted something to my blog. Partly because I’ve been traveling more and shooting less. A flight to Pittsburgh and a drive to Chautauqua Lake, NY to visit friends and family for Thanksgiving was very much needed. As any photojournalist can attest, this is always a slow time of the year. It gets cold outside so people and their events all hibernate for the winter. As do the paychecks.
So how do you get through this time as a freelancer? I asked myself that question about four years ago while struggling to find much work from about December through March following graduation. I immediately went to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review photographer, Justin Merriman, for help with that. Although he wanted to help, as a staff photographer, it’s not something he has to worry about. Instead, he forwarded me to freelancer Jeff Swensen, a guy he shared a photo studio with on the south side of Pittsburgh. What transpired over time from that single meeting at the Terminal Building has sent me on a much more clear, guided, thoughtful, happier, and fulfilling path. I joined a great space with a crew of folks that included Jeff and Justin, along with (current Pittsburgh Tribune-Review photojournalist) Stephanie Strasburg and (videographer and marketer extraordinaire) Mickey Miller.
As creatives we’re always looking to improve on our craft. And I’ve found the best way to do that and to always be driven is by surrounding yourself with other fellow artists. Not just good artists but good people. People who are open to working together and pushing each other in a positive way. It’s not just good for your artistry but also for your sanity and your mental state. There will be a lot of days where no one calls and no one emails with potential work. It can be pretty depressing at times and you can easily fall into a terrible state-of-mind if you’re not careful. On the flip side, there’s no better time to brainstorm and start on personal projects that you’ve been putting off all year. Use this time to put together your best images from the year and a new business plan. Write down what goals you accomplished and set new ones for yourself.
Collaboration is the key. These friends will help drive you on those days when you’re not feeling confident about your work or your business. For me, it’s a huge asset to have and certainly part of the reason for me returning to Pittsburgh. In that town, people aren’t afraid to share work. They make sure that the community succeeds because they genuinely care about each other. If someone helps you out with an assignment, you don’t steal their client, and you return the favor whenever possible. And that’s not even factoring in the daily benefits of being able to critique each others work and constantly keep each others minds thinking about the future in how you can evolve and become a better photographer, businessman, etc. And if you live in an affordable city that can foster groups of young creatives, start a studio! Get a few people to chip in for a space. It can be really beneficial to get everyone out of the house and into a place with fewer distractions that would allow for more work and progress to happen. The larger your circle of friends and fellow artists grows, so do your ideas, clients, and ultimately, paychecks. Because let’s face it, as much as we love what we do, the bills come every month too, regardless of the season.
So my suggestion to everyone out there having a tough time keeping busy is to just to continue to network and be a good friend. I am personally very thankful that I have such an amazing crew of people in the steel city. It won’t always solve your immediate financial issues but as long as you’ve set aside a little savings to help you through those months, it will at the very least keep your head up and the creativity flowing. After all, what are friends for?
I will leave you with some of my recent football images that were a result of my creative flame always staying lit thanks to those aforementioned people…
EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 08: Shakim Phillips #8 of the Connecticut Huskies makes a catch in the fourth quarter in front of Calvin Pryor #25 of the Louisville Cardinals at Rentschler Field during the game on November 8, 2013 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Last night I had the chance to photograph one of the best athletes in college football, Teddy Bridgewater of the Louisville Cardinals, take on the winless University of Connecticut football team in Hartford.
One of the biggest perks to living and working in a city with a large sports market is the high priority events that can come into town. This time around, it was one of my favorite events, the Gold Cup.
Here are some of my favorite images from the USA vs Costa Rica and Cuba vs Belize matches that were held at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Connecticut on July 16. Enjoy!