So, we have published a few articles that are a little similar to this one now where we go over a few ways that entry-level videographers can try to muscle their way into a popular videography niche for their first paid gig. If you have read any of our previous articles about the other niches, you will know that a lot of landing your first paid videography job is usually done to networking, word of mount, and having a solid portfolio.
Due to this, we would always recommend that you take every opportunity to network possible and ensure that you are networking with as many people as possible while also building your portfolio up. Some of these tips will be purely based around portfolio work and networking as in time, these increase the likely hood of you being able to land your first paid sports videography gig.
Additionally, there is no need to implement all of these tips although in our experience, the more you actively pursue, the quicker your first paid gig will come as you are getting your name out there more often and building a solid portfolio quicker. That said, we know that time constraints and personal lives come into play so try to implement the ones that will fit in with your life style the best.
Cover Your Local Amateur Teams
First up we have covering your local amateur teams. This could be your local college league team that could actually end up being your first paid gig depending on the season that the team are having and how big of a school they belong to as some college teams are funded very well these days.
That said though, even if you are just covering the local Sunday league team it is all valuable experience for a would-be sports videographer. Especially if you are brand new to the game and have to prove yourself too! If you can, try to think outside the box too rather than just try to cover football, soccer, basketball, baseball, and MMA as it can be an easy way to get some portfolio footage.
Depending on what’s happening at the local high school, you may be able to make use of highlight reels for skilled local athletes if they are applying for college scholarships. Although underrated and often overlooked, these can be great for building up your portfolio footage as both you and the athlete want the best possible footage possible.
Shadow And Established Videographer
This is without a doubt one of the most common ways to land your first gig in any videography niche and we doubt that it is any different in sports videography. Rather than you having to go out there and prove yourself to all the local teams to try and get some work worth your time, you essentially just focus on selling yourself to the established videographers in your area.
They go out and trade on their established name in the area and you serve as an additional pair of hands when they need you. Although the first few times you do this it will probably be for free until the established videographer trusts you and your skillset, it can lead to paid work.
Offer To Make A Behind The Scenes Documentary
Behind the scenes documentaries of smaller teams are becoming more and more popular especially after the international success of the Sunderland Till I Die documentary earned on Netflix. Depending on the size of the team, you may actually be able to get a small fee but if you do manage to pull of a decent documentary of the team and get some notoriety in your local area, it can be a great way to get your name out there.
Again, try to think outside the box and approach some of the smaller, less popular sports. Or try and come at it from a different angle, after the female USA soccer team recently won the World Cup there is a ton of press and media attention around female sports. Making a documentary based around the struggle of the local female team could be a big hit if you are fast.
Partner Up With An Established Photographer
Similar to working with an established videographer, partnering up with a local photographer can be a great deal and land you a paid gig quicker than working with another videographer. There are so many old school photographers out there who are set in their ways and will only offer photography services.
If you are able to find a photographer with a local sports gig who offers no videography services then this could be your break. Try to offer your video services to the photographer and use their press pass to get into the venue as an “understudy”. If the photographer is able to land any additional cash for the video footage then you can ask for your share.
Offer Your Services To Pro Teams For Free
This one will probably depend on your age but you are able to approach local teams and ask if you are able to work for them for free to work towards your college coursework or a high school project. This is a great way to network while also getting some excellent video footage for your portfolio. If you build the correct kind of relationships when you are working for free, you can sometimes land a long term gig at the venue.
Wrapping It All Up
Well, that brings us to the end of our article. We know that some of these tips are going to take a fair amount of time and effort to reap any reward but this is why they can be so effective to anyone willing to dedicate the time and effort to reaching their goal of being a sports videographer. We hope that our suggestions help you land your first paid gig soon and that it helps lead to a long and prosperous career in videography.