Q. Where can I see more of your photography?
Q. Where did you learn photography?
I have never once taken a photography class or course. I am completely self taught through the school of trial and error and learning from my own mistakes. Mostly, I have learned from thousands and thousands of hours spent with a camera in my hand! I did spend an amazing 4 days at the Rich Clarkson Sports Photography workshop in Colorado Springs in summer 2010, but that workshop is as much as I've ever done for a photography "education".
Q. How did you become a motorsport photographer?
I've ALWAYS loved motorsport. I would look at every page of F1 Racing Magazine growing up, but I rarely read the articles. I would instead feverishly flip through looking at the stunning photos from top motorsport photographers, and STUDY the images.
In 2008, I was given a DSLR for my 21st birthday as a sophomore in college. I quickly took to taking photos of my college swimming events, other college sports at my university, and some of the horse races I was riding in as an apprentice steeplechase jockey. As I learned photography and built a strong network of people I knew from shooting those small events, I started getting paid to cover bigger sporting events and horse races beyond the ones I was personally riding in. Horse racing transitioned to covering low level dirt track races in Kentucky & North Carolina, karting races, track days at various places and attending many MANY races as a fan with a camera.
All of that slowly turned into covering professional car races for smaller clients and a little money, which evolved into the career I have today. I became a full time photographer (i.e. no other form of income) in 2014.
**I want to reiterate something. I started with photography in 2008. I wasn't credentialed to cover a pro car race until 2011, and wasn't a full time photographer until 2014. That's 6 years of photography between starting to take photos and going full time at it. It takes time!!**
Q. Which was your first professional car race you covered?
My first race was Kimi Raikkonen's 2011 NASCAR Truck race debut at Charlotte Motorspeedway! I "cold called" an agency in England and asked if they wanted someone to cover it, and they said "SURE!" I got a few hundred dollars and a foot in the door to two world's I had always dreamed of being in: motorsport and more specifically, Formula 1.
Q. How can I become a motorsport photographer and shoot all the big races you do?!
I get this question almost daily, and my advice is always the same. Start small. Shoot ANYTHING that moves. It will all help you learn photography, learn your camera, understand shutter-speed, light and movement, and build your network of people to have potentially hire you.
Building a photography portfolio doesn't happen at the top levels covering F1, WEC, IMSA or Indycar. Covering those events is what happens after YEARS and YEARS of experience covering everything else below it. Access to smaller events is much less restricted, versus access to the bigger world class events is VERY limited and very difficult to obtain.
Press credentials to cover races are given only to those working members of the media, and not to fans simply looking to be closer to the action. If you are interested in working in motorsports, or any professional sport as a photographer, start with small races or games/events in your area that almost anyone can walk into and photograph. Little league baseball, football, basketball is the same as go karts and track days.
Start small. Build a stunning sports portfolio. But most importantly, learn to build your network of people you know, and you'll quickly find that doors open to other events, and eventually (if you're good enough), the big events too.
Q. Ok. I definitely want to become a motorsport photographer. Where do I start?
There is no school or apprenticeship program to attend that will start your career toward motorsport photography.
The best, and really only way to start is by going to races as a fan. As racing fans, we are so incredibly lucky that most tracks and series ENCOURAGE you to bring your camera gear to the races, share it with your friends and on social media. IMSA (imsa.com) has races all over the United States and one in Canada, and the access for fans is incredible.
So use that amazing access to your advantage! You don't NEED credentials. Go to races, tell stories, shoot unique angles and practice slow shutter speed pans. Going to races as a fan is your "internship" and chance to make images that are different from what people are used to seeing.
Motivate yourself to be different. Treat your day at the races like you're there working. If it starts raining, don't run for cover. Go make images of it!
Q. Do I need a press credential to take pretty photos?
Most professional racing photographers spend a good part of our day during a race weekend shooting from general admission fan areas and grandstands with you! Most tracks in the United States, and a good bunch in Europe are SO amazingly fan accessible that you don't need credentials to make the same images I can WITH credentials. Not having press access also makes you work harder for nice pictures, so learn to be creative! Tell a story using your photos! But don't use the fact that you don't have credentials as an excuse for not shooting or trying hard to make something of it.
Most of the professional motorsport photographers I know and work with, including myself, started simply as racing fans with cameras.
Q. What has been your favorite race to cover?
Le Mans. The atmosphere. The race. The cars. The track. It is all so challenging and so special. I'm so thankful to have covered Le Mans several times in my short career, and to have been once as a fan in 2012. It will forever hold a special place in my heart. Monaco is a close second. Having F1 cars whizzing by that close is one of the coolest things you can ever experience. The manic atmosphere of the Macau GP is fun too. The track is wild.
Q. How can I get a press/media credential?
Press credentials are given only to those working members of the media with clients, or an assignment specific to that race. You will only pick up team/driver/sponsor clients after many years of working around a series or sport. So if you really want to try and get a media credential, start by calling local magazines, blogs, newspapers and websites nearby to a certain track/event/game or race. But again, read the above advice. You may only get one chance to impress, so make sure you're truly ready and will deliver pictures that are better than the other 500,000 people who are in line to do the same thing you are wanting to do.
Q. How does one become an F1 photographer?
Think of becoming an F1 photographer the same way F1 drivers become F1 drivers. Learn your trade at the small events. Lewis Hamilton didn't become Lewis Hamilton overnight. He spent YEARS go karting and racing F3 and GP2, before he raced in F1. You need to do the same with the camera. As I've said above, start by going to go kart races, track days, races as a fan. With some talent and luck, you may hopefully make your way to F1, but there are no shortcuts to anything in life. If you want it, put in the work to make it happen. It is an EXTREMELY competitive world and your talent with a camera is only one small part of the equation.
Q. How many races have you covered in your career?
Far too many to count. Several hundred. They are all special, unique and memorable in some way though.
Q. Why do you post so much on social media?
Professional photography is my business. My sole way of earning an income, and social media, is simply FREE ADVERTISING for my business, my brand and my photos. I enjoy following my friends, getting inspiration from them and seeing what they're up to. Social media allows me to build a brand that helps me to make a living. Simple as that.
Q. What do you carry in your camera bag?
I carry all my equipment in a TENBA rolling camera bag. It goes around the world with me in airplanes, rental cars, trains, boats....everywhere. Inside of it, I have two full frame cameras, a 500mm f4 VR, 70-200mm f2.8 VR, 24-70 f2.8, 14-24mm f2.8, 24mm f1.4, 35mm, f1.4 85mm f1.8, a 135mm f1.8 and a wallet full of LEXAR XQD and CF EXPRESS memory cards and PolarPro filters.
Q. How can I grow my social media following?
If you're going to be a motorsport photographer, be a motorsport photographer. If you're going to be a food photographer, be a food photographer. If you're going to be a landscape photographer, be a landscape photographer. Don't mix those photos in with photos of your cat, or third cousin's second birthday, or a family trip to the beach. Set up a personal account for those images.
Instagram and social media is the new portfolio. If you want me to look at your images, make sure I'm looking at only the BEST images. Why would I (or anyone) follow you if I don't know you and most of your images are of your personal life. Blow us away.
Q. Can I intern for you? Or just carry your camera bag?
As much as I'd like to say yes, I do not have the need or the ability to take on interns. If you are wanting to learn more about photography, the best way to learn is by doing. Go to as many races as you can as a fan, enjoy it, but shoot it like you want to be there working it. That means work the angles, walk miles and miles, chase the light, tell stories, and don't quit when it starts raining or gets hot or cold. You wont be able to quit when you're a pro, and often, those times when everyone else quits, is when the best images are made.
Q. Do you sell prints of your work?
Absolutely. If you don't see what you're looking for in my web store, or want something more specific than what I'm offering, shoot me an email. jameypricephoto.com/prints
Still have questions? Spend some time and listen to the numerous podcasts I have been interviewed on. Here are some of the best ones.
FRAMES VLOG Series
A behind the scenes look at the life of a motorsport photographer
PODCASTS and Interviews