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 mistakes. I spent an amazing 4 days at the Rich Clarkson's 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, and 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 (I was an apprentice steeplechase jockey for 7 years). I started getting paid to cover other horse races beyond the ones I was riding at as I developed an eye for photography, and eventually some bigger events like the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup. Horse racing transitioned to covering low level dirt track races in Kentucky & North Carolina, karting, track days at various places and attending LOTS of 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.
**But I want to reiterate something. I started with photography in 2008. I wasn't credentialed to cover a 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 and movement.
Building a portfolio doesn't happen at the top levels by covering F1, WEC, IMSA or Indycar. It happens with YEARS and YEARS of experience covering everything else. Access to smaller events is much less restricted, versus access to the bigger world class events is VERY limited. 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 as a photography, start with those small races that almost anyone can walk into and photograph. Cover local track days and build a stunning 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. However, NOTHING HAPPENS QUICKLY. It will take months, and most likely years, to build your portfolio and build a reputation of being a top class photographer that people want to hire to cover racing.
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 Nikon D5's, a 500mm f4 VR, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR, Nikon 24-70 f2.8, Nikon 14-24mm f2.8, Nikon 24mm f1.4, Nikon 35mm, f1.4 Nikon 85mm f1.8, a SIGMA 135mm f1.8 and a wallet full of LEXAR XQD memory cards and PolarPro filters.
Q. Do I need a press credential to take pretty photos?
NO! Most professional racing photographers spend a good part of our day at a race shooting from general admission fan areas. Most tracks in the United States, and a good bunch in Europe are so fan accessible that you don't need credentials to make the same images I can with credentials. Not having press access 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 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 many races have you covered in your career?
Too many to count. Several hundred. They are all special, unique and memorable in some way though.
Q. Why do you post so much to social media?
Professional photography is my business. My sole way of earning an income, and social media, is FREE ADVERTISING and is a fun way to share my images! 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. 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 boring 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, 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.
PODCASTS and Interviews