Keen to en­ter the world of sports pho­tog­ra­phy? Getty Images pho­tog­ra­pher Phil Wal­ter shares words of wis­dom for those look­ing to start on their sports-pho­tog­ra­phy ca­reer path

Emerg­ing from the dark­room at West­lake Boys High, where he spent the ma­jor­ity of his high­school days, Getty Images pho­tog­ra­pher Phil Wal­ter im­me­di­ately threw him­self into the world of job hunt­ing — in par­tic­u­lar, within the pho­tog­ra­phy realm — but he didn’t last too long, as, within a week, he’d been of­fered two jobs. One was with Photo Ware­house in the sales depart­ment, and the other was with Bruce Jarvis’s film-pro­cess­ing lab, Prism.

“I took the job with Prism, as that was more about the pho­tos rather than sell­ing cam­era gear. The build­ing Prism was in had Fo­to­press on the same floor. It was one of New Zealand’s first photo agency, and their point of dif­fer­ence was that they shot live sports events — I was of­fered a job there, and it went from there,” Wal­ter said. Although he pre­dom­i­nantly shoots sports, Wal­ter does not con­sider him­self purely a sports pho­tog­ra­pher. Work­ing full-time as a Getty Images pho­tog­ra­pher sees him shoot­ing sports 80 per cent of the time, with 20 per cent of his time spent on news. The heavy em­pha­sis on sports pho­tog­ra­phy comes down to the way Ki­wis hold sports near and dear to their hearts, he said: “I guess the way New Zealand is, back in the mid to late ’90s [when Wal­ter started], New Zealand’s cul­ture was heav­ily made up of sports.”

With so much of his ca­reer be­ing heav­ily fo­cused in the world of sports pho­tog­ra­phy, Wal­ter has a wealth of knowl­edge to share with as­pir­ing sports pho­tog­ra­phers. And his first piece of ad­vice is to stand out from the crowd.

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