Capturing the action, energy, and thrill of sporting events is not something that all professional photographers can achieve. It requires a keen eye and the ability to press the shutter at the exact moment to accurately record the adrenaline and emotion of the moment.
With its extensive creative community, Los Angeles is home to some of the most talented sports photographers in the country, many of whom work on global brand campaigns and have graced the covers of countless magazines. In this guide, we’ll introduce some of the best and what defines their work.
Originally hailing from New York City, Francis Specker is an advertising and editorial photographer that’s now based in Los Angeles. He’s worked for brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Amazon, and the Oxygen Network, as well as photographing for The New York Post and People Magazine. Francis Specker specializes in photographing athletes and doing publicity work for television networks, with a background in newspaper photojournalism that’s instantly apparent in his work.
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Will G MacNeil
Specializing in fitness portraits and sideline action sports, Will G MacNeil is a former athlete who now works behind the lens to capture engaging sports photographs. He’s lived all over the United States but currently calls Los Angeles “home” where he regularly captures all the action of local baseball, basketball, and football teams. Will also works in the fashion and lifestyle portraiture industries, as well as documenting behind-the-scenes shots in video production.
Oak Photo Art
Oak Photo Art is dedicated to capturing images that tell a story, whether it's portraits, headshots, or action sports. Their talented team of photographers document everything from beach volleyball to college football and wheelchair basketball, as well as track-and-field, rowing, and cheerleading events. Their action portraits are designed to be displayed as wall art, rather than being photojournalistic images. Aside from sports photography, Oak Photo Art also records film productions and theatrical work for promotion and publication.
Based out of Los Angeles, Charles Grauke describes himself as an “avid surfer and waterman” who began his photographic career documenting California’s skateboarding and surfing scenes. His extensive portfolio includes images in the fitness, sports lifestyle, and fashion genres, as well as studio-based portraits and shots of the music industry. He’s passionate about learning from other cultures and working alongside creatives while being skilled at problem-solving to ensure the best results for his clients.
With clients that include Nike, Lululemon, and ASICS, Christopher Malcolm is one of the most in-demand sports photographers in Los Angeles. He’s won multiple awards for his fitness, lifestyle, and activewear photography from American Photography, IPA, and The Lucie Awards. Christopher’s work has been published in “Runners World”, “Men’s Journal” and “Bicycling”, and he writes a weekly column for fstoppers.com. In addition to his photographic work, he serves on the board of the APA Diversity Committee to help increase the representation of marginalized groups in the photographic industry.
Ric Tapia is the photographer behind TapiaPhoto, a commercial photography business that specializes in sports imagery. His action photography has been recognized multiple times by the National Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and has appeared on the cover of “Sports Illustrated”, on ESPN posters, and in-store displays at Sketchers. Ric graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Professional Photography from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and is a passionate sportsman, playing ice hockey, tennis, and scuba diving.
Katharine Lotze is a Southern California-based sports photographer who began her career capturing the Central Washington University’s track and field team, of which she was a part. She draws on her background as an athlete in her dynamic works, with a particular emphasis on highlighting the achievements of women in sports. Katherine’s work has been published in “Sports Illustrated”, “The Los Angeles Times” and “The Washington Post” and she currently works as a senior picture desk editor for Getty Images.
While Robert Gallagher has shot countless celebrities, it’s his work capturing amateur sports, MMA, and beachside body-building that defines him. Born in London, he’s currently based in Santa Monica and held his first solo exhibition “Ground Hero - Portraits of September 11” in December 2001. He’s worked for brands that include Gatorade, Walmart, and Wilson Sporting Goods, as well as being published in “Sports Illustrated” and “TIME”. Robert Gallagher has received numerous awards for his compelling photos and has had work archived at The National Portrait Gallery in London.
Featuring strong contrasts, vivid colors, and plenty of motion, Adam Moran’s work has appeared on the covers of more than 35 magazines and has been used in brand campaigns around the globe. He has worked as a commercial lifestyle and sports photographer for numerous years and has traveled around the world to document leading athletes. Adam draws on his experience as the Global Team Director for Burton Snowboards to effectively manage crews and capture stunning shots, even in remote locations.