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Shout-Outs: Women in Sports Photography We Admire

A few weeks ago, my team spotted an Instagram post that stopped us in our tracks.

After the Carolina Panthers’ last game of the season, team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez took a moment to share her gratitude for the other women shooting alongside her on the field.

We loved these shout-outs, and we were so inspired by Melissa’s post that we wanted to keep it going.

With Melissa’s help and some inspiration from @womeninsportsphotography (who you need to follow, right now), I reached out to a handful of amazing women in sports photography and asked them to share a shout-out or two about who they admire in/on the field.

The response was overwhelming. These shout-outs will move you, and they’ll have you reaching for your phones to start following these incredible visual storytellers. Thank you to everyone who shared a shout-out – you inspire us. Thank you for paying it forward!

But here’s the thing. We know this list is incomplete, and we’re just getting started.

Who are the women in sports photography who inspire you? Share your shout-outs in the comments, or tag @getlibris on Twitter and Instagram.

Shout-Outs from and to Inspiring Women in Sports Photography

Photo by Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez @mmelvinrodriguez shouting out…

They inspire me because of the high level of quality work they put out, their confidence and they’re just really damn good at what they do. Their creativity, the unique way they see, the humanity they capture—it all inspires me and pushes me to keep up with the high level of work they’re creating. There is a sense of solidarity in seeing another woman on the sidelines. I feel that same sense of pride when I see their work, which is why I like to keep up with what these women create. This is why I think what we all do is so special, because we not only support one another, but we can also help pave the way for more women to be where we are, working beside us.

Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice.

Deanne Fitzmaurice @deannefitzmaurice shouting out…

Not only is Lucy a great sports photographer who finds fresh unique perspectives but she also is just as powerful with her general assignment photojournalism work.

Jennifer is a force in sports photography, connecting with athletes and creating beautiful portraits. Her charity work to battle cancer is equally impressive.

Photo by Julie Jacobson, AP Photo.

Julie Jacobson @lefteyed101 shouting out…

I can probably list several women photographers who I admire, but if we’re focusing primarily on sports I would say that Boston AP photographer Elise Amendola is who I’ve admired most and consistently for as long as I’ve known her byline. Not only is she a well-rounded photojournalist, but she excels at sports photography, never missing a key play or big shot and always willing to push her boundaries and be better than she was yesterday or today. Her work ethic is one of the best I know. She’s very focused on the field, always thinking and anticipating, and her positive attitude, intensity and competitiveness are contagious. She’s also the best example of a team player that I can think of.

Photo by Jean Fruth.

Jean Fruth @jeanfruthimages shouting out…

Jennifer and Kelley are both excellent sports photographers and well-respected photojournalists. Besides their stellar work and wide-spread creativity, I thought of them because of their continual hustle and overall work ethic. In a climate where it can be difficult to find work, they both successfully create opportunities for themselves; and the breadth of their work is spectacular.

For instance, I will see Kelley while shooting at an A’s or 49er’s game, and then I will see her coverage from The USA Water Polo Team to Cal-Berkeley Athletics to the Special Olympics. It just never ends — she covers it all!

The last time I saw Jennifer was at Chase Field, where she was climbing up into the rafters to set up her remotes hours before the Arizona Diamondbacks were to be in a home playoff game. That morning she was likely up at 5:00 am to shoot something in the mountains for Lululemon. Jennifer was the Arizona Diamondbacks first female photographer, from 2014-16. Her array of work is vast, from ballparks to the studio to a desert or a mountaintop.

I am so proud of Jennifer and Kelley, both of whom inspire me. I always seem to be eagerly waiting to see what they will produce next, as for each, there’s never an excuse or a problem: It’s always about finding solutions and identifying opportunities.

Photo by Melina Pizano.

Melina Pizano @melinapizano shouting out…

Elsa Garrison is the first woman sports photographer I discovered. She’s such a legend and for good reason. Elsa continuously gets the shot at each event.

A recent find is Maddie Meyer. She’s definitely one to look out for when it comes to capturing great moments.

It’s photographers like Elsa and Maddie that continue to inspire other women in sports photography, including myself.

Photo by Jessica Carroll.

Jessica Carroll @jfophoto shouting out…

There are not enough women in sports photography, in my opinion. And as a result, I’m impressed by the young women who get into this business and see a path for themselves without seeing an abundance of women in these roles ahead of them. I am especially impressed with the female team photographers I see out there in all sports. Within the MLB organization, the numbers have grown and I hope continue on this trajectory – right now we have Ariele Hecht Goldman (@arielephotography) as the team photographer for the Yankees and Barrie Schneiderman (@barrielizabeth) working on staff with her; Kelly Gavin (@kellyspics3) is the team photographer at the Texas Rangers; Sarah Sachs (@sarahsachsphoto) is team photographer for the Arizona Diamondbacks; Suzanna Mitchell (@suzmitch) is on staff in the photo department at the San Francisco Giants; and Kayla Rice (@kaylaricephoto) is on staff at the New York Mets. 10 years ago, when I started at MLB, there were only two women in these positions, so I’m thrilled to see this number growing.

I also have a TON of respect for the women who have been out there in this world holding their own for decades, and starting in a time when it was even more rare for a woman to be in sports photography. Elsa Garrison (@elsagarrison) is one of the most talented sports photographers I know, and a great friend. She’s told me that she used to dress up as a boy so she wouldn’t get bothered while covering sporting events. Power to her for enduring that, but here’s to a future where a woman wouldn’t even have to consider putting herself through that. I appreciate Elsa for her talent, but also for the fact that she wants to help other women succeed.

Maureen Cavanagh (@mocavanagh) is another woman I admire in this industry. She has managed to hold high-powered photography positions at Sports Illustrated and now at The Players Tribune, and has done so while growing her family – impressive to say the least. But what’s even more impressive, is that with her plate as full as it is, she still makes time to bring together and support women in the sports photography industry. She started the Instagram account @womeninsportsphotography and uses it to showcase and empower women in this business. A much needed champion for us in this field.

It’s rare to find women role models in the sports photography business, so it’s important that those of us in this industry remember how integral we are in growing our position and help each other out.

Photo by Eloisa Sánchez de Alba.

Eloisa Sánchez de Alba @saudadelo shouting out…

I do not personally know any of these photographers, I just follow their work through social media and their agencies. I try to regularly check what is being done every day, in international agencies above all, to learn from the eyes of the best and improve my own work. Maybe I do not have them around to learn directly from them but seeing their results helps me a lot to see what can I improve and the new things I can try and also to spot my achievements and mistakes.

They inspire me because of their creativity and amazing eye, their professionalism and hard work in every assignment. I admire them because I feel that they are always looking for their work to go much further than just what it needs to be done, and that’s why they are among the best in the world.

It’s really hard to find professional and responsible people, that are also good at what they do and that they do it with love and passion. I admire the career path they have walked to get to do what they do and from where they do it, I really can understand it’s a tough one, there’s a lot of competition and many personal every day sacrifices you need to make; and being a woman in a traditionally masculine sexist environment such as sports it’s an extra invisible weight.

Photo by Meg Williams.

Meg Williams @megwilliams.co shouting out…

I’m lucky to work alongside Kym Fortino daily. She inspires me with her compassion for her subjects as well as a desire to always learn and get better. Kym is a huge motivating force for me and I appreciate her drive to make our whole team better photographers. This woman was on the sideline shooting the week after she had a knee replacement with a walker. She moved her chemo treatments around games so that that she wouldn’t miss one while she was battling breast cancer. True definition of a warrior and badass.

I owe a lot to Elsa Garrison. She’s done a lot of barrier breaking in our field, not to mention she’s one hell of a photographer. It seems like she’s been everywhere and covered everything yet still creates images that make you feel like you were there. If you’re not familiar with her work your homework for today is to go do some research.

The first time I met Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez was at media day for Super Bowl 50. We chatted quickly and both went back to work. Since then I’m incredibly lucky to count her as a friend and someone who I can bounce ideas off from across the country. The passion she captures from her team shows how she has gained their trust and is able to document those powerful moments.

This lady is a super hero, not only is she a killer photographer but she’s also a great mom. Kara Durrette is golden standard for how to be both in our industry. Her work covering the Falcons constantly brings me inspiration. She does a great job highlighting the personality of her subjects. She also might be one of the nicest people you’ve ever met.

Here’s more awesome sports photographers that just happen to be female:

  • Taylor Wilder @taylorewilder, Digital Content Specialist at Chicago Blackhawks
  • Kelley Cox @kelleylcox, USA TODAY photographer and University of California Berkeley
  • Maddie Meyer @maddiemeyer2, Getty Sport Photographer
  • Sarah Sachs @sarahsachsphoto, Team Photographer for AZ Diamondbacks
  • Johany Jutras @johanyjutras, Canadian Football League Official Photographer
  • Amy Kontras @amykontras, Freelance Photographer
  • Abbie Parr @abbsparr, Freelance Photographer

Photo by Terrell Lloyd.

Your Turn!

So who did we miss? Who are the women in sports photography who inspire you? Share your shout-outs in the comments or tag @getlibris on Twitter and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez.

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Dan Fenner
    February 3, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I’d add Hannah Foslien, a shooter for Getty in Minneapolis. She has been covering the MN Twins for years. Great photographer and a really nice person.

    • Reply
      Kristin Twiford
      February 4, 2019 at 9:35 am

      Great addition, Dan! Thank you!

      • Reply
        Judy Griesedieck
        February 9, 2019 at 12:56 pm

        I second Dan’s shout out to Hannah Foslien. A great person and a fantastic sports shooter. I’d also add photographer Bea Chang from KARE-TV. Bea is a lot of fun, a wonderful person, and has been shooting TV sports for years, a terrific photographer.

  • Reply
    Mandi
    February 4, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    What about the women behind TV cameras- are you including them? I know a great one!

  • Reply
    Colin Mack
    February 4, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    I’d add Esther Lin https://www.instagram.com/allelbows/

  • Reply
    Tami Chappell
    February 5, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    So many Women Sports photographers have paved the way. They also were before digital when they had to carry an entire darkroom to the ball parks. Many have toiled in the photo wells or stadiums working against men usually twice their size. Former UPI staffer and now AP staffer Sue Ogrocki. Her coverage of the Kentucky Derby was always inspiring to me. Freelance photographer Rhona Wise whose coverage of sports and news in Miami has always been awesome. Marlene Karas who worked in Pittsburgh and then the Atlanta Journal/Constitution who still has the best baseball photo I have ever seen. The image has almost every element of baseball in one image. Kathy Willens with the Associated Press whose covered every sport for 40 years. Lynne Sladky also with the Associated Press. Jessica Rinaldi now with the Boston Globe. These are just a few I have come across in my career.

  • Reply
    Anthony Djuren
    February 9, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Lara Gale @angrybeezer productions

  • Reply
    Daniel Berman
    February 9, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    In Seattle: @bettinahansen @lindseywasson

  • Reply
    Dan Froehlich
    February 13, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Shanna Lockwood for sure! @shannalo

  • Reply
    anne shaffer
    February 15, 2019 at 11:18 am

    two words: ELAINE THOMPSON. Seriously.

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