Great photography relies on capturing moments in time. Because of this, sports photographers have their work cut out for them. How, exactly, do you capture a moment in time in a boxing match, a football game, or in a competitive dance competition? Doing so requires a special eye — you need good judgment, awareness of the action going on around you, and moments that those surrounding you without a camera might even miss. As a sports photographer, you need to live in the now, ready to snap the glorious, standout moment that brings action to life. Each of these Las Vegas sports photographers does exactly that.
Benjamin Hager is currently a staff photographer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal covering daily events. He’s a graduate of San Francisco State University, and his past experience is one of wealth and impression, leaving his creative mark on every assignment he takes. Between 2008 and 2011, he worked as director of photography for the Harlem Globetrotters where he was responsible for all visual content, big and small. His photographs are full of color and emotion, capturing all forms of expression from joy to sorrow to disbelief.
Caroline Brehman is a passionate photojournalist on a mission: to marry the mediums of psychology and humanity through the lens of photography. While attending Elon University, she pursued a major in communication design and a minor in psychology. After attending the National Press Photographers Association Meeting, she was inspired to take up a career in photojournalism. Even as a student, Brehman’s eye was centered on emotion; a focal point in each of her photographs. Although currently working in Washington, D.C., she spent nine months shooting for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where her work can still be seen.
Erik Verduzco, a visual journalist for the Las Vegas Review–Journal, boasts an 8-year-long history in the photography business. After graduating from San Francisco University with a major in photojournalism, he’s worked freelance with major publications, such as the San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times. As all good photojournalists’ work should, Verduzco’s photography tells a story. He’s also got an excellent eye, capturing moments that, otherwise, would go unseen, be it a pained punch to the face or basketball courts from on high. Verduzco covers everything Sin City, be it premieres, team portraits, or the touchdown that inspired you to watch football at all.
4. Abbie Fox of G.A.M.E On Photography
If you find someone you love, that’s great. However, if that person also shares your passion for photography, why not lock it down? Las Vegas sports photographer Abbie Fox and her husband, Erik, run G.A.M.E On Photography, a family-run business that specializes in action and portrait shots from basketball, football, dance, and beyond. Their sports portraits are really something spectacular, using editing techniques to make their subjects pop rather than washing them out. Fox has also gained traction from her viral Fed is Best photography series that includes mothers feeding their babies in every way. Fox considers herself as much a “mom activist” as photographer, showing well in the school team and game shots she’s asked to come and take.
5. L.E. Baskow of Left Eye Images
Great sports photography doesn’t just mean capturing parts of the game; what goes on behind the scenes can make for great coverage, as well. Whether it’s the team’s mascot engaging in a game of beer pong or someone in the front row holding back tears. L.E. Baskow is incredible at both, but as with the above photograph of the WALK Church pastor engaging in a pregame prayer with his team, he manages to capture the kind of moment all great photojournalists are searching for: a reason. Baskow’s passion is combining cycling and photography, which started on a cross-country trip and ended where he is today. He’s an award-winning staff photographer for the Review-Journal, aiming to put his subjects at ease while showcasing the beauty of what America has to offer.
Las Vegas sports photographer Tyge O’Donnell was born to do this work. His father, Joe, was a renowned documentarian and photojournalist famed for his photographs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima after the dropping of the atomic bombs. O’Donnell’s first experience with a camera came when he found an abandoned Kodak in a drawer at home. Since then, he’s taken photographs of everything from the Las Vegas Golden Knights in action to the excitement around the Las Vegas Lights Football Club. In his Instagram bio, he says he has the power to freeze time — and, in looking at his photographs, one can’t help but agree.
7. Heidi Fang
When you love something as much as Heidi Fang loves sports and photography, you should make a career out of it. Fang currently works as a sports video journalist and photographer at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. As well as attending more games than you can imagine and photographing them all, she also hosts the Vegas Nation podcast. Fang’s focus is on the MMA fighters and events that take place across Las Vegas, but she’s also covered the Raiders and the Golden Knights. Before working at the Review-Journal, she was a freelance writer for FOX Sports. She’s also the first woman hired by SiriusXM’s sports department.
8. Joe Durkin of Phojo Photo
Las Vegas sports photographer Joe Durkin describes himself as an “artisan photographer.” His first foray into the world of photography was as a freelance sports photographer, covering hundreds of locations and games across Chicago in the late 1990s. He’s called Las Vegas his home since 2005 and, over the last 15 years, has had his work featured on the cover of dozens of Las Vegas magazines. Although his range of experience spans across different media, feasting your eyes on his sports shots are proof that he’ll never lose passion for his first love when it comes to art.
9. Steve Rosenthal of Behind the Lens Sports Photography
Steve Rosenthal is the figurehead and founder of Behind the Lens Sports Photography. A Las Vegas resident, Rosenthal has been taking photographs for almost 40 years and is currently staff photographer for the Las Vegas Lights. A sports-minded photographer, his eye is always on the action, ready to snap those magic moments that often go unnoticed by the human eye. In his photographs, you can see the emotion behind the subjects’ eye, undoubtedly showcasing the thought that goes into all sports, be it soccer or basketball. As they say, the devil’s in the details.
Oftentimes, sports photographers don’t get enough credit. That’s why we want to highlight them to show how possible it not only to capture that sporting moment but to turn it into an everlasting piece of art. Photography is subjective and what that means is that what appeals to one person might not appeal to everyone, and that’s okay. On the contrary: that’s the beauty. Whether professional or not, these Las Vegas sports photographers each have something mesmerizing to show, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.