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The 8 Best Sports Photographers in Los Angeles

There’s never not something going on in LA. Los Angeles is arguably the biggest exporter of entertainment in the world — and few things entertain, excite, and unite us all in the way sports do. This list features both established and up-and-coming Los Angeles sports photographers, spotlighting each creative’s unique perspective and approach in capturing the constant movement in the City of Angels.

1. Ric Tapia

You’ve probably seen Ric Tapia’s work before, but you may not have realized it. A commercial photographer with specialization in sports photography, he has been featured by Nike, Sketchers, Sports Illustrated, KIA, Gatorade, Subway, and a little organization called the National Football League (NFL). His skills are broad and varying, as evidenced by the eclectic combination of neon-backlit beauty-action shots; images of hockey fights as stark, gritty, and sharp as the ice on the rink itself; and silhouettes of football giants contrasting blue skies and artificial turf, all of which are featured on his website.

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2. Katharine Lotze

Katharine Lotze’s passion for sports photography stems from her passion for sports itself. While a triple jumper on Central Washington University’s track and field team, she split weekends between competing in her own events and capturing her teammates’ feats for the university newspaper. Given her background as a collegiate female athlete, she places special importance on highlighting the achievements of women and girls in sports. Her images are dynamic — the effort on her subjects’ faces captured so clearly, one can almost hear their panting, as well as the shouts of fans and teammates watching intently — and are as powerful and striking as the actions of the athletes themselves.

3. Robert Gallagher

“Authenticity” may not be the first word to come to mind when thinking of Los Angeles. However, Robert Gallagher’s focus is just that, and no matter what his subject is, his aim is to evoke the truest essence of that subject and capture it as it is — real, raw, and deliberate. Gallagher does fantastic celebrity/portrait work, shooting folks like Clint Eastwood, Don Cheadle, Harrison Ford, and Frank Gehry, but some of his sweetest gems have included shots of youth and amateur sports, MMA, and beachside body-building. No matter the activity he’s capturing, the texture and feeling that ripple through each image remain the same — unflinchingly genuine, laid bare and honest, and electric.

4. Adam Moran

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More of that light, but now with braids.

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Adam Moran’s work has that laid-back California vibe we all adore here at Peerspace. It’s gorgeous without being edited to death; it’s full of motion but in a graceful, natural way. His colors are vivid, his black-and-grey contrast clear, sharp, and alive. He seems to have a deep understanding of how to create depth within minimalistic settings, and the lightness each of his subjects emotes is beautiful. (If only we all looked that serene while climbing mountains, running marathons, or lifting heavy objects over our heads!)

5. Dustin Snipes

Dustin Snipes is a master of action photography through and through. His portfolio is overflowing with shots of the NBA’s young, exciting faces, and his sports-action shots depict the delicate line his subjects toe between chaos and control, unbridled power and careful restraint. His clients have included Red Bull, Nike, Sports Illustrated, Reebok, and Wilson Tennis (and he clearly loves Anthony Davis, which makes us love him even more).

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6. Sam Leigh of Sam’s Photo Services

Sam’s Photo Services is run by Sam Leigh, a dark-horse talent who’s been flying under the radar so far, but we expect this will change soon. His work is headed to new heights — literally, as he’s a certified drone pilot with a special interest in aerial-sports-action shots. He also cites his passion for social justice movements and shares slice-of-life images which showcase, in his words, “the emotions and passions brought about by the human condition.” His work is earnest and sincere, and we will definitely be keeping a close eye on him as his career continues to unfold and progress.

7. Zorah Olivia

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@aori_nishimura | @xgames

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Women and girls have been underrepresented in skate media since the sport itself first came into existence. Zorah Olivia is here to change all that, and she’s coming with a vengeance. She recently was featured for the first time in famed Thrasher magazine, but she’s covered the women’s events at Street League’s and ESPN’s X Games for the last couple years. A skater herself, she is excited to see the increased interest in women’s skating, and she’s doing all she can to help further the progress. Her work is as vibrant and tenacious as the incredibly talented women she shoots. She captures the heart of the scene perfectly, earning a solid spot on our lineup of top Los Angeles sports photographers.

8. Jennifer McCarthy

Jennifer McCarthy knows how to capture an enthralling image. (She also knows how to communicate with dogs and wolves, for whatever that’s worth to you. She’s one of the most sought-after celebrity dog trainers in LA, in addition to being one of our favorite sports photographers!) Her work pulls you in headfirst, with shadowy contrasts and interesting angles, as well as subjects ranging from wrestlers and burlesque performers to rodeo riders and skaters. She is on a continuous mission to keep growing, learning new things, and challenging herself — and we are all reaping the rewards of her effort by getting to witness each new piece she releases.

The Los Angeles sports photographers we’ve featured here today all bring such vital, individual perspectives to the sport and fitness scene of the city. Whether their subjects are world-class Olympians, local skaters, or collegiate track-and-field teams — whether they’ve had international ad spots or are just getting started in their communities — each and every person on this list impressed and inspired us with their work. We here at Peerspace hope you feel the same.

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