Phoenix is home to some of the best sports teams in the world. There are big league professionals, minor and college leagues, as well as major annual sporting events from NASCAR to the Cactus Bowl. You’re never short of sport in the Valley — not as a player, an observer, a fan, or a photographer. Opportunities abound. It seems only right that some of the best sports photographers in Phoenix — nay, the world — reside here. Don’t believe us? Take a peek at their incredible work.
Working in the photography industry for over a decade, Jennifer Stewart is a master of her craft. As well as having documented sporting events since 2009, she was a team photographer for the Arizona Diamondbacks. As a MLB team photographer, she trained and mentored the photography department and provided the team with action, portrait, and commercial shots for major baseball publications.
When it comes to capturing athletes, Jennifer has snapped shots of countless memorable moments in the midst of thrilling, action-filled games. Some of her clients include MLB Photos and Sports Illustrated, and Getty Images has featured collections. She’s exceptionally adept at using creative angles and tight shots that we don’t see every day, helping the viewer witness the game in new and exciting ways.
Phoenix sports photographer Thomas Ingersoll was born and raised in Arizona. Although he’s been a photographer for six years, his original passion resides in motocross. While a sports photographer doesn’t need to have firsthand experience in a sport, having such a background certainly doesn’t hurt. After all, it gives one a real understanding of the soul of the sport, as well as the experience of the person competing.
Thomas graduated from Phoenix College in 2016 where he studied digital communication and media/multimedia. All the while, he was taking photographs, organizing photography workshops, and catching some of the best in-motion action shots we’ve seen. With clients including Harper Collins, the Phoenix Art Museum, and plenty of the top sporting teams in the city, Thomas is one creative to watch.
Some of us are just artistically-minded — Michael Anthony Gonzales is one of us. Interested in music and art from a really young age, Gonzales plays guitar, is a pro at filling a sketchbook, and is a natural behind the camera. When attending art school for music, his fellow peers opened his eyes to the art of photography. This immediately led to him buying his first film camera. Through happenstance, Michael met renowned Phoenix sports photographer Barry Gossage who told him he had a natural eye for framing and composition.
Soon, he was accompanying Gossage on photoshoots, and that led to an assistant position with the Arizona Suns. He’s now been with the NBA for nine years and counting, shooting stunning portraits and action shots. His portraits of athletes are some of the best in the biz, and his collection of them features in-your-face poses and perfect expressiveness.
4. Sarah Sachs
Sarah Sachs is many things: a Columbia College Chicago graduate, a self-motivated learner, sports enthusiast, expert IKEA furniture-assembler, and the team photographer for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sport is definitely where Sachs’ passion lies. Her action shots are enthusiastic, jaw-dropping, and manage to make intensive games look like sharp and crisp freeze-frames. Before scoring her spot with the Diamondbacks, Sarah interned with the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Bulls. Talk about a resume to remember.
Born in a small town near Chicago, it was college that brought Sandra Tenuto to Phoenix. Tenuto graduated from the University of Arizona in 1995. Before long, she was interning in LA with award-winning sports photographer John Huet. She’s worked as a team photographer for the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Arizona Cardinals.
Of all the Phoenix sports photographers we’ve chosen, Sandra has the longest and most varied career. For more than 10 years, she shot everything from live action to private photographs for players before taking up full-time wedding and family photography. Regardless of this, her action shots of yogin and cyclists prove you can never lose a talent.
Michael Warren Williams, AKA Mike Williams, is a passionate photographer. With academic degrees in photography and a passion for the extreme, Michael is always prepared to jump behind the camera. Along with his commercial sports shots, intimate portraits, and travel photography, he’s had his photographic series exhibited all across Arizona. One of these, Humans of Tempe, was a commission for the Tempe History Museum where it was exhibited as recently as 2019.
Sports photography runs in Mark J. Rebilas’s family. As the son of legendary motocross photographer Gil Rebilas, he’s no stranger to the power of an image. His father handed him a camera at the age of 11 and, at the sound of the shutter, Mark’s calling was sealed.
He spent the bulk of his time as a US Navy photographer leading a team of 22 through a wartime deployment. Drag racing, however, was always on his mind. After an honorable discharge, Mark moved back to Arizona to become a freelance sports photographer. These days, he’s a regular contributor to ESPN, and his images have appeared in Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. Even in sports, things are cyclical.
There’s no way around it: sports photography is one of the most challenging artforms. You need to be fully immersed in the game ahead of you, ready to snap the shots easily missed in the blink of an eye. Whether you’re a professional or high school athlete, having an action photograph makes all the difference. And these Phoenix sports photographers are at the top of their game, ready to score.