The 9 Best Sports Photographers in San Diego
Though San Diego only has one major American sports league franchise to boast about — the Padres in the NL West division of the MLB — they have talented athletes at all levels of sport sprawled across the city. And, thankfully, they’ve got some astoundingly gifted folks in the photography field there, too. Check out our favorite San Diego sports photographers. We’re proud to feature each and every person on this list, and we think you’ll agree that they all deserve to be included!
When he’s not catching a wave, Derrick Tuskan is capturing and preserving moments in time. With over a decade of experience under his belt, Derrick has served the San Diego area and beyond, providing his clients with fresh, dynamic images. Whether he’s at Petco Park shooting a Padres game, snapping a Golden Knight jumping out of a plane, or enticing folks to head to a local restaurant with a picture of a steak too glorious-looking to be described here, his knack for composition is undeniable. His sports-action portfolio is especially impressive, and we love the emotion that comes through so clearly on the faces of the athletes he shoots.
Brenda Moffitt’s skills run the gamut — she excels at sports-action photography and, of course, that’s our focus here today, but she doesn’t stop there. A quick perusal through both her portfolio website and Flickr will prove just how varied her talents are. The contrast on her night shots is impeccable, and we also especially love her use of greyscale, which serves to heighten the drama of the competition and highlight the determination on the athletes’ faces.
3. Matt Thomas
If you’ve ever seen any official media put out by the San Diego Padres, you’ve seen Matt Thomas’s work. Before he moved to the San Diego area to work as the Padres team photographer, he spent time working for the Boston Red Sox during their 2018 World Series championship run! Excitement literally emanates from his work. His use of unique angles and perspectives makes his work incredibly interesting, and his editing style is just right — bolder shadows to enhance depth, saturation to make the colors pop without looking overdone, greyscale when the moment calls for it. Though only in the area for a short period of time, Matt has made an indelible mark on the world of San Diego sports photographers.
We’re not the only ones enamored with Donald Miralle’s work — he’s won upwards of 50 prestigious awards and has been heavily featured in books about sports-action photography! The art director of Nike called him “a true visionary,” and we think you’ll agree after taking a look at his extensive body of work. He has shot in some of the most shockingly beautiful locations all over the world and has made fans of some of sport’s most iconic players. From the Olympics to the Ironman World Championships, from the Yucatan to Tahiti, Donald has traveled all over to capture some of the most magnificent sports-action images the world has ever seen.
5. Blair Austin
There’s no shortage of surfers in San Diego and no shortage of skilled photographers to document their skill, that’s for sure — but Blair Austin stands out in the large crowd of San Diego sports photographers. His passions for nature, surfing, and wildlife have formed a union of sorts. After years of traveling the globe chasing those perfect moments to capture, he’s settled down for a bit in San Diego and is dedicating himself to “photograph[ing] the wonders of the coastline.” His photos are swimming (pun very much intended) with the organic shapes and vibrant cool-toned hues of ocean waves, and even though many of his photos feature the same elements, he manages to maintain a distinct sense of variety, perfectly capturing the fleetingness of each individual moment.
6. John Cocozza
What can we say? We love water sports here at Peerspace, and here’s yet another surf photographer who’s blown us away! John Cocozza has been at it since ’99 and has had his work featured in editorials and advertising campaigns in several major surf-media outlets. He often works with teams of professional surfers and surf brands, but he’s available for personal, family, and individual sessions as well. His lines and textures are gorgeous, so crisp, fluid, and naturally beautiful, you’ll want to jump right into the photo and taste the saltwater.
7. Justin Fine of SD Action Photography
The knack for photography runs in Justin Fine’s blood; taught by his father, a passionate photographer himself, Justin has taken one of the great loves of his youth and made a wildly fruitful career out of it. He works primarily with college and professional athletes, high-school sports teams, and aviators, bringing a distinct and totally fitting style to each subject category. If we had to choose a favorite of them, ours would probably be the high schoolers — there’s just something about that raw, youthful energy they bring to the game that Justin is able to capture so perfectly! This featured photo, for example, evokes so much feeling.
8. Cory D. of Flat Bill Photo
We admit, we weren’t able to find out too much about Cory D. in our extensive search for his online presence (beyond the Instagram linked here, of course), but that almost makes us even more intrigued! His work focusing on motorsports is inspired — it has a rebellious, youthful vibe that is somehow both modern and classically cool. We especially love the photo we featured for this piece. There’s something about that blur in the foreground and the hazy, laid-back color scheme of this photo that feels so unlike any other image featured in this list of San Diego sports photographers. (Cory D., if you’re reading this, link us to your website, man! We beg of you!) If you want to get in touch for a session yourself, hit him up on the ‘Gram.
If you check out John Matthew Harrison’s website, you might not guess he’d be on our list of top San Diego sports photographers — there’s not a big sports presence on that particular platform, but his Instagram is an entirely different story. In addition to shooting beautiful wedding photos, family portraits, professional headshots, and — to echo the biographical statement on his website — other “special moments” for clients to “relive over and over,” John looks to be exploring the sports photography world. His skills are so varied, his eye so sharp, and his style so completely his own, we needed to include him on this list. We’re definitely going to be keeping an eye out for more work of this sort from him soon!
That’s all, folks: our list of best sports photographers in the San Diego area! We hope you’ve enjoyed checking out these talented folks as much as we have. Whether you’re competing in the Olympic trials next summer, or you’re just wanting some insanely good pictures of your high schooler’s homecoming game, we hope that if you’re in the area, you’ll give one of these photographers a shot. We’re pretty confident they’ll knock it out of the park.