The 9 Best Sports Photographers in Washington, D.C.
Sports photographers must always be looking to go beyond the obvious. While almost anyone has the ability to snap a shot of bodies in motion, the truly talented creatives in the sports photography realm have an intuitive feel for the deeper emotions and storylines bubbling beneath the surface of competition. Such is especially true in the nation’s capital.
In Washington, D.C., where competition and high-stakes drama are baked into the very fabric of society, sports have long played a levelling role, often bridging racial, political, and cultural barriers — not to mention just giving locals a chance to let their hair down and relax. Whether it’s capturing the energy of the numerous pro franchises, tapping into the vibrant amateur leagues, or revealing athletes at play in the surprisingly wild outdoor scene surrounding the city, the creatives on our list of the best Washington, D.C., sports photographers are all pros at what they do.
1. Jared Soares
It wouldn’t be accurate to describe Jared Soares’s photographs as melancholy. Quite the opposite, in fact. Whether it’s a lifestyle-inspired shot of a surfer emerging from the water, soccer players juggling, or a closeup portrait of a pro baseball player staring directly into the lens, you can be sure there’s warmth and vibrancy to Jared’s images. Still, that warmth that the viewer senses is always happening in subtle ways, floating there within the muted color schemes and beautifully linear balancing that have become part of his aesthetic mark. In addition to freelancing for editorial clients like The New York Times and Vice, he’s become a go-to creative for top-tier commercial clients like Adidas, Nike, and Powerbar.
Stephen Gosling’s stellar collection of Washington Wizards action shots should put him high on any list of the best Washington, D.C., sports photographers. Though he also shoots weddings, as well as frequently takes jobs for corporate and commercial clients, a close perusal of his NBA portfolio makes one suspect the hardcourt may just be where his creative spirit feels most at home. Always crisp, vibrant, and full of bright colors, his live-action game shots tend to summon the awe and joy you once felt as a child as you tacked up posters of your favorite hoops heroes.
Cory F. Royster has built his career on an ability to infuse images of youth sports with the same skill and attention to detail that you’d find in images of professional sports. Action shots, in particular, are Cory’s forte. Whether it’s depicting the pee-wee football player who throws an expert stiff arm or the swimmer catching a breath of air in mid-stroke, he has a way of making one of the hardest photographic skills there is seem effortless. If that’s not enough, Cory approaches his craft with an authentic connection to his community, as well as a belief in the uplifting power of sports. In other words, he’s the epitome of what makes Washington, D.C., sports photographers so special.
4. Doug Stroud
Doug Stroud is one of Washington, D.C.’s go-to freelance sports photographers due to his versatility. He also boasts a seemingly effortless ability to align subject matter with just the right amount of editorial storytelling. With a capacity to seamlessly move between action shots, conceptualized studio portraits, and lifestyle shots set against stunning natural-light backdrops, Doug is the type of photographer who takes pride in adapting to the moment and being quick on his feet — which isn’t so different from the athletes he captures. His work beyond the sports realm, ranging from weddings, to senior portraits, to architecture photography, only enhances the range of services he is able to offer clients.
Patrick McDermott makes no apologies for believing that sports provide a thrilling window through which one can view key aspects of the larger human experience. Since embarking on his freelance career in 2011, he’s shot everything from professional team sports to cycling and marathon contests, to general travel photography, frequently publishing his work in major metro newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN. Most recently, his position as the official team photographer of the Washington Capitals has allowed him to continue honing his craft within the context of the intense world of professional hockey.
As the official team photographer for the Washington Redskins, Garrett Michael Campbell is surrounded constantly by world-class athletes whose bodies are able to effortlessly perform feats that most of us could only dream about in our sleep. And yet, what seems to really inspire Garrett’s work are the personalities of these athletes that emerge in the locker rooms and training rooms, as well as the quieter moments that open up between game-time competition. His images are deeply textured, high-contrast, and seem to always be working toward some form of storytelling or the conveyance of a particular mood or theme — however subtle that might be.
Soccer — or football as most of humanity knows it — is often called “the beautiful game.” As opposed to more structured sports like American football, basketball, and baseball, soccer is all about continuous flow, improvisation, and — maybe most importantly — the flair that individual players and teams as a whole bring to their performances. The soccer-focused freelance photographer Cody Cervenka understands as much. Though one of the youngest creatives on our list of the best sports photographers in Washington, D.C., Cody has already emerged as an up-and-comer to watch, building his reputation on his highly captivating images of D.C. United and the University of Maryland soccer teams.
8. Tim Coburn
Tim Coburn’s focus on studio portraits of athletes and models distinguishes him from many of the names on this list. He’s a commercial and portrait photographer with strong leanings toward the fashion industry. His creative passion stems not from shooting athletes in the midst of competition, but in capturing the grace, sensuality, and range of movement that results from human bodies sculpted to perfection by their respective sport. Whether it’s a dancer in motion, a basketball player gripping a ball, or a boxer dripping with sweat, Tim has a way of perceiving sports that goes beyond the lens of pure competition.
Robb Scharetg has cornered a particularly unique niche with his sports photography, concentrating much of his portfolio on field sports like duck hunting and fox hunting, as well as portraits of senior athletes. It’s no easy feat to compellingly depict the dynamics of a field hunt, but that’s exactly what Robb does best, frequently capturing images that reflect family bonds that are forged through hunts. And likewise, the bonds that exist between people and their bird dogs. His senior portraits, which are part of a themed project, reflect his capacity for editorial storytelling through photography. Taken together, it’s no surprise that Robb has racked up a head-spinning list of awards and high-profile clients, making him an easy pick for our list of premier Washington, D.C., sports photographers.
The sports photographers we’ve featured here are an incredibly diverse cast in terms of their particular focus areas and individual skill sets. Yet, they are all united by a belief that sports, when they are functioning as they should, have the potential to bring out the best in human beings, whether that’s through fandom or actually participating in the heat of competition. If you’re looking for someone to capture scenes from a pro franchise or your child’s youth league team — or maybe yourself embarking on your next outdoor adventure — we assure you that you’ll find what you’re looking for on our list of the best Washington, D.C., sports photographers.