5. Anna Jackson, Sports photography
Anna Jackson is a sports and fitness photographer based in London. She has worked for well-known brands including Asics and Reebok, and photographs events such as the Crossfit Open. We asked her to tell us how she got started in this field of photography.
“Before I went to university I had no clue what I wanted to do. I sat with my family around the kitchen table and we scrolled through course options until someone shouted “Stop!” and that was the course I decided to do. It turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.
In hindsight I could have just done an apprenticeship instead of spending money on university, but at the time it felt like it was the only option. Whilst studying, to pay for living costs, I started assisting being a second photographer at weddings and I taught rock climbing. Both jobs gave me a sense of satisfaction. I loved the energy of photographing weddings and the thrill of climbing, although at the time I didn’t think it would be possible to combine my two passions.
After university I worked as a commercial photographer in Oxford and architectural photographer in London, but the shoots didn’t inspire me. It wasn’t until a friend asked for some active shots on the side that my freelance career started to become an option and a reality.”
So what motivates her in her photography? “Other photographers, my mother and that pesky monthly need called rent,” says Anna.
“No two photographers are the same so why can’t we inspire each other more? My mother pushes me to be better and she’s on my case in the best possible way. She started a business when we were tiny and has grown it ever since. She inspires me daily. Rent is a big factor, as living in London is not cheap. But I like the hustle each month as it keeps me on my toes.
I love people, smiles and sunshine. If you combine all three I’m a happy photographer. Extreme sports thrill me the most, whether it’s kayaking, windsurfing or sailing. I love being the only female photographer at events or shoots. It gives me a thrill to know that I’m pushing boundaries and proving my worth.”
Finally, her advice to other female photographers looking to work in this field of photography is to never give up. “Cheesy I know, but totally true,” she says.
“I’ve had so many companies, usually for running clubs, picking male photographers over me because they think they will be faster. I’m not the fastest runner, so they’re usually right. But they forget that to get shots you can be strategic. I find loop holes in the route where I can run across and get that perfect running shot.
You need to think on your feet and believe you can do anything, even if you are unsure. Also, sell the crap out of yourself, because no one else will do that for you. You are your own marketing, finance, production manager and receptionist. It’s a tricky balance but nothing good comes easily.”