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Photographer at MotoGP
Chris Kallevag, Photographer
Har Halutz | Israel | Israel | Posted: 5:18 PM on 02.09.12
->> Hello folks,
I'm a newbie at SS.

I have a real passion for shooting motorcycles in general and particular MotoGp!
I wonder if there is any chance to become a accredited(/get a press pass) photographer at MotoGP races besides going the Dorna route? Any grey zone?
I have shot some local races in Canada and recently MotoGp from the stands (with a regular ticket) at Valencia and Sachsenring,

As some of you know, Dorna requires letters from three mags editors who you work with on a regular basis, etc, etc. I'm not there yet , I'm living in Israel at the moment. (no race-track here) so it's hard to hook up with a local magazine.

Would it be easier to get access to any specific MotoGp race track through out the year?

Does anyone know. if staff, gate guards are more convince able somewhere to give you some access?

I'm going to the Czech Republic, the Brno leg of the MotoGP in August.
I appreciate any general (and specific about Brno circuit) suggestions and advice how to get closer, thanks a lot!

Chris Kallevag
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Jamey Price, Photographer, Assistant
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 5:23 PM on 02.09.12
->> Talk to Andrew Wheeler and Scott Jones. They're the best in the business with MotoGP.

If it's like F1, then no, you wont get creds without Dorna's approval. Even the track photogs have to deal with Dorna.
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Gordon Haywood, Photographer
Perth | West Australia | Australia | Posted: 9:19 PM on 02.09.12
->> FIM approves all photog accred for MotoGP, so it is extremely difficult (read impossible) to get accredited. Try World Superbikes instead. Media accreditation is managed by Infront Media. In Australia at least, they are much more relaxed about getting a pass. You would still need to be working for a media outlet, either as an employee or freelance. The Superbikes are at Phillip Island (Oz) in two weeks, I can't wait!!
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 9:29 PM on 02.09.12
->> 1 - "I have a real passion for shooting motorcycles in general and particular MotoGp!"

You and me both, dude.

I've shot the US MotoGP here in Monterey for the last 4 years and shot Indy last year. Creds are hard to get, like any major sporting event. Dorna credentials people who are working photographers. Like many colleagues and people, I work for a newspaper. Others work for agencies, like AP or Getty. Others, or for specific teams. But we're all there working.

2 - "Does anyone know. if staff, gate guards are more convince-able somewhere to give you some access?"

This NOT the way to think about getting access. If you work for a legitimate person, you'll get the proper credentials.

I'll speak for myself, but as much as I do love shooting racing, it is work and that's what I'm doing there. It's a job. I work a photog. I (and others) get close to the action, because we have to in order to make photos for clients, papers, etc. Everyone shooting is working.

Sorry to rant a tad, but we're all shooting for work, not just for fun, although it is fun.

My advice:

Show some of your photos to photo editors, to clients in the business. Give them something to look at. A lot of the mag editors have seen everything. Show them something new and exciting or a new way to look at a standard scene.

Also, +1 to Jamey. Andrew and Scott are top-notch guys. Along with a handful of other friends of mine in the business.

Andrew Wheeler is a good friend of mine and one of the (many) pieces of killer advice he has given me is that there are plenty of great photos to take from outside the credentialed areas, especially at smaller tracks like Laguna Seca. Don't let stuff like access or equipment stop you from making great photos.

~ nic
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Jamey Price, Photographer, Assistant
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 9:49 PM on 02.09.12
->> Chris, I emailed you this, but +1 for Nic's comment. The best photographers do not need credentials to get great photos. Trackside stuff is the easiest to get and you will not stand out getting photos that everyone else has. Walk around and use your eyes. You also don't need incredible glass to get great pan shots either.

However, Gordon, I disagree. Not impossible at all. Work hard and be different and you'll get there if you really really want and are willing to make sacrifices.
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Gordon Haywood, Photographer
Perth | West Australia | Australia | Posted: 12:52 AM on 02.10.12
->> >>> However, Gordon, I disagree. Not impossible at all. Work hard and be different and you'll get there if you really really want and are willing to make sacrifices.

Agree with you Jamey. Hard work and persistence, and a quality product (perhaps not sacrifices tho) is how I got to be accredited for the superbikes. MotoGP is a long term goal. The hardest part is getting your first accreditation.

Just suggesting for Chris that MotoGP may be impossible right now, but superbikes may not be.

Good Luck Chris
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Mike Doran, Photographer
Petaluma | CA | U.S.A. | Posted: 1:45 AM on 02.10.12
->> Hi Chris;
As others have stated here it is a job but with a lot of hard work and the ability to achieve a certain status as a MotoGP photog. I started out probably much the same way you are but Iput in the hard work and dedication that it took to get where I am at the moment as part of the three man photo team for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a part of the photo team at Infineon Raceway. Along the way I have shot everything from local club races to National events and not just motorcycles, there have been getting to the track two days before everyone else to cover the whole of the event i.e.: starting at the airport as the GP bikes are flown in aboard Fed Ex planes and documenting every little nuance of the event. It also means being there from 6am to 11pm for 4 straight days. Everybody who is shooting major events whether it is the AMA to the NFL and MotoGP has put in the long hours to get to where they are in there profession. So if this is what you want you need to put in the time to achieve your dream, so submit submit to your local paper and then start submitting to the national peers and magazines to earn the credential that you want. Just my two cents.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 2:54 AM on 02.10.12
->> +1 to Doran.

I've worked alongside him and the other guys and even though we give each good-natured hard times, everyone works hard and it shows.

Don't give up on what you want to do, but pay your dues. No one starts off shooting top-level stuff from the first day.
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Chris Kallevag, Photographer
Har Halutz | Israel | Israel | Posted: 4:06 AM on 02.10.12
->> Thanks for the advice guys. It got me thinking about taking a bit of a different approach and look deep inside myself for the patience needed :)
Nic said "Don't give up on what you want to do, but pay your dues. No one starts off shooting top-level stuff from the first day."
The dilemma I have as is that I don't have any local tracks here in Israel, to shoot local races I have to travel = big chunk of money to spend for a lot of uncertainty.
I guess, if I want it bad enough it's doable.
Thanks again!

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Alex Boyce, Photographer
Florence | EU | Italy | Posted: 6:30 PM on 02.10.12
->> I have been shooting Motogp for the last few years for the Suzuki MotoGP team.

then look at the pics in mugello/misano slide show etc. They are mine.

I got there by years of hard work in other stuff, and showing my skills to the right people. Then working with a company in partnership for them. It is not easy. Once you are there it is not easy again. There are different levels of pass and each one allows certain things. What matters is the racing. The pits is ok but you have to be going to 80 percent of the races to be able to be in the pits or on the grid.

Andrew Wheeler is a top guy I know him as well, he is damm good at his work, one of the best IMHO. The MGP world is ultra competitive and there is no bullshiting to get in there. You need to know what you are doing and perform.

For great shots it is hard, you really need time to develop your skills, but shooting a 300km/hr bike up close is harder than in the stands! YOu have less time.

Also getting around the track with out one of the team scooters is a nightmare and you need to plan. The track is a dangerous place, there are no going around any rules.

Oh yer im not doing it this year as Suzuki is on a pause for a few years....

The whole MGP is super professional and super competitive. You need to have some good relationships and good work to make it pay.

Also at some tracks you need long fast (qatar) (600-800mm) lenses and high Iso cams. The money investment is also high to have gear that works well.

To get a good understanding I would recommend get in contact through someone you know with one of the teams/sponsors, even moto 2 or 3, and try and shoot for them see what you can offer them, they need good people shooting for them.

Dont expect but be professional and see what they say
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Manuello Paganelli, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 3:16 PM on 02.13.12
->> Is very difficult to get into any Moto GP or F1 races. This aint Nascar. Is like going to the Olympics, no kidding.
Also the top racers, Spaniards and Italians, can be very difficult to deal with. So first learn Spanish and Italian and it will come handy. Even for me would be hard unless I am shooting for S.I., ESPN or a foreign magazine.

Chris since you are in Israel is even more difficult and way too costly. Hardly any top Israelis athletes in world sporting events :( YOu got some solid tennis players there? have you thought of that as a starting point?

From there you could try to move to Europe, the USA or South America. Lots of Jews in Argentina and Brazil and lots of sports.

BTW Alex Boyce is right on.

Good luck and see if you can try something else but NEVER GIVE UP if you do have the talent someone will find you.


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Andrew Wheeler, Photographer
Capitola | CA | USA | Posted: 6:02 PM on 02.20.12
->> Hello Chris...

I met Nic for a coffee this morning (2/20) and he asked had I seen the post from a guy in Israel in regards to MotoGP. I said I hadn't but I decided to have a look and so here I am. Not being one to dampen anyones enthusiasm (because nothing is impossible) here's some clarification as to how it applies to myself and how the credentialing works.

For a season hard card there are two main types when it comes to media persons (and I mean photographers and/or journalists). It is broken into types types of outlets. Print and online (and the "orange" hard card and "blue" hard card respectively). Again, I am referring to the season hard card and not per event hard card...they're not hard and fast but in general the following does apply.

Print media is still rated very highly within Dorna and as such you have photographers that work for media outlets, such as CycleWorld in the US, MCN in the UK etc etc etc. A photographer who is credentialed by a single publications only needs a single letter from the editor of the magazine they supply image too. They also need 30-50 examples (or tear sheets in pdf form) of their published work along with a current copy of the magazine..

For full freelancers (of which I am one out of maybe four or five - the others being Italian or Spanish - who are orange badge holders) you'll need *three* letters from each editor of the magazines you supply images too, as well as 30-50 tear sheets from *each* of the magazines as well...(and other examples of where your work were used doesn't hurt either - for example advertisements and sor forth) from the past that would be everything you had published from 2011.

For online media (generally speaking the blue hard card) it's a lot easier, maybe.

Typically, and this may not apply to all online media sites, but in general people who are photographers or write and/or run MotoGP websites have the *luxury* of paying for their credentials. But it's not cheap. Even one event passes can be bookoo €'s. Thus a seasons hard card for an online media site and a photographer is expensive, and it's designed that way for a reason.


This is why when I started out I decided that if a website wanted to use my work, that was fine as long as it was bought for print first. It takes a lot of work, time put in (for example I have photographed all three series extensively, the AMA here in the USA, World Superbike and now MotoGP) to develop a relationship with publishers, to get your work into print.

Another factor that plays into their approval process is number of races attended. They have an attendance book that has to be signed by media people when attending each round. This is also reviewed by the powers that be when assessing your "credential-worthiness" when it comes to that time at the end of the year. So a person who is asking for a hard card, if they have all the documentation supplied above (or even the money in hand) they still may not offer you the hard card and may suggest you simply apply for a single event pass as it comes along.

Other factors that they'll look at is geographical. For example, you're based in Israel, is this a market they would like to develop a wider audience within (for example). I'm good friends with a woman who reports on MotoGP with a TV station in Tel-Aviv. So that is worth keeping in mind going forward.

Another thing to keep in mind is developing your network. I know that Israel doesn't have a road racing scene, however, there's nothing stopping you developing a relationship with a magazine and working to shoot motorcycle related images.

I know most of the folks who have replied to your post (waves at Alex/Nic/Mike/Jamey) and all their advice is solid. I would suggest starting small. Maybe work on your network and pick a couple of GP's you could possibly attend. Then apply for a single event pass and go from there.

it's not impossible. I started out shooting over the fence at Laguna Seca and also as a spectator at an F1 event when it came to Indy many moons ago. that me a job at Spa in Belgium. As a long time motorcyclist and after a suggestion from my wife to switch from horses to motorcycles I started shooting motorcycles at Laguna Seca and it simply snowballed from there...

You can check out my website here:

My Photoshelter archive here:

..and my FB "liker" page here (where we just passed 5000 "likers"):

..and a blog here (that I need to update this week!)

Good luck.
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Thread Title: Photographer at MotoGP
Thread Started By: Chris Kallevag
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