When the opportunity was presented to me to possibly interview some amazing women in sports, Heather Barry was one of the top five that I knew I had to contact about it. I am beyond grateful she agreed to talk to me about her experiences in sports as a photographer, social media director, and content creator.
I wish I could tell you about the first time I saw Heather’s photography but I can’t. I honestly have tried racking my brain for some slight hint so I could piece together a time frame but nothing ever comes up. All that I know for sure is that whenever it was, I loved it because that’s how it always is when it comes to her shots. She always captures amazing photos of some of my favorite teams in Philadelphia.
I can say without a doubt that her eye and ability to capture a moment is uncanny. She somehow manages to capture everything from a hockey player and their family at the glass before a game, players fooling around during warm-ups, a celebration post goal, and every moment in between. It allows fans like me that aren’t able to be at the game itself to feel like we are even for a brief moment.
Without further ado, meet Heather Barry.
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I am a freelance photographer and social media director that specializes in sports, and I am happy to share I was just hired to be an MLB Live Content Creator! Basically, I create and shoot images for all levels of sports, including videos and social media content for game-day and any other events for marketing purposes.
How did you get your start in sports photography?
It was kind of an accident how I landed into this role and love for sports photography. Taking photos was a hobby at the time as a Business/Art Major, staying creative was a fun outlet. I decided to bring my Canon Rebel to a Flyers and Lightning game for warmups and was in love with the challenge hockey presented. I really just networked via Twitter and found myself working with and getting learning advice from a fellow Tampa Bay photographer, Mike Carlson who is the Team Photographer for the Buccs and covered all sports. He was kind enough to lend me some advice, gear, and a period of play shooting with some amazing access. I’ll never forget that experience!
You recently photographed the Philadelphia Flyers for their Puppy Calendar, how did that come about? Do you have any stories you can share about that experience?
Ah, yes the puppy shoot! That opportunity was amazing and came about working alongside the Flyers marketing staff for off-ice events I covered for the last few years. I just introduced myself to the team and made some frames. It initially started with some events for Flyers Charities, and I am always passionate about community involvement.
My favorite part of that day was TK (Travis Konecny) coming to hang with the adoptable puppies, and all of the dogs that were up for adoption in the calendar have found a forever home!
What has been your most memorable sporting event or moment that you have photographed?
I would say the Stadium Series so far has been one of my favorite events to cover. The outdoor Alumni Game in 2017 and Playoffs was also a treat. The energy from the fans was incredible and you could just feel the intensity of the rivalry the entire weekend.
What does an average day look like for you if you are shooting a game or event?
Well, every event is different but it all starts the night before the event. I made sure I have all of the gear needed to do the job set up in my camera bag. I always say its better to be over-prepared than not at all. I usually arrive at the venue or building two and a half hours before game time, sometimes 4 if its a new location so I can scout the area, introduce myself to staff, and get comfortable and in the zone. I also make sure to bring light snacks and lots of water to stay hydrated since once things start rolling, I do not have much time to do anything else besides shoot and edit!
Typically, each intermission or breaks between innings, I’m doing a quick edit and uploading images and content to be used on the fly. After the game ends, I’ll upload and edit more intricately and send a small gallery of selects (usually 25-30 frames).
What would be your dream event to photograph?
I would be honored to cover the Olympics. That’s a career goal. Also, any sporting event such as the World Series, Stanley Cup Final, or Superbowl are high on my list as well. Between the one-in-a-lifetime opportunity and energy, those events create for the media, that’s the type of workflow and workroom I want to be in and a part of!
What is the best advice you received from someone in your industry?
From my mentor, of course! Always challenge yourself and stay humble and be kind. Make sure to be kind to everyone whether it benefits you or not, smile, and be present in the moment. Network and connect with your peers. Stay focused during the game and stay creative. Try something new, whether it’s a new assigned area or approach to shooting a game.
Do you have advice for women who are looking to start either doing photography or shooting live sports events?
Do the work and stay level and present. Be aware of everything going on, and challenge yourself to new capabilities and skills every day. It’s not going to be easy, we have to work twice as hard but it’s extremely rewarding in the long run.
What do you consider the most challenging aspect of working in sport like you do as a woman?
I think we have a long way to go, but women before us have paved the way to success. Keep your head down and do the work, always challenge yourself to new ideas. I’ve seen more women in the workroom and it’s a connection and shared experience and empowers me to do better as well. There’s going to be some instances where we deal with some inappropriate situations and shut that down immediately. If you do the work, everything else will follow. We have to be alert at all times and focus on visual storytelling, but we have the upper hand in that aspect.
What’s next for you professionally?
Well, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world stopped, but I’ve been trying to stay positive and push boundaries and new beginnings. Next, would be to create some images and content for Baseball and Lacrosse. I want to take some time to focus on video work and graphic design for marketing and branding purposes since it seems our roles as photographers are evolving and changing into a digital age of immediate social content.
Bonus Question: Top five places in Philadelphia that you consider Instagram worthy spots. Could be sports related or not. It’s up to you!
These will sound kind of touristy, but I really love these places in this city.
- South Street Bridge
- Race St Pier and the new outdoor area gives you some gorgeous perspectives
- photographing on the Ben Franklin.
- Chinatown – I am a sucker for neon lights and dim sum
- Camden for a gorgeous wide shot perspective of the city skyline and bridge
Thank you, Heather, for taking the time to answer my questions. Good luck with your new position with the MLB and everything else you have coming. I can’t wait to see your work.
You can find Heather on Twitter at @heatherbimages and Instagram at @heatherbarryimages. She also has a website that showcases her portfolio at HeatherBarryImages.com and non-sport prints are available in her store.