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I’m a photographer living in the Caribbean, and esports isn’t really a “thing” here. What moves can I make to get into the esports industry as a photographer?

One of the most beautiful but restrictive things about photography is that you have to be there. There’s no way around capturing something without getting it in front of your camera.

Getting into ANY kind of photography involves much of the same work. In the words of Zack Arias, “show what you want to shoot.”

That means building your portfolio out so that when someone lands at your website, they see the photos you want them to hire you to make more of. If you want to be a portrait photographer, get your friends in front of your camera and start making portraits. If you want to be a food photographer, start cooking (or make friends with a chef) and start making photos of food. For esports, that means getting yourself to esports events, and photographing them.

That said, you don’t have to start booking flights just yet. Start small. Start local. I guarantee that there are events happening, wherever you are. Fighting game locals, FIFA or Madden tournaments, Rocket League or CSGO LANs … these happen everywhere. They might not be in your backyard. It might take a lot of time and effort to find these events and build up a portfolio of work. If there are literally no events, talk to a local game store and convince them to run a tournament. Gather your friends and make them duke it out in Smash, if you have to. They might not be glorious stadium events with million dollar stage designs, but they do not need to be. Find them, and tell their story. As pretty as fisheye arena shots are, when I’m evaluating someone’s portfolio, their ability to make a small event look interesting is way more important.

Obviously, getting hired to larger and more lucrative clients will take more than shooting a few local events. But seize every opportunity you can to shoot, learn and grow as a photographer, both inside and outside of esports. Make connections with other creatives and event organizers. I can’t guarantee you success. Nobody can. But if you put the work in, I can assure you you’ll have done something to be proud of.