by Charlotte Moss Published 01/08/2014
Ross Grieve's first job as a photographer almost 30 years ago was shooting bungee jumping in his native New Zealand. He made the jump to opening his own wedding and portrait photography business before making the move to Wales with his wife. A gap in the market for creative sports photography resulted in the creation of Dirty Green Trainers and his business has been going from strength to strength ever since.
Dirty Green Trainers started when a friend who organised triathlons couldn't find a sports photography company who offered something other than the usual basic and rather functional imagery. Ross told me about the initial brief for the job, "He wanted something with a bit of character, images that had a unique twist while still being high quality." Often event organisers are only interested in providing images to the competitors, however, in a world dominated by social media photography is becoming increasingly more important. "The organiser wanted to use the shots for marketing as well and through producing that style of imagery I've built up good relationships with top-end magazines such as 220 Tri and Triathlete Europe."
Going from shooting weddings and portraits to shooting triathlons seems like a serious change of pace, however, Ross isn't quite so sure. "You only get one chance at triathlons just like you only have one chance at weddings. Wedding photographers can make really good sports photographers because they already have that one-chance mentality built in whereas a portrait photographer who mostly works in a studio might struggle because they can always take the shot again." The key seems to be adaptability and a good all-round knowledge to work in any situation that's thrown at you. Of course Ross also points out that you have to be prepared to work extremely hard as well, endurance sports can be gruellingly long days!
Recruiting team members for Dirty Green Trainers is a process that sees Ross carefully handpicking everybody who works for him. "If I see someone who I think might be a good fit then I get in touch and ask them if they're interested. However, I also get a lot of emails from people who would like to shoot for me. I make sure that I go through and look at all the portfolios that I am sent and I respond to everyone who writes to me.' What I really wanted to know though was what qualities Ross looks for in the photographers that he recruits. "It's always good for a photographer to have a style that will fit with our look, but one of the most important aspects is that anyone who works with me has to be able to have a good time! I also really want my photographers to encourage the athletes and be vocal - I expect them to have lost their voice by the end of an event, but I'll buy a beer for them to get it back!"
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