FPA Member Profile

Craig Brough – Freelance
All Images © Craig Brough – Action Images / Reuters

Career

Highlights

  • 2006 – 2017 Freelance photographer – League Paper, IPS, Professional Sport, Sportimage, Action Images/Reuters
  • 2017 – Northedge Photography Ltd – Contracted photographer for Action Images/Reuters
  • FIFA World Cups (1)
  • UEFA European Championships (2)
  • Scottish Cup Finals (3)
  • UEFA Finals (1)
  • FIFA U20 World Cups (2)
  • FIFA U17 World Cups (2)
Q&A with Craig Brough

What came first, sport or photography?
“Sport. I remember my Dad taking me to Elland Road in the early 80’s when I was nine years old. My earliest memory was a match against Newcastle and Kevin Keegan was struck by a coin right in front of me. Football became my passion, and all I ever did as a kid was either play it, watch it or chatted about it.”

Who did you look up to when you were young, and who has helped you most with your development?
“Marcello Pozzetti and Tommy Hindley gave me the opportunity to photograph football when I first started out. Both gave me some great advice and encouragement. I’d also like to include everyone associated with Action Images. Their help, support and advice has been invaluable. There have been so many photographers who have chatted with me and helped over the years and I feel very grateful for that.”

One change for the better to improve football photography for the next generation of photographers?
“It’s great to see young photographers starting their careers, and over the last couple of years it seems clubs are starting to take more care with photographers – car parking, wifi, pitch-side conditions and hospitality. This will hopefully continue and develop.”

Favourite football ground to work at and why?
“When anyone asks me that question I feel a little selfish and say a ground with good wifi, close to home, secure parking, and a hot drink. For me this is Hull City, and they also do an amazing pie, mash and peas! I also really enjoy working at grounds with a great atmosphere. My four favourites are: Elland Road, St James’ Park, Anfield and Celtic Park. For nostalgia and being part of something special I feel privileged to have photographed matches in the Maracana and San Siro.”

Favourite footballer to work with and why?
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some fantastic players and managers. For me it would have to be either Steve Bruce or Roberto Martinez. Both in their own right took time out of their busy schedules and gave me the time to get on with and do the job I had been assigned.”

Do you have a favourite memory or anecdote from your time as a football photographer?
“Alan Shearer once said on TV ‘there’s no easy six points except Ipswich home and away’ Long story but I’ve been an Ipswich fan since I was eight years old, even though my Dad took me to Leeds to perhaps make me see the error of my ways. So when Alan Shearer said this when I was about 14 my mates at school took the mickey no end. I have since worked with him on numerous occasions for Action Images. On one particular PR assignment at a school up in the North East we had a bit of time before the job started and I mentioned to him the comment and he laughed and said ‘yes I remember, it was true though’… To be fair he wasn’t wrong!

One of the jobs that day after meeting and talking with the kids was a skill shot of him kicking the ball into a hole in a makeshift wall. I photographed attempt after attempt of him narrowly missing. He responded to the banter of the kids and passed the ball to me and said ‘you have a go’. I walked up, a camera over each shoulder, heavy working boots on and booted the ball straight down the hole and walked off to a big cheer much to his annoyance!”

Canon, Nikon or Sony?
“Canon.”

First match photographed?
“Bradford v Crewe for the League Paper.”

Some advice for youngsters?
“Enjoy the journey, don’t be afraid to ask questions, be creative, be honest, be yourself and do your research ahead of the match, as it’s not all about goals and celebrations, there’s so much more going on. Also invest in weatherproof clothing warm socks and good boots.”

Biggest lesson learnt?
“I messed up with a simple five minute PR shoot. I had misinterpreted the brief. I did the job, got back in my car edited the photos and wired them. I was driving home when I received the phone call, so I drove back and asked to speak to the manager who I had photographed earlier. I explained what had happened that I had misread the brief and would he mind doing a second take! Thankfully, he was more than happy to help me out. With this in mind my biggest lesson learnt was ‘read and read and read’ the brief so no matter what distractions or time delays disrupt the job in hand when that five minutes presents itself you are clear and prepared to get the job done.”

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