FPA Member Profile

Darren Staples – Freelance
All Images © Darren Staples / Reuters / Sportimage / Freelance



  • Gained a distinction from NCTJ Press Photography in Sheffield
  • 1986-1988 Loughborough Echo
  • 1988-1996 Leicester Mercury
  • 2001-2019 Reuters
  • Freelance mainly working with Sportimage 2019
  • FIFA World Cups (3)
  • UEFA European Championships (4)
  • FA Cup Finals (9)
  • UEFA Champions League Finals (7)
  • Women’s UEFA Champions League Finals (1)
  • FIFA Women’s World Cups (1)
  • Under 21’s UEFA Euros (1)
Q&A with Darren Staples

Canon, Nikon or Sony?
“Trained on Nikon but moved to Canon with the introduction of digital cameras. I still miss the Nikon F3 and the 300mm 2.8 I used to photograph Leicester City in the 90’s. The manual focus would sort the men from the boys now.”

What came first, sport or photography?
“Sport came first. I lived next to Seb Coe when he was at Loughborough University, and my uncle was a middle distance running coach, so I developed an interest in Athletics. 1500m was far too much like hard work so I became a sprinter, representing Charnwood Athletics Club and the County in my teens.”

One change for the better to improve football photography for the next generation of photographers?
“To gain more respect and understanding from the clubs, supporters and our colleagues in the written press for what we do. After all its pictures that get hung on the wall.”

Do you have a favourite memory or anecdote from your time as a football photographer?
“The good – amazing road trips, a safari and a trip up Table Mountain with some great friends and colleagues during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa

The bad – along with a colleague having all my equipment stolen at the semi final stage of the World Cup in Brazil. Thankfully nobody was injured and Canon came to the rescue with a complete kit the next day.”

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
“A chef. I chose catering for work experience but was persuaded out of it after my careers teacher said the working hours were unsocial. Ironic as football kicks off at all hours and photographers tend to have terrible diets.”

First football match photographed
“It would have been a local Sunday League game when working on the Leicester Mercury. We’d shoot maybe four or five games in a day, staying only a matter of minutes at each. They were fondly referred to as bucket bangers.”

Best footballer to work with?
“Despite his antics on the pitch Robbie Savage was always a gent off it and easy to work with.”

Favourite football ground to work at, and why?
“It may surprise some as its probably one of the coldest grounds in the UK, but there’s always a warm welcome, a hot meal and not too many working restrictions at Stoke City.”

Biggest Lesson Learnt in the business?
“Look out for low flying balls during warm up. A camera in the face on impact with a football flying at 60mph stings a little!”

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