Student Sports Photography: A Renaissance

Ava Compagnoni

Has anyone else noticed the increase in unique Ursinus Athletics photography and film content? The long-standing relationship with Stylish Images has been consistent and reliable; however, at a D3 athletics-dominated school, even when not playing on the field or court, Ursinus students love to be out on the playing field, in a slightly different way. Student sports photography has boomed in the last two years at Ursinus College. But what is with the sudden interest? Abundance? A lost hobby? New interest? Whatever the reason is, our Ursinus student photographers have been acing the athletic content!

I reached out to sophomore Laura Bradley to find out more! As a student-athlete, a member of the Women’s Wrestling Team, time is already short
for Bradley; however, she makes it work! Depending on the athletic schedule, Laura clears out three to six hours per week to go to on-campus sporting events and capture athletic performances for the Ursinus Athletic Communications Office – not including editing time, which Laura considers her niche. “Anyone can take a photo or video, but people often forget the power of editing. What differentiates your work from the rest is the extra hours put into editing photos, putting clips together, and even synchronizing music to fit a video to help enhance the viewer’s emotions,” says Bradley. Like most people, Bradley loved to see pictures of herself playing the sport that she loves, and that is exactly what ignited her photography career. “It was rare to get something [athletic photo of yourself] of high quality. At one point when I was injured, I took the time to experiment with my passion for photography and capture photos of my teammates. With the amount of love and support I got, I realized the joy I had sharing and giving a gift I had always wanted as an athlete,” says Bradley.

Bradley did not pick up a camera for the first time during that [injury period], she actually picked it up in 5th grade. Bradley convinced her parents
to buy her a camera to take pictures of backyard nature, her family, and beloved dogs. “It was not until sophomore year of high school that I focused more on sports photography when I was sat out because of my injury. And I eventually picked up videography in my most recent years at Ursinus College,” says Bradley. As the technology advanced, so did Bradley’s skill with it, reaching the professional level it is now. As the intensity and regularity of her filming and editing process increased, so did the interaction she got from followers. “It got to a point where one video I created and uploaded reached almost 2 million views on Instagram. I saw that the more work I produced, the more my account grew. My account even surpassed the Ursinus College Athletics Instagram account with engagement and followers. LB Studios, which is a rising digital marketing business, couldn’t have been possible without my passion for photography and videography,” says Bradley.

Sophomore Elliot Schott focuses more on a photography style as opposed to Bradley who is focused on videography. Schott dedicates seven to eight hours
a week to attending sports events and editing post-game. Her camera interest started in high school with a telecommunications class, and the rest is history as she picked it up seriously freshman year at Ursinus. Also a student-athlete, Schott felt that sports photography for golf was not as equitable as it was for other sports. “We do not get a lot of pictures because our sport is not on campus, so student photographers do not attend our tournaments. I know how important it is to want a picture of yourself playing a sport, so I like to be able to give people those pictures. Especially since I do not charge,” says Schott.

The technicalities of photography go a lot farther than the naked eye suggests. Schott really focused on her technicalities when she came into a wrestling match, metaphorically speaking, with the overhead lighting in the Helfferich Gym. “I’ve had to use manual focus, when you focus the camera yourself, you cannot just press a button to do all the work. You are constantly moving the lens and I have gotten a lot better dealing with it. That is just one of the many skills I have had to pick up along the way and it has made me a better photographer,” says Schott. Not only has she learned from the harsh lighting, but other members of the sports photography community. “One word: tight-knit. We are all really good mentors to each other. Everyone is so encouraging and we make each other better photographers!” says Schott.

Keep up and support our student athletic photographers by following their social media accounts and checking out their content!

Elliot Schott ‘25 –

Laura Bradley ‘25 – @laurabradleystudios

Donovan Dyitt ‘24 – @officialdonfilms

Charlotte DiLello ‘25 – @dilello.jpeg

Mike Johnston ‘23 – @mikej_4k