How to Shoot for Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine

What does it take to shoot for some of the largest magazines in the world? Not as much as you might think.

The video above is an excerpt from the full-length tutorial, Making Real Money: The Business of Commercial Photography. The majority of this tutorial covers the financial side of running a commercial photography business but it also contains a series of videos that we call "Story Time with Monte." In these chapters, Monte Isom tells some of the most incredible and hilarious stories of his rise from being a photography student to assisting many of the most famous photographers in the world, and then finally venturing out on his own. 

In this episode, Monte talks about how a single meeting with Sports Illustrated landed him his first paying job with the company and jump-started his career as an editorial photographer. When Monte was ready to stop assisting and go out on his own, the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11th and the economy took a massive hit. Monte was forced to assist one more photographer to pay the bills. Luckily for him, it ended up being one of the most respected photographers on the planet, Greg Heisler

If there is one thing that I learned from my time with Monte it's that success really is about the people you know. Sadly, without actively trying to meet these people, the majority of us won't end up meeting the key players that could literally change our lives. It's up to us to put ourselves out there and if you're a hard-working, honest, talented person, success will eventually find you. 

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9 Comments

Matthew Odom's picture

Patience is key and just keep working hard. If you would have told me that I would have shot for Nat Geo in less than 6 years of being a commercial photographer, I would've laughed you off.......but Dreams do come true! I can't wait until I see the finished product in next months issue! Keep on pushing fellow togs! :)

Me too. Congrats!

I love that story about Springsteen! Awesome!

Rob Waller's picture

Great story - worth watching if only for the Springsteen impersonation :)

John Skinner's picture

I want to throw out some witty comment here about the story told. Instead, I'm going to do just a tad of arse smoking and say that it's pieces like these -- these pieces where Patrick and Lee have taken me to a concert with David Bergman to shoot BonJovi, or up some building, sat on a couch reviewing people's images, out to some island for workshops, crazy taser videos, and now this great interview..

THIS is FStoppers, and this is why I continue to come here. There is no doubt that some of the content posted here is marginal as far as being 'worthy' of my time to consume it. But at it's core, the very people that started and kept the idea alive (Patrick & Lee). It's just really outstanding work full stop.

So the jist of this is, just to say thanks to both of you for years of great content and really great original ideas.

Well that’s very kind of you! Glad you’ve stuck around.

Michael Holst's picture

I agree about the content and would rather have less daily article posts if it would mean a higher percentage of quality content. I find myself spending less and less time on FS as a result.

Hoorakhsh Pb's picture

Amazing story!

mark mil's picture

More, more, more, I'm hungry for more.