Melbourne, 15 October 2013 | Tennis Australia

Tennis Australia employs professional photographers, both agency and freelancers, nationally and internationally year-round. We value enormously their amazing work in the highly specialised field of sports photography. We also value our relationships within the industry and it has never been our intention to do the wrong thing by photographers, whether they be professional, amateur or student. Rather, we wanted to provide an opportunity to new and emerging photographers, often photography students, looking to gain sports experience.

Over the years we’ve received regular approaches from up-and-coming photographers to cover our events for experience and exposure for their work. It’s partly because of this demand we put in place the volunteer program for the December Showdown, a free-to-attend event that is primarily a series of national tournaments for elite juniors aged 12 to 18.  It also provides new photographers with the chance to have their work seen by a national audience.

Tennis Australia, a not-for-profit organisation, uses these images on, a grassroots website whose key purpose is to grow participation in the sport in Australia. The agreement regarding the photographers’ use of the images has been verbal, primarily to discourage the on-selling of images of young athletes. Tennis Australia takes responsibility for the privacy of the players in competition, most of whom are aged under 18. Volunteers have not been required to sign over copyright and can use images for folios and personal promotions. Tennis Australia also has the right to use those images and all images published by TA are fully credited.

Tennis Australia fully covers photographers for all public liability. The required flexibility during this time takes into account other work and study commitments volunteers may have.

For many emerging photographers the December Showdown is a step towards a career in sports photography. A number of volunteers who have worked on the event have gone on to receive paid work at Tennis Australia and/or secured roles at other organisations, including major media outlets.

The professional development opportunities offered as part of this program include exposure to the fast-paced environment of a big sporting event and the demands of a busy newsroom. The feedback we continue to receive is that the experience and opportunity is invaluable and can make a real difference when trying to break into this competitive industry.

We appreciate all the comments and feedback and look forward to working with the industry to continue to improve this program.