Brocreative’s Dave Broberg on creating compelling sports stock photography

Sports photography is notoriously difficult in the world of microstock due to strict copyright and property IPO laws. As most sports pitches and players themselves are generally coated in brands and their faces, game numbers and clothes falling under licensing constraints means photographers have to develop other ways of sourcing sports photography.****

Dave Broberg, or Brocreative is one sports stock photographer who’s managed to. A best-selling contributor on Adobe Stock, renowned for his high-definition, cutting edge sports imagery. Because of his top-level compositing skills, he’s been able to write his own rules using Adobe Photoshop. We spoke to him to find out more!

Can you firstly share a little bit about yourself and your journey to becoming a stock contributor?

My journey to be a stock contributor started in 2008. I’ve been a graphic designer and art director for many years. My greatest strength as a designer has always been as a photo editor and Photoshop guru. In my graphic design work I often used stock images and thought to myself, “I could learn to do that. I could create those type of images.” I already had the post processing skills, I just needed to learn the photo capturing skills.

We have to ask, ‘Brocreative’ – where did the name come from?

Growing up my nickname was “Bro” which is short for Broberg. So I combined that with creative because I want the images I create to be unique and creative.

Basketball Player scoring a slam dunk basket

Your portfolio has a strong focus on sports, is this a specific passion of yours or did you just see a gap in the market that you could fill?

I’ve worked as a designer in the sports industry for over 15 years and sports are a huge passion of mine so it’s no surprise that I have a lot of sports imagery. It’s an area that I’m good at and have a lot of connections with. A lot of the training I’ve received from other photographers has been in the sports industry. As a creative professional, it’s always good to play to your strengths, and this is a real strength of mine. It’s what I know best and so I strive to be excellent at it. I’m still learning, and working at getting better, but it has definitely been a focus of mine. I also have access to athletes and athletic facilities that a lot of stock photographers do not, so why not use that to my advantage.

Do you think there are trends when it comes to sport image purchasing?

I would say the more popular sports are more engrained in the culture and thus they have a wider need. I’ve tried to have images that cover all the major U.S. sports and those have been some of my most popular images. This is really my most successful niche when it comes to stock images. I will say that fitness and exercise images have also been great sellers for me as well.

Whether it’s individual sports or team sports, I think people are looking for authentic-looking images when it comes to sports. People want an image that looks as good as what they see in Sport Illustrated or on a sports promotional poster.

Can you share a bit about your working process?

A lot of my inspiration for sports stock comes from being surrounded with great sports imagery as an art director in the sports industry. Some of my best sports stock images are composite images and require some real planning out. When it’s a composite images such as this one I have to plan out all three shots. I have to build the background first. This is probably the hardest and most time-intensive part. Taking out the identifiable aspects of an authentic sports background can be a real Photoshop challenge. After the background is created I shoot the action photo of the athlete with a clean background that makes it easy to cutout. I shoot them with Alien Bees strobe lighting typically in an indoor studio. The soccer goal is the third piece of the composite. I have to light it similarly to soccer player and make it easy to cutout. This goal I shot with a black background and then added it into the composite as a “screen” or “lighten” blending mode so the non-black areas show up in the image. When I put them all together in Photoshop, I need to make it look like they all fit and have similar color tones. I use a Photoshop plug-in called RadLab in my post processing that does a great job of making my composites look authentic. These images take hours to create, but they have always been great sellers, so it’s totally worth it.

Do you see a pick up in your image sales prior to a big game/sporting event such as the Super Bowl or the Olympics?

Yes definitely. I have a lot of American Football images and my sales spike quite about around the start of the football season in August and September as well as around the Super Bowl. Sports are a big part of American culture and transcend into the almost every area of life and business. Sports are big business and there is a large demand for quality stock imagery.What’s your favorite image from your Adobe Stock portfolio?

It’s tough to pick a favorite, but if I have to I would choose this one as my favourite sports image and this one for my favorite non-sports image because I love the beauty of this scene.

A big thank you to Dave for taking the time to speak with us. Discover more of his work on his Adobe Stock portfolio here.