A week or so ago, I got to check off a bucket list item by being on the field for the entirety of a Steelers Game. That was all thanks to today’s guest, Vincent Pugliese….New York kid turned sports photographer.
Mike and Vincent Discuss:
- 3:19 Serendipity
- 7:11 WWE prank
- 13:17 Getting to work at the WWE
- 14:46 First opportunity
- 25:08 Sneaking into a Monday night Football game post 9/11
- 32:44 How he got his media credentials and building relationships
- 42:35 No agenda
- 48:02 Freelance to freedom
- 50:57 Methodology for paying off their debt
- 56:55 Goal for the book
“People that don’t ask questions, generally struggle” Vincent Pugliese
Vincent came into photography after having no direction in life. He wasn’t going anywhere. It was his Dad that got him into photography; he said to him one night; “You like taking pictures, sports and traveling why don’t you take a photography class.”.
At this point, he had failed the previous five majors he had taken, one being criminal justice (which was ironic as he, at this time, had just been arrested), nothing felt cool to him, but photography felt cool, he had no faith in himself actually to succeed.
The next day he bought a camera and decided he was going to try it out. He saw sports photographers on the sidelines at games and wondered, how they got gigs like that. Listen from 18:13 to hear how he did and built up his portfolio.
After watching the newspaper industry implode, Vincent and his wife had started a family, the newspaper Vincent worked for’s budget was getting smaller and smaller for covering away games and at this point, they were at negative net worth.
So they decided to create a side business to help clear off their debts and to create freedom. After three years of putting all their business money (after tax) into clearing their debt, they were free. Free to do whatever they wished. It was three years of struggles of just surviving off of Vincents 9-5 pay, but now they could both quit their jobs and do whatever they wanted.
Being a professional sports photographer is more a life experience for Vincent rather than a career. Sports photography has never paid well for him, but the most value he has got from this is the relationships he has built and maintained.