So, you want to be a NASCAR photographer?

By Debbie Ross
Photographer for Skirts and Scuffs

Being a photographer is not as glamorous as it looks.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Before the new and crazy 2012 season begins, I thought I would share some thoughts with all of you who love taking pictures at NASCAR races, driver appearances, or any race-related event.  

Being a contributing photographer for Skirts and Scuffs this past year has been a dream come true! Despite being pushed, shoved, sat upon, hit in the head by numerous 2-foot-long lenses, and used as a tripod (I’m 5’1”), all has gone amazingly well.  I have enjoyed every wild minute of it, from climbing a ladder to a garage rooftop for a bird’s eye view of Kyle Petty riding a bull, to getting up into your favorite drivers’ faces for some great helmet shots! I’m hoping to add views from the spotters’ stand this coming year!  

Petty didn't last long but the shot was worth the climb.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
My journey began when I was old enough to hold a camera, and taking pictures has always been my passion. I began taking race pictures from the stands four years ago, as most of us do as fans. I don’t have an expensive camera with fancy lenses or a bunch of bells and whistles, but what I have done, is to learn all that my camera can do!! That is the first secret of taking great photos…Know your camera!!! I bet you’ll be very surprised after you read the manual! (“Wow! I didn’t know my camera could do that!”)  

It maybe small, but it sure is mighty! Takes beautiful photos too!
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
I decided, after having pit passes to one of the races that the infield was the place to be! Thanks to my friend, NASCAR driver, Jennifer Jo Cobb, that all became possible, as she was gracious enough to invite me as her guest to several races! As a result of this honor, my photos of Jennifer have been seen on Anderson Cooper 360 and on several local news programs. 

The inspiration to my success, Jennifer Jo Cobb.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
With a great deal of practice and determination, (I average 400-1000 photos per race day), I was introduced to Katy Lindamood,’s founder and editor-in-chief. I was so thrilled that she liked my pictures and accepted me into the Skirts and Scuffs family! The website is a member of the NASCAR Citizen Journalist Media Corps, a fantastic organization that has given many journalists and photographers the opportunity to really shine!

This is one of my favorite shots. I was lucky enough to have the perfect lighting and to capture the emotion of the moment in all of its clarity. 

Who knew that this picture would be a symbol of Tony Stewart's season?
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
You wouldn’t believe some of the looks I get from the “big guys” but I just look them in the eyes and tell them, “Don’t laugh or belittle me and my little camera! You haven’t seen my photos yet!!!”  I would like to give a huge shout out to Jim Fluharty, Jeff Robinson, Walter Scriptunas II, Phil Cavali, Kelly Ross and Gary Buchanan for their kindness, guidance and encouragement. You are all amazing!

I hope all of our readers have enjoyed my photos and that I will be able to continue bringing the action to you from garage roofs, hauler tops, pit road and the Media Centers for many years to come! I would also love to see some of your favorite pictures!! 

So, if you want to be a NASCAR Photographer,
    1. Learn your camera! 
    2. Take lots of pictures at the races. Practice makes perfect, and the more you take, the more great shots you’ll have at the end of the day!
    3. By all means, NETWORK!! Don’t be shy or feel bad that you don’t have thousands of dollars of camera equipment around your neck!! Your pictures ROCK!! Share your photos on Twitter & Facebook or create your own site, you never know who will see them and like them!     
Known as "The Genie" by her Skirts and Scuffs colleagues, Debbie Ross truly lives up to that nickname. Her pictures bring the NASCAR scene to life for the readers of Skirts and Scuffs, displaying the emotion and true grit of each weekend. Debbie can always be found at Texas Motor Speedway, her home track, and when you see her the camera lens is sure to be at her eye. 
So, you want to be a NASCAR photographer? So, you want to be a NASCAR photographer? Reviewed by Admin on Sunday, January 15, 2012 Rating: 5