Hello, David! Tell readers a bit about yourself.  Where did you grow up? 

I was born in Iowa but grew up in San Diego, California. 

Did you play sports as a kid?

I was addicted to sports as a child. I played a ton of different sports ranging from baseball, basketball, soccer, football, golf, ice hockey, tennis, and water polo and I was into snowboarding. 

Where do you live now?

I currently reside in San Diego. Have lived here my entire life. Have moved around to different parts of San Diego (Mission Hills - PreSchool, K - College: La Jolla, Post College - Now: Bankers Hill). 

Anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I was diagnosed in college with keratoconus. Keratoconus is a rare eye disease. I have it in both eyes but it's significantly worse in my dominant eye. I have had to teach myself to photograph with my non-dominant eye.  

Oh wow! Being someone who is also going through major eye issues right now, I can somewhat relate to this. Our brains are incredible in how we can overcome sight issues. It's commendable how far you've come with your diagnosis.

As far as a career in photography, how long have you been a photographer? When did you start?

I have been a photographer for 10 years now. I started my blog San Diego Sports Domination in 2012. I wanted my blog to look like a newspaper (I have a journalism degree from San Diego State with an emphasis on media studies). I got serious about photography during the COVID-19 pandemic. I got [even more] serious with my photography in 2021, and have made massive leaps since then. I am currently a photographer working with the USA Today Sports and Sports San Diego (Holiday Bowl). Sports San Diego is the main body working to bring sports tourism to San Diego. They are the team behind the Holiday Bowl and RCI Basketball Tournament. 

What was your first “pro” camera?

My first professional camera was the Canon 7D Mark 2. It was a professional crop sensor camera created by Canon. 

Another Canon guy! What camera(s) do you currently shoot with?

I currently photograph with three cameras. My main camera is the Canon R3 with an RF 400 2.8. I have two Canon 1DX Mark 2’s on a black rapid harness. I have a 70-200 2.8 on one body and a 16-30 2.8 on the other body. This is my normal setup for shooting field sports, baseball, indoor football, Indoor soccer, and volleyball. For basketball, I will go down to two camera bodies and use a third body (Wide Angle Lens) with remote triggers. 

What makes a “professional photographer” in your opinion?

The heavily debated question! To me, a professional photographer is someone who is being paid to photograph an event. * To include someone who is photographing an event with professional gear. I photograph 200+ events a year. I am also working a full-time job for the 401k and health benefits. Nowadays being a full-time professional is very hard. You pretty much have to be shooting every aspect of photography to be full-time. The majority of professionals that I come across are freelancing. 

I also have a "day job" so I totally get that. What was your first paid sports photography gig?

My first paid photography gig was for the Seattle Sounders Academy. We have a ton of massive youth soccer tournaments that are played in San Diego. I worked with the head of the academy to provide coverage of specific matches. 

What was one of your favorite events/competitions/games/matches that you photographed?

I have a ton of memories that I have captured such as the 1st NWSL match at Snapdragon Stadium (SDSU’s New Stadium), Photographing the 1st AAF game at Qualcomm, Photographing 3 MLR Championship Matches, and photographing the first ever Women's Gold Cup.… But the most memorable sporting event I have ever shot was on May 16th, 2023. May 16th was my call to the major league. I photographed the San Diego Padres game against the Kansas City Royals. As a lifelong baseball fan who played the game from when I could walk through my freshman year of high school … I will never forget the first time I walked into Petco Park as a USA Today Photographer. 

So cool! I'd also love to shoot MLB someday and I know I am not alone. To transition to one of my favorite subjects, let's talk editing. Do you do your own photo editing? Do you like photo editing? Why or why not?

In terms of photo editing… it depends on who I am photographing for. I come from a journalism background so doing massive editing of images is a no-no. When photographing for news we cannot really edit images. All we can do is crop and or straighten. How you shoot in camera is how you are going to be sending the image in. When photographing for my teams… I will adjust contrast or colors depending on what I want the image to look like. I am also given more creative ability to remove unwanted objects from images. 

Totally get that, about the journalism background. I learned in the way also that you never remove anything from a photo. I follow that "rule" 99% of the time. An errant water bottle, bathroom sign, or fist on the edge of an image sometimes gets erased now, but only if the photo is for my own personal use.

What photography jobs do you have coming up that you are excited about?

Friday, July 19th I am photographing the New Zealand All Blacks match against Fiji. This match is being played at Snapdragon Stadium here in San Diego. I am also joining the San Diego Wave (NWSL) as a team photographer starting in May. 

So cool! That is exciting. Yay for women's sports!!!! What kinds of non-sports-related photo jobs do you take?

I am strictly a sports photographer. I did a wedding for a friend in the past as they said I am not taking no … but never again lol. That is for the professionals. However, As a sports photographer sometimes you have to know how to shoot other types of events. Some of my clients throw galas and parties. 

What is a topic related to photography in general, or more specifically sports photography, that you are really passionate about?

I am very passionate about photographing and promoting women’s sports. I have made a full 180 over the past few years from only photographing men's teams to now shooting the majority of women's teams. 

Hooray! That is so awesome. You are speaking my language now LOL.

Who were/are your mentors?

Erine Anderson is the only photographer in the San Diego State Athletics Hall of Fame. He passed away due to brain cancer back in 2020. While he was battling he shared some time to speak to me about photography and his images. 

What would be an event/competition/game that you would love to shoot someday?

My goal right now is to photograph the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. I am trying to shoot Rugby. Right now I have photographed more than 54 Major League Rugby Matches (Which is in the top 1%) and will be photographing my 4th MLR Championship game this summer. 

What sport have you not shot yet that you would love to shoot?

Would love to shoot gymnastics or winter sports. We really don’t get either of these sports here in San Diego very often. 

Thank you so much for your time, David! Where can people find you online?

website: https://davidfrerkersportsphotography.com/


Stay tuned for the next interview, now planned for every Thursday!

~ Wendy