"It's too rare in life that you hear people say they 'love' what they do," laments sports photographer Ed Muholland, "but I truly do." That is what draws Ed to arenas hours before he's expected on the job to test different setups and trade tips with his peers. Known for high-energy, close up shots of fast paced boxing and MMA matches, Mulholland received his first photo assignment after sending a few shots taken at match to the boxing trade publication FightNews on a whim. From that unassuming entry into the world of boxing photography Ed has gone on to cofound FightWireImages, a wire service and high-resolution image library with over 50 contributing photographers. In addition to his boxing work, Ed now also covers UFC, NHL and NFL events regularly. He currently works as a contract photographer for HBO, and freelances for ESPN and US Presswire. His photos have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Vibe, TV Guide, Ring Magazine, and the NY Post.
A member since 2005, Ed now uses a PhotoShelter/Wordpress integration, an "invaluable" setup that wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for PhotoShelter's partnership with Wordpress theme provider, Graph Paper Press. "I had never given thought to doing a blog," Ed admits, but he was pleasantly surprised by the immediate and dramatic SEO benefits. For over a year now, Ed's site has appeared on Google's first page of results for the following keywords: "Boxing Stock Photography," "NHL Stock Photography," NFL Photography," and is the very first result for searches on "UFC Stock Photography" and "UFC Photography".
Since launching my blog in October of 2009, I've generated a significant amount of inquiries, and most significant, in markets I haven't targeted in the past, including a couple of Spike TV UFC Countdown shows, a documentary, and two movies. Before paying attention to the SEO rankings for my site, I was not coming up in important searches for my type of photography...this is a tremendous change that happened in only a couple of months, and it's worth the couple extra minutes of work."
In addition to his personal site, Ed also contributes to the FightWireImages Multi User account, which is managed by his co-founder, Javiel Centeno. The MU account allows them to allow an unlimited amount of photographers to contribute images to a single archive. They've seamlessly integrated their PhotoShelter galleries into the existing FightWireImages site using manual customization templates. When PhotoShelter first introduced inbound FTP, he and the rest of the FightWireImages team immediately began using it to deliver images from ringside using wireless transmitters and compact flash cards. Since Ed primarily works on assignment, this feature is indispensible.
I create galleries in advance and share them with my clients before the event begins, then I upload my images during the event via FTP and the clients can view and download them in real time. It's a great tool when shooting live events on a deadline. Photoshelter tracks each download by client, and I can later invoice them off that log.
"It's too rare in life that you hear people say they 'love' what they do, but I truly do."
With an archive of over 7,000 searchable images, licensing is another big revenue source for Ed. When an editorial client is interested in a particular image, they can get it immediately, from wherever they are.
Even if I'm away on an assignment, I have total access to my archives and can deliver images anywhere in the world. I don't need to have my laptop or hard drives. I simply use my iPhone, which is always with me.
In addition to his regular work with HBO, Ed is currently working on a project for ESPN.com on UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar as he trains for his next match in May. He is also shooting NHL games for US Presswire. He has learned to adjust his shooting style depending on the sport he is covering.
I feel that I'm still learning constantly, so things change quite often. 99% of my shooting is pro sports action, so I tend to vary my style a bit depending on the sport. I'm most known for my boxing/UFC/MMA work, so in those sports I tend to shoot as tight as possible to bring the focus where it should be: on the action.
Although there is more variety in the sports Ed covers nowadays, he will never turn his back on the boxing rings where he first made a name for himself. The connections he built there opened many unexpected doors. "I used to be frustrated that I was only offered boxing assignments," he admits, "but now that I look back, I think it was the best thing that could have happened."