I had the chance to sit down with Chad Lominick of Tennis Panorama during the Western & Southern Tournament, in August. Sports photography has always been a hobby that has piqued my interest, especially in today’s day and age where social media plays such a big role in building athletes’ brands. Instagram and Twitter more specifically have created an avenue for athletes and photographers to even further promote their craft. High school, college, and professional athletes all athletes crave a quality picture or video to post from their competition to post. Chad is an up and coming photographer in the tennis world that got in the game a couple years ago and has already seen a ton of success. It’s likely that your favorite tennis player has already shared one of his photographs on Instagram or Twitter.
- Works for a government agency full-time in Columbia, South Carolina
- Counseling & Psychology degrees
- Big tennis and sports fan in general
- Tournaments shot: Fed Cup in Asheville, Delray Beach, Miami, Charleston, Charleston ITF, Atlanta, DC, Savannah, Cary, Cincinnati and U.S. Open
- Why photography? Chad wanted to connect his background & love of tennis/photography
Nate Walroth: So, how’d you start?
Chad Lominick: “After purchasing the needed equipment about two and a half – three years ago, I went to Fed Cup in Asheville (2018). Was able to get shots of Venus and Serena Williams as well as other players on the team. Even had the opportunity to photograph up and coming players Coco Gauff and Whitney Osiguwe. A month after that, I attended the Miami tournament. I wasn’t credentialed for either, I went as a fan. Soon after, I had some media outlets reach out to me asking if I would cover events for them.”
NW: What made you want to try this out? Did you know your craft would be in such high demand?
CL: “When I was able to start taking more time off from my full-time career a few years ago, I was able to start attending tennis tournaments. After going to a few tournaments and falling in love with live tennis, I was aiming to do two things: First, I wanted to capture the beauty of the tournaments and the emotions experienced by the players with higher quality pictures. And secondly, I wanted to get photos of players I followed, give them more exposure, as well as photograph players who may not be as well-known. I realized that a number of players on the tours seem to get less coverage and some really good players weren’t getting quality pictures.”
NW: What was your game plan? Did you have one?
CL: “Basically, I stuck with my goals – Find the players, practices and matches I wanted to cover and put the pictures on social media, Twitter and Instagram, for folks to see. Get the practice and match schedules and map out the day, you know? Shortly after a day or two of taking and posting pictures, I began getting hit up by a number of players and teams, saying they appreciated my pics and asked if they could use them. A number of them asked if I could stop by a practice session or a match and get more photos. Even though I’d had connections with some of the players before, it was a little surreal to get messages from them. As the Miami tournament and others tournaments in 2018 went on, I started to realize the goals I had set for myself were actually starting to be met. Not at the level I wanted it to, but it was kind of played out more quickly than I had imagined.”
NW: Who was the first to ask you to come shoot?
CL: “Ahhhh…the first person. Not 100% sure, but I know Donald Young was one of the first. YIM Life for the win. Frances Tiafoe’s team also hit me up around the same time. I had already known Frances a little bit, but we started to get even closer at that point (2018). So, that’s when I started doing it. Chris Eubanks as well. So, that’s when things started rolling. From the beginning, I had a connection with the next gen male players. Donald Young is not necessarily next gen, but he’s a legend (laughs). In his own right.”
NW: Legend in his own right. Can you explain your answer?
CL: “A number of younger black male tennis players will mention Donald’s name when they discuss players they remembered and looked up to growing up. How impactful it was to have his presence on the tour. Plus, he brought a different style to the game that a lot of kids liked… and they wanted to watch and emulate him. Serena and Venus have been paving paths on the women’s side for threedecades but in the 2000s there weren’t many black male tennis players. Donald’s presence was important for a lot of folks.”
NW: What motivates you? What do you love about what you do?
CL: “It doesn’t hurt that I could watch live tennis all day long and I love being at tournaments. But even more importantly, I have gained an even greater respect for the players. I love capturing their big moments and emotions out there, as well as their athleticism. I like capturing the smaller moments too, when they’re interacting with each other, their teams, etc. I appreciate that they seem to like what I’m doing and are very receptive of it. It’s a little rewarding to feel the love so to speak and get the positive feedback. When you see the teams and players share your photos, it’s a pretty cool feeling – and it brings some joy that they appreciate the time I take and the quality of my work. Reminds me that I’m achieving the goal I set out to accomplish. Giving them the exposure. It’s fulfilling – and motivating. “
NW: When did you begin working for your current employer Tennis Panorama?
CL: “Though I did work for other outlets in 2018, I’ve mostly covered tournaments and events for Tennis Panorama since last year’s US Open. Karen, Editor-in-Chief and founder of Tennis Panorama, first asked me to cover Taste of Tennis, which is held during the week of US Open qualifiers. It wound up being on the same night that Chris Eubanks was playing Felix Auger-Aliassime, two players I normally shoot and who I genuinely root for. It was a match I had looked forward to since the draw was released. I was like, wow, this is a test. Taste of Tennis or Chris v Felix (laughs). I made the right choice though. Taste of Tennis was a wonderful experience and Tennis Panaroma has been great to me ever since. They’ve given me many opportunities, especially this year. And Chris and Felix will be around for years to come. “
NW: How do you travel?
CL: “Most of the trips that I make, I just drive. South Carolina to Cincinnati is about eight hours, about the same from South Carolina to Miami. It’s just easier to get around with my camera equipment in my vehicle. Cheaper too. I fly to the US Open and if I have the opportunity to cover tournaments farther away in the future, I’ll fly of course.”
NW: How do you choose who you are going to shoot each day? I’ve noticed some players tagging you quite a bit. & who have you enjoyed shooting and interacting with?
CL: “For the most part, I have a number of players who I have shot before. So, when the schedule comes out, I go to their matches and practices first and try to get pics of other courts as the schedule and location allows. I like to get pictures of a number of American players, as well, and I try to cover the most interesting matches, the ones with the most buzz.
It makes it a lot easier when you’re doing it for players that you appreciate and enjoy being around. You want to promote them well because you genuinely like them. I’ve also been contacted by other players that I haven’t always followed. So, I’m following them more now and I’ve become a fan of theirs, as well. I like to highlight the hitting partners, trainers and coaches as well as the players and all my experiences with the teams have been positive.
I’ve covered Nick (Kyrgios) a lot lately, especially in DC. He had a great run there, winning the title. And his doubles partnership with Tsitsipas created a lot of buzz. So, it was nice to capture those moments. And we have a good rapport. Coco Gauff and her team are great too. Always welcoming and engaging. Loved covering her and Caty McNally’s run to the title last week (opens up Instagram & pulls up a McCoco pic from DC). Felix, Frances, Chris, Michael Mmoh, Mackie McDonald, Noah Rubin… All are great. Borna Coric too. He’s always super appreciative and gives me shout outs on social media.Miami was awesome this year, with Felix, Frances and Borna all having good runs.And I’d be remiss if I left out Venus and Serena, two legends I always get pumped to shoot.”
NW: What’s been the coolest thing a player has told you?
CL: “When they tell me that I am bringing something new with my pictures. Or they tell me my pics are fire, those pics are dope, or that they always like them or something supportive. It’s cool. All the players want something for the Gram, even if it’s not a recent photo. Being asked by the player or their team to come shoot practice is always a cool opportunity. I enjoy the behind the scenes work.”
NW: Thoughts on Cincinnati’s tournament?
CL: “I like it a lot. It’s one of the first big events that I started coming to. It’s like a mini U.S. Open.
NW: You’re killing the game so far. Pretty cool you are able to help grow a sport you enjoy with your content.
CL: “I appreciate that. To hear you or anyone say I am having any type of impact doing this is…. it’s humbling. I just never look at it like that. I’ve heard some other people say something similar, but to me, it’s just me taking pictures.”
NW: When you started did you know that you would be communicating with players and teams?
CL: “No, I didn’t expect it to take off so quickly. I didn’t expect to connect with the players on a regular basis. They had to learn to trust me and vice versa. It’s been pretty cool to see and feel that happen, but I didn’t expect it. I didn’t expect myself to be at all these tournaments and pretty much get a little addicted to it.”
NW: So, will you pursue this full time?
CL: “I hope I am laying the groundwork for something in the future, but I don’t know exactly what that is. It would be great to do something you have a passion for down the road. Being on the grounds from 9/9:30 AM until midnight or whenever play stops… To then go back to the hotel or AirBnB and edit for two-three more hours. It’s a lot. But it’s invigorating as well. I enjoy the grind and have a passion for it. I think if I continue to get my name out there and gain a little respect along the way it could be in the cards. I’m very fortunate to be able to do this with a full-time job and thankful that I have the opportunity to do it. I’d love for it to continue.”
check out CCSnaps13 on IG & CCSmooth13 on Twitter to see Chad’s awesome work 📸