NFL Photographer

Aaron Berkshire is a musician turned photographer. A creator who stumbled upon photography from his now wife. Immediately, he knew he had found something to obsess over, and over the course of his career has toured with bands like The Used, Sum 41, and Memphis May Fire. Aaron now works as a Podcaster, Creator, and NFL Photographer for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Q: What got you into photography?

A: I made it all the way to 26 before I picked up the camera... I was originally a musician, I was just in bands, and I played music, I played concerts, and my now wife became my Girlfriend in 2016. She had been a photographer since she was young and was shooting weddings. She was coming with me to see some of my shows, and she would take some pictures of me, and I thought they were so cool. So eventually, I just grabbed her camera, and I was like, “Hey can I go take pictures of my friends,” and she was like, “You don't even know what you're doing,” and thought, well, whatever it's on auto, I don't care, I'll learn eventually.

I did that for a while. As I started doing that, friends I was taking pictures of started offering me money, which was something that changed my outlook on life. I thought, wow, this toy, this thing, this piece of equipment, could actually be something bigger.

I kind of had a Superpower shooting musicians because I was a musician and I knew music. I understand music and felt like I could give these musicians photos that no one else could because I knew what they wanted. I wanted to be able to create something for rock stars. Something I never had. So that's where it all started.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you face on an NFL game day?

A: I would say some stuff happens too fast or too soon, too fast for me. It's nuts. Even though I'm good at running, even when I'm out there panting with all my stuff like it's insane. Something can happen so fast, and someplace you just miss, and it bums me out when I miss a moment or even catch something out of focus. 

Or just the challenge of not being fit enough. You're literally chasing around some of the freakiest athletes in the world. They eat so healthy and exercise so hard. I've been to some workouts and am amazed at the stuff they do like jumping really high on one foot. They're doing what they were meant to do, you know, the 1% of the 1%.

Being fit and staying in shape is such a huge thing (for this job), and a lot of people around our world and country have forgotten it's important. There's so much bad stuff out there for us, and I’m guilty of a lot of it too, but it really does take an effect on you.

The challenge is doing what's right for my body to be able to do what I love. There's a saying in the photography world and in the NFL, “If you get into sports photography, it’s all about luck. But if you're lucky enough to catch that moment, did you catch it in focus?” Also, being aware. You know, you never know what's gonna happen.

One of the top viewed videos of the NFL is a behind the scenes of Aaron Rodgers reacting to a field goal from a couple of years ago like he wasn't even a part of the play. My bosses told me in my interview that you have to remember every camera in the whole building, on national television, and every camera on the sideline is on the kicker or the quarterback. Everyone's looking at the play. Maybe look up to the side and watch somebody's reaction to something. That ended up being the reaction of Aaron Rodgers jumping up and down from someone who wasn't watching the play but looking for that different moment.

Q: How does NOMATIC gear lend itself to your workflow?

A: It's the best stuff I've ever had and I've been doing photography for eight years. Like, eight years and I've had a crap ton of bags and I don't have any of them anymore because there's no need, and the sling... I’ll start with the sling; you know, it’s a game changer. I saw it first when Peter announced it in his video. I didn't really know the details of what it was gonna be like. I just thought, Hey I love little side bags. I take a camera with me to Disney World every time I go with my wife, and I used to have a real flimsy, little itty bitty bag I had used for years.

But the sling is so unique in every way. I mean, all the little pockets inside for extra memory cards and batteries. I have literally fit my Canon R5 with the attached 85-millimeter lens, (which is a fat lens). Then next to it, standing up, my zoom lens. I've taken a full camera, two lenses with accessories, a phone, and a wallet, all in that little sling. When we go to Disney, we put so much in there, and it's so comfortable, and it never gets annoying in any way. I'm not trying to, you know, kiss butt or anything; it really is just a big GOAT of a bag.

I'm sure you’ve seen it many times at weddings; they have these straps, right? Two whole cameras go on me and straps. With other kinds of bags everything would get tangled and be really annoying and uncomfortable. Seven hours straight of having it all on gets hard, and it's heavy too. Now, I leave the heavy stuff in my backpack (25L) when I’m running around, and being able to have all my accessories and stuff in the sling around my back. It's perfect for what I do.

The travel backpack (35L), obviously, it’s the go-to for travel. Everything goes in the backpack. Before I had the backpack, I lost a MacBook in New York City on tour because I didn't have the right kind of spot or sleeve, and the way that I was touring with my stuff, I put my luggage inside an uber and I was literally holding my laptop in my hands because I had no place for it. I think I bought a couple of Funko Pops and T-shirts while I was on tour for a month. No place for luggage; I was fully packed. 

I lost an M1 Mac, a three-and-a-half-thousand-dollar laptop, from being a dummy. I was so tired. It was 2am at the airport, and I literally cried and called my wife. My wife had already ordered me a new one by the time I got home. She's the best wife ever.

After that, I got the 35L McKinnon backpack, and I've done two tours since with it. I take it to every football game, and I take it to every shoot. I do everything with the backpack. It’s been such a game-changer. It's a resource for a photographer with all the different spots and the different things you can do with it. It’s built for whatever you need. I will say that it is durable, I've already put it through hell already, and It's tough.

You guys make the best gear. You guys are the GOAT, when it comes to marketing your product and everything about the details. It makes me want to challenge myself. You guys are all creators, too, even though it's gear. We're all creators in our own way.

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