In the next of our series of interviews looking at inspiring women & girls' participating in football for #HereGirlsCan 2020, we speak to Helen Warwick.
Many of those involved in Herefordshire football will recognise Helen from the sidelines at grounds across the county and beyond where she volunteers as a match photographer. If you don't, chances are you will have seen some of her excellent photography on social media and in the local press. There is more to football than just playing, and speaking to Helen it is clear that there are hugely rewarding roles for those who want to do something different than take to the pitch and play.
Hi Helen, thanks for taking the time to speak to us - What was your involvement in football before you started photographing matches?
I’ve had an interest in football from a young age and used to be a goal keeper for Cheltenham Belles back when women’s football was not as big as it is now. Between playing and me starting photography, I’ve always watched games on the tv. It is great for both fans and clubs that more and more women’s games are being televised.
What does it mean for you to be a female in sport?
I feel proud to be a female in sport, even if I am not playing, as I am contributing to all of the sports that I cover as a photographer, capturing moments and memories to show people throughout the world that women’s sport is massive and growing every year.
Why do you like giving up your time to volunteer in football?
The reason why I like to give up my time to photograph football is because I am combining my passion for sport with the passion and love I have for photography. Also, I have a very demanding job as a chef and photography gives me down time and helps me to unwind from the pressures of work. The biggest buzz I get from volunteering my time is the appreciation I get teams, particularly the smaller clubs who don’t have the budget to pay photographers like bigger clubs do. I have to admit that Hereford FC Women are the main team I focus on and since I joined them they have become like a second family; the team, managers and parents all appreciate the time and effort that I put in. They always credit me when photos are put up on their social media pages and generally make me feel part of the team which gives me a sense of pride to be alongside them when I can be.
What are your ambitions or goals for volunteering in football?
My ambition is to be able to take my passion and love for
photography as a hobby and turn it in to something I do for a living,
however that is a work in progress. As for goals in football I will be
sticking with Hereford FC for the foreseeable future, but with the
Women’s Euro’s 2021 being held in this country I will applying for
media accreditation for some of the matches. I would also like to
attend more WSL matches, especially Chelsea FC Women as I am a Chelsea
fan at heart.
Do you have a favourite photo you have taken?
Many people have asked if I have a favourite photo. The answer I always give is I have many favourites over a range of different teams not just those that are Hereford based. I have to say photos that I always like are of players jumping for the ball, or when I catch them in tackles with their feet are off the ground so they look like there flying.
What tips would you give to someone just starting out or thinking about taking up football photography?
Tips I would give someone starting out in football photography is research your settings, the type of kit you’ll need and best positions to sit in for shots. Find yourself a local team and talk to them to get to know them and their style of play. Take any opportunities that you can and get out and practice as much as possible. Get to know other photographers, follow them on social media and also be open and speak to people when at games whether they be parents, local papers or people that are writing match reports or doing blogs.
There are countless volunteer roles within football across Herefordshire and local clubs are always grateful for new volunteers! If you are looking to support your local community, add to your CV or for a fun and rewarding way to be involved in football then volunteering is definitely something to consider. From photography, to working behind a bar or helping mark the pitches - there really is a role for everyone. For help and guidance on finding a voluntary role at a club near you please contact:
phone: 01432 342179
See more of Helen's fantastic photos here
Thanks to Helen Warwick for taking the time to speak to us about volunteering in football