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For more than thirty-five years, June Harrison has photographed the action of professional tennis and scores of sporting activities. Her all-outdoor work has lead her to cover unique tourism destinations, architecture, landscape and garden design as well as industrial and construction projects along with people working on the job. Her Fame Face portfolio includes athletes, celebrities, leaders, legends, performers and VIPs. 

June’s images of Bjorn Borg, Michael Chang and Billie Jean King appeared in the American Express 2000 US Open advertising campaign on pins and postcards, billboards, bus wraps, subway platform posters and the New York City Metro Card.  Her ever-popular Billie Jean King image floated through the American Express membersproject.com commercial in 2008.

June appeared as herself in the 1977 TV commercial for Canon Camera along side champion John Newcombe, winner of Wimbledon, the Australian and US Open.
She has been profiled in Shutterbug Magazine’s ‘Women in Photography’ and interviewed for Petersen’s Photographic. June has lectured for Eastman Kodak, been featured In Kodak’s PRO PASS On-Line Magazine and done guest photo safaris for the NCL cruise line in Europe and the Caribbean. She has taught Robert Fritz’s Technologies for Creating® - a course in the mastery of the creative process - and has an active consultation practice.
Her photographs of the greatest champions of the game are in the galleries and permanent collection of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum in Newport, Rhode Island, as well as corporate and private art collections.
For her industrial clients, she creates large-scale graphics for lobby and boardroom. Her sports mugs were licensed by Toscany and made an appearance with Sidney Poitier in his opening scene in the movie Little Nikita.

Action Photography Tips

Making Action Portraits

Whether done by a pro or someone sitting on the sidelines of a school soccer game, action portraits require a fast shutter speed and accurate focusing on the interplay of athletes – whether 2 or 4 legged. Even at a distance – and much of Polo and Soccer are seemingly played in the next county – you can watch through the lens so you are ready when the action comes closer and it’s Game On. Learning the game and what the athletes are required to do to come up winners, is important.

© June Harrison

Be ready for the unexpected. Stay with the action until the athlete is down and out. If they are still pushing themselves, so should you. When they turn their board into ballet, you will be there.

© June Harrison

Patience and Perseverance

After shooting from the sideline photo pit, I like to go up to the top of the arena to change my vantage point. Seeing the ball played from above gives me a whole new appreciation to the difficulty involved and a chance to see Roger Federer’s true grace in action from a more ‘heavenly’ perspective.

© June Harrison

The image of Rafael Nadal from above Arthur Ashe Stadium demonstrates a good lesson. When the ground strokes are done, often the player’s tightly held emotions erupt. This winning gesture is a combination of gratitude, relief and exhaustion. Until the athlete’s energy level drops, stay with them.

That includes the pickup football game or a varsity playoff. Your patience and perseverance will be rewarded. It is often called a ‘lucky shot’ - especially by those who take the camera away from their eye a moment too soon.
© June Harrison

Go for the Dramatic Moment

As every horse and rider comes leaping over the jump in Steeplechase, they all have to stick the landing. Rather than shooting the sprint to the finish, I chose to focus on that dramatic and tense moment for a race or two.


© June Harrison

A small self- assignment within a day’s coverage keeps the eye sharp and provides specific proof of the sport’s distinctive challenges.

With the hunt off mostly out of view, over hill and dale, to get the flavor of the event you have to shoot the early morning gathering, preparation and rituals. Fall foliage and the rider’s red coats provide spectacular color. The excitement of the hounds – the sound effects – you will just have to imagine for yourselves.
© June Harrison

The Everyday “Sport”

Not all sports images are about dynamic action or competition to the death. Summer time relaxation and teenage teamwork here on a wind-swept lake are spiced up by bright bathing suit colors and celebrate the measured gestures of steering and paddling. You don’t have to pay to see this kind of event or to shoot it either. It’s everywhere and makes great practice.
© June Harrison

Before the Action Starts

Effective leisure images often don’t even need people to tell a sweet story. On the lake in the light of dusk, where just hours before the water was filled with kids, the camp rowboat now floats in peace.
The water, mirror-still, tells the tale. A 1/500th of a second shutter speed matched with a shallow depth of field, makes the background go soft and allows what is in careful focus to be a helpful design element, carrying the eye across the image.
© June Harrison

Haze and Fog

Photographers get up early and stay late, no matter what the weather conditions are! Haze and fog make for a pretty blue, white and black palette giving a chance to concentrate on composition.
© June Harrison

Colorful and Complicated

Come back for more. If you see a subject-rich location that promises further exploration – make it a keeper. Here’s the Newport Harbor on another early morning – but with a whole new range of colors and more complicated patterns to play with.
© June Harrison


When shooting at sunset, give the sun itself placement for context and purpose. Make it serve the image and a valuable part of the story. No more tropical sunsets on endless ocean. You know exactly what I mean.
© June Harrison

Magic and Romance of Rain

I don’t recommend photographing in the rain (bad for cameras!)... so wait until it stops and then shoot quickly. That is when the magic and romance happen.

Red Roses at The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland, UK shimmer with raindrops and newly watered plants in a nursery in the Hamptons have turned into an enchanting fairyland. This unique beauty doesn’t last very long – so shoot in the soft light after the storm and before the sun comes back out to make it disappear. You’ll have a memory to keep and magical images to share.
© June Harrison
© June Harrison

Plan Ahead

Plan ahead; know where to be when the action comes by. Get as close as you can and then be patient as you wait in the perfect place to capture the bike riders coming into view. Shoot to tell the competitive story. The tilted wooden slats of the Velodrome gives a clean background for this duel and a shutter speed of 1/1500 of a second stops the action cold.

© June Harrison

The same techniques used for the bike race helps make this image of irrigation wheels work. Setting up the ideal composition with fog for background, then watching and waiting for the water spray action made for an atmospheric image. The grass is as perfect and lush as Wimbledon.


© June Harrison

The Best Tip: Fill the Frame

Make it rich and full with content, color and composition.

© June Harrison
© June Harrison

More about June:  

Publications include: Sports Illustrated, Tennis Magazine, People, Parade, More, The New York Times, NY Daily News Sunday Magazine, Tennis Match, Signature, Sport, World Tennis, Sports Front, Veja, Opera News, Bunte Illustrated, London Daily Telegraph, Womensports, Young Miss, and the US Open Programs.
She is Co-Author with Peter Bodo of Inside Tennis: A Season on the Pro Tour (Dell, 1979) and a Contributing Photographer to the following books:
The Greater New York Sports Chronology by Jeffrey Kroessler, PhD. (Columbia University Press, October 2009)
No Way, Renee: The 2nd Half of My Notorious Life by Renee Richards (Simon & Schuster, 2008)
Game Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like? (Random House, 2001)
Venus & Serena Williams: Sisters in Arms by Mark Stewart (Bittersweet Press, 2000)
Get in the Game: Careers for Women Who Love Sports by Robin Roberts (Millbrook, 2000)
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Tennis by Trish Faulkner & Vivian Lemelman (Macmillan, 1999)
Martina Navratilova (Career Commemorative - Private Printing, La Familia, Barcelona, 1992)
Playing the Racquets: A Six Sport How-To by Carol Morgenstern (Dell, 1979)
June’s solo exhibitions include On the Ball: A 25 Year Retrospective, sponsored by Grace Woman Magazine, and the 2005 duo of Taste of Place: Travels and First Serve: Tennis Champions, produced by Eastman Kodak in New York City.
At the same time, she was one of 15 long-time tennis shooters contributing to Passing Shots: Photographer’s Perspectives on Tennis, a group show created by the International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum, featured at US OPEN Gallery within Louis Armstrong Stadium at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center. It is now a traveling installation.
June Harrison is currently working on Captions from the Court – a book of tennis recollections, featuring never before seen images. She’s inviting contributors. Be there!
Her photographs of THE ALNWICK GARDEN in stunning Northumberland, UK - the newest garden in Europe in the last 100 years - will be published in the March 2010 issue of HORTICULTURE MAGAZINE.
June’s KODAK SLIDE library – being lovingly scanned to DIGITAL and aptly named BOOKMARKING TIME, contains thousands of images of world travel, sporting lives, Mother Nature: weather, horticulture and food. This wide variety of lyrical subjects is available for advertising, editorial and product development.
The TILE CLUB COLLECTION of ART TILES FOR DECOR – both singletons and custom multi-tile murals - grows daily - and has been created for home kitchen and bath projects, as well as architects in the restaurant, hospitality, hospital and marine industries. All are available at www.juneharrison.com where she invites all inquires. E-mail: june@juneharrison.com.