Sacred Heart College's Tyson Coe watches a shot on goal narrowly miss against Rostrevor College. Picture: Maya Thompson

SINCE launching the Footy Focus competition in 2019, we have unearthed some amazing talent across Australia and even abroad. Here we take a look at some photographers to watch in #FootyFocus22!  

Charlie Lowson, Alice Springs 

I live in the beautiful red centre of Australia in Alice Springs (Mparntwe). I love to capture moments for people. I enjoy the positivity around sports, capturing our Indigenous mob here bettering themselves on field, and highlighting some truly amazing talent. I also enjoy mentoring young photographer; I used to have a spare camera in the car, and I would help two young Indigenous lads who were keen to learn. 

The wider Alice Springs community really enjoy the photos, especially the remote mob who travel hundreds of kilometres each week to play in town. There are a lot of participants and families at the grounds and not one camera. We also have a unique competition here that rarely gets highlighted so it was a great opportunity to share the talent of the red centre.  

For me, Footy Focus is an opportunity to look at capturing your local grassroots level a little differently, giving amateurs and semi-professionals a platform to be recognised and a tool to network with other photographers who share the same passion. It also opened up the opportunity to be mentored by AFL photographers. 

The talent around the country is amazing. I didn't even have a photography Instagram page until the competition. I set one up and then started following the other photographers and commenting on some of their awesome work.  

Charlie's Instagram: @charlielowson

2021 winner, Maya Thompson, aged 18, Adelaide 

The community element of this competition makes it so great. From Footy Focus, I had learnt that football really does tie people together, creating a common theme of community for so many people, which allows for the images entered to be relatable and reflect one's own football experience. I have really enjoyed cultivating friendships with the other photographers, which I believe is testament to the nature of the competition. 

I was so overwhelmed and just at a loss for words when I received the call that I had won! I was so grateful for the exposure of my image during the competition that it felt like that was enough of a prize. The month between entering and receiving the winning call was the biggest whirlwind, as I was juggling Year 12 and would often find out from other people that my photo was featured on the AFL Instagram!  

Footy Focus 2021 winner Maya Thompson photographing St Kilda v Collingwood in round one, 2022

The experience of an AFL match on the sidelines was the highlight for me, it was amazing to capture the game up close! It was really cool to learn how much multitasking and behind-the-scenes work that AFL photographers Michael (Willson) and Dylan (Burns) have to undergo during a match. 

MAYA'S BIG NIGHT OUT Check out Footy Focus 2021 winner's work with the pros

Shooting footy makes me feel like I can positively contribute to the great game of Aussie rules. I get so much joy from shooting footy and how it can bring another perspective of the game. I have gained a greater appreciation for not only football, but also photography itself, which can be simultaneously very frustrating and rewarding. I hope that I can continue to enjoy shooting footy as much as I do now, well into the future.  

Maya's Instagram: @midfieldphotog 

Josh Chadwick, aged 18, Melbourne 

The joy and immense satisfaction of capturing a truly great image is an amazing feeling. To be able to connect with fellow sports photographers from all over Australia to share thoughts and gain feedback, support and advice is what makes Footy Focus special. 

Through Footy Focus I was given the opportunity to shoot the Big Freeze. It was a privilege to be part of and to work in a collaborative environment with Michael and Dylan, and to cover a variety of angles and content for editorial purposes which was a great learning experience for the future. Sports photography is a very competitive industry with limited opportunities, so you need to be persistent and make the most of any opportunities you are given.  

Instagram: @jchadphotos 

#FootyFocus22, thanks to Toyota, is now open for entries! Here's your chance to shadow and shoot with Michael Willson and Dylan Burns at a game in 2023.  We want to see your photos that capture the essence of our great game at a grassroots level. To enter, share your best community footy photos taken during 2022 on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter tagging #FootyFocus22 or upload to: