Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

FSU Sports Through a Camera Lens: An Interview With Melina Myers

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Both a faculty member and sports photographer for Florida State University, Melina Myers knows how to capture athletes, coaches and fans in action. When not freelancing or partaking in other forms of photography, she is present at various FSU games, aiming to show the passion and dedication of every person there. Her work has been published in magazines such as USA Today. I had the opportunity to speak with Myers and learn more about her life in the sports photography world.

Her Campus (HC): How long have you been a sports photographer for both Florida State University (FSU) and beyond?

Melina Myers (MM): Since 2009. I got my start by working at the Florida State school paper! The FSView! So, I was their photo editor for about a year. I worked for them before that as well, but that’s where I got my start.

HC: You would take photos and they would publish them in the FSU paper, and that’s what kickstarted your career?

MM: Yeah, I was one of their staff photographers. Every student can try and be part of the paper. They hire you and assign you to certain things, and that’s how I got assigned to my first football game.

HC: Where does your love for sports photography come from? As in, what was the moment where you realized you were very interested in it and that it was what you wanted to do?

MM: I’m not sure if it was a specific moment. I’ve kind of always loved sports my whole life. The idea of being able to combine it with photography’s cool. What’s unique about sports photography is you never know what’s going to happen. It’s cool to be able to say “[I] don’t know what’s going to happen.” You have to take pictures of things as they’re happening. As other people are finding out what’s happening at the same time and the seconds over, it’s over. It’s that “make or break” situation that kind of makes it exciting. I do every type of photography, but I love sports for sure. I’ve liked sports since I was a kid.

HC: When anyone looks at the photos you take at FSU football games, shots of Seminole fans in the stands are always included in the albums. What would you say you’re trying to achieve with those photos?

MM: Emotion. Atmosphere. My job is not only to get the action on the field but also what it feels like to be in that stadium at that moment. It includes the band, the cheerleaders, the fans and any sort of weird situation that happens. I’m there to cover the news, and it is mostly on the football field but all around it, as well. Anytime there’s a big play and I don’t necessarily have players in view, I’ll swing around and get the fans cheering and reacting. Even if there’s a not-so-good play, you got to get their emotion. But that’s all part of the job.

HC: What are your strategies for achieving the perfect photos of athletes in action?

MM: I focus on the ball unless of course there’s a specific player like a defensive lineman and I need to get an isolated shot. Just being able to follow that is key. I always tell photographers who are starting out that they want to look for eyes and the ball. If you can’t see either one of those two things, it’s not a great action photo. Other stuff kind of depends on the play because there’s running plays and passing plays. There’s a lot of strategies based on the type of throw, type of play and also realizing that the play is not over when the whistle blows. Players can be happy or [mad], and it all happens when that whistle blows.

HC: You had the incredible opportunity of photographing the Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida. What was it like?

MM: That was COVID-19. A lot of things were up in the air. I found out a week before that I might be able to go, but then we didn’t hear anything and that it wasn’t going to happen. Then, the day before the Super Bowl, I got a call from my boss saying, “You’re going.” It was insane. I threw my stuff in my bag, I drove down to Tampa, and I did it all by myself. It was about eight miles of walking that day. It was overwhelming and an experience. But it was nice because the photographers were all relegated to the stands since there were fewer fans. We were allowed to be in the first five rows and walk all the way around! I would describe it as “I can’t believe I did that.” I’m really happy that I did it because now I can say I photographed the Super Bowl.

HC: The FSU vs. LSU football game was this past Sunday, Sep. 4. Students, staff, alumni and sports channels have been talking about its phenomenal ending that left Seminole fans cheering proudly. What was it like photographing such an exciting game?

MM: Being there in the Superdome was unique in and of its own. I think it was the sixth NFL stadium I’d ever photographed in. I felt like [FSU] dominated that game until that ending where [we] were unsure. [They] fumbled the ball, and I had all these happy photos, thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to use them anymore. [LSU] got the ball, I went to the other end with them, and they scored that touchdown. Then, [they] went to kick that extra point and missed it. I didn’t know what happened from where I was because I had an angle where I couldn’t see the block. Players were running everywhere, so I started doing what we call “spraying and praying”, taking photos but you don’t know what of! I went out to the endzone, turned around, and got some [photos] of the fans cheering in the stands. I had to take a breath, too. It’s tough to stay composed when you’re invested in the game. It was a lot of fun; I had a great time.

Want to see more HCFSU? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Pinterest!

Olivia Dumornay is a Junior at Florida State University majoring in Media and Communication Studies and minoring in Sociology. She is currently an Associate Editor for Her Campus at FSU, where she oversees a group of staff writers, edits their submitted articles on a weekly schedule prior to publishing, and more. You can find Olivia rambling about K-Pop and other favorite music artists of hers, films, makeup and fashion trends, and more. She spends her free time dancing, re-watching her "comfort" shows, and going out with friends and family.