Alumni Spotlight: Kara Durrette, Atlanta Falcons Photography Manager

Kara Durrette is a former USC visual communications student with an eye for capturing some of sports’ greatest moments. Through this Q&A, Kara explains in detail how she became the Photo Manager and Digital Team Photographer for the Atlanta Falcons. All women looking to make their mark in the world will gain invaluable advice and information from a woman who has already made her own and discusses her journey in the interview below.

HCSC: When did you attend USC, and what were you involved in on campus?

KD: I was a Visual Communications major, minoring in Media Arts. I was in the trombone studio for two years and a member of the Carolina Band for four-ish years. I quit during my junior year to do more photography, but came back my senior year. I joined Kappa Kappa Psi my sophomore year, while also enjoying writing and taking photographs for The Daily Gamecock for three years.

HCSC: Where do you currently work?

KD: I am currently the Photo Manager for the Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Atlanta United and I’m the digital team photographer for the Atlanta Falcons.

HCSC: What was your first internship or job, and how did it lead to the position you are in now?

KD: My first internship was a graphic and web design position with the Palmetto Conservation Foundation. I went to a career fair hosted by USC and ended up getting that internship. I really enjoyed it and learned skills I still use today. I wouldn’t say that job was a direct lead into my current position, but by having the experience, other doors were opened that helped my journey.

HCSC: What is it like to work for a sports team? Did you always know that was the industry you wanted to go in?

KD: It’s definitely my dream job right now. It’s fun and also challenging. When I was younger, I wanted to be a news photojournalist.

HCSC: How do you balance family and your career?

KD: You just make it work. My career advice in No. 8 [below] also applies here. I also work for a company that lets me put family first, which is a really big deal.

HCSC: What advice would you give to current female students about to graduate and go into the workforce?

KD: Don’t be afraid to go for what you want. Don’t give up when you hear “no” dozens of times. If you aren’t where you want be, take small steps to that goal – for example, ask what can I do today to better myself for that next opportunity. This could be learning a new skill on your own time, taking on freelance work, taking on a second job. Just go for it!

HCSC: What has been one of your favorite memories while working with the Falcons?

KD: There are SO many. My favorites are actually the people I have shared the memories with. When you spend this much time together, you become family. If I had to pick a specific moment today – it was actually the Divisional Round game of the playoffs this year against the Seahawks. That was my first NFL playoff game.

HCSC: Do you have any advice for girls wanting to go into your field?

KD: My advice to anyone wanting to go into this field is be willing to do more, be kind, and start now. Especially if you are in school, use the resources available to you to get your hands on a camera. Find contests to enter online. Find events to cover. Work for the paper when you can. Find a mentor who will give you feedback on your portfolio – and listen to them. There are tons of ways to get started!

HCSC: What are your future plans?

KD: I love what I do and I hope to do it as long as possible. I want to keep pushing limits and improve my storytelling abilities. You can always get better.

HCSC: What is the one thing that strongly defines who you are?

KD: A Gamecock, duh! But really, I think I just want to be defined as consistent. I want to be the best mom I can be, the best friend I can be, the best photographer I can be and I want to do that all the time.  

The photo above is just one of the many amazing photos Durrette has taken. She truly is an inspiration, not only to photographers, but to all the go-getters and women who are looking to leave their mark on the world.