Capturing success on the professional playing fields

CMU alumna makes quick ascent to MLB/NHL photographer

| Author: Jason Fielder | Media Contact: Jason Fielder

CMU Alumna Monica Bradburn (BS, Photojournalism ’18) has a career most sports fans can only dream of. Bradburn works as a live content creator for MLB and a live social contributor for NHL. The jobs include taking photos inside Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena during Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings home games.

“Every game, I photograph both teams. I take photos throughout the games and continually send those images to the league’s social team so that they can use them immediately,” Bradburn says.

Woman with sandy brown hair wearing a blue shirt and black pants is crouching in front of a dugout with a camera in front of her face.
Monica Bradburn takes a photograph during a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park.

In addition to the photographs she takes for professional teams, Bradburn has also built a large following on social media by posting behind-the-scenes videos and photos of athletes while on the job. On TikTok, she currently has over 700,000 followers and over 10 million likes; on Instagram, she has more than 100,000 followers.

“I'm working with these baseball players every single day,” Bradburn says. “They know who I am. And I’m capturing those little moments where they're talking to me or messing with me, and I post those on my social media. People love it.”

This is a panoramic picture from the upper deck level inside Comerica Park in Detroit, facing the ball field with a woman in the foreground holding a camera in front of her face.
Monica Bradburn takes a panoramic photograph from the upper deck level inside Comerica Park.

Bradburn’s always known that she wanted to be a professional photographer, but her time at CMU made her realize she wanted to pursue sports photography.

“My junior and senior years, I worked for Chippewa Athletics. I was photographing sporting events, and there was nothing like it. The first time I walked into McGuirk Arena, it was a men's basketball game, and it was just packed with students. I was like, ‘This is the coolest thing ever.’ So that's where I really fell in love with sports. And I knew that that was what I wanted to do.”

After Bradburn graduated in 2018, she applied to sports photography internships nationwide and quickly landed a role with the Arizona Diamondbacks. After gaining some experience, she began to feel homesick and eventually landed a job with Major League Baseball as a photographer at Detroit Tigers home games. She has since picked up a part-time job doing photography at Detroit Red Wings home games for the National Hockey League.

Woman with sandy brown hair wearing a jacket, white shirt, and black pants walks in front of a dugout while carrying a camera on a tripod.
Monica Bradburn walks with her camera equipment on the playing field at Comerica Park.

Bradburn credits her time at Central for not only helping her land her job but also helping shape her perspective as she went from a student to a professional.

“I grew as a person, not only career wise, but also just being a decent human and learning what values were important to me. I was in the Leadership Safari program. I did that every year at Central, and I got to lead a group of freshmen every year. I also learned valuable lessons from the sorority I was in. I got to meet a bunch of great people. I'm so thankful for Central and my time there.”

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