I have just a few pictures from my days playing Little League and high school soccer.
Just a couple mediocre same ol' same ol' pics from this incredibly formative experience I had that helped make me who I am today.
Just a few pics of the friends and teammates along the way, many of whom I haven't seen in so long.
This time in a young athlete's life is so important ... to them and to you.
You're their No. 1 fan. You rush them around to practices and games, make sure they have a full water bottle, pay for their entry fee so they can play on clubs ... and all the freakin' laundry?
That's why I thought today is a good day to go over all the surprising reasons why high quality athlete portraits, like the kind I make here at Creative Sports Photography, matter so much.
They signal what your family's athlete means to you
When you take the time and spend the resources on an athlete portrait experience, you are telling your child or teenager what they mean to you.
It's a strong signal that you understand how important playing and competing are to your child.
You're saying that your child or teenager is worth a heckuva lot more than mediocre pictures teams get season after season (the same ones everyone else gets too, so why not get something unique?).
They can help build self-esteem and self-worth
Imagine how it would feel for your child or teenager to see a large, poster-sized framed print of them playing the sport they live displayed prominently in a house or office.
Imagine if your family's athlete had a collection of images that perfectly capture how they see themselves.
Every athlete imagines how they'll play in a big game or who they are as a competitor, but most of us never see those inner thoughts.
But great, dynamic, elite athlete portraits are meant to showcase how they see themselves.
And if you hire an athlete portrait artist, you're signaling to your child how much you understand them.
Can be given as gifts
Yup, you're your daughter or son's No. 1 fan. You're their parent.
There are grandparents too. Other family members.
And great athlete portraits when printed or published on a keepsake (like a coffee mug) make great gifts to those who are fans of your child or teenager, too.
No more wasting time and money
It's the worst. Ain't it? When we waste time and money.
So tell me ... when you buy pictures from a team photographer, do you feel it's money well-spent?
Or do those images just end up in a desk drawer or a box in a storage closet?
Heck, does the photographer even let you see the images before you buy? How do you know they're going to be worth spending money on?
When you hire a professional photographer who has developed his or her own method of creative athlete portraiture, you can have confidence that you'll have images you actually want.
They Celebrate Your Child's Accomplishments and Personality
There's joy in an athlete portrait experience.
They're meant to help an athlete relax and be themselves, as opposed to the assembly line of annual team photos (you know, when the photographer says to every player "Stand here, hold the ball like this, now smile, NEXT!).
When you work with a professional portrait photographer for just an hour, someone who respects and understands the athlete in front of the lens, you'll be amazed at the results.
Great athlete portraits bring out a child or teenager's unique personality.
Great athlete portraits bring out just what playing means to them.
Especially when they've reached a career milestone like making the varsity team or breaking a team scoring record.
This might be the most important reason
I can't think of anything more important to say than this -- because this time is irreplaceable.
Playing days end. They do for everyone at some point. No more bus rides with friends and teammates. No more pulling on that uniform. No more chasing glory under the stadium lights.
Your child or teenager will grow up.
What will endure from these days of play - playing a sport and competing in something they love unconditionally?
I can't go back to my playing days and ask the photographer for a better picture, one that truly reflects what it all meant to me. What it still means.
But I can provide that to you and the athlete in your family.
Creative Sports Photography provides athlete and team portrait experiences for youth, high school, college, and pro sports. Based in Lancaster, Pa., and available anywhere, CSP creates portraits that reflect what this time competing and playing sports means to an athlete. Contact CSP’s CEO and chief image maker Dave Pidgeon if you’re interested in booking a session.