There's a question that still lingers in the mind of players, parents, coaches, club officials, and booster club presidents.
Do athlete portraits still matter?
If team picture day results in wasted money and precious practice time, and all you get is mediocre blah photos of your child or teen, then who can blame you for wondering.
As you can imagine, however, I believe great athlete portraits do still matter. A lot.
More now than ever, actually.
Look, you are your child or teenager's No. 1 fan. You have been since T-ball, Soccer Shots, rec league ... heck. ever since the first time you put on a onesie with your favorite team's logo on it.
The hours and days you put in to being their No. 1 fan matters. The drives back and forth to practice. The laundry. The way you ensure they have water bottles filled. Sitting in the rain in a camp chair or on bleachers at a weekend-long tournament.
Your support matters. To them. And to you.
I'm sorry to say - this time won't last forever. One day the last whistle will blow, and it will be the last time your family's athlete pulls on a jersey for the final time.
If you're getting all the feels right now, then yes, great athlete portraits matter.
And I wanna share five images that prove it.
See your child or teen the way they see themselves
There's a competitor inside your family's athlete.
They're lying awake at night imagining how they're going to play tomorrow, in the next big game, in the playoffs, in a championship.
Right now, their dreams are as close, as within reach, as they may ever be for the rest of their lives.
That's why hiring an athlete portrait photographer who understands this, who can creatively channel this into an artistic sports portrait, matters.
Otherwise, what's the point? If the photography doesn't capture who your child or teen is and what playing means to them, then I'm not sure it's worth the effort.
And I say that as a parent of athletes.
Parents of the athletes I photograph get choked up when they see portraits of their child or teen which capture their heart and imagination.
You and your athlete deserve that too.
The joy of playing
Okay, so yes, youth athletes are competitive. They're also full of joy.
As adults, didn't we love playing as kids?
Wouldn't we give almost anything to go back and play just one more game, one more afternoon with our friends and teammates, one more time to make that throw or catch?
What's wonderful about children and teenagers is how little time matters to them. They're just in the moment, moment by moment.
We as parents, though, know better.
Athlete portraiture should come with some effort by your photographer. Effort that goes into capturing the joy your child or teen athlete gets from playing and competing.
If you have a photographer that's putting in little to no effort, that's a photographer who doesn't care about who's in front of their camera.
But a photographer who does care, who gets it, who connects with your family's athlete, is going to capture the joy of the moment.
Thats respect. Respect for you. Respect for your child or teenager.
Athletes are made to move
Part of Creative Sports Photography's services is action portraits.
It's exclusively part our individual athlete portrait experience.
No matter the age, youth athletes are made to move. They're fast. Strong. Nimble. Capable of things we as adults can often only imagine.
That's why it's important to showcase their skills now.
And to do so in creative ways through portrait photography.
Are you getting those images from the same ol' team picture day? Probably not.
But CSP does offer it with our individual athlete portrait experience.
It's often the most dynamic, most OMG-I-got-to-have-it image from the entire portrait session.
Playing with your friends and teammates makes memories
Take a moment just before the start of the next practice or game.
Watch your family's athlete. Watch as they talk and interact with their teammates.
A lot of them are more than just teammates.
For many, they've been on a sports journey together since elementary school.
They may stay friends for the years or decades after this time has ended. Or maybe not.
Either way, this moment right now matters to them. Does your team photographer get that?
Do they put in the effort to showcase what this team means to each other, what playing together means?
Wouldn't you rather pay for an image that does capture that? As a coach and parent, I certainly would.
The fields, courts, and pools that mean so much
The field where I learned to play and love baseball, it's not there any more.
It's overgrown with weeds that reach above my 6'2" frame.
About the only evidence that it once hosted dozens of kids playing out their dreams is the rusty backstop that rises above the eyesore.
One way to make athlete portraits matter is to do more than just click the camera.
It's to include the little details that help tell your child or teenager's athlete story.
Like incorporating that field, court, or pool where they've made so many memories and friendships.
Any sports photographer can take a picture. Any sports photographer can say "stand here" and then click press a button on their camera.
But if you want it to go to another level, if you believe your family's athlete deserves the best, then look for a photographer who goes above and beyond minimal effort.
A significant part of that is a photographer who knows how to artistically include your child or teen in the environment where they play.
Creative Sports Photography is the premier athlete portrait service in Central Pennsylvania. Based in Lancaster and available anywhere, CSP's owner and chief image maker Dave Pidgeon delivers bold, dynamic, elite portrait experiences for athletes of all ages and levels, from T-Ball to pro. You can contact Dave by clicking here.