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How to use portraits from Creative Sports Photography

Updated: May 18, 2022

One of my favorite questions to ask potential clients interested in hiring me to provide athlete portraits is this -- Why?

More specifically, why would you want to hire someone to create sport portraits of you or the athlete in your family?

You might think I ought to already know the answer (Confession -- I have good idea of what the answer is).

But asking this helps me not only learn about you, but to see my photography business from your eyes. And that makes me a better photographer for you.

High school girls lacrosse player at sunset
Autumn Rhoads | Lacrosse | Hempfield

What I've learned since launching Creative Sports Photography is the variety of reasons why athletes and their families in and around Lancaster reach out for athlete portraits.

It's way beyond just having some nice pictures.

And if you're someone who's been thinking about having athlete portraits of your own but aren't sure why you should have them or are a little hesitant, here's what I've learned about how local athletes are using the images:

Student-athletes are learning how to market and brand themselves to college recruiters.

How many high school athletes are trying to attract the attention of college recruiters?

Think about this -- according to the NCAA, about 8 million high school students compete in athletics, and only about 495,000 will compete at NCAA-affiliated colleges and universities.

That's a tiny fraction who are going to the next level. Out of those 495,000, how many are playing at the college or university they wanted the most?

High School softball player under a blue sky
Hillary Murse | Softball | PA Strikers

As an athlete, you want to stand out not only on the field but online, too. College coaches are looking you up to see what you post and what it says about you as a competitor, teammate, student.

Displaying athlete portraits online at a website or social channel is going to attract their attention. It's going to help you stand out.

You can put your personality, character, who you are a teammate on display. And a college coach is going to know you hired a professional photographer, a sign of how serious you are about your sport.

Not every sport is supported by a school or organization. To play and compete, youth athletes and parents have to fundraise.

It's not in any way easy to raise money for sports.

Think about it -- a young athlete has to convince adults, many of whom they don't know personally, to part with money for the benefit of ... the young athlete.

Ask any experienced sales person, and they'll tell you that is one hard gig to be successful at.

12-year-old girl softball player at sunset
Macy Zohn | Softball | Penn Manor

And so young athletes like gymnasts or Olympic hopefuls or winter athletes, anyone who participates in non-traditional sports, need to tell their story and to do so in a compelling way.

Having magazine-quality, dynamic, oh-my-look-at-that portraits help an athlete tell their story.

And if you can get potential donors excited about you and your journey, the more likely they are to support you with funds.

Because traditional team pictures are stale, the experience is less-than fun, and you want something better.

Before I started Creative Sports Photography, I was like every other parent of an athlete.

When picture day for the soccer or baseball team arrived, my wife and I scrambled to punch information into the photographer's website to make an order, sometimes just 30 minutes before rushing out the door with forms waving from our hands.

And why? Because parents like us never ever want to skip a season's team photos. It's tradition.

High School soccer player holding a ball
Aidan McBride | Soccer | Manheim Township

What did we get in return? I think you know the answer. The vast majority of what we've bought has been relegated to bins in storage or the back of a desk drawer, never to see the light of day again.

The experience was less-than pleasant and the return on investment left plenty to be desired.

Families and athletes want something better. You deserve it.

You hire me to be your photographer, which means we get a chance to get to know each other. I enjoy being your fan. I enjoy hearing about your journey and where you want to take your sport talents next.

It makes for a more rewarding photography experience. The results show. You're going to get a gallery of images you going to want to show off, either framed in your home or online.

These are just a few of the reasons, and if you think of any others, share them with me.

If you have any questions about this or other aspects of Creative Sports Photography, reach out by email ( or by phone (717-669-2026).

And if you'd like to schedule a sports portrait session, here's the form:


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