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PART ONE: What parents can do to make athlete portraits successful

Oh parents.

I get you. I'm one of you.

I know what it's like to hire a photographer and have a vision about how the images are going to turn out.

We might get a little too hyped. Yes?

It's okay because we're human.

A father and son stand together at sunset
Parents, you can do a lot to help make a portrait session for your family's athlete portrait go successfully.

Today, that's why I'm stopping by to share three tips with parents to help make the portrait session with your family's athlete more successful.

And in a follow up post, I'll share three more.

Tips to help you and your child or teen have the best athlete portrait experience they could possibly hope for.

And it begins before a single photo is even taken:

Talk to them before the portrait session

This is especially for young kids, but it applies to high school athletes as well.

Talk them about the portrait session ahead of time. For elementary-age players, help them to know you're going to meet a friend at a park or a playing field to take pictures.

For teens, ask them what their hopes are for the session. Maybe ask what makes them nervous.

Whatever it is, it's okay.

A high school golfer readies to swing off the tee.
A discussion before the portrait session can help set reasonable expectations and relax your family's athlete.

Help them to set reasonable expectations and learn what they hope to get out of it beyond just a few nice pics.

Is there something they want to bring? Will having a friend along help them relax and enjoy the session?

This is for and about them, after all. They should feel that way before the session even starts.

Let the photographer know about anything special

When it comes to youth and high school athletes, especially teenagers, they not only become self-conscious about their appearance but could also be shy about sharing those concerns.

That's where you as a parent can be of great help.

High school softball player holding a bat and smiling.
If there's anything about your family's athlete a photographer should know, please share with us. We'll understand.

Share with the photographer if there's anything of concern. Anything that makes the youth or teen athlete feel embarrassed.

Look, I'm not always thrilled about my appearance either. You seen my hair?

It took years and lots of quality time with trained professionals to stop over-critiquing every single image I ever appeared in.

And as your athlete's photographer, my job isn't just to use a camera. It's to have a connection with the person I'm photographing.

Understanding and respecting what makes them nervous or self-conscious before the shoot goes a long way to making great portraits.

Make sure your athlete is rested and fed

Okay, so let me confess right up front - the "rested" part of this tip is not always achievable.

You are all so busy. Practices, training, camps, games, tournaments, school.

High school girls soccer athlete leans against a goal post.
Rested and well-fed equals a better portrait experience.

So if you can only squeeze in an athlete portrait session between events, that's all right.

But if you can, make sure your child or teenager is well-rested before the portrait session.

And fed.

Hungry and tired don't make for great portraits experiences.

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.


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