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

All right, my friends and fellow parents. We've arrived at Part Two of what you can do to help make a portrait session for your family's athlete successful.

Part One focused on what you can do before the athlete portrait session.

This part will help you with what you can do during the session.

Boy soccer player stands in front of a goal with a ball.
For Part Two of this series, we'll focus on what you as parents can do during the athlete portrait session.

Not only will these tips help your child or teenager enjoy their athlete portrait session more. It can help you have a good time, too.

And with that, let's dive in:

Let the athlete and the photographer work together

Oh, why not? Let's start with a super hard one.

It's enormously challenging sometimes to give your child or teen some space to work with an adult who isn't their parent.

No one knows your son or daughter like you do. You know what makes them happy and relaxed and what might cause them angst.

However, the most successful portrait sessions I've had - and by successful, I mean the experience was enjoyable for the athlete and the images turned out amazing - are when the parents give us space to work together.

High school softball player holding a bat and glove.
Giving your athlete and the photographer space to work together goes a long way to building trust.

I've built this photography service on a foundation of empathy.

Great portraiture begins with a natural connection between the photographer and the person in front of the camera.

Giving even the youngest of athletes an opportunity to feel independent, seen, respected and heard by the photographer goes a long, long way.

I want you as a fellow parent to be there for the portrait session. As much as you can, let your athlete and me work together.

Let them get dirt and grass stains on their uniforms

This one is just as hard.

A lot of parents want photos of their children or teens in clean jerseys and uniforms. After all, you might be giving these images as gifts to grandparents or other people important to you.

And I will do everything in my power to get those images for you.

However ...

A youth baseball player fields a ground ball.
Letting your family's athlete be themselves is the ultimate goal of these portrait sessions.

When I played Little League, there were a few friends who were just dirt balls.

I mean the kind who loved to slide and dive in the dirt and grass. If they didn't mess up their uniform, they didn't have a good time.

That's just who they were. As a photographer, that sense of authenticity, that's what I aim for in the portraits I make.

If they want to put on some eyeblack, perfect. If they want dirt covering the name on the front of the jersey, let's do it. If they prefer their shirt untucked, great.

Letting your child or teen be him or herself ... that's what Creative Sports Photography is about. I want these portraits to capture who the athlete is, what makes them the player they are.

As best as you can, if they want to get dirty, let them.

Why not throw a tailgate party?

This is specifically for team portrait experiences, although I guess it could apply to individual athlete portrait sessions, too.

Make the portrait session an event for the parents. Pack a cooler (with the appropriate beverages, of course), bring some snacks, line up camp chairs, and enjoy the show.

This will definitely help with the first two suggestions I listed above. You'll be hanging out with other parents, enjoying good conversations, while my team gets to work with your team.

A varsity girls softball team picture behind home plate.
Parents, why not tailgate the team portrait event? Seriously.

And it will make the portrait experience an unforgettable event for everyone.

Believe me when I say that a lot of the portrait sessions I've hosted for teams turn into a form of their own entertainment.

You get to enjoy it too. And if you wouldn't mind sharing a cold beverage (an appropriate one, of course) when it's all done, I'll take you up on that.

That's it! Those are three simple things you as parents can do to help make your child or teen's athlete portrait session go successful.

If you're ready to book, click here to get the process started.

And I'll see you out on the field, at the court, or in the rink.

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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