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What clients can bring to a sports portrait shoot

Updated: May 18, 2022

Sports portraits are a lot like any other portrait session -- family, senior, wedding or otherwise.

Expression counts. A lot.

That's one reason why I ask athletes to smile for one photo then give me their best "game face" for another.

And in some ways, it can be juuuuust slightly like those routine team photos you have every season. Just far more exciting and enjoyable.

Boy baseball player with a baseball bat
Bek Heller | Baseball | Manheim Township

Nonetheless, families and athletes ask about what they should bring to a portrait session with Creative Sports Photography, and today, I want to provide a quick overview of the answer.

There are two predominant things an athlete should brin: Their uniform(s) and equipment.

Now, you might read that and say, "duh." It's pretty obvious, right?

But there a few things we should cover so you and your athlete can be well-prepared for a sports portrait experience.

What to know about your jersey

The choice is up to you, but I would encourage you to wear your favorite team jersey to the session. You can even bring two, three, however many you want.

Would you want these images wearing practice apparel? Some might but the majority want to wear their game day jerseys.

These portraits are designed to highlight your participation and love not only for the sport your athlete plays but for whom they play and their teammates.

Most clients wear just one jersey, but if you'd like to have a uniform change, I can work with you to make that happen.

Girl soccer player holding a soccer ball
Ava McBride | Soccer | PA Classics

Just know that it can take time. And time is a precious commodity, especially when we're working at sunset.

That's why I will do everything I can to accommodate a jersey change. It shouldn't take too long, but just know the sun is sailing behind that horizon and the light can go quick.

Also, and this is important for parents of youth athletes -- kids want to get their uniform dirty. They just do. Especially baseball and softball players.

I'll encourage them to keep it clean long enough for us to take pictures a lot of Moms and Dads want.

To kids, though, the dirtier the better. They want to slide. It makes the portrait session that much more fun and it allows them to be themselves.

I have three children under the age of 10, two who play sports and a toddler who's coming up fast behind them. I've learned the hard way when making images to let them get that uniform dirty.

They're happier. And despite the dust and dirt on their jerseys, a happier athlete makes for better portraits.

Bring your gloves, sticks, hats, cleats, EVERYTHING!

I worked with two sisters once who both ran track for Warwick Area High School. You might think running doesn't lend itself to much equipment, but oh, did we find a way.

One of the sisters faced the sunset, slung her shoes over one shoulder, and looked back at the camera. It became on of my favorite all-time images.

High school girl track and field runner holding shoes at sunset
Caitlyn Wenger | Track & Field | Warwick Area High School

So bring the soccer balls, lacrosse sticks, keeper gloves, hats, cleats, whatever.

My job is to work with that equipment and incorporate them into the portrait.

Some sports lend themselves more to use of equipment. Think baseball in comparison to tennis.

Baseball has gloves, a bat, helmets, hats, you're batting or pitching or ready to field a grounder.

Tennis has one racket and a tennis ball.

But, and this is so important, using the apparel no matter the sport is part of the fun. The creative process thrives when we work together and try different looks.

So if you run cross country or swim, worry not about the small amount of apparel you use to play your sport.

A great portrait photographer meets the challenge head on and by doing so, by remaining grounded in optimism, we make great sports portraits.

To book a sports portrait experience, use the form below. Tell me about the sport you play, why you love it, whom you play for, and anything else you feel is important.


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