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What clients have taught me after one year of business

Dear athletes, coaches, parents, and supporters:

I've spent a lot of time contemplating what I would share with you in an open letter about the one-year anniversary of Creative Sports Photography.

It was mid-July 2021 when I posted on Facebook (old fashioned, I know) that CSP was open for business.

Since then I've been on the most rewarding, challenging, fulfilling journey of my professional life, serving you with portrait photography you might never have thought you could have.

Anniversaries are supposed to be time to take stock, maybe summarize the previous year, say something profound, and so on.

But, you know, rather than look back, I thought I'd look ahead, to the years and opportunities before us, about what's possible for you and for CSP.

And I wanted to do so by sharing what you've taught me this last year, working with you and your teammates, lessons that propel CSP forward.

A boy baseball player smiling with his bat.
Bek Heller's baseball portraits were among the first I did during the summer of 2021.

You love photography that goes above the norm, but you are also extremely busy

I honestly stand in awe of you.

All of you.

Players, coaches, parents ... my goodness, the logistical Olympics you must perform preseason, in-season, even after-season is mind-blowing.

I knew going into starting this business that you were busy. Thanks to CSP, you've taught just how busy with school teams and club teams and school work and working a part-time job.

More than a few of you have expressed a desire to have athlete portraits but you're crunched for time.

High school swimmer doing the butterfly stroke.
Anderson Pilsner hits the pool in Lititz, Pa.

How can CSP make portrait sessions convenient and efficient? There are a few ways, and I'm hoping you can share more.

One way is to make sure I'm capable of creating these athlete portraits any time of day. So if noon on a Saturday is the only time you have open, then great, I'll be there for you.

Another is to ensure I have routines in place so when we work together, we do so in the most efficient way possible that maximizes your time and gets you the portraits you deserve.

As photographers, we all need to do a better job

Several athletes and parents have shared with me the same story.

A previous team photographer yelled at the players. For whatever reason, maybe because of stress or frustration, whatever.

Players and parents felt disrespected and put off.

Or the team photographer didn't seem to care much about what they were doing, let alone the players in front of their lenses.

High school girls swimmer sitting by the pool.
Carol Fabian, a swimmer for Hempfield, smiles before practice at the Mountville pool.

This has been a serious pain point for some time. Not only are you receiving mediocre images in exchange for your payments, you've also been getting lousy experiences

Great portrait photography is possible when there's a connection between the photographer and the person being photographed.

Our job, in addition to using the best light possible, is to also care about you and your experience.

It's not easy having a lens pointed at you, even for just an hour.

A portrait photographer needs to be patient, attentive, a good listener, someone who's mindful of the athlete's experience, which makes a greater contribution to amazing portraiture than some camera setting.

You are an inspiration

In talking with you, in getting to know you and the journey you're on, it's incredibly up lifting.

That's what I think most team photographers miss when they show up for 15 minutes, tell a player to "stand there. Hold the ball like this. Now smile. Next!"

Learning about you, respecting you, hearing you, laughing with you, a photographer can channel that into the image making process.

Girls softball player hanging out by the fence.
Hillary Murse of Manheim Township during one of my all-time favorite portrait sessions.

And you all have appreciated the creative part of this business that leads to a package of different photographs, different looks, poses, backgrounds, locations.

You've become as much a part of my creative process as anything else.

What else does an athlete portrait photographer have to learn? What else is missing in our community that you wish someone would provide?

And if you're ready for a better athlete portrait experience, then let's chat. Tell your questions, concerns, how CSP can serve you. Give me a call at 717-669-2026 or send a message to

Thank you for a wonderful year and the optimism I carry into the months and years ahead.

Forever grateful,


P.S. I don't want you to miss out on announcements, special events, and so on. Often subscribers find out first about open portrait dates or special rates.

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