What's an athlete portrait session like

You've seen the images, the ones of teammates or friends or someone from another team.


They're unique. They're exciting. You'd like to have some for yourself, and so, you might wonder - What is it like?


How does a portrait session with Creative Sports Photography work?

High school track runner at the starting gate
Nolan McBride | Track | Manheim Township

Today, I want to take you through the journey of an actual session. This way you have a perfect expectation of what it's like to hire CSP and how I get those amazing portraits of local athletes for yourself.


Before the session


We want to work together to set your portrait session up for success. That's why a few steps are critical before we ever meet at the location we've chosen for your portraits.


I'll send you a questionnaire. It's short. It's easy. And the answers help me as your photographer get to know you a little bit and the journey you've been on as a student-athlete.


It helps me plan your photo session. It supports creativity. Getting to know you a little bit helps us connect, which can lead to not only better images but a better experience for you.


We also need to agree to how many uniform changes you want to have.


Many CSP clients play for a school and a club, and they like to have both featured in their portrait session.

Youth baseball player delivering a pitch.
CSP builds in uniform changes into every athlete portrait session.

No problem. We can build an outfit change into the session.


Lastly, we need to set a location. Do you want these portraits taken on a home field or a place that has special meaning for you as a student-athlete?


Or are you happy if we pick a field, court, pool, or location that happens to be available, even if it's not one on which you compete?


We'll work together on the logistics. Choosing a location often takes coordinating with an athletic director, coach, or organization that oversees the field.


Once we have that nailed down, it's time for photos.


The start of a portrait session


When you arrive at your athlete portrait session, chances are, I'll already be there. You'll see the lights set up. The camera at my side.


I like arriving early so I can scout locations, anticipate challenges, and come up with a plan.


Then, we chat. Tell me how things are going. Feel free to tell if there's anything about having your photograph taken that you like or don't like.


I'll share with you the vision I have, you can tell me what you think, and so on.

Youth ice hockey player
Bryce Jankowiak | Hockey | Central Penn Panthers

If you play a sport like lacrosse, football, swimming or anything that requires a hat, cap, or helmet, we'll probably begin with those off. That's especially true if you've done something special with your hair and/or make up.


The first portrait will be something simple. Something to get warmed up.


A softball bat over the shoulders. Hands on hips or folded across your chest. Leaning against a goal post. Anything easy.


Something just to get your used to this unique kind of portrait experience.


Getting creative

Portrait sessions can last one to two hours, depending on the sport, the weather conditions, and how comfortable you are.


Once the first warm up portrait is done, then together, we'll start working on making the images more and more creative.


We'll move around the location. Maybe into the stands. Maybe the dugout or bench. Maybe even into the pool.


High school softball player in the dugout
Hillary Murse | Softball | Manheim Township

Youth baseball player in the dugout
Bek Heller | Baseball | Manheim Township Baseball Association


I'll be looking carefully at the light and the background to make sure you're getting the best for your athlete portraits.


And at every place we stop, I'll probably change lenses once.


I like to use two kinds of lenses, a wide angle and a telephoto. Each lens gives a different kind of look, even if you as the person in the photo never move.


My hope is for you it will be fun. When you see what we're creating - I can't help but show you a preview on the back of my camera - it can be magic and energize you for the rest of the session.


The grand finale


Once we have a good amount of portraits done, then it's time for an action portrait.

Youth soccer player kicking a ball
Kendall Achen | Soccer | Manheim Central

This is when you get to show off your athletic skill.


It requires some finesse on my part to get the light and camera right. But that doesn't take long, and when we nail these images, they really shine.


Dramatic sky. Dramatic light. Dramatic leap or throw or dive.


It's an exciting way to end any portrait session.


Got questions? Send them my way at 717-669-2026 or dave@creativesportsphotography.com.


And don't forget to sign up for our email newsletter where CSP often makes announcements, coupon codes, and so on. I don't want you to miss out.



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