Why athlete portraits are the heart of my photography business

Updated: May 18

One of the great joys of my adult life has been coaching baseball and soccer.


I jumped in a few years ago because the clubs for which my boys played experienced a dearth of volunteers. I've cherished the opportunity ever since.


Along the way, after all those evening practices and weekend games, the nicknames and the team snacks, the wins and losses, the friendships forged with the parents, there's nothing short of magic that fills the heart when mentoring and teaching children how to play a game.

Girl lacrosse player at sunset
Autumn Rhoads | Lacrosse | Hempfield

There's a similar magic when it comes to providing athlete portraits to families and student-athletes in and around Lancaster, Pa.


When student-athletes and their most devoted fans (that would probably be you, parents) see what's possible, that they too can have the kind of dynamic sports portraits only professional athletes and the likes of Sports Illustrated have been benefiting from for generations, there's magic that fills the heart of any photographer.


Providing parents and athletes a better quality photography experience


I have this habit - born of curiosity, good intent, and maybe a little rebelliousness - of entering a new space like a job or a youth sports club and asking: "Why?"


Why, for instance, are parents having to settle for mediocre, soulless portrait photography on team picture day?


And I mean this with all due respect to those photographers out there who provide team photos as a service. I know a few and love them as friends. I've been one.


Youth softball player at sunset
Macy Zohn | Softball | Penn Manor

But the "why" questions still reverberate in my mind, which lights the imagination.


Why not provide parents and student-athletes with something bolder, more dynamic, unique, a more accurate reflection of who the athlete is and what the sport means to him/her?


Team photos and the portraits that come with them are a rite of passage every season. And as a parent, we feel obligated, almost guilted, into paying for them.


Has there been an alternative? Has there been a photography service whose niche is student-athlete portraiture? Has there been a sports portrait photographer willing to spend time getting to know and respect the athlete as a person, even before the photo session, which makes for better athlete portraiture?


Not in and around Lancaster ... until now.


A photography service for student-athletes and their families


There's this special moment that happens just after the first photo is taking during a student-athlete's portrait session.


I rush over to the athlete. I want them to see the image on the LCD screen on the back of the camera.


They have a chance to see what's possible.


Girl soccer player leaning against a goal post
Gracyn Brandt | Soccer | PA Classics

The smile. The electricity in their eyes. The excitement that overcomes them to see themselves in a photo in a way that they have imagined themselves for such a long time.


That moment when they realize what's possible, when they realize they're going to have a gallery of stunning athlete portraits.


That's the best moment of every portrait session. The student-athlete is the center of what we do at Creative Sports Photography, and when they're joyous, I can't help but be grateful to be able to work with such great young people.


I live for that moment. I train as a photographer for that moment.


When the image making skills and equipment I'm fortunate to have is used in service for someone who is ecstatic about the work we're creating together, that's why I do what I do at Creative Sports Photography.


It's available to you. Today.


If you'd like to sign up for an athlete portrait session with Creative Sports Photography, reach out by email (dave@creativesportsphotography.com) or by phone (717-669-2026).


And if you'd like to sign up for the CSP newsletter, here's the form:


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