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Why the world needs better athlete portrait experiences

Let's do an experiment.

If you or someone you know has a wedding album from the 80s or 90s, pull it out and page through it.

Keep it open.

Now, start up a web browser and search for wedding photographers in your area.

Quite a difference, huh? There's been a serious evolution in that genre of photography as brides and grooms are getting better services and products.

Twenty years from now, fifty years from now, a lot of wedding photography made today will be as fresh and relevant as it is now. Timeless, I believe, is a word you'll see a lot in your web search.

We can do the same for high school senior portraits or family portraits or any style of photography.

You aren't going to the local department store for awkward pictures to hang in the hallway any more.

And yet, despite the advancements in almost every imaginable photography service, there remains one that's stale, even broken, despite the fact that we are spending a ton of money on these pictures every ... single ... year.

Often, multiple times a year.

I'm talking about athlete portraits and team picture days.

Brothers who play hockey smiling together.
The Batista brothers at a local roller hockey rink.

From misery to magic in athlete portraiture

Let's walk through this process of team pictures and athlete photos as it currently runs.

One day, the athlete in your family is told to arrive at practice in his or her uniform or early for a game.

You've been given a brochure and order form with sample images that, frankly, look like the same boring pictures they took when you were a kid.

You are asked to spend money on pictures of your student-athlete before you ever see a single image.

Heck, there might be a parking lot full of cars in the background or someone walking their dog. Your athlete might not be smiling or might blink.

And, you don't get to choose what photo to buy.

Baseball pitcher delivering a pitch.
Does your athlete portraits include creative action shots?

It's not as if the photography service spends time with each player, getting a variety of looks, so that you have ... wait for it ... choice.

Digital files? You know, because it's the 21st century? Probably not an option.

And when you receive your one athlete portrait and one team photo, chances are, those are going to end up in a box or desk drawer before too long. They might end up on the refrigerator thanks to a magnet.

But a large print you want to show off? Nah.

I don't know about you, but as a coach and parent, not to mention an experienced portrait photographer, I think it's long since time we say enough.

Why Creative Sports Photography began

Every business, especially a photography service, needs to have a why. Why do we do what we do for whom we do it?

It's the beating heart of our business. Our purpose. In short, our "why."

As a coach and fellow parent here in Lancaster, Pa., I've gotten to know so many others. We value the time and effort our kids' put into their favorite activities, including sports.

There's camaraderie among the team and the team parents. There's shared experience. There's something special in the bond that's forged during an entire season.

For Heaven's sake, shouldn't the photography represent that? Am I crazy to think it should?

Black and white image of a youth football player
Does anybody ever ask the athlete what kind of image they want? Do they want to put on a game face or smile?

What's more, shouldn't a photographer get to know the student-athletes at even the most basic of levels? Instead of stand here, hold the ball, smile, NEXT! shouldn't the photographer make an effort to get to the know the person on the other side of the camera?

Student-athletes have dreams, achievements, have persevered, have grown their identities through the sports they play. Photographers should treat them as people and not objects in front of a camera.

Think about this - when's the last time a sports photographer asked the athlete in your family what kind of photo they want?

And the service an athlete portrait photographer provides? He or she oughta put their heart and soul into the effort so that when you go to buy photos (after seeing them!), they should be of such a high quality that you absolutely must have a large print of them to hang somewhere in your house.

That's my why. That's why I'm committed to make Creative Sports Photography not just a better athlete portrait experience but the best.

I played sports. I've coached. I'm a parent of children who play. I bring that experience to every shoot because I fundamentally believe you deserve a photographer who gets it.

By "it," I mean what playing a sport means to a student-athlete, to this time in their lives, the commitment that's required, that every student-athlete has a unique personality as a player and teammate, and all of those should be channeled into making the best possible athlete portraits.

Look back on all those team photos or player pictures you've accumulated over the years.

Isn't it time for a change? Isn't it time for a better athlete portrait experience?

There's one here for you when you're ready. Curious about pricing? You can find that here, or if you're ready to book, CSP's portrait date availability can be seen here.

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1 Kommentar

Love this. These athletes are going to love looking back on these photos as adults.

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