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Why would someone pay for premium athlete portraits?

Updated: May 18, 2022

Traditions are, let's face it, difficult to break.

There's just something about doing, seeing, or experiencing something every year. And if you suddenly stop and break the tradition, it causes a little heartache (and maybe even more than a little).

There's a tradition in youth and high school sports that's been going on for more than a generation. We as parents of youth athletes are in many ways programmed to participate in this rite of passage.

I'm talking about team pictures.

Ever year, we parents pay for team photos and the accompanying player portrait that comes along with it. Starts when our kids first try a sport on through to varsity and elite clubs.

Often it doesn't matter the quality of the photography (some of it is good, and some of it is, well ... ). It's there and if we don't pay for it, then those pictures are gone. We have emotional ties to it.

high school swimmer in a pool
Anderson Pilsner | Swimming | Manheim Central

Then comes along this photography service offering bold, dynamic, elite athlete portraits in and around Lancaster.

You may be wondering why.

Why if you've already paid for or planning to pay for the team photos would you hire a photographer to make athlete portraits?

It's a great question. It's the question I had to answer before starting this business. And from what I've learned from clients, there are a few reasons you can think about when asking yourself that "why" question.

Athlete portraits with CSP are personalized

I work for you.

That means our time together is centered around providing you with the best athlete portraits I can make.

It's more than just taking a picture and moving on, the way it is on team photo day.

We'll take our time to get the image right. And the effort expended is meant for delivering you with a product you're going to be proud of and value.

High school hockey player
Bryce Jankowiak | Hockey | Central Penn Panthers

I make it a point to understand who the athletes I photograph are, as well as their families.

I'm a people person, and with a background in newspaper journalism, I listen for everyone's story. We all have a good one. Maybe a few.

Part of the CSP experience is to take the time to know the person who will be in front of the camera. It's critically important to the success of your portraits.

Images that truly represent the athlete

Look back at all the years-worth of team photos you've compiled. Do anything of them project the personality of your student-athlete or what the sport means to them?

Maybe not.

That's a prime reason why respecting the person in front of the camera is central to CSP's experience.

The goal is to capture in portrait sessions that last one to two hours a whole gallery of creative images that just says to friends, family, college recruiters, future coaches who the student-athlete is and what they're about.

Girls soccer player holding a ball at the net
Kendall Achen | Soccer | Manheim Central

It's more than just one image. It's dozens of portraits the student-athlete can use on their social media feeds, websites, and on recruiting platforms.

That just doesn't happen on team photo day. It does happen during a CSP portrait session.

Memorializing a student-athlete's journey

Photography started for me the means to visually capture my own children and their journey from birth to adolescence.

Then I made the leap to wedding and family portrait photography because clients wanted images that forever memorialized a special moment in their lives.

It's what I create for student-athletes now.

Imagine what having a collection of portrait images would mean for a graduating senior, high school or college.

Imagine what it would mean for a 13-year-old who loves his or her sport and is about to jump to the next level.

I've seen the look on the faces of such athletes. It's priceless.

And it means a lot to the parents of those athletes, too. You're your child's number one fan.

When a parent tells me the images took their breath away or prompted tears of joy, that for a photographer signals how the work was spot on.

Those are just a couple of reasons to think about if you're considering hiring CSP for athlete portraits.

Girl softball player in the field at sunset
Macy Zohn | Softball | Penn Manor

Got questions? Send them my way at 717-669-2026 or

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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