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Yes, you can hire your own sports portrait photographer. Even if the team has their own.

Updated: May 18, 2022

Among the most frequent questions parents share with me is this:

What if the team has hired a photographer already?

This is an understandable concern.

That's especially true when the kind of niche photography service I provide - creative sports portraits - hasn't been available in and around Lancaster since ... since ... ever?

Boy football player smiling with stadium lights in the background
Jay Groft | Football | Manheim Township

The truth is a traditional team photographer and a specialized sports portrait photographer can exist in the same place and provide the same services to the same team and players.

We do two very different things.

Teams and schools hire photographers every year. They show up before a practice or game, squeeze everyone together for a group shot ("Everyone look here!"), then make a portrait of each individual player.

Theirs is typically is a volume business. The more teams, the more individuals, the more people will pay for prints.

They've depended on this for - Dare I say it? - generations.

Their goal? Just get the shot. Nothing terribly fancy, simply make a photo someone will buy.

I've been that parent who handed over money without thought or hesitation in exchange for prints of my sons and their teams. They made something I wished to have.

Girl competitive swimmer holding her goggles.
Carol Fabian | Swimming | Hempfield

How long do those photographers typically stay for Picture Day? Do they ever get to know you, your family, or the team?

Some do, but the majority don't. And that's okay because they have a business model to follow.

Their primary customer isn't necessarily you. It's the team or school that hires them.

This business model works.

For them.

The portrait service I provide is different. More specialized. More personalized. More high end.

You are my top priority.

The time I spend driving to a location, creating sports portraits with studio lights, returning to my home editing desk, processing the images, creating an online gallery, it's all for one family or athlete who has hired me.

It's for you.

I work for you as your family's personal sports photographer.

My brand includes listening to you, understanding what you value and what the sport means to you, then channeling that personal connection into the portraits I make.

Clients hire me for a personalized shoot that's more creative, more dynamic, more specialized than what you might receive on Team Picture Day.

Youth baseball player holding a bat.
Bek Heller | Baseball | Manheim Township

And I'm going to provide you with dozens of images. Different looks. Different lenses. Different action shots.

Team-hired photographers and me, we don't cancel each other out.

We simply exist to serve different clients in different ways.

Think about this in an another way.

A school hires a photographer to take portraits of students every year. You pay for prints, those images show up in yearbooks, and on it goes.

But that doesn't mean you're prohibited from hiring a portrait photographer.

People do this all the time. High school senior portraits? Often those also include the student in his or her varsity jersey.

Another way to see this is how news organizations send out their photographers to cover games, even make portraits of players and coaches when they run feature stories.

And then the newspaper sells those images to any willing buyer. It's true. Take a look here. And here.

If an unforeseen issue arises involving a team photographer, we'll address it. We'll work through it together.

We can all run our businesses and serve clients in the same market.

But nothing should prevent you from hiring a personalized sports portrait photographer.

You have that right. And I have a right to provide you with that service.

If you have any questions about this or other aspects of Creative Sports Photography, reach out by email ( or by phone (717-669-2026).

And if you'd like to schedule a sports portrait session, here's the form:

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