How many hours would you estimate that you have dedicated to your sport? I don’t either. It’s a ton, I do know that. Many high school senior athletes want to incorporate their love of their sport in their senior portrait experience. And some want their senior photo session to revolve around that sport. I’ve been photographing athletes for over 13 years, and I have quite a bit of information to share with you to help your athlete’s senior portrait experience sail through the net with ease.
I’ll quickly bullet point the main tips, but I highly recommend reading through all of the information provided to get you as prepared as possible!
- Choose which sport(s) you want to showcase
- Decide on the vibe you want to portray…chill or amped?
- Coordinate with the coach on obtaining the jersey(s) you want to wear
- Gather ALL of your gear for props
- Coordinate with the athletic director or coach on gaining access to facilities
Many high school athletes are multi-sport participants. When it comes to documenting your story, you should ask which sports do we want to incorporate? Do we want to show your variety of skills, or do we only want to showcase the passion and dedication to one? Some things to consider with this is the amount of gear or props you will need to bring. Multiple uniforms will need to be planned for. Location isn’t too big of a factor as we can casually shoot any sport literally anywhere, but if you want to be in your element…this may push us to another location for each sport.
Keep scrolling and reading! This article covers tips for all of these choices and decisions below.
Vibes—Chill or Amped? Or Both?
You’ve probably noticed that senior pictures that depict a sport and athlete can have extremely different feels and vibes to them. Some seniors want the involvement of their sport to be subtle and tame. Others want their senior pictures to scream their passion and grit. I recommend viewing different styles and see which ones resonate with you.
A chill vibe would maybe jeans and a letterman’s jacket and you tossing a ball around while you walk. It could also just be you sporting a sweatshirt in a nature setting. When we choose a chill vibe, we aren’t dedicating a location specifically for your sport.
An amped vibe is on its own level. We’re talking fog, colored lights and maybe even a sunset. Location is key here as well. We can do a studio shoot for a dramatic feel, or hit your field or court for a dynamic nostalgic feel. It is imperative to coordinate a time with the coach or athletic director to make sure the facilities will be available. Read more on this under the location tips below.
Amped also means full uniform and all the gear. If you want it to look like you just stepped out of the game, then we need you looking like you just stepped out of the game. Bring all the things!
While grabbing a jersey for your photo shoot seems like a no-brainer, there are some things to consider and prepare for….like, do you actually have it? We are typically shooting senior portraits in the summer which means you probably don’t have your school jersey. You’ll need to contact your coach to obtain the jersey, so I recommend doing this before school is out in June!
Another thing to consider when it comes to uniforms and jerseys is which one? If you have a jersey for home and away, do you want to wear both or just one?
And finally when it comes to uniforms, how formal do you want to go to enhance your senior portrait experience? Do you want to do the full get up from head to toe? Then bring your hat, helmet, belt, pants, socks, pads, guards, cleats/shoes…literally everything. If you want to make it look like you just stepped out of the game, grab everything you would wear on game day. Make a list and check it twice.
If you want to keep it casual and cool, simply pop a jersey on with a pair of jeans. Or keep your jeans and tee on, grab a bat and take a stroll down the street. You do you.
It may not seem like the location of your sports senior pictures plays much of a role, but let me tell you it does. We can keep it super casual and chill, or we can amp it up to where ESPN will be hitting up your DMs (kidding….if it happens though, give them my number!)
Chill vibes could be sitting on a rock in the river, walking the streets of downtown, or a classic portrait in the studio on a simple backdrop. We can incorporate a uniform or gear literally anywhere for a subtle feel.
Amped vibes are typically taken at the location of your sport, think field, court, course etc. These locations can get tricky though. First, we typically need permission and the facilities unlocked, so you’ll need to contact the athletic director or school for timing and access.
If we are shooting in August, September or October the obstacles we run into are fall sports camps and practices already in full swing. Gaining access to the field, court or locker room can require us to work around those schedules…which sometimes proves to be impossible. My tip: Shoot no later than late-July to avoid these schedules. Once we hit August, camps are running full time.
Which props do you want to incorporate? Helmet, bat, cleats, guards, ball, net, hat, clubs, bag etc? Sometimes we want more than just the gear that’s required for your sport. Feel free to get creative! Maybe a chair, a rack of basketballs, awards, metals, trophies, heck…why not a foam finger? Whatever you decide to bring, be sure to organize and collect days before your shoot so you know where everything is.