Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Take Sports Portraits

Recently, I was approached my my stepsister-in-law to take some cheerleading portraits of my niece. She had missed the official portrait day for her cheerleading squad, so I was happy to take the portraits and spend a little time with family.

Sports portraits can be taken anywhere and it is really up to the person requesting the photos regarding the location and the look. I personally am a fan of sports portraits taken at the field, gym, track, etc. Because Sierra is a cheerleader and in the middle of football season, I thought she would enjoy some photos at her school's football field. Here is where I must advise anyone taking photographs outside to position your subject where the sun is out of their eyes. It can be a hard thing to do, but your photos won't have squinted eyes.

Cheerleading pose with the goal post

Above I decided to include a beautiful, blue sky in the background of the goal post in one of Sierra's signature cheerleading poses.

I also highly suggest using sports symbols like the goal post or the scoreboard to keep with the theme of the photo shoot.

Scoreboard photo

Keep the photographs fairly simple. Families are wanting these photos to remember that their children played a sport. So, I suggest showcasing the sport-specific equipment and the jersey. In this case, we used the solid color wall of the concession stands to show off Sierra's uniform and pom-poms.

Showcase the school's colors and the sports equipment

Finally, I would suggest using some traditional sports photo poses and then be creative with some poses you can't get from your school or team's photographer of choice.

Traditional female pose

Action shot of a cheerleading jump with the school symbol in the background

Sports portraits can be anything that you want them to be as a photographer. However, keep in mind the vision that the player and the player's family have for the photos. That's why I mention taking some traditional, not over-the-top poses and mix in some fun poses, like some action shots or funny shots.

How to take sports portraits in three simple steps:
1. Your shoot location is literally the playing field
2. Highlight school colors, uniforms, equipment, etc.
3. Use traditional sports photography poses and creative poses

If you remember the three simple steps of sports portrait photography that I mentioned above, then you will be sure to have successful photos.

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