3 Things You Should Know Before You Photograph Your First Hockey Team

Photographing your first hockey team soon? Are you freaking out about the posing and lighting and not slipping on the ice and looking like a fool? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. Manning Photography was established in 2006 as a wedding and portrait photography studio. We eventually expanded and evolved into an almost exclusive volume studio.  We do some seniors and will do a wedding if our arm is twisted but our passion is in volume. Of all the sports we do, Ice hockey is my personal favorite. I love the sport from a spectator standpoint. Go Penguins! And from a business perspective, hockey can be very lucrative. We average $45 per individual we photograph. But it’s not all fun and games—there are a few things you need to know before you photograph your first hockey team.

1. HOCKEY PARENTS ARE USED TO PAYING PREMIUM

Hockey has a HUGE time and financial commitment. For a family to participate in this sport there are equipment costs, constant travel hours away for a single game, and tuition can be a thousand or more dollars, primarily to cover ice time fees. We find the more invested the parents are, the more they spend on photos. We also find hockey parents tend to have a little more disposable income.

With ice time at a HUGE premium, coaches and parents do not like giving up a minute let alone an entire practice for pictures. Our approach to win the league business is to not take up precious ice time. We use technology and top notch designers to create really cool team and individual photos with extraction and compositing. We shoot everything on the Lastolite Hilite and outsource the images for knockout and design with Next Gen. The best part is when that’s all done, the final images import seamlessly into hhschools for fast production.  This workflow allows us to handle high volume while also creating super cool team and individual photos.

2. HOCKEY COACHES ARE GOING TO RUSH YOU

No, they aren’t trying to be jerks. The photo session is putting their expensive practice session on ice (pun intended). Our leagues love our approach because they don’t waste their ice time. They have flexibility if a player or coach cannot make it with the rest of their team (which happens a lot as hockey players are generally involved on multiple teams and are very busy). We simply photograph them later and composite them in.  The best part is the final images are better than anything they have ever seen and they love it.

All this said, the setup costs and service times aren’t for the faint of heart. You need to make sure you know what your costs are and how much time it’s going to take you (or someone else) to do the design work. You need to know how to pose and light for the best results. But there is good news if you are not quite ready to plunge into 3D team compositing. You can still photograph on the ice—just don’t be surprised if they ask you to help pay for ice fees. But, don’t fret. You aren’t limited to just those two options. There is a perfect hybrid version available to all of us as H&H customers.

3. KNOCKOUT SPORTS WILL SAVE YOU AND THE TEAM TIME AND CAN MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD.

These more dynamic designs that show the team and feature the individual are what the parents and leagues are looking for. My experience is telling me it is not going away!  My analogy about knockout sports is for you to think about the transition the photography industry made from film to digital.  You can either get in the game  or ultimately be left behind. With their Knockout Sports program, you can approach your T&I virtually the same way. And NO, Shawn did not put me up to giving you a pitch, it simply makes good sense. H&H’s Knockout Sports Program can take care of the Individual and team extractions—whether you pose them traditional or extreme. Once extracted, H&H’s automated system will then insert them into either one of their pro designs or a custom one I create ahead of time with their psd guides.

P.S. If you find yourself on the ice and don’t want to look like a fool, walk like a penguin.

Dale Manning

This article was written by Dale Manning. He and his wife, Stacey, together own and operate Manning Photography since 2006.  They pour themselves into their work all in the name of giving their customers an incredible photography experience, phenomenal images and memories to last forever.

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