Spring represents a new beginning. The revitalizing spirit that brings us forth from the cold winter into a blossoming new season… Ha! I wish spring sports were as poetic as they sound.
Experienced sports photographers know spring really means spending more time rescheduling than we do retouching. Spring means looking for gorgeous backgrounds of freshly bloomed branches when all we can see are winter ravaged lifeless sticks and mud.
Many schools start their spring sports practices as nature is putting the finishing touches on the winter season. If your company is like mine, you want your spring sports clients photographed before the first pitches of those early games. Considering the self-imposed deadline, this can be difficult. However, when using green screen, or whatever extraction service your company prefers, we eliminate those annual scheduling headaches and create some truly striking images in the process. Most photographers who are used to using this technology will tell you that THEY are not the ones who need convincing, rather it’s the parents, coaches, and boosters.
Here are a few tips to use when speaking with your spring sports clients about the benefits of green screen technology for their teams:
ON THE SUBJECT OF RESCHEDULING
Obviously, weather is a constant headache for scheduling. Not just for the photographers, but practices too! We all know that, secretly, coaches care more about pictures than they do practice—but seriously, I’m here all night! Tip your waitress!
Coaches are already pressured in the worst weather season to put forth winning gameplans and properly conditioned athletes. Worrying that bad weather could lead to a missed practice is one thing, but having to postpone a practice because picture day needs to be rescheduled, is another. Later in the season, when precious practice time is scarce, adding in a picture day causes an unnecessary burden on coaches. Photographing spring sports indoors guarantees an efficient and weatherproof picture day.
No rescheduling. No headaches. You’re welcome.
OVERALL LOOK OF THE ATHLETES
With the rise of green screen, and companies like H&H make the process so easy and efficient. Many winter sports, like basketball, are the perfect candidates for new, cutting edge imagery. We’ve all seen the eye-catching banners draping our gyms. They look amazing. But now it’s time for Spring and you’re only as good as your next picture. It just makes sense to keep the quality of the Spring sports images as high as possible by providing perfectly lit athletes on dynamic backgrounds. Why should a basketball player have perfect hair and make-up while the softball player gets stuck with wind-whipped hair and sun-glared skin? This is especially contrasted when an athlete plays both winter and spring sports. She may very well see a drop off in the look we provide for her Spring sports pictures? They deserve our best work as well.
Given that weather typically affects at least a few practices, coaches are doing their best to get all the necessary practice time in. Even during pictures you’ll see players catching fly balls or sprinters running on the track in the background. It’s time to take control of the image.
Additionally, many teams prefer their stadium or field as the background. Try visiting the field on your off time. Perhaps you even go during an amazing sunset or a bright, sun-kissed day to photograph their field from the best possible perspective. Utilize a little photoshop to make it look spectacular. (Remove the garbage cans, touch up the paint on the old scoreboard). Then photograph the players on the green and then have them knocked out and put in that perfect background.
H&H offers outdoor banners suitable for softball fields, tennis courts, and track stadiums. By this point in the year, after football, cheer, and basketball had their time, many Spring sports miss out on the ‘glory’ of senior banners gracing their home field. Let’s be honest, athletes shot on green screen still look the very best, especially on banners.
Senior posters, for teams like baseball and lacrosse, strongly benefit from digital imagery. Being able to easily move and pose the player without concern for the background is essential. The best part is if you have good participation, you already knocked them out for the packages. So, you’re already half-way to a great looking banner design.
WEBSITE/FACEBOOK TEAM SITES
These days almost every sports team, even in high school, has a team website or Facebook page. Seemingly used for promotion, these sites are mostly a place to keep parents sane by having somewhere they can go to check announcements. Many social media accounts also have game recaps, promotions, and updates. All good stuff. For my best teams, I’ll typically put together an image that sits atop their social media page with either the Varsity players or the Seniors cut out and added to a dynamic design. It’s easy to do and it really solidifies your impact on the team and their boosters. By not attaching a dollar value to it, adding it as a gift, it makes our services to the school irreplaceable.
Some of the best sports played by student athletes take place in the Spring. Unfortunately, considering all of the other things that are taking place, not least of which are prom and graduation, these sports sometimes get the short end of the stick. With really great photography and cutting edge services, the spring athletes don’t have to feel left out. As with every area of professional life, putting in the time and effort to make sure our clients feel important and appreciated always goes further than the work we produce. As always, it starts with great pictures. Providing high quality work that these athletes can’t get just anywhere will get your foot in the door. Never associating yourself with anything less than your best work will keep you there.