4 Exercises to Help You Crush Your Next Picture Day

What does sports photography take out of you? Do you feel winded setting up for a shoot? Do you get tired carrying your equipment from the car to the ball field? Tired from spending all day routing little kids where you want them to go? Wired by the time you get home and toast in the morning? Funny enough, during a trade show this winter, I overheard a group of volume photographers catching up after another year. Instead of discussing lighting techniques, or the latest camera gear, or even sales tips, most of the discussion was comparing everyone's new body parts - "Hey, I got a new hip!" or "Finally had to have my knees replaced." My personal favorite was, “I’m a quarter of the way there to becoming the…

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5 Tips to Great Spring League Sports Photo Shoots

This month, sports league photography is beginning in our studio. As we move towards spring our league photography grows in volume. As many do this time of year, I look back at the key lessons I’ve learned over the years and make sure I learn from them. Here are 5 tips I’ve learned to make league sports a great experience for all. For this article, I’m going to talk about one of our more successful assignments, a flag football league. We typically photograph this league outdoors. As in previous years, we schedule a rain date on another day. Now in the past, this rain date was also scheduled to photograph outdoors. This year I got smart (my wife is still in shock) and scheduled an indoor shoot in case it…

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How to Make More in the Off-Season

Man, I wish spring baseball season would last all year long! Every sports photographer has had to come to grips with the seasonal rollercoaster of cash flow throughout the year. The down time between sports seasons brings so many questions. How am I going to keep my seasonal staff? How am I going to sustain a constant income for my business and family? Does any of this sound familiar? This is where we were as a business several years ago. As a volume sports and school studio we have huge peaks and valleys. That is until we realized we can have busy year-round business if we want it. We just have to take that same or similar business model that was born in sports and transpose that into other volume…

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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…

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“Weather” Or Not to Knock Out?

An interesting play on words. A decision that leads to more questions than answers sometimes. I would like to share with you some of my ideas and answers to this question. As a volume sports photographer in Houston Texas, I deal with weather issues all the time. Certain times of the year we get all four seasons in one day. In Texas, in August, it’s hot. 97 degrees outside with 85% humidity. Add it to the fact that you are taking pictures on a turf field—the temperature gauge now reads 115 degrees. Celsius. Other days it feels like monsoon season. The only thing certain in this type of climate is Image2C will show up. And we will take your pictures at the scheduled day and time. Let’s look at some…

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3 Keys to Pose Great Looking Sports Portraits

Everyone understands the importance of posing. No one wants to look like a dull-headed nitty-muffin. But we also don’t want to look awkward or “posed”. People say to stray away from how our parents posed us in portraits. It is a generational thing—“stiff” and “emotionless” to be exact. The fine line for posing, specifically in sports portraits, has a few things to consider to sell the emotion to the parents. That’s what we do as photographers—we sell a luxury item built upon emotion. To capitalize on that emotion, the parent needs to see their kids in a more natural state. These tips will help you do just that and hopefully pull away from the “other guys” in the marketplace. To accomplish the alignment of the expression, body, and environment, we…

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How to Break Into Competition Sports With Banners

Whether you are starting out in the volume business or are a seasoned professional, if you are not focusing on the travel team market and don’t have a plan to market to this segment of customers, you’re missing out. Statistics show typical youth sports leagues in the US are declining in number of participants. In our area, the total number of kids in the league on photo day is declining year after year. Or, some of our leagues are merging with others or folding all together. While the rec leagues are declining, they are making way for more and more travel and elite programs with the number of athletes participating in these programs skyrocketing. My son started playing travel baseball at 8 years old. Not because he was a great…

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