When it comes to adding sports team pictures to the yearbook, you’re often at the mercy of what your photographer got way back on picture day.
That often means a traditional team portrait, like players lined up on rows of bleachers or standing between goal posts. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; they’re great shots.
But they’re not always great shots for a yearbook.
Getting the right sports team photo ideas for your yearbook pages, then, means getting involved earlier. If you have a knockout idea for a sports team spread, you need to act as a creative director when it comes to any portraits you plan to use on those yearbook pages.
To help you with that, we turned to our favorite repository of photos ideas, Pinterest. We clicked around, pinned the sports team pictures we liked the most, and repeated a whole bunch of times until we ended up with the best-of-the-best poses for individual athlete portraits, small team shots, and large team pictures: the most valuable poses, if you will.
In other words, when it comes to looking for the best sports team photo ideas, we’ve got your bases covered.
Sports Team Photo Ideas: Big Teams
Large sports team can be hard to wrangle—and harder to capture.
We’re thinking about football teams here, but also ice hockey, basketball, softball, lacrosse, and field hockey. Basically, any roster where you need to gather 20 student athletes can create a bit of a challenge.
Getting all your players’ faces into the photo can be tough.
Fear not: We found three big sports team picture ideas that’ll deliver results so good you’ll make you want to turn your page spread into a poster.
Here they are:
Like we mentioned before, football teams can be a challenge.
The sheer number of players means you’ll usually need to line them, snap the shot and be done with it. This one does just that, but with a little bit of flair: the field is very much in the foreground, adding some drama to the composition. On top of that, the players alternated wearing their home and away jerseys to create some extra visual interest.
Both are nice touches, but the thing that really pulls this together for us is the way the players are aligned.
If you look closely, as the players fan out from the teammate at the center (the one with the football), they are slightly staggered. It’s not as obvious as the “V” shaped team portraits you usually see, but it’s just enough to change things up.
If you’re not into the wide shots, like the one above, a good way to get everyone on your sports team into a photo (without fanning them out) is to smush them together and take the portrait from above.
Because you have the angle, your teammates can stand closer together and minimize the space needed. It’s a tried-and-true approach to switching up the normal shot, and it’s a fresh perspective that can bring a different vibe to your spread.
A big team doesn’t need to shot all together.
By taking individual portraits of each player, you can do something a little different with your sports team photos: Play up the individuality of each team member while highlighting their common link.
Though this example is done on a poster, it perfectly illustrates the tactic.
To pull this off in a yearbook spread, you’ll need to get creative with how you present your sports team portrait. But that’s part of the appeal here.
Sports Team Picture Ideas: Smaller Teams, Seniors, and Captains
Smaller teams, and groups of seniors or captains, mean more opportunities for creativity, and that can be a problem all its own.
It doesn’t have to be, though. As you’ll see in the examples we found, simply taking a traditional approach and doing something unconventional with it makes for a great portrait.
Here are our favorites:
What if we told you a bleacher shot could be amazing?
You don’t have to take our word for it. Just look at this sports team picture.
The idea here is to add a lot of depth to the photo by layering your players across multiple rows, and using a different perspective to capture a true sense of place. It works really, really well.
You need a good deal of space to do this well, though, and that’s why it works best for smaller teams, like cheerleading squads and cross country teams.
You can sit everyone down and take your normal team shot. Or you could sit everyone down and do something completely different.
We vote for completely different.
This team portrait shows off the team’s personality—something that doesn’t come through in the traditional posed portrait. That visual insight into what a team’s personality really is can be a great place to start building a story that goes far beyond wins and losses for your yearbook coverage.
If you’re really looking for something different, a vertical portrait will certainly do the trick.
Since most team pictures are a horizontal orientation, the way this photo is framed is notable enough. It opens up a ton of new layout possibilities, all of which could make your spread stand out. But it doesn’t stop there.
The concept behind this photo—the idea of putting players in their environment, with the equipment they need to do their on-the-field jobs—is great for highlighting team captains or seniors.
Another approach to the straight line portrait, this “back to back” pose gives an intimidating look.
We see a lot of possibilities here, especially the ability to play off certain themes that focus on togetherness and community.
Sports Team Photo Ideas: Individual Athletes
If you have a real standout athlete—like someone who has broken multiple school records or won a state player of the year award—you may want to give them star treatment.
If that’s the case, nailing the portrait is a big deal.
A good sports portrait for a standout should capture that athlete’s passion and skill, as well as anything that makes them unique. Here are a few ideas for those photos:
Nearly every athlete out there spends more time in the locker room than you could image.
Getting your star to pose in that environment, then, lets you create a level of comfort—and may get you insight into any rituals or preparations they take to do what they do so well.
That’s why we like this sports portrait idea so much: It’s a great photo and it’s a great way to continue reporting on a yearbook story.
When your athlete does a particular thing really well, the equipment they use to do that becomes an extension of them.
In this portrait, the focus is on that equipment, highlighting the player’s talent and skill around that particular aspect of the game. It’s an artsy approach that, if you find yourself disliking, can be fixed by taking the same shot slightly differently: focus on the face and not the equipment.
Because you’re already asking the player to pose, you might as well get both and see what you like best.
While some players need equipment to play their sports, others don’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t highlight their talents, though.
In this example, the portrait places a track star right where they’re most at home: on the track. Though posed, you still get a sense of action. It feels as though this athlete is ready to jump burst off the line.
There are, of course, dozens of more sports team photo ideas out there.
And while you might find yourself debating which to use, you can go one last place to get some ideas: Your athletes.
No matter the size of the groups and no matter how cool the sports team photo ideas, your athletes need to feel comfortable with the pose. It’ll make them stand up taller, smile bigger, and present themselves in a more authentic fashion.
And that’s what it’s all about, right?