It’s not only important to create an identity around your team, but what also counts is capturing the essence of your team itself and there is no better way to do this than by taking some great photos.
Just look at the pros. Every year, professional teams publish their official sports team photos and player portraits.
Not to mention the hundreds of images from games, tournaments, wins and other occasions they publish throughout the year on their Facebook team pages and other marketing channels.
For good reason. Photos and other visuals are one of the most effective types of content on the web.
Yet, it doesn’t stop there. Photos of your team and players are also a great resource to have for your marketing and club promotion material.
After all, that’s what a team is all about — people.
In this article we will go over how to create stunning team, player and action photos for your website and wherever else you might need them.
Sound good? Then buckle in, we’ve got lots of useful tips to help you prepare for your next photo shoot.
Quick note: I’m going to assume that you will take your own photos. If you hire a professional photographer, much of the stuff below doesn’t apply because he or she would hopefully take care of it. However, it will still be useful to you to read on for creating ideas and a concept even if the execution is up to someone else.
General Preparation Tips for a Smooth Photo Shoot
Before we get into specifics for different types of photos, let’s go over some general guidelines how to make your photography session a success.
Find a Photographer
How original, right? However, it should not be forgotten that the the first step to a good team picture is someone who actually knows how to take one.
Whether that’s you, someone on your team or an external helper, doesn’t matter too much.
Just find someone who knows how to handle a camera properly and — if at all possible — has their own equipment.
Get Proper Photo Equipment
Since we are on the topic: the quality of your photos really hinges on what you take them with and a point-and-shoot camera just won’t cut it for this one.
This doesn’t mean you have to invest in a $5000-camera. Even cellphones are well equipped for taking photos these days and can create really good pictures.
However, for the following we will assume you are using a real camera for your team photos with lenses and everything.
Any additional equipment like lighting rigs are also welcome, however, you will also find some tips below on how to build such things yourself if necessary.
Make a Plan
In photography, preparation is everything. It’s easy to underestimate the logistics that go into a photo shoot and having a plan is therefore key.
In particular, think through the following:
- Location — Where will the photo be taken? Can you get there without a problem? Do you need permission or keys to get inside? There’s no use scheduling taking your photos somewhere you can’t access.
- Timing — Besides the where, the when is just as important, mostly so everyone who is supposed to be in the picture can be there. Game day is a good option (since everyone will be in uniform already), however, it’s important that the photo shoot is communicated in advance and you have enough leeway before the action.
- Equipment — Besides the photo equipment like camera, batteries, lenses, memory cards, tripod and remote (if the photographer also needs to be in the picture), think about clothing and props like sports equipment that will liven up the photos.
- Assistance — Doing an entire shoot alone can be a tall order and having some help might be a good idea. An assistant can arrange subjects (i.e. players), help with the lighting and do other tasks. Trust me, having someone else there who helps with the organisation can make things a lot smoother.
We will get into some of these points in more detail further below, but you can already see the importance of planning ahead, right? Cool, then let’s get to the actual photos now.
Must-have Sports Team Website Features
Your sports website needs to stand out in a way that makes it easy for visitors to digest every bit of information within the first few seconds. They should have a good idea of what they’re in for once they land on your site.
Keeping up to date with today’s trends for sports websites, here’s how you can make your web presence really stand out:
1. Your Logo is Your Identity
Your team’s logo needs to be placed properly on your site. It is what gives your team its recognition and makes your visitors connect with you.
Logos are important for branding purposes. You need to be consistent and make sure the logo is effortless placed. There’s no need to bombard your visitors with your logo, but if they can’t tell whose website they’ve landed on, that’s a bad sign.
By using good User Experience or UX principles, your visitors should always know which page they are on and be able to navigate their way around so everything flows together beautifully and logically.
If you’re still in the process of creating your own sports team logo, you can brainstorm and look for existing examples for inspiration. Pinterest is a great place to get those creative wheels spinning!
2. Keep The Visitors Updated with News and Blogs
Every sports website needs a news section to help visitors know what’s going on with the club.
From players and event managers to the die hard fans themselves, everyone needs to stay connected to get the latest scoop!
There’s no better way to share your big wins with your audience than by starting up a blog on your sports team website.
Below is an example of a combined fixture/results list for forthcoming events and which also incorporates results of matches already played. Your fans might be interested in seeing details and performances of each match and player. Here is an example of what fans might be interested in seeing : http://1point3creative-demo.com/sports/american-football/blog/
Apart from the wins and losses or transfers happening on the field, people want to know what’s happening off of it. Fans will love a “behind the scenes” glimpse of what’s happening in the lives of your players. After your games, you can share detailed match reports and make social media updates as regularly as you can.
In addition to this, blog posts are also important for several reasons as well. Not only does it help with SEO, but it also helps attract and retain visitors, and grow your social media following!
Having a proper content marketing strategy will help you get clarity on who you are trying to reach with your content and what you are trying to achieve in the long-run.
You should also make use of plugins and widgets allowing users to subscribe so that they’ll know whenever a new blog post is released. In addition to this, creating a sign-up form for newsletters can also be of great help to keep your audience engaged with your team.
3. Photos and Videos Speak Volumes
Your multimedia section should be solid with everything from photos to videos to even audio files.
Videos increase engagement rates by up to 22% and are also heavily searched for. YouTube has become the biggest search engine, and sports channels are usually always among Top 10 on the video sharing platform.
If your team is eager to share video footage to reach a bigger audience, it might even be worth starting up a YouTube channel of your own! Have you ever thought about the types of videos you could create for your sports website?
You can upload everything from interviews to short clips to highlights, or even training videos made specifically for your audience and sport. Liverpool FC seems to be doing it just right.
In addition to this, photos are of huge importance too. You can have galleries for events and players, making it easy for your visitors to find what they need.
You can also highlight images of the fans in attendance cheering or jeering to show how thrilling the matches are. This will help you grab more attention.
Tip: Remember to use high quality photos, videos and images. There’s nothing visually appealing about a grainy or stretched out image!
4. Current Team Roster
A sports team is dynamic, and there are changes happening all the time due to various reasons including a new player, a retirement or even injuries.
Therefore, it is important to have a Team Roster section to keep your fans aware of the latest player lineup!
5. Schedules to Show Upcoming Events
Schedules are an important and very easy way to make sure everyone associated with the team knows about any upcoming events.
Event calendars or team schedules, though they are always subject to change, do not only help officials and players plan better, but they’ll also help you spread the news so fans can make your games, too!
6. Leaderboards, Top Scorers and Standings
Every fans wants to keep an eye out for their favourite teams and players and how they stack up against other teams and clubs.
Displaying leaderboards and top scorers on your sports website is also a great way to encourage competition amongst your team members to get them inspired and motivated to aim higher!
Keep a track of game scores, player stats, tournament results and a detailed standings board so your players know where they stand or which areas to focus on in order to improve their performance and leaderboard positions.
You can use plugins specifically designed for this purpose to make the job easy.
7. Social Profiles
Are you using social media to communicate with fans and followers?
If not, you really should get your team on social media channels. Fans and organisers alike often go straight to your social media pages to get news quickly. It’s a great place to engage with them and grow your following.
If you haven’t got a clue of where to start, be sure to check out our guide on how to create a professional sports team.
In addition to having an active social presence, don’t forget to add social icons on your site to make it easy for visitors to find you on various networks.
Don’t let all the tweets, Facebook messaging or email-answering cut into your day-to-day training regimen though!
8. Player Profiles
Combine player statistics with unique player profiles for every team member so fans (and managers) are always aware of the key performance metrics of their favourite players.
Our SportsPress plugin lets you set up players’ profiles on a dedicated page where each player’s performance can be easily tracked throughout the season, along with their individual performance stats.
9. Contact Information
Every true fan and sports organisation would want to keep in touch with your team. As far as sponsorship offers and press inquiries go, you should be making it extremely easy for people to connect with your sports club.
I would recommend dedicating one page on your site for the sole purpose of getting in touch with your organisation. In fact, enhance it with a contact form so that people can save time by directly leaving you messages without having to switch over to their email inbox to reach you.
Contact Form 7 and BestWebSoft are two great contact form plugins to get the job done!
10. Team and Player Stats
Have detailed team and player stats displayed on your website so that visitors can see exactly who is at the top of their game.
These statistics should be updated regularly and must be presented in a neat manner so that the numbers are easy to comprehend.