From the course: Portrait Photography: Sports Portraits on LinkedIn Learning

Shooting intense portraits from Portrait Photography: Sports Portraits by Robert Vanelli

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Once we have our master shots completed it’s time to get a little creative. We’re going to work on an intense type of a shot. Lacrosse players are well known for being really intense when they play. So this is what I want to capture in this next shot.

What I want to do is have him bring his head down and when I say “Come up,” he’s going to slowly bring his head up and just punch right through the lens—just give me that intense stare that makes other players think “Man, I don’t want to play against him.” So, let’s get going.

Here’s how our session might go: “How you doing, my man? Okay, let’s come right up here. Stand on your mark. Legs wide. Good. Now, let’s bring the stick up just a touch. That’s it. Let’s your glove. You’re going to push out into the mesh with your hand. Great. Hey, Drew, I’ll have you come up just a little bit and move over. That’s it. What I need you to do is bring it up just a little bit. Good. Bring your chin down. That’s it, good. Now swing your head over just a little, right there. That’s it.

“Now close your eyes for a moment. You’re an attackman. Ready? Put that into your mind. Think about this. There’re 10 seconds left in the game. You need this goal. Think about it. Now don’t move your head. Just slowly open your eyes and look right at me. Go. (shutter click) Right there. Nice, nice. (shutter click) One more, my man. (shutter click) Drew, that’s intense. Great job, bud.”

Intensity makes the athlete look extremely competitive and that’s the kind of shot that the athlete wants—and so do the parents.