Team Posters as Custom Art

One of the truly unique services Shipman Photography offers is custom team posters for athletes.   Typically this is a service we provide for senior groups who’ve earned the privilege of being honored in a special way like a custom piece of art that can be used for program covers, banners, framed & mounted prints, volume posters and more.


It’s a great way to brand you’re an athletic program and a great way to set the stage for a dramatic cinematic scene that will really put the subjects into an immersive, emotive environment that would look at home on a NIKE poster or in an Under Armour ad.

We do a lot of these, but often you don’t see anything but the final result.   More and more, I am becoming interested in showing the viewers under the hood and behind the curtain to see how the sausage is made (apologies for the mixed metaphors).   It’s an interesting process, and this project featured the senior members of the Bixby Spartan soccer team.

It starts with presenting the kids with some design ideas – sometimes these are inspired by existing work of my own or someone else’s but the aim of the project is always to create something original, unique and fresh – while retaining the style and branding that our clients expect.

Once we have a concept in mind, we shoot or build (with elements of various licensed stock downloads) a custom background.   These backgrounds are heavily modified in most cases to be an ideal digital environment for our subjects to inhabit.   We look at things like viewers’ perspective, light sources, color grading and atmosphere within the background and use those concepts to plan how to shoot our subjects. Its important to know what angle and what lighting diagram to use so that they will match the background in both perspective and light.

Once we have that, we shoot our subjects in a variety of poses – taking time to show them the back of camera shot so they are happy with their pose, reshooting any who aren’t.     This was a lot of fun hosting these great kids at our mid-town studio for the poster session!

Then, over the next few weeks, we edit each player individually and place them into the growing scene, blending colors, adding shadows and lighting dynamics, creating atmosphere and little elements like grass overlapping their cleats.   It’s the totality of the little things that convince your mind that you are seeing either a photo-realistic scene, or a purposely surreal scene that looks cinematic and believable.

In the end, the final piece is a versatile graphic design that will be featured on the program cover and as gift prints presented to the players at the end of the season.   Thanks Bixby Soccer! We hope you enjoy the final pieces!