Has your team qualified for a large regional or national softball tournament, such as the 2017 USA18A National Championship? Congratulations! Pack those bags and get ready for an experience like no other. But wait. With all of the practices and qualifiers and travel arrangements and paperwork, don’t let your team forget about an important part of your entry packet: your team photo.

Why Does My Team Need to Submit a Team Photo?

Because you are awesome! And we want everybody else to know it, too.

Team photos are often featured in our official printed tournament programs. If your entry packet or tournament registration instructions include directions to submit a team photo, you can bet that your faces will be beaming out from the page of a professionally-printed, full-color booklet—right alongside your names. You may even be featured on our website or added to our gallery of amazing players. How cool is that?

Taking or Choosing a Great Team Photo

You may choose to have a professional photographer take pictures of your team, but you don’t need to if you follow a few do-it-yourself tricks. These tips work great for personal ad pictures, too.

First, find a good location and make sure the picture will be well-lit and well-exposed. Bright, direct sunlight may throw harsh shadows on players’ faces or under their chins, and spaces indoors may be too dark or cramped. Try taking the picture outside when the sky is overcast for softer lighting, or pose your team under shady trees on bright summer afternoons.

Look out for distracting or busy, patterned backgrounds; simple ones are best. Have your team stand far away from the background so that it is a little out of focus.

Second, consider what your team is wearing and how they will stand or pose for the picture. Matching uniforms always look great. Whether your team stands in straight rows or opts for an informal pose, let your players relax and don’t try to force cheesy smiles.

Color photos are preferred, but a dramatic black and white photo can also look great. Turn off any visible date or time stamp settings on your camera, and don’t put logos, text, or other artwork on top of the picture.

Sizing Your Photo

You don’t need a fancy camera to take good photos, but for best results, use the highest quality picture setting that you can. If your point-and-shoot camera has settings for low, medium, and high quality or for small, medium, and large JPEGs, use the high or large setting. You can always make it smaller later.

How big is big enough? For tournament programs, we ask that all photo submissions be at least 5 inches wide and 3.5 inches tall at 300 ppi (pixels per inch). This means that photos that have been sized down for posting on a web page or sharing on social media may not be big enough. Pictures taken with a camera phone or on a low-quality camera setting may be blurry or pixelated, and making them bigger won’t make them look better.

Example of good, high-resolution photo and bad, low-resolution photo

As shown above, the proper size for sports team photos for our tournament programs is at least 1500 pixels wide and 1050 pixels tall. A high-resolution photo is important to make your team’s listing look good. See detail #1 above for an example of a high-resolution image (one with lots of tiny pixels). The detail in example #2 has been lost due to low resolution (fewer, larger pixels).

Please send JPEGs in the RGB color format. If you’re not sure what this is, the default file type right off your camera or SD card is probably just fine.

Please do not send vertical photos or very wide, panoramic pictures. They do not fit well into the space we have reserved for them. Most cameras take photos that crop well to 6 inches by 4 inches, which is just about perfect.

Vertical photo
1. This vertical photo is too tall.

Panoramic picture
2. This panoramic photo is too wide.

Regular photo proportion

3. This picture is just right.

Sending Your Photo to Us

You may send photos and other registration packet materials to register@softballcityusa.com or mail them to our office on a CD or DVD. If the photo is too big to send as an email attachment, consider sending it to us via a download link by using a service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Sending a download link is both quick and easy.

What If We Don’t Have a Team Photo?

Does your team have a logo or printed tees or uniforms? If it is impossible to send a recent team photo, you could send us your team’s logo artwork or a picture of your uniform jersey. Of course, we know you’ll only send those if you have no other choice, because all of you are way more interesting than even the coolest logo.