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November 23, 2020 2:49 PM SPUSA Blog

On Monday and Tuesday, December 7 & 8, I will be photographing gymnasts, home school students, mother's day out students, etc. at Powerhouse TNT Gymnastics.  I will bring a full photo set, including backdrop and lights to the gym.  

Every non-team child/gymnast will get to do two age-appropriate poses, plus a close-up, as well an "action" image.  I will capture a couple of images of each pose.  Packages will include every individual image of your child for one price.  The best prices (significant discounts from regular prices) will be available to those who order before we begin the photography.   The ordering system for this project is active now. I will have several monitors playing slideshows of the images as we conduct the photography.  There will not be an online gallery of the images from the project.

All team gymnasts will perform three poses chosen by their coach.  One of the three will be a "skill" or "action".  I will also capture one close-up of each team member.  Teams will also have one image of the team.  Packages for team members will include all the individual images of your gymnast plus a team portrait.  To see some sample images from another gym portrait project click here.

You will place your order using our online ordering system: 
1.  To order, you will login to your account in the Sports Photos USA system (if you don't yet have an account, select "Create Account" from the main menu to create one). 
2.  Once you are logged in, select "Ordering Portraits at Your Gym" from our main menu.  This is the first gym portrait project of the year, so "Powerhouse TNT Gym Portraits" will be the only option in that section.  Each package will be listed along with descriptions and prices. 
3.  Select an image package first, and then you may add specialty items.  When you add a package to your cart, the system will prompt you for information so that I can identify your child. 
4.  When you are ready to checkout, you may pay with credit/debit card using the Guest Checkout in Paypal.  If you have an Paypal account, you may login to it and use whatever payment sources you have set up in your account for payment.

I will be contact-free during the photography.  I will be masked and will remain at the camera (separated from the gymnasts) throughout the sessions.  Your child's coach will assist your child with his or her poses.  Remember that the youngest children will not always be "on board" for this posing stuff.  Sometimes, I will simply let them "do their thing" rather than creating a stressful confrontation.

If there is a need for you and I to communicate face-to-face, I will expect you and anyone else who is a party to the conversation to wear a covering over their mouth and nose and to remain physically separated by at least 6 feet.  If you can't (or won't) do that, then we can't have the conversation.  Let's all be safe, because the vaccines are only weeks away from approval!!  My 4 year old grandson has been praying for God since this thing began to "send the virus to the moon", and I second the motion!

I'll see you soon. 

See #GymPortraitsSPUSA on Facebook.

November 19, 2020 2:01 PM SPUSA Blog

The beam and floor events at a girls' gymnastics meet contain a myriad of beautiful and photo-worthy moments.  One of the classic skills is the scale.  

I have heard people comment that the scale is not "really a skill".  I beg to differ with those opinions.  It is performed so often that we sometimes think that everyone can do it.   As I watch through the camera or review images after a meet, I see many attempts to complete a scale.  There are only a few that have the elegance, grace, and balance to make a scale memorable.  

This young lady pulled it off exquisitely.  She is competing as a Level 4 gymnast.  While a higher level competitor might do a "bigger" scale, even the older, more experienced gymnast probably can't top this one for grace and elegance.   When I saw the original image, I decided that it would be the subject of her Digital Painting.  I browsed the remaining images in her folder, and found what I expected . . . she had numerouse poses and skills that were worthy of becoming a Painted ArtPiece.  The clean background, though, allowed her lines to shine through.  There is no mistaking the subject of this painting or having to sort through background details before the viewer's eye settles on the subject.  Kudos to this young lady!  I am betting that there are many more awesome performances ahead of her in this sport.

As we get ready to cover our fourth meet of the year (Level 3 South State at Powersports Gymnastics in College Station), this is the third absolutely FREE Digital Painting on canvas that SPUSA has given away this season.  I will give away one 8x10 Digital Painting on Canvas at each meet until the end of the season.  I hope you enjoy seeing them.  I sure enjoy painting them!


November 19, 2020 6:30 AM SPUSA Blog

Here is another Digital Painting that was FREE to the mom who entered one of our new meet drawings.  Sometimes it's hard to find an inspiring image to paint of the younger gymnasts.  That was NOT the case for this gymnast.  Her straddle jump was one of many that caught my eye as I reviewed her images.  Her poses were elegant, and her skills were eye-catching!  I had a hard time deciding whether to paint one of several skills she demonstrated or one of her poses.  They were all such awesome images.  Her coach and teammates in the background watching her gave this image an extra emotional factor.  In the end, I thought she and her family would enjoy this awesome straddle jump from a Level 4 gymnast!   

When I began this painting, I used the "Flow" smoothing technique to create a noise-free background.  I painted the lines to emphasize her vertical torso and the horizontal position of her legs.  I was disappointed, though, that the Flow technique blurred the teammates and coach so much that they simply became part of the smooth lines.  I went back to work, created a layer between the gymnast and the background and added them to the design.  I didn't want them to the the center of attention, so I made sure they were blurred (they and the gymnast know who they are, I'll bet).  Then I made teammate/coach  layers, like the background, semi-transparent to give an ethereal feeling to the overall painting.  


November 18, 2020 4:08 PM SPUSA Blog

This is my 31st year of photographing gymnastics!  I wanted to celebrate this year.  Instead, we ushered in the Covid-era of gymnastics meets, and meet directors wouldn't allow any "non-essential" personnel into the meets for two months.  Well, we are finally back in the saddle, and doing what we do best--photographing live-action gymnasts.  So, let the celebration begin!

I am having a drawing at each meet this season.  I am giving away an 8x10 digital painting on canvas at each meet.  There is no cost and no obligation. Listen to my announcements at the meets and follow the directions (it's easier than ever to hear since the size of the crowds are smaller, and we are all physiscally distanced).  

The image above is our first winner of the season.  She approved the painting today, and it is on its way to the lab for production and shipping directly to her.  The selection of the image, painting the image, giclee printing on artist canvas, and shipping are all on me!  Mom, the gymnast, and the rest of the family get to sit back and simply enjoy the beauty of this young lady starring in her own custom Masterpiece!  All Mom had to do was enter the drawing!  Be sure you listen to me when I make my announcements during open stretch for each session at every meet we cover this season.


November 5, 2020 7:49 AM SPUSA Blog

When I am looking for a live-action image to paint, occasionally I find an awesome image that was recorded in the camera less than ideally.  Maybe it's slightly out-of-focus, the gymnast is too small in the frame, or maybe hands or feet are not all in the frame.  Such was the case with this image.  The gymnast's body position was excellent, but she was too close to the photographer.  He zoomed out all the way, but still couldn't get her foot in the frame.    With a photograph, we are basically stuck with the original image.  It is very time-consuming and tedious to add a body part to an image in a way that the viewer can't perceive the alteration.  When we are painting, however, I have developed some techniques that make such additions easier to do.

I decided I wanted to use this image despite the missing foot.  Since the 11x14 format of the Digital Painting on Canvas is wider than the image as recorded by the camera, I would have room for the foot to be included in the frame.  The first step for me was to paint the background.  Everything is painted in layers (and I'll tell/show you why shortly).  In this image, the competition floor is on one layer (each layer is like a transparency on a projector, you can add or remove layers to modify the whole image), and there are many layers to the background extending beyond the floor.  In this specific painting, there are also 6 layers for the gymnast and 6 more for her closeup in the corner.  There are 20 additional layers of texture, grit, paint strokes, and other modifiers which lead to the authenticity of the final painting.

If you look at the middle image, you will see a somewhat lighter background compared to the one on the right.  This is an occasion when multiple layers come in handy.  I felt like the lighter background made the gymnast look slightly washed out.  I wanted more vivid and darker colors behind her.  Instead of having to repaint all those layers, I simply added some "adjustment layers" to create the effect which I wanted.  Even though the gymnast layers are the same in both images, most viewers perceive her as more saturated and textured in the one on the right.  

Painting in layers allows a painting to evolve as I work with it.  I can also save the image at various points along the way in case a modification doesn't turn out the way I thought it would.  I can always go back to the earlier version. 

I am so pleased to be back in action covering meets again.  The last 8 months allowed me to improve my digital painting skills, and now I have many new images to paint!  If you are at an upcoming meet be sure to check out the early-bird specials that are only available during the meet.  One such special (the COMBO package) allows you to get all the downloadable images of your gymnast PLUS a 11x14 Digital Painting on Canvas for less than the price of the painting alone (requirements to qualify for the COMBO package:  1.  you allow me to select the images to use for the painting, and 2.  you agree to permit me to use the painting and the images in my sample repertoire).


September 24, 2020 8:17 AM SPUSA Blog

Over ONE MILLION images---that's the number of gymnastics images which our photographers capture each year (in non-pandemic years) across the country!  With that many images  in my system, it is impossible to recall each and every gymnast from a year's meets.  A few times each year, though, we photograph a gymnast whose performance combines superior gymnastics and personal flamboyance in such a way that the routine is seared into my memory. 

Kamille is one of those gymnasts.  She brought a bigger-than-life personality to her floor routine that day.  When I sat down to paint recently, I thought of the first meet of 2020.  One routine from the Winter Blast Invitational at Infinite Bounds Gymnastics immediately came to mind.  I found Kamille's images from the meet, and I wasn't disappointed.  The images from her floor routine took me back to the meet.  Her energy and enthusiasm were evident even in the images.   I wanted to capture the exuberance she displayed that day in this "Oils-on-Canvas" style Digital Painting.  

Aaron was behind the camera on floor that Saturday night.  His positioning that day was perfect for covering Kamille's floor routine.  Among the 89 images of her,  the two I selected were perfect!  Her gaze was directly at the camera and the look on her face said, "I came to make an IMPACT".  

I think I had as much fun painting Kamille as she did performing that night.  There was a smile on my face every step of the way.  Let me tip my had to Kamille, her coaches, her choreographer, and her family for preparing this gymnast to obviously love what she does.  Good luck in the future, Kamille!


September 16, 2020 12:57 PM SPUSA Blog

The Watercolor style of Digital Painting mimics the look of achieved by a traditional artist using watercolors on a matte-finish watercolor paper.  When painting a digital watercolor portrait, I paint away or drastically minimize the original gym background so that the viewer can concentrate on the gymnast.

Watercolor portraits have a soft, dreamy look.  The colors are typically not as saturated as you see in other types of painting.  The colors fade into each other as they are absorbed into the artist's paper.  The paper fibers wick the color into areas adjacent to the actual brush strokes.  Watermarks are left as the painting dries after painting.  The digital version has much the same look as  one painted with a physical brush and wet paints on paper.

To order your own custom Digital Painting in the Watercolor style simply  click "Contact Us" on the home page.  Tell me that you want a Watercolor style digital painting.  Review the live-action meet photos you purchased from Sports Photos USA (or from your posed or posed-action gym portrait images we created at your gym), and select your favorite image.  I'll send you an invoice.  As soon as the invoice is paid, I'll begin your project. I will use your selected photo as my reference to digitally paint your watercolor.  If you have a high-quality image that you or another photographer took that you would like me to use as reference, let me know.  You can email me that image and I'll let you know if it is satisfactory for your Digital Watercolor.

Our typical digital painting times generally range from 3-5 days. After the portrait is completed, a preview is posted in the approvals section of my website for you to approve.  When I receive your approval, I submit the artwork to the lab for production. The specific turnaround time for your portrait project can vary based on your choice of painting style, how long it takes for approval of the final portrait, the printing substrate (canvas, metal, stone, watercolor paper, etc.), and final printed size.  Most orders are at your door within 10-14 days from your approval of the painting.


September 14, 2020 1:44 PM SPUSA Blog

Planning for gym portrait projects for the  2020-21 year has been in progress for the last 6 months.  Sports Photos USA is committed to us all staying safe when we visit your gym.  All our interaction will be contactless.  This means the portrait projects will be totally different this year.  Our goal, as always, will be to capture the best gymnastics portnaits we can while remaining physically distanced and masked (the gymnast doesn't have to be masked, although that might be a very appropriate--and even fun--way to pose during this time in which we find ourselves).  We will have contactless ordering at the gyms we visit and contactless electronic delivery of those orders.  Physical  products (Paintings, Posters, Blankets, T-shirts, etc.), will be drop-shipped from our labs directly to the person ordering in order to minimize the number of people handling the items.  All of our labs have told me that they are following best practices as outlined by the CDC.

Here are the key points of our health safety system:

1.  Masks -- Everyone on the SPUSA team will wear a mask which covers both mouth and nose when we enter your gym.  We will have no close contact with anyone at the gym.

2.  No public contact -- We will not meet individually with parents at the gym.  We would love to sell you awesome images of your gymnast, but we will NOT compromise safety (ours, the gymnasts, or yours) to do that.  We will not be shaking hands or standing around chatting this year.  We want to be able to make it through the season healthy.  Being laid up at home or in the hospital for several days, weeks, or even months after contracting the coronavirus would not only effect me and my team, but also the thousands of gymnasts at gyms or meets we would have to cancel.

3. Communicating with me at the gym-- If you have questions, you will be able to text me.  That text number will only be monitored during the time I am at your gym.  At any other time, you should visit the main website and click "Contact Us" to send me a message.  "Contact Us" messages come directly to my email inbox.  I will try to reply to emails within 48 hours.  

4.  Image previews -- At each gym, I will have  a  monitor displaying images of the gymnasts so that parents can see the quality of my work.  This year we will NOT be able to display images of specific gymnasts on demand.

5.  Equipment and workstation disinfection -- We will disinfect all equipment before we enter the gym .  I will be the only one to touch my equipment.  

6.  Work Area -- Our image management work area will NOT be  publicly accessible.  No gymnast, gym personnel, or parent may approach the photography work area while I am at the gym.

7.  Ordering information -- Before I arrive at the gym, I will send an email to my liaison at the gym (which the gym will, in turn, forward to you).  Remember that emails are sometimes missed by recipients, junk mail filters sometimes intercept emails before the reach you, and sometimes emails are inadvertently deleted.  In each of those situations (and probably others), you will not see the email.  The information and deadlines will apply, however, whether you see the email or not.  Please check with the gym before I arrive if you have not received the email.   

That email will contain the BASIC instructions for communicating with me and ordering at the gym as well as a link to the gym portrait information webpage.  The webpage will contain more detailed information about how we work, our packages and their pricing (both early-bird discounts and regular pricing),  timelines for delivery, and other pertinent information.  It will contain links to the ordering system for your gym.  A banner will be displayed in the gym when I arrive which will contain the same BASIC instructions as the email you'll receive before I arrive.  

The webpage will contain COMPREHENSIVE instructions for ordering.  Ordering must be completed your personal internet connected device while I am at the gym.  The order system for a gym portrait project will be open for 30 days before I come to the gym, and will close after I leave the gym.   Early-bird discounts will end at midnight on the day before I arrive at your gym.  There can be no extensions of that deadline.  If you want to take advantage of the early-bird discounts, be sure you don't procrastinate! 

8.  Failsafe -- In the highly unlikely event of some emergency requiring us to speak face-to-face, such a conversation will ONLY take place if both of us (and anyone else who is a necessary party to the conversation) properly wear masks and remain at least 6 feet apart.  If you can't wear a mask fully covering your mouth and nose AND remain properly distanced in that situation, or if you choose not to, we will NOT be able to have that coversation regardless of the emergency.  I don't intend to be difficult, but I am in a high-risk group, and do NOT want to be exposed to Covid-19  Thanks so much for understanding!

9.  Photography and Who is Eligible -- Posing young gymnasts on a portrait set requires close contact between the photographer and the gymnast.  Since we will not be in close contact this year, I will not bring a full set.  Gymnasts will be photographed on either beam or floor for girls, or on parallel bars or floor for boys.  Since I won't be approaching the gymnast, they must select the portions of their routine which they can perform best.  Be sure to chat with your coach to make sure your selections are acceptable for the photography.  To do this, the gymnast must be advanced enough to tell me what he or she will perform and then to do it.  As a general rule, I will photograph only individual competitive gymnasts (USAG level 3 and up or equivalent).  My goal will be to capture 5-7 poses of each gymnast during their portrait session.  I will select one pose, and the gymnast (and his or her coach) will select 4 more poses for compulsory-level gymnasts and 6 more poses for optional-level gymnasts.

10.  Virtual Team Portraits -- Team posing requires close contact on steroids!  Not only are the gymnasts all placed shoulder-to-shoulder, but the photographer has to be in the middle of the entire group.  I will photograph each team member individually for the team portrait.  I have been designing and creating virtual group portraits for years.  For graduation this year, I photographed the graduating seniors and created a virtual class portrait consisting of 270 graduates!  Every team member for a virtual team portrait must be at the gym at the scheduled time.  Design of a virtual portrait is based upon the number of gymnasts to be in it.  If you are late, you will NOT be in the team portrait.  No exceptions.

11.  My Apologies -- There is no one who loves what they do more than me.  I love to be involved with the coaches, gym staff, gymnasts, and parents.  I didn't ask for this pandemic, I don't like the required physical distancing and masking, and I hate having to modify what I have done for the last 30 years.  BUT . . . I want to stay healthy, I want you to stay healthy, and I want to share my talents and experience with you.  I am unwilling to sit at home and be a couch potato.  For the last six months, I have been at home digitally painting nearly 200 gymnastics portraits to enhance my skils and expand the number and quality of the products I can offer you.  So, I apologize for these rules and restrictions, but I want no part of receiving or transmitting the SARS CoV2 virus.  Let's abide by the rules and have some fun!  Thanks for understanding.


August 30, 2020 10:26 AM SPUSA Blog

The "Flow" style of Digital Painting involves me painting the background with long, smooth strokes of color which follow the lines of the gymnast's body or which illustrate the motion of the gymnast.  Using this style, I do away with the noisy and distracting background (the crowd, the banners on the wall of the gym, other gymnasts, or equipment in the gym).

People repeatedly ask me if we remove the backgrounds from all the images in the basic at-the-meet package of downloadable images.  The answer is no.  The downloadable image package is designed to be the most economical way for parents to get images of their gymnast.  The package contains every image we capture of a gymnast (almost always 30 or more images per routine, and sometimes as many as 50-60 per routine).  If ordered at the meet, that package is $59 for an individual gymnast (whole team packages are much less than that). 

Some of our more sophisticated products (our Posters and some of the Digital Paintings) are designed to de-emphasize, blur, or remove/replace the original backgrounds.  The "Flow" Digital Painting style is one such product.

August 27, 2020 1:18 PM SPUSA Blog

Throughout the history of phtography, certain print formats have been standard (i.e. 11x14, 16x20, 24x 30, etc.)  For nearly 30 years, I have offered the standard sizes like everyone else.  I have, however, always offered some additional unique, and instantly recognizable sizes.  Our RAGE poster is a very eye-catching horizontal panoramic style, measuring 10 inches high by 30 inches wide.  Our Spotlight poster takes on the proportions of today's camera sensors at two units wide by three units high.  The standard Spotlight poster is 12 inches wide by 18 inches tall.

There are times, however, when the standard image sizes simply don't make sense.  Many live-action gymnastics images, when printed in standard sizes, have an excess of either blue floor in the foreground, or the high walls of the gym in the background.  Today, SPUSA is introducing SQUARE to our lineup of canvas formats.  Our digital paintings are typically painted in standard portrait sizes.  When the image cries out to be cropped tighter to get rid of wide expanses of blue carpet or gym walls, I am painting in a square format.  The square canvases will be available in three sizes:  12x12, 16x16, and 20x20.  

The square format harkens back to the early days of medium format wedding photography.  Many twin-lens reflex cameras in the first half of the 20th century used film that yielded a square negative.  In order to use the whole image, the prints came as 5x5 or 10x10 prints.  One of my first cameras was a Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera that used 120 or 220 film.  Each image was square.  

Today, almost all digital sensors replicate the days of 35mm film cameras when the negative was 24mm x 36mm.  What is important, though, is not the dimension of the sensor.  We must look at the proportions of the image subject to decide what the appropriate canvas size should be.  Take a look at the image attached to this post.  The canvas is square and the image looks awesome without any wasted space.  If, on the other hand, the canvas was 3 units high by 2 units wide, there would be lots of space with just the empty floor at the bottom of the image or the back wall at the top.  

When you have decided to spend your money on a digital painting of your gymnast, you don't want me wasting time painting floors and walls that don't add anything to the painting itself.  The important part of the image is your gymnast.  The SQUARE format can make your painting so much more dynamic, and at the same time, save you money (by saving me time in the painting process).

If you are interested in a digital painting of your gymnast, simply click the "Contact Us" link and send me a message.  I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

August 25, 2020 8:24 AM SPUSA Blog

As I look through the multitudes of images we have captured at meets, sometimes a sequence of images catches my attention.  The painting in this blog post was inspired by images captured at South Fork Ranch  which was the site of the Level 5 State Championships in December.  Mom ordered an 11x14 canvas print of this painting.  She emailed me upon its delivery to say, "Yay! I just opened it and it’s even more beautiful than the digital copy.  Thanks you so much."  I love to hear comments like that.  

While the multi-image paintings are awesome, remember that they take much more time to paint, and therefore, are more expensive than the single image paintings.  The Digital Paintings on canvas are the "Cadillac" of live-action meet image product.  I am on a quest this summer to find a way to make these paintings as efficiently and economically as possible.  I'll have lots of real samples of the digital paintings on canvasat meets when we are allowed back in to cover meets.

August 20, 2020 4:48 PM SPUSA Blog

From where does the drive to compete originate?  Is it from some chemical or electrical process in the brain or from some mysterious spot deep in the thing we call the mind?  Does it come from our soul, or does it emanate from our creator?  Who knows?  Philosophers have debated for centuries about the source of motivation and desires.  Regardless of whether we ever discover the ultimate source, it is indisputable that some people have an ability to tap into something which drives them to be the best.  Coaches strive to develop that drive in each of their gymnasts.

"The Force" is an impressionistic painting which illustrates the flow of that drive from some exterior source to the gymnast in competition.  Personally, I find comfort in believing that there is a loving, benevolent being greater than each of us from  whom we can derive peace, love, motivation, drive, joy, and a myriad of other gifts.  

The first time I painted "The Force," I was thinking of the sun's rays or the light of a spotlight.  Then I located an image of a gymnast on the beam with her arm extended upward and her face looking above.  The concept hit me like a ton of bricks.  Adding the cosmos behind her seemed to enhance the illustration.  I finished the background with convoluted strokes of white and multi-colored light representing unbridled energy of the universe.  When random energy is focused in a highly competitive gymnast, magic happens!  The first painting of "The Force" has been followed by a number of others, with each using various elements to represent the same infusion of competitive drive and the gymnast's expression of such drive in his or her performance.

August 15, 2020 8:31 AM SPUSA Blog

While I have been developing my skills with Digital Paintings, my posters are still popular.  I introduces the RAGE poster in 2004 as a really unique product.  Its panoramic shape (10 inches high by 30 inches wide) and the super high-gloss photo paper on which it is printed, make it an eye-catching art piece.  When you add 5 images of and awesome gymnast, and you have a show-stopper hanging in your living room.  Since I have the lab print each one on archival media, your RAGE poster will be around for your enjoyment for a lifetime!

August 15, 2020 7:16 AM SPUSA Blog

While I miss covering meets during the Covid-19 crisis, I have had a lot of fun being creative with the Digital Paintings, and learning new techniques.  My repertoire of Digital Painting styles is growing.  This one is a Color Pencil Sketch.  Colored pencils were developed in the 1800s.  It wasn't until the 20th century came around that high quality products evolved.  For the longest time, colored pencils were not accepted by art galleries and artists as a serious medium.  In the last few decades, colored pencils have been displayed in more high end galleries.  Currently, many well-known artists use the medium.

With the maturity of digital editing tools, virtual colored pencils have made their way into the current art scene.  The beauty of the virtual color pencil sketches is that each element is on a "layer" by itself so that the final art piece can be edited.  By displaying different layers or combining the ways in which the layers interact with each other, a variety of looks can be achieved from a single painting!  

During the Covid-19 crisis, I am painting several paintings every week.  I have experimented with a number of different painting styles, and am working hard to develop my skills in each style.  As I become proficient with a style, I intend to offer it to everyone at meets and gym portrait programs across the country.  In the meantime, I am picking and choosing images from past meets to paint.  I hope to one day open up the process to allow parents to send  me their favorite images to paint for them.  For now, I am enjoying the learning process.  Thanks for taking the trip with me.

August 3, 2020 3:58 PM SPUSA Blog

T-Ball is where many little boys begin to love our national pasttime.  Here a 5 year old gets his first hit on his first swing of the bat. He plays for the local Aggies t-ball team. Mom and Dad hope that one day he'll wear the maroon and white at Olsen Field in College Station. Who knows what 2033 might might have in store for this budding athlete?

August 1, 2020 3:24 PM SPUSA Blog

For months, we have been preparing to safely photograph meets when they start again.  Sports Photos USA is committed to staying safe at meets.  All our interaction with parents will be contactless.  Our prime directive at meets will be to capture the best images we can in the safest manner possible.  We will have contactless ordering at the meets we cover and contactless electronic delivery of those orders.  Physical  products (Paintings, Posters, Blankets, T-shirts, etc.), will be drop-shipped from our labs directly to the person ordering.  

Here are the key points of our health safety system:

1.  Masks -- Everyone on the SPUSA team will wear a mask which covers both mouth and nose at each meet.  We will have no close contact with anyone at the meet.

2.  No public contact -- We will not have a parent-accessible sales desk at the meets.  We would love to sell you awesome images of your gymnast, but we will NOT compromise safety to do that.  We want to keep your gymnast, you, and us safe at meets.  We will not be shaking hands or standing around chatting this year.  We want to be able to make it through the season.  Being unable to cover meets for several weeks by contracting the coronavirus would not only affect me and my team, but also the thousands of gymnasts who will be at those meets.

3. Communicating with me at the meet -- If you have questions, you will be able to text me during a meet.  That text number will only be monitored during the meet.  At any other time, you should visit the main website and click "Contact Us" to send me a message.  "Contact Us" messages come directly to my inbox.  I will try to reply to emails within 48 hours.  

4.  Image previews -- At each meet, I will have  a  monitor displaying images from that specific meet so that parents can see the quality.  This year we will NOT be able to display images of specific gymnasts at the meets.

5.  Equipment and workstation disinfection -- We will disinfect all equipment as we enter the gym .  Each photographer will be the only person to handle his or her own equipment.  Our equipment will be disinfected between each session.  

6.  Work Area -- Our image management work area will NOT be  publicly accessible.  

7.  Ordering information -- A meet information flyer will be available to you as you enter the meet.  It will contain the BASIC instructions for communicating with me and ordering at the meet as well as a link to the meet information webpage.  The meet information webpage will contain COMPREHENSIVE instructions for ordering.  Ordering must be completed on your phone or other internet connected device at the meet.  The order system for a meet will be open for 30 days after the meet.  At-the-meet discounts will end at midnight on Sunday following the close of the meet.  There can be no extensions of that deadline.

8.  Failsafe -- In the highly unlikely event of some emergency requiring us to speak face-to-face, such a conversation will ONLY take place if both of us (and anyone else who is a necessary party to the conversation) properly wear masks.  If you can't wear a mask fully covering your mouth and nose in that situation, or you choose not to, we will NOT be able to have that conversation regardless of the emergency.


June 12, 2020 11:07 AM SPUSA Blog

After photographing the JHS commencement ceremony, I thought about how important this moment is in the lives of these young men and women.  I decided to commemorate this momentous occasion by using my new Digital Painting techniques  to create some really special Art Pieces for the graduates.  Here is one.  Congratulations, JHS graduates!!

June 1, 2020 10:07 AM SPUSA Blog

The Digital Painting in this blog post is the style I call "Out of the Box".  

I have offered a single Digital Painting style for several years.  Beginning in March of this year, I developed several new styles.  There are now five different painting styles which I am developing, and I'll share them as time goes on.  Normally an 11x14 Digital Painting on artist's canvas sells for about $400.  I create a number of these each season.  

Several people have asked me how their gymnast can be featured in one of these Digital Paintings.  At first, I had no answer for them.  The beauty of these paintings had always begun with me selecting the image that created an emotion in me.  I was afraid parents would select something that didn't inspire me, and that the end product would simply become routine.  I think, though, that I have figured out a way to keep all the paintings fresh and still allow a parent to commission a painting of his or her gymnast.  If you are willing to allow me to select the image and to use the final painting as part of my sample gallery, I'll create a Digital Painting for you on an 11x14 artist's canvas for $159 plus tax.  Here's how it will work:

1.  Let me know you are interested.  Go to my home page and click "Contact Us".  Type "Covid-19 Painting Request" in the subject line.  Tell me the name of the meet in which your gymnast competed, your gymnast's full name, the gym for which your gymnast competes, and the session in which he/she competed.  I'll find the images and select one that I'd love as my subject image and a suggested style I envision for the Digital Painting.  You will get to approve my ideas before anything else happens.

2.  When we have agreed on an image and a style of painting, I'll email you an invoice.  When the invoice is paid, I'll begin work on your Digital Painting.  Most of these are finished in 10-14 days.

3.  Upon completion, I'll give you a chance to approve the final Art Piece before I send it to the lab for production.  I'll have the lab print it on artist's canvas and ship it to you rolled up in a shipping tube.   I'll ship it directly to your address.  When you receive it, take it to your nearest Hobby Lobby to mount and frame.  They can do it for FAR less than my lab would charge!   I'll ship it directly to your address.  

May 28, 2020 6:31 AM SPUSA Blog

During the time of the Covid-19 shutdown, I have out of business, and will be until USA Gymnastics begins sanctioning meets again.  For a few days, I thought about simply retiring.  The problem with that solution is that I LOVE what I do.  SO . . . I decided to get busy and gain some new skills.  I have been studying some very talented artists and learning the skills involved in creating Digital Paintings.  I have created dozens of paintings and the feedback of parents has been awesome!  Thank you for all the positive feedback to those who have seen your gymnast's images.  Here is one of these digital paintings for you to enjoy.   I will be posting more over the next few days.

May 14, 2020 1:53 PM SPUSA Blog

We will be capturing images of every Senior participating in the Commencement Ceremonies of the Jacksonville high School Class of 2020 on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.  We have provided graduation images for JHS Seniors for the last 25 years and are proud to have been selected to do so again!  

This class is the FIRST class in history at JHS to have experienced district-wide "Virtual Classes" as part of its formal education.  Congratulations on surviving the Covid-19 crisis and successfully completing your education at JHS.  We wish you great things, whether you are going to college or trade school in the fall, entering the workforce, joining the Armed Forces, or simply stiking out on your own into the future.  Good Luck in all your endeavors!

Beginning on May 14, you may order your Official Graduation images.  We offer print packages, downloadable images, a cool Virtual Class Portrait, and---New This Year---All-Access Packages that let you order the whole enchilada for one highly discounted price!  Everything is on sale to those who order BEFORE the end of May.  Order early and don't miss out on the savings.  No orders will be accepted after June 30, 2020.

I will build the Class Portrait from individual images of everyone walking the stage at graduation.  That will take a week or so, and then I will begin processing orders.  Right now professional photo labs across the country are beginning to come out of quarantine mode, but so are graduation photographers.  I expect delivery of your order to take 6-8 weeks.  I will process orders in the order in which they are received so be sure to order soon.  Thanks in advance for ordering your graduation images!

Ordering Steps:  1.  Login to your account at Sports Photos USA (if you don't have one already, create one first).
2.  Go to the ordering page for JHS Graduation (ordering ends at midnight, June 30, 2020), by clicking here.
3.  Select the item or items you want, answer the questions, and add them to your cart.
4.  Check out.  Use the PayPal link to pay.  You can use a debit/credit card by checking out as a guest at the PayPal page.   If you would rather use your PayPal account to pay, simply login at the PayPal page. 
5.  After successfully submitting and paying for your order, you will receive an email with  your order information.  DO NOT DELETE that email until you receive the items you order.

Once again, CONGRATULATIONS, graduates!!!

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