3 Visual Storytelling Tips to Steal from the Vegas Golden Knights and Chicago Blackhawks

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Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

*Libris is a proud partner of Front Office Sports

Hockey fans are some of the best in the world, which means NHL teams need to be creative to harness their fans’ excitement. And while thousands of spectators get to cheer their teams on inside the arena, most watch remotely and actively follow along on social media.

So what’s the secret to keeping fans engaged online? We talked to Chase Agnello-Dean, Manager of Team Photography for the Chicago Blackhawks and Jeff Bottari, Official Team Photographer for the Vegas Golden Knights, who shared three tips to help you grab your fans’ attention with stunning photography.

Also be sure to join us on April 26 at 2 pm ET for our next visual storytelling webinar, Winning Fan Engagement with the Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights. We’ll be going more in-depth with Chase and Jeff to give you exclusive insights, workflow tips and more ideas to captivate your own audience.

1. Bring followers behind-the-scenes.

Fans love exclusive behind-the-scenes access. This trend definitely isn’t going away anytime soon. People want to feel like they’re part of the action and they know the players personally. And that can only happen if your team’s storytellers have a unique level of access.

“Hockey is a very emotional and raw sport,” says Dean. “We’re able to capture the emotion of the game because of the access we have. We get to see the players being themselves and they’re comfortable with us capturing that. They trust we’re not going to put them in an uncomfortable situation or use a photo that is unflattering.”

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With this access, Dean and his team are able to capture the raw emotion of the game. And in spending time with the players behind-the-scenes and establishing that trust, Dean is able to better tell their stories.

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2. It’s all about the angles.

To create engaging stories and connect with fans online, sometimes it’s all about sharing a unique photo. That’s why it’s important to think about what you want to capture, and also from what angle you want to capture it. Creative camera angles can make the difference between a photo falling flat and one that gets widely shared and liked on social media.

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Bottari at the Golden Knights has a number of cameras that he can trigger remotely.

“Whether you’re shooting on ice level or in the stands, there are a lot of different angles to consider,” he says. “Using different camera angles, I can get shots of the players that are emotional and tell great stories. The images are different than what many other media outlets get being just at ice level.”

Bottari’s “net cam” for example, is set up inside the net behind the goalie and lets you see a different perspective of the players.

Photographer Jeff Bottari setting up the net cam before a game. (Photo by Kristin Twiford / Libris)

He also has cameras set up in the rafters, which offers unique overhead shots of the game.

“A direct overhead shot, for example, lets you see the goalie working inside the net — something nobody else can see,” he says.

3. Capture your fans’ emotions.

Hockey fans are dedicated, to say the least. Their passion for the sport can be contagious and their emotions palpable. As a storyteller, it’s crucial to capture this energy with visual content that resonates and elicits a response from fans, whether or not they are in the arena.

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“My job is not just to document each game from an editorial perspective, but also to show emotions from the fans,” says Bottari. “The energy in the arena is through the roof at every single game. But win or lose, fans are passionate, and it’s important that we show that through photography on social media.”

Be sure to register for our next webinar, Winning Fan Engagement with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vegas Golden Knights. Chase and Jeff will be sharing more behind-the-scenes tips to help you better engage your fans. Hope to see you on April 26 at 2 pm ET! Register here.

Cover image by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

*Libris is a proud partner of Front Office Sports