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  1. #1

    Help me get started, please! Best base sets for photography?

    I used to be really big into sports cards (almost exclusively football) from about 1999 to 2005, ages 10 to 16 or so, but haven't touched cards since. Within the last year I've really gotten into sports photography, mainly shooting hockey at my local rink. A few days ago it dawned on me that sports cards are nothing but sports photography, perfect for my interests again.

    I'd like to get into set collecting and not worry about the high dollar items. Which brings me to my question: What would be some good hockey base sets for photography? I'm not familiar with hockey cards AT ALL so I'm in need of some guidance if possible. Year doesn't matter, accessible and inexpensive boxes are a plus. I'd like something with a extremely minimalistic design that focuses on the photography... no borders would be awesome. I was thinking something along the lines of the 90's Stadium Club sets or even just the base Upper Deck sets. I'm partial to post-lockout years since that's when I got into hockey but I wouldn't mind older sets, especially since some of those 90's boxes can be super cheap. Are there any sets known for their superior action shots or anything like that?

    I bought a 72-pack retail box of 2012/13 Score (yay, tons of cards) and a hobby box of 2012/13 UD Series 1 which should keep me busy for awhile but I wouldn't mind getting some ideas for what to get after that.

    Edit: just some clarification, I'm indeed after hockey cards with good photography, not just looking for cool hockey photos in general. I'm trying to combine my love for photography and sports cards.

    Thanks in advance,
    - Kevin
    Last edited by kr580; 05-12-2013 at 09:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Panini has some good base sets for photographs from a few years past. NHL action shots. Try eBay, you may get them uber cheap.

  3. #3
    I always found Upper Deck S1 and S2 to have fantastic photography.

  4. #4
    I like S1/S2 as well, though the recent Pinnacle releases have some very interesting shot selection. Not just a bunch of similar action shots.

  5. #5
    For photography and base cards, I have always liked the UD Series 1 & 2 cards. Those are always nice base sets to make if you are into the photography; especially since there isn't a border. Most card sets nowadays tend to have a player picture on some computer created background.
    Score has a border. However, I find from a photography point of view it usually has some cards with some really cool shots. There are some neat base cards. I think it was the first year Score came out with a base card of a Calgary Flames picture with the player coming onto the ice at the start of the game with special lighting. I thought that was a really cool shot and I am not a Flames fan. I like the fact that Score is cheap for collecting base. I also like how the Season highlight cards are included in a set to give an overview of the season compared to how UD has Biography of a Season that you can only get through a card store. The Net Cam shots from Score are also neat if you like photography.
    Prizm Rookie Autos 2013-14 395-Rielly

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Whatever you do, stay away from ITG unless you like shots of heads and or just bodies without much background (or if you want vintage).

    Try to stay within one set per year if you are going across multiple years. All of the manufacturers tend to be guilty of re-using similar poses or photos from set to set (some more than others), but usually they update images year by year (again, a few exceptions).

    For full card images, you'll have more choice prior to 2004. After 2004 until panini came into the scene its basically UD S1 & S2 as everyone suggested. For the 90's though, you have a host of choices and don't be afraid to look into insert sets as well. Here are some sets to consider that are on the cheaper side
    2008-09 UD Masterpieces - Example
    2001-02 Pacific
    - Impact Zone insert set - Example
    1991-92 Future Trends Canada 72 - Example

    Some things you can try are to get bulk lots of base that will give you exposure to lots of sets and years (craigslist, eBay, kijiji, etc.). As for 'price' though, the moment you say base cards, you're already in the cheap side. Very much so.

    GL with your collecting.


  8. #8
    10-11 and 11-12 Pinnacle both had very unique shots of players. As well if I remember correctly there was minimal design on the cards. Hope this helps, and good luck!
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  9. #9
    Actually if you go all the way back to 91-92 Pro-Set Platinum, they were full bleed photography, and some great action shots. There was no player identification, just a set logo on the front.
    Last edited by Goose97; 05-12-2013 at 05:19 PM.
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  10. #10
    You don't even need to buy the cards. Go to and you can just browse through the cards, both front and back.

    If you wanna see examples of good photos though then go through Getty Images for hockey and also search for 8 x 10 of player X on google images.

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