Friday, August 14, 2009

Florida QB Tim Tebow for the Sporting News

Tim Tebow shares the cover with Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy

I have had the opportunity to photograph Florida QB Tim Tebow every year that he has played in Gainesville. He is probably the nicest and most personable athlete that I have ever worked with. He always arrives on time and has a great attitude. That is very impressive considering how many photo shoots, interviews and other media requests he gets. For this latest assignment, I had only 15 minutes to get 2 variations of a cover image and a separate, more intimate portrait.
The Sporting News emailed the cover concept to me. They were going to feature the big three quarterbacks - Sam Bradford from Oklahoma, Colt McCoy from Texas and Tim Tebow. I had to match Tim into the middle of a giant "QB". After speaking with the editors, I knew what kind of poses they needed. Working with the Florida Sports Information Department is always a pleasure. They are very professional and detail oriented. They quickly secured the F Club Room, a special Booster reception area at The Swamp. It is a large circular room with a high ceiling. That is all you could ask for in a location!

The first thing that Jorge, my assistant, and I set up were the two backgrounds. I had the main setup with a slate grey seamless paper background. It was lit with one Profoto 7B with a 5' Octobank.

All the other players were to be shot with a soft light from the right side, so this was going to match it.
For the second backdrop, I used my
favorite Westcott blue muslin. I really like how the background blue would compliment the colors in the Gator uniform. I used a Profoto 1200 with 2 heads. A 3X4 Profoto softbox from the left for the main light, and a small light dome to the back right of the subject, aimed right at the left shoulder. When Tim arrived, we chatted about his busy off season and the impending bankruptcy of the footwear company Crocs. He was shocked... He loves his Gator Crocs! He is rarely seen without them on!

Set up #1 - I was going to make sure the cover image was taken care of. The preferred image was Tim with his right arm up, resting on an imaginary Q. I used an old lightstand as a guide. I shot about 40 variations, with him smiling, serious, throwing a ball and just
standing there.
As a backup pose, I also shot him with out the light stand, in case they wanted to pose him in front of the "QB". It is always good to try and make life easy for the photo editors. Always give them options. I used a Nikon D3 with the 24-70 2.8 zoom at 70mm.
(The exposure for this cover shot was 1/250th @ f/7.1 at ASA 200)

Set up #2 - I wanted to make a beautiful headshot portrait. In all my other 3 photo shoots with Tim, I made really good full and half body shots, but I never had time to make a nice, intimate close up portrait. I used my Nikon D300 with my 85 f/1.8 lens.

(That makes the lens effectively 127.5mm with the D300 DX factor). I had also outfitted the lens with a 8x Neutral density filter so I could really control the depth of field. I had Tim sit down on an apple box, and I worked portraits from a silghtly downward angle.
I had him give me a wide range of expressions. I think that the Nikon 85 f/1.8 is sharpest at around f/2.8, so I try not to shoot it wide open. (The exposure was 1/200th between f/2.8 and f/4 at ASA 200).

The inside shot that the Sporting News decided on using was one of the extra shots I took when I backed up from my headshot.

I think this opening spread looks great. It was a great assignment and I was honored to contribute to the final cover.

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