in the studio with EJ Manuel, quarterback for the Buffalo Bills

by gregkochphoto

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Finding oneself in Miami Beach is seldom a bad thing. Waking up to a sunrise over the water, feeling the imminent heat and humidity, hearing the waves on the sand…yeah, I love my job.

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Today’s shoot was with EJ Manuel, quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. He was training here in town, so my client flew me in to pull it all together.   I decided on MAPS Production House (easily one of the best-looking places on Miami Beach), pulled together some rental gear, and went to work.

My assistant for the day, TJ (not to be confused with our subject), wrangled more strobe packs, stands, and cords than I would’ve thought possible.  We ended up with six Profoto 7As. Rim lights, key lights, hair lights, background lights…you name it and we had it. We built two sets, a high-key on a white cyclorama and a low-key on some framed Duvetyne. I wanted to have the option of stepping between both sets at a moment’s notice—it makes the process more efficient and the client and subject happier!

Here’s a shot of the studio in which you can see TJ moving faster than the shutter on my phone’s camera.

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As is generally the case, I hadn’t previously met my subject before our shoot. Thus, I didn’t know quite what to expect.  Having made it into an elite organization such as the NFL, he was no doubt a consummate professional, but even professionals can get nervous around a camera.

When EJ rolled in, however, he was all smiles and ready to work. Six-feet-five-inches of camera-loving dude-ness. Yeah, it was definitely proving to be a good day! While he unpacked his wardrobe, we spent about ten minutes discussing the nature of the session, the types of images we were looking for, the wonders of south Florida, etc., then picked which specific outfit we wanted to start with. As the following images show, EJ is a fashion mogul, so I knew we weren’t going to have any trouble making him look his best.

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But I couldn’t get lazy, either.  Here, EJ reminds me to stay on my toes.  You ever been drilled by 60MPH of flaming pig skin?

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TJ gets ready to dive for cover.

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After we got through the required images, we should’ve stopped for a snack.  Apparently, models get hungry from time to time, and here EJ digs into the only thing he could find.

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We have fun on shoots.

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The great thing about collaboration is that you never know where the next idea is going to come from.  Case in point: someone decided EJ should jump in the air. At first I thought we might need a trampoline. Then I remembered whom we were working with.

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I’m personally a big fan of the invisible defensive linemen. Here, EJ hurdles some menacingly transparent aggressors.

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Did I mention that this is one cool cat?

20130718_132919_052011001770_26205b120130718_131331_052011001770_26169b1 It was a lot of fun working with EJ, and I’m looking forward to the next time.

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My thanks to EJ Manuel for being a great sport and for bringing such incredible energy to our shoot.  Also, a big thank you to TJ Blum for the amazing assist–you’re a true warrior.  And finally, thanks go out to Mia at MAPS Production House for all the location work.  I highly recommend MAPS to anyone on the beach in need of a great rental space.

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