Portrait: NY Giants Steve Smith

by Dustin Snipes on  May 25, 2011 |
Steve Smith Workout

Steve Smith Workout

Over a year ago I was working with a great high school athlete and his trainer. The trainer mentioned to me that he and Steve Smith (NY Giants) do a beach workout from time to time. This sounded cool. Unfortunately it’s tough for photographers to directly pitch editorial departments on story ideas. Fortunately my friend writes for ESPN The Magazine. I mention it to him, he mentions it to his editor and presto, another shoot. Takeaway lesson: always keep ears open for other jobs.


So the premise is simple: Steve Smith, a wide receiver for the New York Giants and USC alumni, returns home in the off season and works out every-so-often on the beach. The workout activates and strengthens muscles that I presume I don’t have.

We (me, my assistant, the reporter and the video crew) show up early for the morning shoot. Not too long after his trainer shows up. By this point there were some thick, ominous clouds, which would definitely help with lighting. However, this is a typical Southern Californian morning so they will quickly cook off leaving me with just a blue sky and a harsh direct sunlight. I was praying we’d get this in before the clouds leave.


Once Smith arrives we all get formally introduced. The athletes then disrobe to their spandex-like padded underwear and jump in the water. Here’s where life gets tricky.

I needed to set up lights. I also heard somewhere by some wise person that water and electricity don’t mix well, leaving the powering of aforementioned lights to be, umm, challenging. With an extension cord that traced back to my battery packs I had my assistant stand in shin-high in the ocean holding the extension cord over his head, as to give the greatest distance away from the water. Like I said, this is where it gets tricky.

The shot I settle on is Smith doing lunges with a barbell over his shoulders in water that is, maybe, knee high. At this point I’ve given up on any dreams of staying dry. I’m shooting in a crouched position protecting my camera and lens as best I can from the waves. And I did a good job, or so I thought. Apparently I was wrong and some sand got in the lens, forcing me to have to get it repaired. The repair cost a couple hundred bucks. Ugh.


Here are some other photos from the shoot.

Here is the Lighting set up:

Pretty straight forward. Two lights, one either acting as a fill light or a rim light depending on the photo and 1  large octobox for the main light.

17 comments on “Portrait: NY Giants Steve Smith”
  1. keith | | Reply

    reminds me of a job where i’m the assistant holding the norman 200b while standing in mud & getting a little zapped now & then – good way to keep your assistants awake.

  2. Shannon Frost | | Reply

    tHANKS FOR taking us with you.

  3. Sharon in TX | | Reply

    Love, love your work! Thanks for sharing the lighting specs with us.

  4. Mark Lee | | Reply

    Great work, as usual.

  5. Brian Powell | | Reply

    hey man, new fan here from Indiana (yes I’m jealous of the coasts). . :)
    Found you through a random tweet by JoeyL and now I’m curious what your day job was (leaving mine next summer).

    Also curious if you used your AB800s on this shoot. I just got a WLx3200 to start playing with knocking out the sun in 2012.. and might trade up my AB800s for Einsteins.

    Love your style and lighting :) Right up my alley; keep it comin!


  6. St. Louis Wedding Photographer | | Reply

    Excellent job, you are absolutely right always keep the ears open for opportunities, you never know when they will present themselves and we all need to act quickly when they do.


  7. Ty | | Reply

    Hey Dustin, love your style! Just wondering if you could help me make up my mind.
    I have 2 AB800′s and no light tools except umbrellas and reflectors. I’m super broke so budget is an issue.
    I’d like to shoot corporate portraits and sport portraits. I also shoot food and chefs.
    I want to purchase 2 light modifiers from:

    I’m thinking a 22″ beauty dish and a med soft box or med octobank.
    If you could only purchase 2 light modifiers in the world what would you get???

  8. Eric | | Reply

    Thank you for showing how you did the light!

  9. Dallas Photographer Les Wollam | | Reply

    I’d love to see your blog updated a bit – but I bet you don’t have time. I just wandered over to your website homepage – fantastic! You’ve come a long way in a short period, my man. There’s no way to even say which is my favorite, though I do like the humor of the guy with the mustache painted on his finger, and of course the woman with the red bull sweatband. I like the way you seem to be using hot lights on some of the portraits, so the pupils are closed and we can see the color of their irises.
    I’ve been following you for maybe 8 months now. Great Work!

    Dallas Photographer Les Wollam

  10. MensAffairs | | Reply

    Wow, awesome!! Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. Framed Wall Art | | Reply

    Excellent photographs you have added in post of Steve Smith’s Workout, these photographs are really looking great. Thanks for sharing this inspirational photography.

  12. John | | Reply

    Checked out your website, nice work…



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