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.