Depth of Field: Behind the Scenes at a Football Photo Shoot

Whenever a football coach and a designer tell you they want to "try something new" you should always be just a little wary. This year it was head football coach Glenn Caruso and University Relations designer Joe Vangsgard who wanted to get more inventive with the cover of the media guide and the schedule poster. That "something new" turned out to be a great idea and a lot of fun to shoot.

We'd spent the past two years defining a style for the media guide and poster. Most of that involved building a lighting and processing style around team leaders who would be photographed in the studio under very specific lighting conditions. Vangsgard would also use file photos of other team members in action on the field, cutting them out and layering them in with the studio shots. This year he and Caruso wanted to combine the two -- action shots under studio lighting.

That presented a challenge. Our studio is too small to allow for most any kind of movement, let alone running and pass catching. Instead we hauled lights to Schoenecker Arena and set up a studio there, complete with runways of protective mats so that players' cleats wouldn't scratch the floor, a weight-lifting station so that players' muscles could be pumped up as much as possible, and an iPad to wirelessly receive the photos so that Vangsgard could review them as we shot.

Next we had each player go through a series of plays related to their game-day positions, specifically coordinated so that they'd hit the peak of action under our lighting setup. That included passes thrown with pinpoint accuracy by quarterback Matt O'Connell so that the reception would occur under our lights.

What you see above is that five-hour photo shoot squeezed into a minute and a half. Below you see the results of that shoot where lighting and Photoshop processing have all come together.

Editor’s note: Depth of Field is the Newsroom’s photo and multimedia blog. In the coming months we plan to bring you some of the best of St. Thomas photography and multimedia–recent photos we like, selections from UST’s rich photo history, or our latest video project.

Read more from the Depth of Field blog.