Tag Archives: MMA

I’ve been told many times that if you shoot what you love, and if you shoot it well, you will be rewarded with jobs that you truly enjoy shooting. Such was the case with this advertising shoot for East Coast MMA Fight Shop. The owner of the store, Zach, saw my portrait series The NY Fighter Project and contacted me to discuss creating some new imagery for his store’s advertisements. Zach has connections with a lot of local fighters from MMA, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and was able to schedule Muay Thai legend Crom (Chris Romulo) for the photo shoot to wear his “CLASSIC” t-shirt (Crom’s nickname is Mr. Classic) and the East Coast Muay Thai t-shirt. We also had Zach’s close friend Jared on board, who although is not a professional fighter certainly has the look to pull it off.


We had full access to Crom’s Muay Thai gym in Far Rockaway, NY for the shoot. It was the perfect setting for what East Coast MMA Fight Shop wanted in the images. Although the gym was just wide enough to have the Muay Thai ring in the middle, this was not too big of a problem for us to get plenty of set ups completed in the day. The day began with shooting Crom in the ring wearing the East Coast Muay Thai t-shirt. As much as I would have liked to shoot action shots of Crom shadow boxing, kicking, and kneeing at the camera or a punching bag, our art director wanted to keep the shots very simple and focus completely on the t-shirt. Definitely an understandable request so I worked with the elements of the gym and my lighting to make the images as interesting as possible. The photo above is being lit by two lights. The key light is an Elinchrom Ranger in a 53″ Deep Octa high and camera left. The second light is an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra bare bulb and way in the background to camera left. That Quadra is filling in some of the shadows in the background and creating the highlight on the punching bag. It’s also creating a little bit of a rim light around the camera left side of Crom. After all the lighting was set up it was pretty easy to get a tough look out of Crom. Something like “Ok Crom, look as if you’re ready to punch my head off my shoulders.”  CLICK. Done.


Set up directly behind where I was shooting from for the first photos was a small gray seamless background. The art director wanted mostly environmental photos for this project but also decided it would be beneficial to have at least one photo on a simple background.  Although we had to keep the main photos as simple as possible, I was able to shoot some shadow boxing photos which I found much more interesting. We used the 53″ Deep Octa for the key light set up high and camera left. A Chimera large strip box with a grid was set up slightly behind and camera right to Crom for separation from the background.


When we were done shooting with Crom we got set up for Jared’s photos. These photos were to be all shot with the gym in the background as well as some outdoor locations. Lucky for us the gym was only 2 blocks from the beach. This first photo was obviously created in Crom’s gym. The AD wanted to show some kind of training details in the photo while still keeping it very simple so we decided the best thing to do was have Jared in front of a punching bag and wrapping his hands as if he was getting ready to get some time in on the bags. The 53″ Deep Octa was used again as the key light from high and camera right and a white reflector was put in place just below Jared’s hands to fill in those shadows.


When we completed the first set up in the gym we headed out towards the beach. While approaching the stairs that bring you up to the boardwalk, I noticed the side of the stairs had a beautiful texture and color that contrasted really well with what Jared was wearing. I love shooting in a run and gun kind of style, looking for anything that will work well for the photos. Obviously this can’t always be the way to shoot (depends on your client) but when it is available, I’ll take it anytime. So when we got the “tough fighter” style photos in the bag, I wanted to get something a bit more different and show a happier guy in the photos. Not all fighters fit the stereotype of an animal always looking to punch you in the face, so I thought let’s show this guy smiling. I think it worked out well.


Much thanks goes out to Zach and his crew at East Coast MMA Fight Shop for a great shoot. I had an incredible time working with this team and am looking forward to collaborating on new projects in the future.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on the blog. This is actually a good thing, in my opinion, because I’ve been so busy shooting, meeting with clients and prospective clients, traveling, and all other things photography related. So far 2012 has been a great year for me and I’m really looking forward to what’s coming up. With all that being said, I’ve finally been able to update my website’s portfolios and add a new one called MMA Fighters. If you’ve been following the blog since January, you already know that I’ve been working on a self assigned project where I am photographing MMA fighters, mostly from New York. The project has brought me all over New York including Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and upstate to Ithaca. I also headed down to Hamilton, New Jersey to photograph the fighters at Ricardo Almeida Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy. The new portfolio consists of the best of those portraits as well as some photos of training and details around the gyms.

MMA Fighters Portfolio


Editorial Portfolio


I had the pleasure of working with Suzanne Sease again who took care of the new edits and putting this all together. I decided to work with a consultant because I find it very difficult to edit my own work and separating myself from the attachment that I have with my work. Since Suzanne helped put together my portfolio the first time around, which was about 6-7 months ago, I started getting more work based off my website portfolios alone. If you are having a hard time editing your portfolios, whether it is because you are too attached to your work and can’t decide which photos to use, or you just want to have an outside perspective, I would highly recommend Suzanne to anyone.

Lifestyle Portfolio 


Corporate Portfolio

Portrait Portfolio

Check out the website’s new portfolios.

My personal portrait project, The NY Fighter Project, has been keeping me very busy along with some new editorial projects and other jobs. This post is focusing on the NY Fighter Project’s progress since I can’t post photos from my other work until they are published. Last week I had the privileged opportunity to travel to Ricardo Almeida’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy (link) and photograph some of the professional MMA fighters that train with Almeida as well as at Renzo Gracie’s NYC academy. One of these fighters is the current UFC Lightweight Champion, Frankie Edgar (14-1-1). First of all, I have to give thanks to Ace Ramirez of KRU Muay Thai since he was the man who hooked me up with this particular shoot. He is the only reason that my assistant and I were able to get in there and I am incredibly thankful. I also have to thank one of my best friends for introducing me to Ace. My “brother from another mother” Eric Moy is also responsible for having a hand in this, so thank you Moy!


As you can see, there are a lot of people involved in this project to help get me access to some of these professional MMA fighters. Although I have worked with a lot of pro’s who I have been able to get access to with a simple phone call or email, some of these other guys are not as easy to get a hold of. You see, the higher you get in this sport of MMA, such as promotions you fight for (UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, Ring Of Combat, etc.), the more celebrity you gain. For someone like Frankie Edgar, who is currently ranked #4 in the world (Sherdog.com), is one of the highest level celebrities in the sport of MMA.


I’m not 100% sure which one of these will be used for the final series, mainly because they each have something specific that I like about it, but I figured I’d show all three for now. Do you have one in particular you like? If so, leave a comment and let me know.

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