Portraits of the 2013 NFLPA Rookie Premiere – by Ric Tapia

NFL Portraits

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7). Photo Credit: Ric Tapia / AP Images for NFL PLAYERS

LA-based photographer Ric Tapia took portraits of the future stars of the NFL during the NFL Rookie Premiere in Pasadena, CA.

I had an opportunity to take portraits of the future stars of the NFL during the NFL Rookie Premiere in Pasadena, CA. I was assigned by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to photograph the over 30 rookies that were invited to the premiere. The rookies are mainly there to sign trading cards and get their photos taken by various trading card companies. They also do media sessions and volunteer at an underprivileged elementary school.

My day started with a 5am wake up call. I needed to be on location by 6am to start setting up. I had a great assistant (Rafael Delgado) helping me. My assignment was to photograph the NFL rookies against white and if time permitted photograph them on the black background. Time was always against me. I had a max of 5 minutes with each player and most of the time it wasn’t even that (I literally had under 30 seconds with one player). Once Rafael and I finished setting up and triple check our lights it was 8am and time to start. The players were in groups of 6 and are rotated to the different photographers and trading card companies. At my station the players would finish signing trading cards and when they had a break or were done would come over for their portrait sessions. It was a lot of waiting because of this but I needed to be ready as soon as a player came. Most of the players were very enthusiastic and photogenic, which made my job easier and harder at the same time. I always wanted to photograph them more but time would run out and I had to think of what could have been. We had a brief lunch break and then went back at it. After lunch my energy level wasn’t the same and either was the players. I tried to keep things lively and fun this seemed to help. I finished photographing the last player at 5:30pm and after tearing down it was 6:30pm. It was a long day but worth every second of it.

See more portraits on NFL.com and more of Ric’s work on his website.

NFL Portraits

Green Bay Packers running back Jonathan Frannklin (23). Photo Credit: Ric Tapia / AP Images for NFL PLAYERS

NFL Portraits

Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (95). Photo Credit: Ric Tapia / AP Images for NFL PLAYERS

NFL Portraits

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills (84). Photo Credit: Ric Tapia / AP Images for NFL PLAYERS

NFL Portraits

New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson (17). Photo Credit: Ric Tapia / AP Images for NFL PLAYERS

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