Black Series

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Black Series was an idea I'd had in my head for a while. I have a note on my phone that is updated on a daily basis titled, "Lots of Great Ideas." Whichever idea I'm currently most excited about is kept at the top of that list. They usually drop down the list after a day or two, but Black Series held the top spot for months.

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When I finally had the time to pull this together, I reached out to a producer I know named Joyce Taft. I told her what I wanted to do and gave her an idea of my budget. Once we'd aligned I sent her a mood board demonstrating what I wanted to create and she went to work pulling together a crew that would be a good fit for the idea.

On the crew we had Frances Tsalas for hair and makeup. Tim Blokel was our digital tech. Luciana Spatola pulled wardrobe and Tim Payton was assisting. Finally, Jeremy Stark was shooting our behind the scenes video.

Joyce and I looked at several modeling agency websites and put together a list of models that had the right look for what we were creating. We had to look through a good amount of models because we were looking for someone who was suited for athletics, and a lot of models at agencies have really long skinny legs that weren't quite right for this project. Ultimately we settled on Tyler Sims with Factor, and she did an absolutely fantastic job. She didn't play ball sports growing up, but she did run track in high school and specialized in hurdles, which made her a natural fit for all the dunk shots I wanted to do.

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Since we weren't using a prop stylist, I went out a few days ahead of time and found some basketballs and soccer balls we could use. I also found out that you can't buy spray paint within Chicago city limits, so I had to drive out a ways to a Home Depot beyond city limits to get some matte black spray paint. I spray painted all of the balls matte black to match the tone of everything else on set.

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When Tyler arrived the morning of the shoot, she and Francis went to work getting her airbrushed matte black head to toe. I really wanted all of the tones on set to match up, and this was the final thing we needed to do to bring it all together.

We shot both basketball and soccer and Tyler did a fantastic job with both. I was really happy with the crew and we actually ended up wrapping the shoot around 3 or 3:30 because we had gone through my shot list and then some and already had more than enough in the bag. The most challenging part was narrowing down the images for retouching, but that's always a good problem to have.

I hope you enjoy this series and if you have any additional questions about the process or what we did, please feel free to leave a comment. I'll include some of the other images and the behind the scenes video below. As always, don't hesitate to reach out if you need any marketing images for your brand. My email is Thanks!