This article is courtesy of Pennsylvanian portrait photographer Andrew Tomasino.


When I’m not photographing I take part in a new passion of mine; Jiu Jitsu. In specific, 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu with some of the nicest, coolest guys that I’m lucky to now call my friends. The person you see below is one of them … he also happens to be a Pro MMA fighter. Introducing Thad Frick.

Andrew Tomasino and Thad Frick

Pun intended, my weapon of choice for this shoot was the 5’ Westcott Octabank. I wanted to show great depth and dimension of Thad’s musculature with a beautiful soft light.

“Pro fighter, beautiful, soft light?”

Yes I know this is probably off from what most of you would bring to a shoot. But that is what’s great about photography, everybody is gonna bring something different to the table.

Since this was a personal shoot, I wanted to give Thad great images he could use to promote himself, while pushing myself in new directions photographically. Lately, most of my shoots have been very simplistic, and on plain backgrounds to really show my subjects’ features. Thad and I even started shooting that very same way in my studio …

Andrew Tomasino and Thad Frick 2Andrew Tomasino and Thad Frick 3

To me, these images are beautiful. Shot with natural light, and really different from what I see for images of a professional fighter. But I had to ask myself … “If you take away the hand wraps, would anyone know what this guy does?”

I needed some context to tie him into the frame and tell his story with a single image. So luckily beforehand, I got a local gym to lend us some time in their full sized cage.

Andrew Tomasino and Thad Frick 4

See the difference? Now you know without a doubt that this guy is a serious fighter. A simple pop of light on the cage let’s you know where you’re at and the 5' Octabank let’s you know who you’re dealing with. This is what an environmental portrait is all about. Tying the person to their natural environment.

I’m starting to hone in on what I really love as a photographer, and reality is very much a part of that. I’m not incredibly conceptual … I love real people doing real things, especially those who test themselves in areas that most would never venture in.

Andrew Tomasino and Thad Frick Final

These two moments were toward the end of our shoot. At this point, we’re both sweaty, tired, and ready to be done. After I fumbled through some action shots while he whaled on the heavy bag, Thad asked me what pose would look good … and casually leaned on the heavy bag for direction. This is the moment where you should be at your most perceptive … he leaned on the bag because this is what is 100% natural for him. BANG GOES MY SHUTTER. He dropped his hands because, as you can hopefully see, he’s tired from having me make him punch the bag for 10 minutes while photographing. BANG GOES MY SHUTTER AGAIN.

Real. Moments. Real fighter, Real gym… Real. Beautiful. Light.

Hope you enjoy the images, and look out for this guy, he’s on the rise to become one of the best fighters you’ve ever seen.


Follow Thad on Twitter: @ThadFrick

Stay in touch with Andrew:

Twitter: @andrewtomasino

Instagram: @andrewtomasino


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