The Baltimore Ravens have shared footage from its team photo day which sees their photographer navigating the chaotic task of capturing well over 100 people.
Phil Hoffmann has been the Ravens’ photographer since the team’s inception in 1996, and his experience is on full display as a microphone picks up his banter and finesse as he negotiates the hectic environment so he can get his photos.
We mic'd up our team photographer for team photo day and it's chaos 😂😂
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 14, 2023
“This is my 27th Ravens team photo, so I’ve been here for every season,” Hoffmann says in a behind-the-scenes video posted by the Ravens,
“Well, we did the team photographs, and this year, because we had quite a few support people, we decided to do a second. So we had coaches, players, support staff. Add then we just did coaches and players, two team photos.”
The footage shows Hoffmann taking center stage as he directs the playing staff by organizing them by their numbers. “Higher numbers go up, lower numbers are down on the bottom,” shouts Hoffmann as the Ravens staff assemble on the bleachers.
Hoffmann directs his subjects to stand “so that you’re looking between the shoulders of the two guys in front of you, that way I’ll see your number really clearly.”
Shortly after he gives some individuals direct instructions, Hoffmann takes the team photo which is something of a daunting task as the roster includes stars like quarterback Lamar Jackson and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
“Shooting ducks in a pond, that’s all it is,” he says to the camera. “A lot of ducks, small pond.”
After Hoffmann is done with the team shot, it is time for the “positional pictures” which means Hoffmann has to group the linebackers together, the wide receivers together, et cetera. The players cajole and grab Hoffmann as they try to get their photo done first.
“Every year what happens is these position photos, they love the pictures but they’re in a hurry to get inside and eat lunch, everybody wants to get their picture first so we have chaos and I do the best I can,” he says.
“I have absolutely no idea what happened, because for some reason if you don’t get to be first, you’re a loser. That’s why they fight for it.”
The video is a fascinating insight into the job of an NFL team photographer. In this segment, Hoffmann is temporarily the star — a result of franchises creating more and more content as they become platforms themselves.