Matt D’Annunzio: OTF in Times Square

Jan 18, 2016
Photographer Spotlight

It was only a rumor that the photos would be going up in Times Square. Photographer Matt D’Annunzio knew that his photos for Orange Theory Fitness would be on the walls of all the OTF locations across the country, but he didn’t want to believe they’d be up in The Crossroads of the World until he saw it with his own eyes. Right before the New Year, he and over 2 million people got the visual confirmation.

Matt was first contacted by the art director and creative director at ad agency, Tombras. They discussed their vision with him and the three knew they were in sync when they each pulled pictures for their concept board and had independently chosen the same imagery. The client was Orange Theory Fitness—the new kid on the block for fitness—according to Matt. The company’s goal is to get people fit without feeling intimidated, so Matt’s goal on the creative end was to create images that got people excited about the brand, but also made them feel welcome. Matt says he wanted to create pictures that were “gritty, beautiful, and inviting.”

Lolo Jones, Olympic athlete and brand ambassador of OTF

Hailing from Portland, Oregon—described by Matt as the shoe/athletica mecca—Matt finds that his photography is influenced by working with local brands like Adidas and Nike. Matt loves capturing the raw expression and the physical form of athletes, so this shoot for OTF was right up his alley.

They are sweaty, aggressive, and the way the light contours the muscular physique makes a compelling image.

Matt flew out to Ft. Lauderdale three times for this project. The first trip was for casting. He spent one day shooting 176 models (including miss USA!) to decide on the talent for the campaign. He says the time spent casting is worth it because you need to see how someone can move in front of the camera. The second trip was to shoot the models. The team had a couple personal trainers in studio to get the athletes hype and keep them in good form. Matt says he loves shooting athletes being athletes; there is a clear focus for everyone.

What’s great about working with an athlete in studio is that they are confined to their mark. If you are a runner, run, but do it on your mark.


The final trip to Ft. Lauderdale was for the biggest star of all—Orange Theory Fitness brand ambassador, Lolo Jones. Jones, three time Olympic athlete and the current American record holder in the 60m hurdles, was supposed to be part of the earlier shoot with the rest of the talent, but unexpected surgery prevented her attendance. Matt was pumped when he found out that she had recovered enough so that he would get a chance to work with her on this shoot.

Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones

The photos were released on December 26th, in all the Orange Theory Fitness locations and on the second largest Billboard in Times Square. The people at OTF are ecstatic, the art director from Tombras is submitting the photos for advertising awards, and Matt D’Annunzio couldn't be happier. In the end he says he had a blast with everyone on the team and made some friends in the process.

To view more of Matt’s work, check out!

Tags: lolo jones matt d'annunzio orange theory fitness sports photography