The 2013-14 UCLA women's basketball team held its annual photo shoot at a studio in downtown Los Angeles this past weekend with professional photographer Christopher Greco, marking the third straight year that the team has partnered with Greco and his creative team.
"I wanted to portray our young ladies in a very different, new and edgy way,"Close said. "As we went through the experience, I saw what a team bonding experience it was and how important it was to celebrate our student-athletes as young ladies and not just as basketball players."
That sentiment was also shared by redshirt junior Corinne Costa.
"It is a great experience for the team to get made up and take pictures and show another side of us," Costa said. "It is also fun to hang out with the new players and get to know them a little better. It is a fun day where the whole team gets to bond."
The majority of the images will be used throughout the year to promote the UCLA women's basketball team. Some of the images will be utilized in game programs and the media guide while others will be used for marketing purposes via social media sites."
I think it is really cool that our program makes such a big deal out of us," sophomore guard Kari Korver said. "We all have a great time getting dressed up and having our photos taken to show off our feminine side. It is really a fun day."
Coach Close said that many of the images will be used to help market the program, especially in the area of recruiting, but that pales in comparison for what it does for the team chemistry and for the self esteem and the celebration of the young ladies on the squad.
"I think it is important for our fans to see the femine side of women's basketball," redshirt junior guard/forward Rhema Gardner said. "They usually just see us in our jerseys and baggy clothes. It's a great opportunity and we enjoy it every year."
This year, the studio was larger than in the past and came complete with air conditioning and Wi-Fi. The larger studio also provided more stations for hair and make-up as well as for lighting and backdrops. The Wi-Fi also allowed the student-athletes to do their homework during downtime throughout the day as most are in summer school.
The players had an 8:00 a.m. call time for hair and makeup. There were a total of three photo stations, one with jerseys, one with business attire and one station where each player could showcase her personality with clothes and props that represented their interests and hobbies.
"I have never done a photo shoot quite like this," freshman forward Paulina Hersler said. "I have done smaller ones with my mom. I really had a lot of fun being a model for a day."