Andrew Bernstein Details Zoom Photoshoot Contest, Covering NBA in 'The Bubble' (Exclusive)

Photographer Andrew Bernstein has covered the NBA and live sports since the mid-1980s. But now he is using his skills to conduct a photoshoot with an everyday citizen, albeit in a very different manner. Bernstein will use Zoom to take photos of a fan as part of an ongoing contest by ART FUN PARTIES.

Speaking with in an exclusive interview, Bernstein explained how he not only became involved in the contest but will use his skills to conduct an entirely virtual photoshoot. As he explained, this is a reasonably straightforward process considering that the directions are still very similar, it's just the setting that will change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Shanna Israel is the founder of ART FUN PARTIES, and actually I am very good friends with her sister, Felisa," Bernstein told PopCulture. "We worked together for years in the NBA. And now Felisa is an entrepreneur and doing all kinds of things in mentoring, and internships, and teaches a class at UCLA. Felisa introduced me to Shanna who had a pretty thriving business in the Phoenix area with doing parties that were centered around art, of course, live. And when all that came to a crashing halt, she had to sort of pivot and figure out how she could do what she did, but do it virtually."

As Bernstein explained, this idea involved birthday parties and other events. This led to the contest featuring the Zoom photoshoot. However, the longtime photographer had to adjust how he approaches the upcoming interaction with a fan due to health and safety concerns.

"I actually do a photoshoot with a person via Zoom. So you can imagine that the subject is on the other side of Zoom, on my side," Bernstein said. "And I am directing that person, be it a kid or an adult, whatever, to do poses that I would have done if I was with them personally or that I've done with NBA athletes and other athletes throughout my career. ... As we're going through it on Zoom, and of course, we're recording it on video and audio, I'm actually taking screenshots of each pose as we go."

Once the photoshoot is complete, the ART FUN PARTIES team will put the photos in a virtual NBA setting and add several effects. This includes B-roll footage shot by one of Bernstein's interns. The editor will put everything together in a "whole different take" on a traditional format.

After the contest, which ends with the announcement of the winner on Aug. 9, Bernstein will continue planning for his upcoming trip to the NBA bubble. He will head to Orlando in mid-August to cover the playoffs while adhering to the social distancing guidelines and safety protocols. There are a considerable number of challenges for Bernstein and his team of photographers to address — namely, remaining healthy — but the lack of fans creates an entirely new concern.

"On the photography side, I'm talking to my colleagues almost daily down there," Bernstein explained. "[...]I mean, the way we shoot from the court has now been changed to we shoot away from the court. Of course, there's no fans there. There's no other photographers sort of jostling for position. So I'm preparing equipment-wise for all the scenarios that I need to face once I get down there. But luckily, like I said, I do have colleagues down there who are getting everything started, and I've been getting a lot of information from them to prepare me for when I have to be there."


While Bernstein will continue shooting photographs of the NBA's top stars during the playoffs, he will also take time to record some interviews. He is bringing Legends of Sport to the NBA bubble while celebrating a new partnership with the Los Angeles Times to co-produce the podcast. Beginning July 7, the show's third season will be available to download through the L.A. Times App and will continue streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other listening platforms. Previous LEGENDS OF SPORT seasons are also available on all platforms.

"Hosted by Bernstein, LEGENDS OF SPORT celebrates legendary athletes, teams, moments and personalities in sports. With 75+ episodes and over 400K downloads, LEGENDS OF SPORT has welcomed notable guests including Magic Johnson, Tony Hawk, Hope Solo, David Stern, Pau Gasol, Doris Burke, Peter Guber and late basketball icon, Kobe Bryant, who collaborated with Bernstein on the New York Times bestselling book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play in 2018."