Alright this one is a little different, but absolutely dope. In the Sit Down series we have talked with players and coaches, but the beauty of Baylor Athletics is that the family extends beyond the court and field. Eli Pittman is a Junior at Baylor, and is the man behind some of your favorite photos and graphics that you see on Instagram and Twitter. Eli is one of the primary content creators for Baylor Football and Baylor Men’s Basketball, and loves every minute of it.
Eli took some time out of his schedule to chat with us about his start in content creation, his life long ties to Baylor, and his love for creative sports media. Players and coaches alike are often sharing Eli’s work and you can find him tagged in their posts. Eli grinds during the games so we can relive some of the best moments we saw live. Bottom line, Eli is incredibly talented and is responsible for the electric content we get to enjoy after we watch Baylor athletics.
We start by highlighting four of Eli’s favorite photos he has captured in his time at Baylor. From there scroll down for the full Q&A, as well as some of our favorite pieces of media we’ve seen from Eli on Instagram. Spoiler alert he’s a must follow on Instagram (@elipittman.psd) for any Baylor Bear.
Eli’s Favorite Flicks
Eli: “The Albany player caught a pass and Al picked him up and body slammed him, then B Jack stripped it out all in the moment. I caught it right in front of me, it’s probably my favorite football shot I’ve gotten here so far. There’s a lot of depth of field as well, and the shot looks like it is frozen in time.”
Eli: “This one is after we beat Tech last year. There are little rain drops falling, so the photo is pretty dramatic. We had just won and he is following through the tradition where after each game we thank the students. I just really like this one because it is pretty cinematic looking.”
Eli: “This one will always be one of my favorite photos. This one was at Oregon and this was the first trip I got to go on with the basketball team. It was last year around Christmas Time. Freshman year I couldn’t travel with the team because of Covid. We beat Oregon on the road. This was after we were pulling away and had a feeling we knew we won. Jon was hyping up our bench and I caught him right in front of me. I like the Oregon logo in the back as well, and the way he is positioned. The Oregon trip will always be a core memory for me. The first trip, all the shots there, the lighting was dope in the arena, the arena itself was awesome. When I think of the trip, this is the thing that comes to mind.”
Eli: “This was boarding the plane on our way to Manhattan to play Kansas State. I just like how the sun is beaming down and you can see the streaks of sunlight. This photo is also just something different. You know not playing on the court but just showing a different perspective. I like the low angle as well and it’s a nice change of pace from the usual basketball shots.”
Q1) Tell me a little bit about yourself man. How did you get into photography and content creation?
A1) “Growing up I have always been kind of a creative person and I have always loved sports. I have been linked with Baylor my whole life, my grandpa is Grant Teaff. So I have been around Baylor my whole life you know, my mom went here, my aunts and cousins also went here. So I’ve always been linked to Baylor. I couldn’t be more proud of my grandpa. I’ve always been creative and have loved sports, loved Baylor and loved the NFL. Every weekend growing up revolved around sports.
In fifth or sixth grade I started seeing these edits on Instagram of sports players, so I got these apps on my moms phone or my iPad, and just started messing around with graphic design throwing things together when I was younger. I used to have this Instagram page where I would post them. I sort of forgot about it for a while, until my Junior year of high school. Then around the NFL draft my Junior year of high school I saw all these guys that I had followed for a long time posting jersey swaps and edits of players going to new teams and I just thought it was the coolest thing so I decided to get serious about graphic design.
Then my mom got me a MacBook that summer going into my Senior year. So that summer I was trying to perfect my craft the best I could, getting familiar with Photoshop and just trying to get better. The improvement I saw from June to August was pretty insane. So that is basically how I started and how I began working with Photoshop. I actually didn’t start photography until I was at Baylor.
Graphic design and photography go hand in hand because you use the shots in the graphics. I really didn’t pick up a camera until like late summer going into my Freshman year of college. I really have just been learning on the fly, and I am still learning things. The Freshman to Sophomore jump was huge for me. I’m going to shoutout my boy Trey Mena, we worked together my Freshman year and he taught me so much and still does to this day. He was huge for me in developing as a photographer.”
Q2) You really got started as a content creator through graphic design, so what really sparked the desire to pick up the camera and start photography?
A2) “My old boss, Jordan Burgess, was here when I was first starting out and seeing some of the stuff he did was awesome. He started in graphic design too and then he picked up the camera. Seeing the stuff you can create through a lense was super cool. So I thought this is something I probably could do and this is something I probably should do, so I wanted to hop on it early and I didn’t want to fall behind. I just wanted to get started as soon as possible.”
Q3) I saw in your Instagram bio that you did work for Bussin With The Boys, how did you get plugged in there and what was that work like?
A3) “It was the end of my Senior year of high school and they put out an ad online that they needed graphic design and video summer interns. I just applied for the graphic design internship and got it. You know Taylor and Will are both great guys. Will is great and working with him was awesome. There were three interns that came in, two of them were based in Nashville and I wasn’t so I was working remote. I know one of them for sure is full time staff there and a big part of the brand. It is really cool to see how the bussin’ brand has progressed. Working with them was awesome, just creating stuff for their brand. Taylor and Will were really easy guys to work with.”
Q4) How did you then get plugged in and start doing graphic design and photography for Baylor Athletics?
A4) “I do football and men’s basketball. It is kind of a coincidence how I got started with both. They both wanted me to start working for them in January of my Senior year in high school but it wasn’t really planned that way. For basketball there was a coach who just left and is at the Phoenix Suns now, Coach AD. He dm’d me and basically said he saw that I was coming to Baylor next year and asked if I would be interested in being a student media staff member for Baylor MBB. He then checked to see if I could get started right away which I could, so I started working in graphic design from January to early March in 2020, but the season got cut short because of Covid. So during that time I made like six or seven graphics for the social media pages before I started as a student employee.
For football, the old creative staff I got linked up with the summer I got my MacBook and started photoshop because my cousin was a coach on the team so he introduced me. Once Coach Aranda got hired at the end of the 2019 season, they wanted me to make a quote graphic of Mike Leach saying something positive about Dave Aranda to promote his hiring. So I did that and just started making a few graphics until I graduated high school and then became a student employee.”
Q5) Do you prefer the graphic design side or the photography side more?
A5) “It really depends. Both are a blast to me and allow me to express creativity in different way. But unfourtunately you can get burnt out with both just like any job. Editing photos all day, with the same filter or preset settings can be a hassle. There’s a lot of photos from each game and each practice so it can be a drag. But then with graphic design you can get burnt out for different reasons. Honestly I enjoy working with photography more because it’s more hands-on. You know game days I’m on the field interacting with the players/coaches, the vibes are off the charts while I’m also getting cool shots. I think it is more enjoyable in the moment working with photography. But I really love doing both of them.”
Q6) So you’re on the field for football. Are you on the court for basketball as well?
A6) “Yeah I’m on the baseline at basketball games doing photos. Pregame I’m on the court and in the locker room. Then after the game I am in the media room editing photos.”
Q7) If you get to be at practice and games, it seems like a really big time commitment as you are really a part of the team for both football and basketball. So how hard is that to manage, being both a student at Baylor and a content creator?
A7) “The coaches are really flexible. They know for student employees that school work comes first. I have never had a problem prioritizing school work and having to push a project back for the teams. The coaches and staff all understand and make it really easy to manage. It is busy but they’re all great people to work with which makes it really easy.”
Q8) If you had to choose basketball or football to shoot, which one would you choose and why?
A8) “That’s a tough question. There’s pros and cons to both. I think for basketball the action is all right there so it is a bit easier to get in the action. But the lighting is worse. Then for football the pictures might come out better because there are less lighting issues to work through. But I think overall I would choose basketball because I have a basketball background. I played basketball in high school longer than I did football so I think I might be able to anticipate the shots a little bit better. But I really do love both equally. We are about to have the period where football and basketball overlap and it really is the best time of the year.”
Q9) What is your goal with photography and graphic design long term?
A9) “I am trying to do this as my career. It doesn’t have to be any specific team, there are plenty of opportunities in freelance or a marketing company. I just want to be in sports creative media. A dream job would be working for the Titans one day. Which I have had some chances to do and have done some work for them. They have a great group there, and I’m close with a lot of the people. My mom does something similar she used to be a movie producer, and does movie producing for multiple companies. So I know kind of what that freelance life looks like. You know really just anywhere in creative media, so this is definitely the path I want to go.”
ODB Staff Picks
Here’s just a few of our favorites from scrolling Eli’s Instagram (@elipittman.psd) for his posts and tags. Do your self a favor and follow the dude.