Photographer Blanco Takes the Shot for NTI@Home

Aug 13 · 4 min read

Marketing Director of NTI@Home, Mike Sanders, had a vision of what he wanted the organization’s advertisement in the August edition of New Mobility magazine to look like.

He wanted a sports angle, thinking of a David versus Goliath theme, during a wheelchair basketball game to link up to the promotion of “Take a Shot With NTI@Home,” to help Americans with disabilities to obtain employment. A 501 ( c)(3) nonprofit organization, NTI@Home has been helping people find jobs for more than 25 years by providing free training and job placement services.

“We want to show people that we can help them find employment, no matter what obstacles they face,” said Sanders. “On the basketball court, there are struggles to score on or defend against your opponent, just like there is when you are looking for a job. Fortunately, for Americans with disabilities, NTI@Home has the experience and the contacts to score a new job.”

Pedro Blanco preparing models prior to the “Take a Shot with NTI” photo shoot.

With the vision of the advertisement in his head, Sanders needed to find someone to make the photo look like he was imagining it for New Mobility magazine, which is the official publication of the United Spinal Association.

Fortunately, he had a person in mind who could make his vision a reality. When Sanders reached out to Pedro Blanco, he explained what he wanted to accomplish and who the photo was going to reach out to. Blanco was eager to do whatever he could to help Americans with disabilities and devoted his time to the project.

Dominic Barber poses for Pedro Blanco for the upcoming “Take a Shot with NTI” ad campaign.

“I had seen quite a bit of his work,” said Sanders. “During the concept, we visualized through metaphors the struggle to come back into the workplace with the challenge of making a shot in wheelchair basketball. To express our organization, we didn’t want the stereotypical image of a person at their desk with a headset on. Pedro was able to share our vision and capture the story through his work.”

Pedro Blanco gives instruction to Dominic Barber prior to taking shot.

Dominic Barber, a client services manager at NTI, and Derrick Poole, a member of the Rollin’ Celtics, a wheelchair basketball team in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, were the models for the photo, which was taken at Mass. Premier Courts in Foxboro, Mass. The behind the scenes video shoot was recorded by Three Horsemen out of New Bedford, Mass.

Behind the scenes featuring Pedro Blanco of Pedro Blanco Photography

Blanco’s photo shows the on court struggle of Barber attempting to block a shot by Poole. The advertisement appears on the back cover of New Mobility magazine.

“It was a great experience,” said Poole. “I loved working with Pedro. He is a great guy and I would recommend him to anyone.”

Throughout the photo shoot, Blanco and Sanders checked out the frames to make sure the vision was coming true.

“I could tell what he was doing,” said Sanders. “He totally got what we were trying to do.”

Pedro Blanco discusses poses with Dominic Barber.

For Blanco, the photo was the type of assignment he relishes.

“I like my photos to be gritty, intense, and have action,” he said.

He got all three in the final photo for the advertisement, which appears on the back page of the magazine.

Anytime Blanco captures the image he wants. it is a result of a lot of years and hard work.

“I started about 20 years ago and have built on that,” he said. “When I started out, it was mostly landscapes, and I moved on to people and portraits. I have loved it ever since.”

To get the photo right, Blanco used lightening techniques to create a dark background to highlight Barber and Poole in action in a completely daytime environment.

Pedro Blanco of Pedro Blanco Photography discusses and adjusts lighting for model Derrick Stewart Poole.

“I taught myself about lighting by reading a lot of books and by trial and error,” he said. “It is almost always about lighting. Once you have the lighting right, you just have to look at one shot and you know what you have to adjust.”

As Sanders learned, it also helps to have the right photographer to make your vision come alive. The advertisement appears in the August issue of New Mobility magazine at If you want to “Take a Shot with NTI@Home,” go to to sign up.

© 2019 NTI@Home Photo Courtesy of Pedro Blanco Photography
© 2019 NTI@Home Photo Courtesy of Pedro Blanco Photography

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