Behind the Scenes of the Ryan Roberts Cover Shoot
by Jordan Megenhardt
Photographs by Jon Willey and Jordan Megenhardt
During a rainy day at Salt River Fields this past spring, we set up a portrait for Justin Upton and Chris Young that would be used on the cover of the second issue of the D-backs Insider magazine. After the shoot, as we brought our gear inside, just as it started raining, Ryan Roberts, friendly as always, wandered over to us. “When’s my photo shoot? I want to do a photo shoot!” he said smiling.
Three months later, after Roberts helped lead the team to the top of the division, he’d finally get his answer with a cover shoot of his own.
Roberts is the kind of guy that we look forward to working with. He is enthusiastic, approachable, and genuinely gracious. And, with his personality in mind, we began discussing what to with the photo.
During games, I noticed that Roberts was habitually on the top step of the dugout. Constantly cheering on his teammates or studying the opposing pitcher, Roberts was never idle.
Inspired by his habit, we decided to set up a shot that would pay tribute to his dugout routine.
The day we did the shoot, Greg Salvatore and I sat down for an interview with Robert and his wife at a restaurant in Scottsdale. At the same time, Jon was at the ballpark, setting up and testing the lights for the photograph.
With the roof open and the dugout in shade, Jon had to deal with difficult variations of light. The sun would be behind Roberts and overhead, which actually worked out well because that meant that his face would be in shade and we’d be able to control the light with our strobes. And, as always, Jon’s setup needed little tweaking and when I stepped to model as he tested the light, it was basically exactly what we wanted.
We used three lights, two Alien Bees 1600 and one 800. One of the 1600’s was in front/right with a medium strip box; the other was behind the subject with an eleven-inch reflector. We used the 800 to the left with another medium soft box.
Dealing with ballplayers on game days gives us little room for error and time management is extremely valuable. It’s important to have everything setup and ready to go by the time the player arrives, so that we can get them in and out quickly.
By the time Roberts arrived a few minutes later, we were completely set. He was excited and very, very easy to work with.
We shot a few different photos during the shoot but we ended up choosing this one to be the cover:
This is the unedited, original version of the photograph. We will post the actual cover of the magazine next week, but if you’d like to see it sooner, all you have to do is come out to Chase Field and pick up a copy of the D-backs Insider!