Art Director: Jason Lancaster
Director of Photography: Catriona Ni Aolain
Heidi: How many selects did you send in?
Aaron: From the main setup (the one pictured) I sent in about 50 images. I divided that 50 up into first and second selects. The second setup (not pictured) I had 25 total selects.
How much time did get to do the shoot?
I was told I would have Matt for 10-15 minutes. In the end, I wound up having Matt for 25 minutes.
Was this your first shoot for ESPN? How did they find out about you? Email, promo, or word of mouth?
This was my second job for ESPN. The first was at the beginning of the year, I did a portrait for the Body Shots section of the magazine. I wish I knew how they found me. I’ve been sending promos, both print and e promos for the last year. Maybe that, maybe word of mouth…
Was it hard to photograph? meaning he was a little stiff in the beginning? Do you do any warm up shots to try and open him up or was he easy?
You’re right, the first images, often times, can be a bit stiff. But given that I was only supposed to have him for 15 minutes, the idea of a warm up shot isn’t something that consciously crossed my mind. However, on this shoot, I did a bit of warm up anyways without really thinking about it. I had asked Matt to put on his batting gloves and as he was putting the gloves on— not even in the exact area where we had positioned the lights—I grabbed the camera and began shooting. Sunlight was mixing in with my lights, the frame was a bit different than where I had tested, yet those first shots are some of my favorites from this shoot. It was almost reportage-like, with a full on lighting setup. I began giving him bits of direction and that’s how we started. He was really comfortable in front of the camera, so that made things flow pretty smoothly.
I like to visualize and plan out an approach to my shoots ahead of time, whenever possible. But I’ve learned not to get too attached to those ideas in my head — as often times things don’t work out as planned, or the shoot itself creates better opportunities than what I had visualized.
On this shoot, though everything was seemingly in place beforehand (great direction from ESPN, I had spoken with Matt’s people, and had spoken with the stadium where we were shooting) — one thing that was unexpected was that the grounds crew at the stadium would not let us be on the field. I had asked Media Relations at the stadium about being on the field ahead of time and was told it would be fine, but just to respect the requests of the grounds crew. Apparently the grounds crew had a different take. They told us that we couldn’t be on the grass until we were shooting with talent (not even touching the grass with our feet or equipment), which made it about impossible to set up a shot on the field ahead of time. It didn’t make sense to spend time, effort, or risk any animosity with the grounds crew trying to override them, so instead we worked within their framework and stayed on the warning track area. And that worked out great as the main setup was at the dugout and when we got to the second setup the home team was already on the field taking batting practice.