Atlanta based sport and portrait photographer Ryan Gibson is no stranger to working in fast paced conditions like the speed his subjects tend to move at by profession. Whether it be on set for a television show or the field of an MLB stadium, Ryan is known to be versatile in his work.
Ryan has done quite a few jobs with the Discovery Network, one for a show called Ghost Brothers down in his home of Atlanta, and recently another called Diesel Brothers shot in Lakeland, Florida. For the Diesel Brothers shoot, Ryan photographed the brothers with Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. The brothers customize diesel trucks, and for the specific episode Ryan collaborated with Discovery on, the brothers were building a truck for the baseball star. The shoot was quite demanding, as the main images they wanted were portraits of the two brothers with Miguel, but he had to get the images while production for the television episode was taking place. The date of filming also happened to land during one of the last spring training games, so when Miguel was playing in the game, they wouldn’t have access to him.
Aside from shooting the main image, Ryan worked a lot on behind the scenes shooting and creating portraits of MLB Network guys that were there. But when it came time to get the most wanted shot, the elapsed time from the first to last photograph taken was a total of 52 seconds— that’s how long he had with Miguel. Ryan had been told and was prepared to have at least an hour with the baseball player, but luckily he was so well prepared that when Miguel stepped onto set, he was able to get the perfect shot in record time.
When it came down to the production of the shoot, Ryan didn’t have a lot of room to work. Because he didn’t know he would have such limited time, he had to stick close by to where they were filming. The scenes were shot on a baseball field, so that was where Ryan had to set up his studio. He set up in the corner of right field, using the padded wall as his background. The sun was used as one kick light, behind the left hand side of the face, and they mirrored the sun with a beauty dish on the right hand side. His main key light was an Elinchrom. While he hoped to have more time and opportunity to play around a bit, he had to roll with his original set up, and the outcome was still fantastic.
Ryan also works with sportswear brands, more specifically Mizuno, a Japanese sports equipment and sportswear company who he has done several shoots for. March of 2016 was their first time working together, which was to be for their new line of running clothes and shoes that they needed lifestyle work of. He shot in three different locations around Atlanta using four different models, on what was a giant production with lots of helping hands. They loved those first images he shot for them, so their relationship evolved from there.
He had mentioned to them how big a fan of baseball he was, and if there was ever a job with them for the sport, he would love to be their photographer. Luckily, they had a job they needed a shooter for ASAP with the famous Ichiro Suzuki of the Miami Marlins, as he was about to make 3,000 hits. Ryan immediately jumped on board, especially considering Ichiro was in Atlanta to play against the Braves, so they set up the shoot for before the game.
The style and production of the shoot was similar to his work with the Diesel Brothers and Miguel Cabrera. He was under the impression he would have at least thirty minutes to shoot Ichiro, but the people from Japan who were sent to supervise the shoot were very protective of him. Ryan wasn’t allowed to speak to him or direct him, and he had to keep a five foot distance from him the entire time. Ryan brought all the lighting in, and wanted to do a bunch of cool shots, but could tell his time was likely to be limited with his subject once again. All he used for the shot was a beauty dish held by his assistant, gelled warm to mimic sunlight, and told him to be the opposite of where he was to make it look like a beautiful, natural golden light.
After his shoot with Ichiro for Mizuno, he did three more shoots with the brand. He went out to Houston with them and did a softball shoot with Jennie Finch, and he also shot some volleyball and running work for them as well.
He recently got to shoot for the MLB at the opening of the Atlanta Brave’s new home stadium. This work is different from what he normally does, since his work is almost entirely portraiture based, but it was a challenge to capture the essence of the space and the game he so dearly loves.