How did you land the gig as FC Dallas’ team photographer?
I was in the right place at the right time and had made the right connections. Prior to the 1994 World Cup, I was working with the Dallas International Sports commission when it was announced that there would be a MLS team in Dallas. I photographed all their board meetings with FIFA and made my connections into the soccer community.
I didn’t get the initial job as team photographer with the Dallas Burn but ended up with the job following the first game. I’ve been the team photographer to date except for two years after the team became the current FC Dallas. There was a personnel change and with that change came a new photographer. Another personnel change happened, and I was back. For the two years that I was not the official photographer, I was hired by a Guatemalan newspaper to photograph all the FC Dallas matches. My job was to photograph one player, Carlos Ruiz. So, I have photographed a majority of the Dallas Burn/FC Dallas games from inception.
Coolest thing about the job?
Going to the games and getting paid for it!
Who’s your favourite player to photograph and why?
Brek Shea! You follow Brek and you’ll come away with great images.
Who’s easier to work with… the guys or the team dancers?
It depends on what kind of shoot is going on. They are both easy to work with, but the guys do have a tendency to cut up during shoots. That actually makes it more fun, but it can take a little more time, which is no big deal. That’s where you really get to know them on a personal level. The dancers on that level are true professionals. They are the easiest by far because they are used to being photographed. They can give you what you need in a few minutes.
What’s your favourite FC Dallas photo you’ve taken and why?
I don’t have a favorite photo that I can think, but I have some that I like for different reasons. I really don’t prefer looking at my work.
I enjoy shooting and checking the images in camera just to see what I didn’t see, plus to make sure I got what the client is looking for. I may shoot 1200 to 2000 images in a match. In a matter of an hour or less, you have to narrow that down to 25 to 55 of the best images. In a perfect world, I would shoot and have an editor that knows the sport do the editing. I could care less about looking at my shots after a shoot but I have to.
I like going back a month or so later to see what I captured. To me that is exciting; it is like reliving the match again. When shooting the event, you see so much, and it’s the one I see that I remember wishing it was in the camera. If you see it, you didn’t capture it.
On an average day, say your shooting game action, what’s your go to gear?
I use flash for candids, close up crowd, fan and marketing type photos. I never use flash for any game action on the field. Go to gear for a match – Three camera bodies with one flash, Lens – 16-35mm, 70-200mm and a 400mm
Not that your going to show any kind of team bias of course… how do you think FC Dallas are going to do in 2012?
All the way to the MLS CUP! This is our year.
What else do people need to know about Rick Yeatts?
I remember that my first camera at the age of ten was a plastic camera that shot 120 film. I still have some of the negatives today. I used that camera till I was about fifteen. After that it was a succession of the latest Kodak cameras they sold at a corner Drug Store.
I joined the Marines after high school and naturally I got mixed reactions since we were still in Vietnam. After bootcamp, I was a marksman instructor before going to Military Police School. I signed up to go to the Japan mainland and they sent me to Okinawa. After arriving in Okinawa, I took seven hundred dollars to a camera store, bought a camera case and filled it up with several lenses, 35mm camera body and a flash. At that time, all my photography was travel-type photography.
After the Marines, I ended up going to barber/ beauty school and worked in the top salons in Dallas. I traveled and taught at different hair shows throughout the country. During that time, I worked with one of the top fashion photographers in the country as a stylist and picked up the photography bug again. I went out and bought the latest Nikon camera body, which was a F4 and a couple of lenses, and I started photographing my models on my own and that was when I started considering a career change.
I started shooting minor league hockey for fun and ended up being the team photographer for the Dallas Freeze for four years, while still hairdressing. I kept up shooting fashion, which eventually led to an Avant Garde style, which was way more fun but not much of a market in Dallas at the time. I also shot for different hair salons, doing publicity hair photos.
The hockey led to shooting professional ice skating. That led to the Dallas International Sports Commission, which lead to Fox Sports. I shot the championship matches at the Dallas Cup for a few years, which was my only knowledge of soccer. I met their media manager who ended up working for the Texas Women’s University Athletic Department in Denton, TX. I was hired to shoot all of TWU sports, which lead to working with the Athletic Department at the University of North Texas. I’ve been with them since 1997 and that’s the same time I started with the Dallas Burn. The rest is history. I’m still with North Texas and FC Dallas.
To check out more of Rick’s great work go to www.rjy.com
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