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BTS: "My First Cover" Coty Tarr Shoots the Cover of Sports Illustrated

BTS: "My First Cover" Coty Tarr Shoots the Cover of Sports Illustrated

Last year, Fstoppers interviewed photographer, and possibly one of the nicest people on the planet, Coty Tarr. Last week, Coty got not only his first cover ever, but THE cover for anyone that photographs anything remotely athletic - Sports Illustrated. What makes this story so great isn't just that it's the cover of SI, it's that Coty grew up just south of Pittsburgh. He's a diehard Pittsburgh sports fan. It wasn't just a cover for him... it was home.

On Tuesday, while catching up on some work, Coty gets a call from SI to see if he's available to fly to Pittsburgh Thursday morning. Of course he says, "Yes." The assignment is to photograph Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen...with the potential to be the cover.

On Thursday, the day before the shoot, the location (PNC Park) is scouted. He would need send potential shots back to the magazine for layout decisions. The shots they decided on allowed the images be used as either a spread or a crop if necessary. 

These seats were removed for the shot.

Two different setups were shot in just 15 minutes. Just to recap the time: job is in on Tuesday, fly in on Thursday, scout and get approval, set up on Friday, shoot for 15 minutes, fly home, finalize the images so that the issue can go to print on the very next Tuesday. The turnaround was that quick.

Equipment used in cover image:

Canon 5D MKII

24-70mm lens

Scrim Jim Reflector

Profoto B1

Beauty Dish

The second shot used much of the same equipment but added in an Alien Bee strobe.

Ultimately, the shot overlooking the field and the city ended up as the cover.

For more BTS images from Coty's Sports Illustrated Cover shoot, check out his blog. For more of his work, check out his website. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Sure Coty, you had nothing to do with this.

All images used with permission. Via Coty Tarr.

Chris Knight's picture

Residing in New York City, Chris is an internationally published photographer whose work has appeared in Vogue, People, MSNBC, ABC, Ocean Drive, GQ and others. He is an instructor of Photography and Imaging at Pratt Institute and the New York Film Academy.

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shot on location with artificial light, just to make it look as shot off location

Great backstage :D

Congrats and awesome job Coty.

A dream come true!

Awesome job!