An Interview with Richard Guill – Houston Astros minor league Photographer


Chances are high that you have seen some of his work. With several elite prospects going through the Houston Astros system and logging time with the Quad Cities River Bandits, his work has been circulated around Twitter for the past two seasons. Richard Guill, the photographer for the River Bandits, recently took some time to answer a few questions for Climbing Tal’s Hill.

CTH: How/when did you fall in love with photography?

RG: I am 45 years old…. I fell in love with photography back in the late 80’s when it was all still done with film and mistakes cost a lot! I was in the Army and I used to photo document my travels up until 1991 when everything I owned was destroyed by the Phillipine Volcano Mt Pinatubo. I got out with my film and camera but the camera had a lot of damage from water and ash. After leaving the Army left the hobby due to a lack of a paying job for several years and picked it up again around 2005 when everything was now digital and required all new learning. Slowly but surely I got a bit better and met some people and worked my way in to pro sports through covering minor league hockey…. I got involved in hockey by taking my photos from my seat in the 19th row of a 10,000 seat arena… as my work got better people took notice…. now I own the arena (figuratively) and I document the season through photos and video…. this of course led me to the door step of the River Bandits.

CTH: You probably traveled all over the world: what part did you enjoy the most?

RG: Panama! I spent 4 years there and I was able to get cable TV and watch baseball on TV to that was awesome to be overseas and keep up with baseball on TV whereas in other places we had to read the paper… keep in mind this was all before the Internet and social media.

CTH: Speaking of Panama – Van Halen fan?

RG: And funny you should mention Van Halen as that was the loudest song at every party!

CTH: Are you originally from Iowa? Where did you grow up?

RG: I grew up in New Orleans, LA. My wife is from Iowa so here we are! I remember being a baseball fan when I was 10 years old. My favorite team was Montreal Expos because my 1st little league team was called the Expos. We didn’t have a franchise but the Yankees played 2 pre-season games at the SuperDome for years while I was growing up and I always went to a game.

CTH: Do you do work in other areas of the photography world? And another question is how do you get paid for the sporting events? Is it on a per game basis or what method is used?

RG: I also shoot pro hockey for the Quad City Mallards of the Central Hockey League. I have a business partner named Sean Flynn and we get paid by selling photo based merch in the team stores. For us that is some revenue but does not come close to the value of our time and effort over 70 games. For us we are more interested in getting some exposurse and building a reputation for being quality pro sports photographers. We do have a full studio in the Quad Cities and we also do personal stuff like families, events, weddings, etc and the association with local pro teams helps that. We also do yearly photos for a number of organized youth sports teams such as high school football and softball

CTH: For the best quality, what equipment do you use?

RG: I use a Canon 1DX Camera and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for almost everything baseball. The camera is the highest end camera Canon makes but is worth it to get the shots I do. My partner uses a Canon 7D which is the most popular among photographers due to capability and low cost but it is limited in fast action situations such as baseball. The 1DX can capture 12 frames per second which is half the frame rate of a movie…. that is how I am able to get so many shots of balls coming off the bat and balls as they roll off the end of the fingers of the pitcher. In the past I used a lesser camera and I would work all game to get 1 shot of those 2 things and sometimes never get it. Now I get both in the top of the 1st inning and can get that on almost any pitch. These shots are very dramatic when you can include the batted or pitched ball in the shot.

CTH: Richard, we would like to thank you for answering our questions.

RG: Any time!

Here is a sample of some of the work that Richard has done over the past two seasons. We strongly urge you to follow him on Twitter (@QCBanditPhotog) for more coverage of the River Bandits.