Sunday, February 20, 2011

Todays Shoot - Projekt F

Todays shoot is an industrial band from Montreal. I knew their management as well as one of the guitarists Riff. They hit me up to travel down for a shoot, but I wanted to go ALL out on this shoot. A band traveling that far deserves as much, right?

So they arrived and despite a minor language barrier, we got rolling. I shoot a lot of band work, but I also do a lot of model work - mostly in the goth/industrial subgenre - so getting to mix my band photography with my industrial stuff - and experiment a little bit (always experiment, its how you learn) was going to be an awesome time. They had two looks, with out makeup - kind of the more classic/traditional. And then with full make up - which looks AWESOME! - so either way I am stoked to shoot both looks

We started off in studio - The first set was on the black paper seamless, using a boomed dish. I wanted these to be extremely contrasty, very harsh highlights and very harsh shadows. I set the light at 1/2 power - Shot these with the Canon 1DS Mark2 - the 70-200 2.8 L IS - ISO100 - F16 - at a 160th

The next set we did, we experimented a little, I had tried about 5 different lighting set ups to see what they liked best, and alas - their favorite was the most simple, a boomed large beauty dish.
We moved a couch onto the white background, then covered it with a black background in a bag - I had them sit so everyone had their legs pointed in a different direction and none straight at the camera, because that always looks terrible in shots when a photographer does that in groups. Anyway, the settings for this are the same (F16 160th)

The next group of shots we did were solos. They loved the beauty dish look, so we kept with that and shot everyone, here are a couple shots of the singer - I kept the dish a bit closer to them for these shots so the lighting would be directional but with a stronger concentration on the subject rather than a large spread of light. - F18 160th

After we finished those solos, it was time for make up! which they do in two stages, with and with out dumping tons of corn starch on them. (personally i like WITH better - but we didnt want to make a mess inside)

We started in the basement, shooting in a hallway, then against a creepy dirty white..ish wall. For these shots I kept with what they liked - simply a boomed large beauty dish - for this shot I boomed it pretty high and straight down - I wanted harsher shadows on these shots. I wanted them very dark because we were about to go do lighter shots. On location I always use Dynalite jackrabbit kits - so this is a uni400 - set at 1/4 power shooting at F16 at a 20th (trying to soak in just a slight slight touch of the fluorescent lights above for atmosphere) - these were with the 24-70 2.8 L - still ISO100

Next it was time to roll outside, and brrrr it was windy, and cold! its February! SO! they loaded up on corn starch - which I thought looked AWESOME for these shots - I set up two bare parabolic rims but set them about shoulder height - as I wanted it to hit around mid body - setting those at a little over 1/2 power while the main light - a beauty dish boomed at a very slight angle was set to 1/4 - i included two test shots so you can get a feel for where the lights are - these are shot at F16 - but I jumped up to F18 for the final images - which were shot with just one parabolic as a back light - pointed more at them rather than downward for to not cast harsh shadows and leading lines by their legs, as I did in the hallway shots. - for these im at a 250th - and the reason im shooting that fast is because I wanted the blue sky to go dark blue/gray - as I didnt think a nice bright sky blue would be conducive to their look.

Next set we did was just behind them against that concrete wall you can see in some of the previous photos - for this i boomed the dish up as high as it could go - to get a street light type of effect - and mind you - the sun is setting to their right - camera left - and blasting them in the face as well as blasting the concrete - so i jumped the light power to 1/2 - shot these at a 125th F20 - to really kill any sort of natural light that was hitting them

next we were going to do some natural light photos - but I couldnt do that with the harsh shadows on their face... so we went around the corner. I shot all of these at F2.8 because I wanted a really really strong point of focus and fall out (depth of field for those who dont know) - and I wanted that focus to be on the singer I shot these at a 160th - which was safe as there wasnt much movement and they were 100% in shadow with no sun hitting them to avoid any highlights or shadows. perfect soft lighting.

We were freeeeezing so instead of doing any solos outside we went back into the studio - reset the beauty dish on the profoto compact - but I wanted to try something... I kept on hearing that shooting higher Fstops arent as crisp as shooting mid Fstop - so I set the light from 1/2 power all the way down to 1/8th. I shot these at F9 instead of my normal F16 which I used for the previous shots - so - let me ask YOU! - do you see a difference in the original shots to these last solos? I see very very small differences at all - but it DOES look slightly more crisp - cant argue with that. I might start shooting more mid-Fstop range now, except when outside battling the sky and the sun.

Last group shots we did were with two rim lights set up high and the dish pointed directly at them for a very bright shot - but still about a foot or two above the top of their heads so its a bit directional - I basically told them all to look as creepy as possible - again these shots are at F9 - can you tell a difference?! - I see it a bit. And for the very very last shot we got their manager in the photo and them all looking creepy around her.

After a celebratory taco bell stop - we went to the house - I gave them their photos - and they were on their way back to another country! haha. long day for them! All in all it was awesome getting to work with them, especially since my bud Riff is in the band, and their management is also a friend. I am hoping to get to work with these guys again next time they are in need for photos - I would say I am as stoked as they are on these photos.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Todays Shoot - Chris Motionless of Motionless In White

I first noticed MIW because they were wearing my good friend Mick's clothing line "Dethless" aaand their name was close to "Motionless and white" an Eighteen Visions song. Of course being that 18V are good friends, and pretty much my favorite band to work with (RIP), I was interested in working with these guys when they came around.

So the first time they were around this area that we worked together was orchestrated by the mighty Matt Pike. I felt this band should be shot with more of a dark feel, something that really brings out the atmosphere of their look... rather than taking a band that looks really dark, and putting them in random colorful or even bright locations... thats just silly to me. When shooting a band, you always want the environment to not only match the band, but enhance their look, as they enhance the environment around them.

So we did an awesome, very dark shoot... the band loved it, they wanted to use it, the label hated it, and went with brighter, lighter toned images. blah blah - no big deal - happens on rare occasions.. ANYWAY! I remained in contact with Chris, and when I saw they were on the tour I was going to shoot for two days I figured I would do a quick shoot with Chris for the hell of it, and he was down, so why not!? :)

So it was a bit cold out, and due to accidentally leaving my lights at the last show (and thankfully having them brought to the next show via Escape The Fate.. THANKS AGAIN GUYS!) I wanted to shoot this with natural light or simple lighting - maybe a flash.

We went outside and I started shooting him against a fence just outside the Palladium. I was shooting with the Canon 1ds Mark 2 - and the 24-70 2.8 L lens - I was shooting at 2.8 at a 125th - I was at ISO200 as it was a bit dark and overcast out. I was shooting 2.8 so the focus would be extremely selective, you can barely even see the vertical lines of the fence behind him.

After a couple shots we went across the street against a large metal gate, of which, the other side of that metal gate you can see in my Danny Trejo (Machete) photos. Large reflective areas are GREAT for natural light shots because they are basically giant reflective back lights, depending on the surface, it can reflect alot or a little bit of light, so what I will do is move my subject far enough or close enough to the background so it at least fills in whatever I need it to. These were shot at a 250th at ISO200 F2.8

It was windy and cold so we decided to roll inside. I didnt have my light kit as it was somewhere amongst the Escape The Fate gear, as they had graciously brought it from the prior days show, as it was left behind by accident (DOH!) - so we went to the dressing room, and I figured id just pop on a flash... why not? spot lit with diffused lighting could be ok for horizontal images at least, though i strongly prefer using actual lighting, and if I could have I would have.

SO! - I found a spot that a very small sliding metal door, which, back in the day was used for bands to see the stage, i had him sit there, perching, and set up the shot... the wider shots werent that great, but the close ups looked solid, so I stayed with a pretty close crop when I could. These are all ISO100 - F10 - at a 125th. using a speedlite with a lumiquest 80/20 with frost diffusion. The cool thing about the 80/20 is it bounces 80% of the light up for a solid soft fill while 20% hits the subject, and diffused for a nice, even, soft light - which i use for all of my concert shots.

All in all it was great to do a quick shoot for "why not". but I really wanna get Chris out here for a FULL all out shoot! - so start telling him to make plans! haha. its just a matter of us both being around at the same time. but im going to try to make it happen. Hes beyond an excellent dude, and its always an honor to photograph someone who has looked up to your photographs in the past... ...actually I'm pretty sure he may be the first on that one... haha.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Todays Shoot - Craig Mabbitt of Escape The Fate

I knew today was going to be awesome. Ever since my first shoot with Escape The Fate back in the day (when Ronnie was still in the band) I've seen these guys pretty much once a year, and kept in touch with Max through out, and ended up meeting Craig a few times, most recently hanging out when I was on tour with IWABO. Then on top of that - they were on the same tour bus I was on with the same driver (Brian of HK Army). So it would be like a mini-reunion, I was pumped to see everyone.

So the shoot was going to be in the Webster dressing room, which I am very familiar with from various other shoots. The plan was to get some serious shots, some fun shots, then recreate the Outburn cover USING the Outburn cover.

the first set I did was on the couch - I set up two bares with parabolic reflectors set up fairly high - probably 6-8 feet high, then set the dish up - boomed only to be out of the way - but about 2 feet above where his head would be when seated - pointed at his face but just slightly down to give the light a bit of direction. - These were shot with the Canon 1DS Mark 2 - the 24-70 2.8 IS L - at ISO100 F14 at a 160th - which were the settings on my camera for the entire shoot

After shooting that set I had him stand up on the couch - I left the rim lights where they were then brought up the dish about 3 feet then I said "go all out, party, whatever you want to do". He decided to jump, which was AWESOME! So the way I do jump shots is 3...2....1... SNAP! - and I tell the person to be IN the air at the height of their jump at "zero". That seems to be the best way to get the best possible jump shot. After his 4th jump he ended up losing his footing and falling backwards over the couch. We both had a laugh about it - he didnt fall hard - he kind of sat down and rolled over it haha, but anyway - these shots are at the same settings - F14 at a 160th

The next couple shots I did were of him standing on the couch but more serious shots - I didn't like the background - too noisy - same settings F14 at a 160th

So being that I didn't like the few shots I did there I moved over to the wall which was a cool shade of purple. For the first set I boomed the dish pointing more downward to get a directional halo of light around him - the settings on my camera remained the same but I turned my light down from 1/4th to 1/8th as it was a bit closer to him.

For the next group of photos i wanted them to look very spotlit - so i pointed the dish directly at his face so it would be non directional. The reason I have it straight at him is it would create circular non-linear light not only on his face, but around him, where the color tone would change gradually from light to dark - i know - simple terms for most - but figured id explain it. Same settings as before.

The last shot I didnt change anything, but Craig changed out of clothes and into a copy of Outburn magazine and cowboy boots - same settings same lighting.

aaand that was the end of the shoot. I went downstairs and shot the bands live, got to hang out a bit, and then got ready to do it all again the next day in Mass.

Love getting to see a bunch of friends, always awesome getting to see Craig, hopefully we will be working together again in the near future.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Todays Shoot - Emily (NSFW)

Today I was doing a second shoot with a model I worked with not too too long ago named Emily (see our previous shoot here: )

We planned on shooting more of the same style stuff - as its cold out - there isnt much opportunity to shoot outdoors as of right now.

SO! - we started with shooting stuff with split light - two 3x4 profoto softboxes on compact 300s - at about half power - shooting with the 70-200 2.8 L on on the Canon 1ds Mark 2 - shooting at F16 at a 160th ISO 100 - we did all the initial - non-corpse paint shots with this lighting. One of the shots she wanted to get was going to be just her and her glasses, which I thought was kind of cool, never done anything like that.

Next up was corpse paint - first off we shot with the same settings - split light - 16, 160, 100.

For the second set I used a beauty dish main pointed toward the model, with two rims just above her head height pointed down - for a different look - something i just started doing recently in the corpse paint shoots. For these I had the same settings - F16, at a 160th, ISO100. - shot on both white and black paper

for the last set I boomed the dish as high as it could go to get some strong directional lighting - pointing it straight down at the model - these were shot at F20

Always great working with a model a few times, the shoots become more efficient - you get what you both need much quicker - and you get a good rapport with each other knowing how one another work. SO! another great quick shoot in the bag.