Sunday, April 3, 2011

Todays Shoot - The Word Alive (days 1 and 2)

Today (and tomorrow) I'm going to be doing a big shoot with The Word Alive. I wrote down all the set ups - all the settings and a bunch of misc. notes - so expect this to be quite a read - JAM PACKED with photo-info as well as some never before seen images of The Word Alive..

Telle has been a friend for a little bit via touring with my good friends in IWABO and ADTR, so we were basically planning to do a shoot ASAP when we could, and it just lined up perfectly that they had a show near me AND a day off the next day with a not TOO long of a drive the day after.

SO! The first day we were going to shoot at the Webster Theater before doors at their headlining show, which is always somewhat tricky shooting outdoors in public accessible locations because often fans will come over and be... fans. which is coooool, but they gotta wait! ha.

so we started in the parking lot, shooting to the right of a large tree where there was a small clearing for head room - enough to get a good sky shot with 6 people and no have too much background bleed.

ok so heres the lighting set up: Two bare parabolic rim lights set around two feet above head height pointed at a downward angle toward their shoulders - i set these at 50% power - then i set a large beauty dish and had it pointed almost directly at them but with a VERY small downward angle - at about head height (im 5 foot 6... so... just above my head) as i wanted the focus of light to hit their upper bodies - and the rims to give semi directional rim lighting. The main light was also at 50% power. I shot these with the 24-70 2.8 lens on the Canon 1ds mark ii. Shot at F18 at a 160th ISO100.

Next up I wanted to use the awesome tree to the right of them (to your left if youre looking at the photos) from the first set. I wanted to go with a darker shot here so I set one bare parabolic rim behind them at 75% and pointed it down to get great leading lines from their legs - and set the beauty dish around where it was previously - but blasted it to 80% and set it a bit further back so the area of light would be a bit larger and hit everyone a bit softer. These were shot at F14 - 160th - ISO100

Next up we went down to the load in alley - and I set up a boomed beauty dish pointed straight down at 50% power to get darker and more directional light. I did a set of solos - which came out solid but the group shots here were kinda rough because it was suuuch a small area to fit 6 people. The settings for this are F18 at a 160th ISO100.

For the last two sets - we shot against the brick wall - but two VERY different sets - the lighting for both sets was two rim lights at 50% set behind and to the left and right of them pointed torward their shoulders - with a main beauty dish pointed at them also at 50% and shot at F10 at a 125th. for the first set I had them take off their jackets and hoodies - and had the rims bleeding through them so it would create a lens flare and look pretty bright. The way I did this was I gave them depth in the pose. I had them set a few steps back from each other rather then shoulder to shoulder or close together. SO! for the second set im sure you can figure out what I did - I brought them together - made sure the rims would be hitting behind them - and used the same settings.

That was it for day 1!

Day 2 was the larger part of the shoot.

We started in studio shooting on a white background - using a boomed medium sized beauty dish pointed down set at 25% - set camera right - to their left a bit - so not only is it vertical directional lighting but it also casts a horizontal shadow as well. For these shots I was using the 24-70 lens on the Canon 1DS Markii. I did both group shots an solo shots here. F14 - 160th ISO100

Next we went outside and I found a location I liked alot that I had not shot before at my studio. I messed around with how I was going to light it a bit, so heres the rundown. First I shot with just a boomed large dish shooting at F18 (see unedited photo below) - but this wasnt what I wanted... too dark of a feel for what I wanted to get.

So I left the dish up but tilted it toward the band a bit and set a bare parabolic behind them pointed at the ground to get some leading lines for vertical shots. still at F18 - but as much as I liked this I wanted to try something different, something better!

For the last (the win!) set - I used two bare parabolic lights set to their right and left - set about 7 feet high - pointed downward toward their shoulders for strong directional split/fill/rim lighting (yes, these lights has THREE uses - then I used the boomed dish as a main - the parabolic lights were set at 75% while the main was at 80%. I posed them so everyone would get hit with the main light but those in the back would also get the parabolic to even out the lighting on all of them - and turned everyone so they would mirror an opposite - while turned toward the center. These are at F13 at a 80th (to get light bleed from the sky) - and this by far was my favorite set of shots from this big shoot.

Next up we shot against a concrete wall which is always great to hit with some directional lighting - I used a boomed dish pointed straight down on them - and the cool thing about shooting with dishes are the circular lighting so it will set a halo of light around them and around the background as well - These are at F18 at a 60th. and keep in mind with shots like this with one light and 6 people you need them CLOSE so they get lighting that doesnt have a massive fall off, the further away your lighting is - the bigger and softer the area of light is! for some reason alot of photographers dont use that to their advantage when shooting with hard lighting. So the dish for this shot is about 3 feet above the band.

Next I wanted to do some natural light shots - so I dropped to F5 for some group shots - then to F2.8 for some very selective depth of field solos. I really like shooting solos in natural light with a strong depth of field - focus on the eyes - because it always brings out a great shot - i think the quote is "the eyes are the windows to the soul". now, i may not believe in all that - but it absolutely makes for some solid shots.

We went back inside to finish up in studio. I did some drum stick shots with Justin for Vic Firth - For these I used a beauty dish straight at him at 50% and two main parabolics at 75% as I wanted the rim/side of his face to go about one stop over the main light. These were shot with the 70-200 lens - at F11. You can see some of these shots used by Vic Firth.

Next up - keeping the same settings (and lens) I widened the parabolic rims and did some group shots with the same settings (F11 - ISO100 - 160th)

For the last set we wanted to do something ridiculous and fun - a great way to close a long and epic shoot. They all took off their shirts and got a weapon... or two... and did some straight up metal SCREAMS at the lens for every shot - if anyone else was in the building they would probably have been bummed or terrified. As these were just for fun I popped on the 24-70 and shot wide - getting the environment of the studio - and the lights in the shot. After having fun with weapons and partial nudity - they re-dressed and did a.. i dunno, it was something from wrestling i think - it means "suck it" i think? and those shots were meant to be used on warped tour soooo look for it - they may have used it! - these shots were all at F13-F14 at a 160th

Afterward we went up to the hangar and destroyed some wings!

And thus ends one of the longest blogs I have written about a photo shoot - Working with these guys was AWESOME - im hoping I get to work with them a TON in the future - great dudes and a great band as well.


  1. I think this photoshoot thing you did was sooo sweet! Especially since yo did it with TWA. If you scroll down really fast, some of the pictures look like Tyler is moving! (spec. the ones right before the last one! FUNNY! But awesomely sophisticated)