Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Todays Shoot - Motionless In White

First off - PLEASE DO NOT TAKE AND MASS REPOST THESE IMAGES! This blog is for me to share what I do, and many photos that would normally never see the light of day, so when people take all the images and post 30 pics, one at a time, it ruins the purpose and makes it much more difficult for me to share these images with you - If you absolutely need to repost a photo or two (please no more than that). do it but please link back to this or to me (the photographer). and the band! :) Much appreciated. <3

My buddy Chris and I are always talking about doing a big shoot, something that will be iconic, and solidify an image for the band. Last time we did a band shoot, the label HATED it but we loved it. which happens... well, almost never but whatever. it is what it is. Basically Chris has a specific vision for his band, that I share and wanted to magnify. After the first shoot was shot down - and then they did a shoot with another photographer that the band disliked, and didnt feel represented them properly but the label liked... it was time to do something to appease both the band and the label (and myself!).

So after speaking at length about doing a big shoot and what we could do, the label lined up a shoot and gave some very specific details on it, which wasnt outside of the range of what I wanted to do to begin with - so it worked out perfectly The idea was to expand on the creatures video look. but to give them a very specific feel. My idea was to give them a more fashioned high-end type of feel like studio industrial style stuff (manson, NIN, etc) Simple, brightly lit with minimal shadows, so the darker part of the image isnt the lighting, its the band! wardrobe to be uniform, heavy make up, and just all around high end look to everything. Then aside from the studio shots - take them on location and get some solid outdoor shots as well.

The band drove up from Scranton, Pa (however they neglected to bring Dwight Schrute or Michael Scott!) the night before the shoot. I figured that would be easier on everyone, so they could just crash here, wake up a bit later, shower and prep as needed, rather than do a long drive then shoot a long day etc.

So after a night of mortal kombat, magic, and hanging out, we got up, and headed over to the studio. I knew they had a bit of prep time, at least an hour, so I did some behind the scenes video of them getting ready (and later of the shoot).

Once they were all ready, I tried a few different types of lighting set ups - my goal was to have all hard lighting - front and rims, but what I ended up doing was putting two umbrellas in the rims to soften them a bit - shot those at 100% power - used a boomed beauty dish pointed toward them at 50% power - and had two 3x4 softboxes pointed down for side lighting their legs (so it wouldnt go dark with the rest of the lighting being from face level) - at 75% power - all profoto compact 300 lights. Check out the set up shot.

I did a bunch of shots with this set up at F10 at a 160th iso 100 on the 1ds mii with the 24-70 lens, heres a few.

After shooting a few like that, I took out the umbrellas and shot harsh light but did something really smart i havent done before.. I was getting alot of flare and bleed from the parabolic rims so I set up my softboxes to gobo the rims! (blocking the flare/lights from my lens but keeping the lighting on the band) - GENIUS! why have i not done this before?! check the test shot!

so I was shooting with two parabolic rims and the beauty dish remained the same. - I did a chunk of shots like this including solos - these are at F13 still at a 160th iso 100.

Next we went into the basement - I brought a dynalite kit of two parabolics and a beauty dish on a boom. Theres one spot in the basement where its a white wall with black stuff all over it - it sort of looks like someone spit black blood on the wall - its perfect! - so what I did was I set up a single boomed beauty dish pointed straight down for strong directional lighting... it was time to get DARK! I shot these at F14 at ISO100 at a 160th - still using the 24-70 lens - for these shots I really wanted to bring out those arm bands and line them up - You will see one of these images at the merch table as they tour. The cool thing about this lighting is it make the armbands pop because they are white and screen printed so the white reflects enough light to really make them come out in a dark shot.

Next we went outside - we did some natural light shots against a concrete wall, but I decide to cut that and move to a better spot - which I found just adjacent to that wall - an area that looked similar to the performance footage of the creatures video (well, the window and building) - So I put down to parabolics at 50% to their right and left a bit above them and aimed to their shoulders so it would hit the side of their faces a bit, then used the beauty dish main in front of them. These are at F10 at a 160th ISO100

Next I took them to a spot with a decent amount of sky - I was going to do a wider, open shot with split lighting via parabolic and a raised but front facing beauty dish - now - some of these photos were cool but I just didnt like the overall feel of the wall cutting into them so I went tighter for sky shots and honestly I just thought they were the weakest of what we had done so far, so heres one of them and a set up shot just for kicks - but being the weakest of the bunch - I doubt these photos would (or should) be used for anything. These are at F13 at a 160th.

We went back into the studio and it was time for me to do something I had not done in almost 3 years... shoot on black velour. I set one for floor and a second for background - and then set up the lights with the same settings as the last shots on white (two rims, blocked out with softbox gobos, and a beauty dish main). At first we had some fun - and did a shot that would later be photo shopped to chris holding the band.

Then we did some regular shots first normal - then with a smoke machine that I had asked them to bring, which I thought would enhance the images a ton - aaand it did. These are shot at F11 at a 160th

we also got a sweet shot of them sporting some monster energy drinks!

Lastly there was an idea for a movie poster. Shooting Chris in the same way as the beginning of the Creatures video, and making it into some sort of movie poster, which I believe is being printed. SO! I started with him in his regular make up and shot in three different ways with two variations and two make up variations: triangular lighting with two rims and a main dish facng front - split lighting with two 3x4 softboxes - and lighting from above using a dish pointed straight down... then we varied smoke - no smoke - and shot first with regular make up then his video make up... now ill leave this up to you - can you guess which shot is which lighting?

It was awesome getting to do a big shoot with these guys - im hoping to do another one when the next photo cycle is ready to go. I think this is one of my favorite shots I have done to date - and am really pumped with what we got. I will get Chris out here sometime soon - probably next month after the all star tour to do a day shoot for a really cool project we will be announcing soon...

Keep your eyes open for a behind the scenes video I will post when I have time to edit it down.


  1. Please sell ALL of these! They are amazing.

  2. oh dear non-existent lord these are awesome! you go jeremy!

  3. give me your talent aaugugaauuggrrhh. lol

  4. these are brilliant, i aspire to be a artist/photographer and you Mr Jeremy Saffer along with others are my inspiration, this shoot of my favorite band was brilliant it was great and definitely solidified the bands image as the dark antichrist superstars they are. Great lighting and the smoke effect was different (in a good way)