Fresh Blood Feature Kerrang!
Not long after I photographed Matt Heafy of Trivium for Kerrang, I found myself arriving at the Kerrang offices for a shoot with a challenge. Being only my second shoot for Kerrang, I was already extremely excited, but this shoot was going to have quite a few challenges for me as well. First the shoot was going to take place at the Kerrang offices, which just meant that I had a lot more eyes on me during the shoot. The second challenge was that the brief for the shoot was for the band to be floating in space. This was a challenge I was relishing!!
Once we all arrived and introduced ourselves, I set about figuring out which of the stools and chairs we had were going to work for “floating”. Obviously since the photo was going to be in space, realism wasn’t a possibility. But, I wanted to image to look as real as possible, but also to be as eye catching and interesting as possible. I could have gone down the easy route and just had everyone jump in the air and then composite everyone onto my space background. But that would’ve been boring, and tired, and not… me. Taking this into account, I decided to really push myself to make the best photo we possibly could. It meant a little more planning on my part, and a little more work, and a LOT more attention to detail. But, this is my element. It’s what I love to do…challenge myself and create something amazing.
Once I had my lights setup we ran through some different poses for each of the three members of Press to Meco. I wanted to run each of them through the three different “poses” I had in mind so that I could pick and choose the best from each one. Not only were a lot of the poses I was asking for uncomfortable, but the band needed to give me larger than life expressions whilst balancing on their stomach or falling off a chair. The band well and truly delivered on this and they were absolutely brilliant. The key to getting photos like this to work is exaggeration, and that is why I needed such big, enthusiastic expressions… the photo just wouldn’t be the same if they were looking bored, or all simply just jumping in the air.
Once we felt we had all the guys photographed, we moved on to their instruments. I had decided before the shoot that I wanted their instruments in the shot and the band had obliged by dragging everything with them up from Croydon. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, photographing the instruments took longer than actually photographing the band. I needed to ensure that hands were hidden and that the instruments were at the correct angles etc. I could have taken the lazy route and just photographed them and rotated them in Photoshop, but then the light wouldn’t have matched and we would be left with a shit photo instead of an awesome photo. Have a look at the finished photo below.
Editing and Photoshop:
The space background you see is completely made in photoshop. There are a lot of tutorials on this if you look hard enough, but it is pretty easy to make. We did go through a few variations on this background before we settled upon the one that you see. Putting the guys and their instruments in place was pretty straightforward as well as I had a plan. The key to a good composite is to have a plan…you can’t just throw things on and hope they stick. Planning from the very beginning will ensure that the lighting matches and that everything looks right. One of the last things that I did when we finished the shoot was to take a boring photo of the guys all standing next to each other. This was so that I could see how their heights related to one another….this gave me something to go off of when I was scaling them in the finished image above. Then it was a matter of putting the instruments in. The hardest part here was cutting out all the microphone cable I had shot. Yes, I had taken a LOT of photos of the mic cable being whipped around so that I had it covered from every possible angle. This made for a little more work, but definitely makes for a better photo as the light is always right.
Be sure you check out Press to Meco. They are pretty damn unique in that all three of them are the singer and they don’t have a lead singer… a bit like a boy band meets pop punk…it’s good so go check them out.
Again for this shot I used my Nikon D800e and my trusty 50mm 1.8. Using a smaller focal length for this photo was going to happen regardless as I wanted a little bit of the lens distortion for the guy floating in front. I then used two lights instead of my usual three lights for a composite. Both of these were my Elinchrom Quadra’s. The key light was shot through a large octobox and the light camera left was shot through a small beauty dish to soften it a touch, but not too much.
The obligatory post shoot selfie….
Please do leave any comments or questions below. 😀