Recently, I had the opportunity to take some new, promotional photos of my favorite rock band in Charlotte, Putney’s End. If you don’t know about Putney’s End., then you need to check them out! They are a 90’s and modern rock cover band here in Charlotte, NC. A while back, I took a few photos of them and wrote a blog post about my experience (check the blog post out). I must confess that I think it would be pretty cool to be in a rock band (I may be a little envious).
I don’t want to brag, but I grew up in the 90’s! I had a mullet that could compete with anybody. Heck…..I’m musically stuck in the 90’s today! Enough about me……So, I feel like I know a thing or two about 90’s rock bands. That’s my weak attempt at humor! Anyway, I knew the location for the shoot. We had a very cool wall with lots of texture for the background. I knew that our goal was to get one landscape (horizontal) photo and one portrait (vertical) photo. In thinking about a shoot for a rock band like Putney’s End, I envisioined lighting similar to the photos you see for athletes. I wanted a camera angle that created “larger than life” subjects. Also, I wanted to emulate the lighting you see for athletes that involves strong rim lighting (back lighting). With these concepts in mind, the textured wall would be the perfect backdrop for our shots!
Well, I ruined the mood of the shoot right when I got to the set (like always)! I tried to break the ice by telling the band members that I played a “mean tambourine”. Like most of my encounters, the next 5 minutes involved awkward pauses, etc. I should have thought the joke through……You cannot recover from the “mean tambourine”!
My lighting setup involved one flash unit (no diffuser) lighting the background (the textured wall). I had 2 separate flash guns (no diffuser) positioned behind the band members acting as my rim lighting (backlighting). Lastly, I had a beauty dish (with flash gun inserted) acting as my key light (no diffusion sock). Here’s a photo demonstrating the lighting setup:
Early into the shoot, I focused on the landscape (horizontal) capture. I adjusted my lighting setup until I got a base photo. Here’s a good example of the horizontal photo SOOC (straight out of camera):
From there, I knew the only thing missing was the best angle of attack. Again, I want these guys to look “larger than life”. This is Putney’s End for crying out loud! So, I dropped the angle of my camera and shot on an ascending angle. In other words, I captured them on an “upshoot”. In my opinion, the resulting photo captures the band at the best angle possible!
Lastly, I did some work in Photoshop to increase the texture in the wall. I also added a slight “cross-processed” effect to the overall image. Then, I cropped the flash units out of the scene. The final photo is exactly what I envisioned!
Moving to the portrait (vertical) shot, we changed things up a little bit. I thought it would be neat to “gel” the flash unit lighting the background wall in hopes of changing the color of the wall. So, we put a dark blue gel on that flash gun and operated from there. Here’s a base photo from that setup:
From there, we did a little Photoshop work to darken the shadows to hide the light stand at the bottom of the photo. We increased the texture in the wall and really increased the “deep” blue color. The resulting photo captures the right idea.
In the end, I had a blast with Putney’s End. I even hung around to hear them play a few songs after the photo shoot! In some kind of weird way, I felt like I was in a rock band that night! I even went home immediately and dusted off my tambourine…….