As well as live music photography, I also work with musicians to provide promotional material.
I was recently asked to provide a shot for a new local band named The Greyhound Factory. During a break in rehearsals at River City Studios in Hertford, we shot a simple group photo using a single flash with a black background. The shot was then edited to reduce the saturation and add some filtering added. The end result is shown below.
Other acts I’ve produced promotional material for include Indigo Star, The Trees and Frankie The Gambler.
I frequently carry around a set of slimPAR38 LED spotlights. I use these as a contingency for events where the lighting falls short of what is necessary for good coverage.
One example is a Year 6 Prom I covered where lighting was not provided for a surfboard simulator. Without the PAR cans the only other lighting option would have been the venue’s main fluorescent lighting, which would have seriously compromised the atmosphere (and accompanying disco!)
Another example was a music event where the main lighting bar was obstructed by decorations, meaning that the performers faces were in relative darkness. I was able to use the PAR cans as uplighters at the side of the stage, which dramatically improved the lighting.
The lights are typically set to slowly fade through the colour spectrum but can also be configured to provide static lighting.
These lights have made otherwise un-photographable events possible, with very little overhead. They are easy to set up and adaptable for any event, either to provide direct lighting or simply to add atmosphere.
The Cantate Alumni Choir held a gala concert at The Gresham Centre in Central London during April, featuring both the choir and former members who have gone on to form their own outfits.
Having worked previously with members of the choir I was delighted to be asked to photograph this event. Normally I would visit the location beforehand to get an idea of the layout, environment and lighting but on this occasion I was not able to do this, so I arrived well ahead of time to fully view the space and identify the best angles and plan the best way to move around without drawing attention to myself. Arriving well in advance of the performance also gave me an opportunity to talk to some of the musicians and the stage manager; and to take some shots of the venue and paraphernalia to illustrate the event.
The concert ran from 5pm until 7pm, so, being April, there was plenty of natural daylight in the building at the start due to the large windows. However, with the onset of evening, this became mixed with the artificial lighting of the venue (and consequent mix of colour temperatures).
There was plenty here to photograph – performers, audience, venue, instruments, sheet music – lots to give an idea of the feel of the event. There was also plenty to impress the ear too, with some stunning performances from both the choir, individual singers and small groups.
I ran in to Schrodinger’s Strings recently whilst taking some promotional shots for a local music festival. I’ve worked with the band in the past, taking promotional and live performance shots and this particular location lent itself very well to the character of the band.
I tried a number of different angles but settled on this one as the best. I used Photoshop to enhance the exposure but otherwise the shot comes straight out of the camera.
Update: The band used this image on the cover or their recent CD.
I recently uploaded a video of images taken during this year’s festival season. It’s a selection of shots from events such as the Stortford Music Festival, Wilkestock, Woodyfest, Bash In The Barn, the Musical Mystery Tour and Folkstock – 12 days of shooting in all.
The video is set to a soundtrack of Bound To Nowhere by My Little Empire, who are from Borehamwood and regular performers at Wilkestock.
Founded in 2005, Amici Cantate is a Bishop’s Stortford based choir who perform a wide range of material from all parts of the world. Their most recent concert was a performance of Zimbe!, a 40 minute fusion of traditional African song and jazz by Alexander L’Estrange. I was asked to cover the event by the choir’s Musical Director, John Tripp.
The concert took place in Bishop’s Stortford Baptist Church, a modern building that has more in common with a conference centre than a house of worship. I visited the church beforehand to get an idea of the space and lighting, something I always try and do before such events. I was a little concerned about the lighting (churches aren’t often generously lit) but I was pleased that the choir brought their own additional floodlighting for the event. The venue also featured a gallery, which allowed a good view of the performers.
The choir themselves were thoughtfully decked out in simple bright colours, whilst the junior singers wore all black.
Tickets for the event sold quickly at the church was nearly full to capacity, limiting the available angles somewhat. When photographing public performances I try to be as discreet as possible – the event is for the public’s enjoyment, not mine – so I try to be as unobtrusive as possible.
I took many of the shots from the back of the auditorium using a 70-300mm telephoto lens in Aperture Priority mode with the aperture around f5. Speed was set to ISO1600. Other shots were taken from the gallery and wings.
Following the event I created a slideshow in the client area of my website so that members of the choir could view the photos. I also provided information about how to order prints or photo CDs.
If you’re interested in having an event photographed and would like more information about the services I can offer, just fill in the contact form on my website.
I cover a number of music festivals during the season but most are around the middle or end of Summer, so it was great to be able to cover the Stortford Music Festival over the Mayday bank holiday this year.
The two-day event took place on St.Mary’s School field in Windhill, Bishop’s Stortford and featured three stages, a beer tent, children’s entertainment and the usual selection of festival stalls selling vintage clothes, jewellery, sunglasses, airbrushed tattoos, hair braiding, face painting and more.
As with all festivals I make a point of photographing not only the performers, but the fans, traders, stewards and everyone and everything that makes a successful festival what it is.
Events like these are of course great places to meet people and I always make sure I have an adequate supply of business cards (I come away with as many as I give away).
I always post my festival photos on Facebook and it’s always gratifying to see how much people appreciate my pictures. I also often post my photos on the artists and traders’ own Facebook pages. Links to the Facebook galleries are below.
I’ve photographed plenty of live music over the years but only recently have I been asked to do promotional shoots for bands. Whilst I was covering last year’s Wilkestock I was asked to take some candid shots for Frankie The Gambler. Then a couple of months later I was approached by The Trees to produce a selection of shots for promotional use. The band already had a clear idea of what the wanted, having found a group of four trees in the middle of a field (there are four members of the band). Costume wasn’t an issue either as they knew exactly the look they wanted. It probably also helped that it was Autumn, a season often associated with trees!
Thankfully the weather was good for the day of the shoot – cloudy with sunny spells. I had already visited the site beforehand to get an idea of the lay of the land, the angle of the sun and most promising compositions.
I wanted to get shots of the band both close up and featuring each member against a tree (although that may have been their idea come to think of it!). Two of my favourite shots shown below illustrate both of these ideas.
I particularly like this shot of the band as it shows them all together but somehow all doing their own thing, with Sam staring off into the distance and David’s glance towards Rick. For me it has echoes of my Frankie The Gambler shot, both images showing the band as a group but also as individuals.
This shot shows each member of the band standing against one of the four trees. In reality the trees were actually much further apart when viewed from this angle so I had to move them closer together using Photoshop.
All of the finished shots feature a little cross-processing. I generally don’t touch the blue channel when adjusting the colours, concentrating on just the the red and green channels. I also tweaked the vibrance to bring out the orange leaves against the green grass.
I’m now looking forward to further commissions, maybe with more scope for art direction. If you’re interested in some promotional images why not get in touch.