My buds in Preson Phillips recently released a new album and needed some shots to help promote it. They wanted a close up, kinda harsh and gritty look, so here’s what I wound up doing for them:
Most of my lights were constant lights for these shots; two Westcott TD6s with strip banks on either side and a fluorescent ring light (mainly for the catchlight in the eyes). I used constant lights because I wanted a shallow depth of field so their eyes would really stand out, and it’s difficult to achieve that with strobes. It’s possible, but I didn’t have the right combination of low-powered lights and compatible modifiers to make it work, so constant lights were the way to go in this instance. The background light was an Elinchrom BRX 500 with a reflector aimed at the white wall behind them:
If anyone is interested in the TD6s, I think they’re useful for what they are. But the main problem I have with them is there’s no case to store them in with the bulbs in, so you have to unscrew the bulbs and store them in something when they’re being transported/stored or you risk breaking them. If you’re just setting them up and leaving them, then that won’t be an issue.
I recently had the opportunity to cover a sold out arena show for the band Third Day, who gave me full access to do pretty much anything I wanted. Today I want to share some of those shots with you, as well as my experience covering the show. I also recently shot some band portraits for another artist that I’ll share after the concert stuff.
As soon as I got the phone call asking if I was available to come to Atlanta and cover the Third Day show, and being told I would have full access, I knew I wanted to set up a remote camera on stage to capture the view of the band performing with the sold-out audience as well. I set it up during the band’s sound check (as you can see in the test shot above) using two Manfrotto Variable Friction Magic Arm with Super Clamp setups (one to hold the camera and another attached to the rail and arm holding the camera for added security/support).
The camera itself is a Canon 5D Mark III with a 8-15mm fisheye lens at 15mm, and I put the biggest memory card I had in it to make sure I didn’t run out of card space during the show as I wouldn’t have access to it to swap out cards. Since this was my first time setting up a remote camera on stage, I just took a guess at the settings and hoped it would work. I went with Spot Metering, Auto ISO with 1/250 as the minimum shutter and 12,800 as the max ISO, and f/5.6 just to be safe on depth of field.
To trigger the camera, there’s a PocketWizard Plus III in the hot shoe and connected to the remote port with the appropriate cable (in this case the CM-N3-ACC), and I had another PocketWizard Plus III in my front shirt pocket that I used to trigger it during the show. I could have put the PocketWizard I had on me on one of the cameras I was carrying if I wanted the on-stage camera to shoot at the same time I was shooting, but I opted not to.
This allowed me to capture some key moments during the show from a unique perspective, as well as show the size of the crowd. These guys aren’t doing too badly for a band that’s both been around for over 20 years, and it’s still four of the founding members!
It’s always a privilege to shoot soundcheck, so here are a couple of my favorites from that:
The band invited some friends to join them for the show, including one of my other favorite bands, Needtobreathe, who were also in town for their own shows at The Tabernacle that weekend and stopped by for a couple of songs:
And here are a few more of my favorites from the evening:
And at the end of the show, I went on stage to get a shot of them facing me with the crowd behind them:
It’s a cool experience being able to shoot for a band that you grew up listening to and can now call friends, so I’m hoping to have the privilege of shooting for these guys more in the future!