Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Band Promo Photoshoot: Behind the Scenes

This last weekend, I photographed a local cover band, "In Harm's Way". The photo shoot's goal was to supply an image they can use to create a promotional poster for their upcoming event. The goal of this blog entry is to give you an inside feel on what I did, why I did it, and will try to explain how I did it.

A day before the shoot, I did some scouting of the location we were going to be at. I wanted to keep the photo shoot to an hour, if possible, and this allowed me to find some locations that I knew I wanted them to model at. To do this, I took my camera and took pictures as I walked around (even got a great landscape panorama from it). I then looked at the photos when I got home and was able to study the area to find spots I wanted them to model at.

The following morning I was contacted that they would like to move the time because the weather radar was predicting that there was only a 10% chance of rain between 1-3pm. So I moved up the time to accommodate this as with the fog the shots I have prior thought of were no longer possible as everything was hidden. As I pulled up to the location, I was actually excited to see how the fog was laying around in the trees. I had them do a quick shoot over the lake which ended up just being a neutral color background (Raw Shot and then Editing).

For this photo I shot at 1/125 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 100, at 70mm. As you can see from the before and after, the shot results are very different from the original. I used Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.3 for this. For this shot I increased the highlights by 100 which changed the background to a nice white. I then increased the shadows to give their shirts back their color and also increased the vibrance by 71 to bring the color back in the reds. I then put some clarity in there and then brushed out the tree.

This was the first shot of the day, and if the fog was not there there would have been lines created by the waves with the lake behind them. I thought this would create great contrast but with the fog, I was able to supply them with a nice clean white background easy for them to put on a poster.

Walking back to the car the fog caught my eye looking down the hill with the road. The lines of the side of the street, the center line, and the split of the center line made great leading lines for a photo. This ended up being a personal favorite from the shoot.

I was able to get the guys a bit more loose and smiling at this point, everyone was already cold. They looked puzzled at first when I told them to "walk towards me" but I was able to get this photo and to me almost feels like a candid photo of them walking down the road. I centered the tallest in the middle so I could keep the shot tight on the sides (there were a lot of signs) then split them up so they would add depth to the photo. Photo settings on this are: 1/125 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 100, at 30mm. I was told they where going to dress up in their colors and when I was editing this photo it actually looked really great in just Black and White. I'm actually not a huge fan of selective color within photos, however, when I decided to play with this one and just add the red back into the photo it created something that I enjoyed. It just made the picture in my eyes. I then cropped it, again something I don't like to do, and remove the negative space to create something great for a poster. I also then went through and removed the signs from the photo.

The rain really started to come down and I noticed that their shirts were getting noticeable dots on their shirts and wanted to take them to the roofed area down by the pier. While driving down there, I passed an open amplitheater and saw a few shots within that. It set up for my second favorite photo of them.

Same settings as before, the light hasn't changed. I also was having flash issues, the external flash didn't always want to fire. Again, 1/125 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 100, at 36mm. This photo required a bit of clean up as the floor was messy due to all of the dead leaves and I removed the snow from their shoes. Also while looking for rain drops in the photo, I noticed that there was an electric outlet between the legs on the model on the far left and that was also removed. I liked the lines from the background and thought it made them pop out of what would probably have looked to be flat otherwise. So I increased the highlights just enough to see them but also making the image to bright. Increased the clarity and removed some of the shadows from under them and behind them. If my flash was working correctly the highlights and shadows would have been much easier to clean up. I also popped the vibrance a bit to bring out the reds.

I ended up with 8 great photos that I thought would work great for a poster, and when I was leaving the shoot, I thought I only had 2. The photo shoot lasted for an hour and I offered to take some shots of them practicing as I only thought I had 2 and wanted to offer them more choices. However, they felt comfortable with what I had and called it the night.

Some tips; one of the biggest reason why I shoot in RAW format is because the amount of information the picture has in it when comparing it to a JPEG. Information in the darks may not be able to be recovered (without large amount of noise, if at all) and light temperature is much easier to change. This makes Black and White photos actually better if you can manipulate the temperature of the photo.

Take a look at the band's Facebook page as they already have on up as their banner with their logo: In Harm's Way  and feel free to check out the photos in higher res as they requested to open up the gallery for everyone to see: http://santamour.smugmug.com/portraits and don't forget to check out all my available landscape prints that are available for purchase: http://santamour.smugmug.com .

If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask in the comments here, on my Facebook page, or email me: steve@stevensantamourphotography.com

Friday, March 8, 2013

Band Promo Photoshoot

Starting a new adventure this weekend as I have been asked to shoot some photos for a local Rock/Cover Band. The band's name is "In Harm's Way", and is part of a statewide music competition for high school students formed outside of the traditional music classroom. They have been selected to rock out in the Regional Competition on April 5th (I believe it is in Green Bay, WI). I was asked if I could do a shoot for them so they can create promo posters for the event. Even though this is out of my realm of landscape photography, I thought this would be a fun gig and accepted to do it.

For this shoot, we plan on this being held at the lake front and try some shots there. Depending on time I may then tag along with them and snap a few shots of them as they practice. One thing I do enjoy, is to capture candid photos more then the posed shots as it seems to tell more of a story and the pictures tend to draw the eye better.

Tomorrow, I will driving out to scope out the site of where the shoot is going to happen. I was told that there will be a lighthouse and a lot of rocks. I'm hoping that I can some how get this into the photo that matches their band name, or adds to the picture and not take away from the band. One issue that may be happening is that there is rain in the forecast.I'm hoping if it does rain, it is light enough to where it wont affect the band members' looks but may give it an edge in the photos.

My equipment for this shoot will be:
  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.8
  • Tamron  24-70 f/2.8 Di
  • Tripod
  • SB-700 external flash (plan on putting this on the tripod)

I will be posting some photos on a follow up blog, explaining how I took the photo (settings, composure, and other details) and why. I will also be sharing a few photos on my Facebook page so please check that out and "Like" my page and also check out the Band's, "In Harm's Way", Facebook page as well.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why did I start selling my photographs?

Selling my photography was actually something that came up in a conversation with one of my friends. Prior to that, I simply enjoyed going out and getting photographs and sharing them on either Facebook or Flickr. I enjoyed reading peoples' feedback on what they liked and didn't like, and I enjoyed seeing my pictures getting "likes" or "favorites". If you have have read my past blogs you would know that I only did Landscapes, Nature, and Close-Up (they aren't true macro shots) photographs and my friend asked me if I would do some portraits for him for holiday cards. I said sure, not even expecting to get anything out of it but just some practice in taking photos of people. He ended up giving me a few things that I was not expecting and that is when it hit me.

Why not sell my best photos and offer discount portrait photos to help pay for my hobby?

That is when I started looking into going more professional with my photography. I learned there are numerous ways to make money selling your photos, but majority of them required you to do to it full time and this is not what I currently want to do. My current goal is for the sales to be able to pay for my current equipment and future equipment, not for me to live off of. This may change in the future (I'm hoping that it does as photography would be a really neat career), but it is not something I want to rely on to survive. Once I was able to define my career goal with photos, I was able to lay out a pretty good plan. I added up everything I spent in equipment, registration fee's to be able to do legitimate sales of photography in Wisconsin, and other expenses that was only specific to my photography. That is how much I would like to make in profits in a year. I estimated how much I would like to sell my photos for and also if I decided to go into portrait shooting how much an hour I would charge, how much for a photo, and all the other license costs (example giving someone unrestricted license to a photo). When I got through all of this, I was very please to see how many photos I needed to sell, how many portrait shots I would need to do, and how many prints of those photos I would need to print. I then compared those numbers to companies around my location and found that I came up much less than what the current pros offer and I was glad with that as I do not count myself as a Pro yet. A professional photographer to me is someone who actually lives off of their photography, or a majority of their income is from their photography. I count myself as a semi-professional photography or an extreme hobbyist.

I really thought this was a great idea when I actually ordered one of my own photos on a 20x30 print, and actually saw that my photos would make great wall decor and that this could actually work. If it doesn't, it wont bother me in the slightest as it's not my goal to make a living off it but to help with the cost that goes with this hobby. I mean, 1300 dollars for a lens hurts the wallet a bit. Why not offer others the ability to use this lens in a way and have them pay for a bit of it? :D

Spring is coming around and I do have some traveling plans scheduled this year that will allow me to capture some great landscapes. So far this year, I have planned on going to North and South Carolina which will offer great mountain and ocean landscapes not to mention some fun street photography.

Don't forget to check out my Online Gallery  which will have my best shots. If you would like to see other photographs that didn't make the cut you can check out my Flickr page. If there is something on there you like, and is not found on my Online Gallery please email me and I'll post it up there for you to order!

One of my newest photos:

Eye of the Gerbera
Eye of the Gerbera