This week Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand put on a show outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, and we used the opportunity to shoot some new band portraits. These kinds of images are used for posters, marketing, web sites, and overall band promotion.
Band portraits need to be iconic, visually interesting, they need to show the vibe of the band so that you know what a live show will be like. Band portraits need to show personality, they can’t be mundane or normal. So all of that means that band portraits are no different than any other portrait I create for people – they need to have exquisite lighting and emotion.
For this image, I envisioned the band on stage with Ryan up front looking right into the camera. I wanted instruments showing and also all the feel of the stage with the stage lights and smoke – except it’s not possible to do a shot like that during the show with an amphitheater full of people. It had to be shot during the day before the show. So I set it up, lit the scene, and shot it knowing I’d be recreating from scratch the entire “feel” of the stage later in post production.
Above is the final version after all the digital work. And below, is an animation of my progress. In the animation it may come together in just a few seconds, but it didn’t take seconds to make.
Notice how in the first and completely raw shot, the skin tones and lighting on the individuals is perfect, but it’s in the middle of the day. It doesn’t look like night and there are no stage lights. From there I slowly build it up, painting in from scratch the stage lights, the atmosphere, the smoke, as well as the effects of the colored lights on Ryan, his jacket, on the band, and on the walls. I’m constantly asking myself, how would this light affect the scene? Where would it be visible? Because of where Ryan is standing, he is being lit with the most diverse set of colored lights from various places. How those lights all skim across his black leather jacket have all been painted in.
The result is something both real and natural to the eye, but also is a shot that could not have been created otherwise. It’s an impactful image.
This second band portrait was created to look real and natural, to be impactful, and to also show the energy of the group. But it wasn’t originally shot like this either.
To create it, I individually lit and shot each band member separately. I then took the best of each individual and put this together, lining up each brick and line in the background to match the bending perspective shift created by my camera’s angle and lens choice. I really liked the wide angle feel and the bending of the bricks created by that. There was a lot of very small and detailed painting needed to get all of these image to seamlessly blend together, and for shadows to fall where they should, and for the creation of shadows and mixing shadows. But the end result is a really cool and iconic band picture.
Here it is in color too before the final conversion to black and white. This color image could work for a lot of purposes when color is required, though in the black and white I did multi-tone it so that it grabs the eye even in b&w.
I was also hired to shoot some concert images during the show later, and I’ll get to posting them soon too. But for as much time as these took to create, I wanted to post today about these these band photos and what really goes into sometimes just one or two commercial images.
There are lots of commercial needs for great photos, some that require almost no Photoshop and post-production and some (like these) that require a lot. My specialty is lighting and emotion and I’m on the Adobe software team training photographers all over the country on advanced clean and natural Photoshop techniques. So for all your commercial imaging needs, give me a call at 801-728-3317. Tell me what business you’re in and what you’d like and let’s make it happen. Let’s create some iconic images for your business that make you shine.
And until next time, America.