Soliders Can’t Dance

6 03 2013

Flash – a-ah – saviour of the universe.
Here’s part one of my weekends shootings. More to come soon.

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Click to see larger

This week Soldiers Can’t Dance were treated to the Deadl.ie treatment and were the first in line to scoop up a free shoot. The shoot took place in an abandoned building in the city that was as scary as it was amazing. With thin corrugated iron crumbling beneath our feet, pigeons taking flight and shaking the walls in the process, not to mention the eerie discarded children’s toys littered about the place, the building is one that after this weekend, I’ve probably seen enough of.

The band arrived as I’d hoped. Stylish, on time and up for a good explore of the place. The building was huge so after a good 30 minute search of the place, we’d found our locations. First up the ‘X’ wall (picture 1). A flat wall, with one light pointing at it, with a smoke bomb between the guys and myself and a light above the smoke and the band was how the shot was set up.

As I couldn’t have the light directly above me – given I was shooting quite zoomed in, and the assistant would’ve been visible in the shot, I had the light come from the left. This gives a small fall-off in the light come the right side of the image, but nothing I don’t find acceptable.

The second shot was in the main body of the building. It was full of thick, thick dust, pigeon shit and oddly, rolls of film. There was a large walkway that led down the building about 9 feet above the ground. I raced down this and placed a light at the first crossing of walkways,  point back directly towards the camera and a smokebomb in between the two. The flash behind the smoke was set to full power to really blow out the background, and as the light was slightly tipped up, it also gave a slight fill to the dungeon-like background.

The smoke bombs run for above 30 seconds outdoors normally. Given the dark conditions in ‘the cave’ and the lack of wind, they ran about twice as long. Even after this, they hung around in some sense for a while. Initially they looked too thick, but after a few moments it became manageable. Unfortunately – I missed a few ideal conditions of the smoke given my flash recycling time, but overall I’m happy.

This time I was closer to the band, shooting wide, so I could have my assistant behind me lighting the scene evenly. You can really see the difference. It’s much more even and it’s my personal favourite of the shoot.

I deliberately left Luke (in the orange shirt) to either side of the shot. The guys were all wearing dark colours initially (Luke had a leather jacktet) but I needed to make them stand out slightly. We ditched the jacket and I felt it too obvious to put the only guy in black in the middle.

So there y’are now. Any questions, just ask. I’d be more than happy to help.

Big thanks to Aaron Corr and Aisling Finn for assisting on the shoot!

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DollyFrocks

12 02 2013

Here’s a shoot I had with DollyFrocks last weekend. Before I dive back into music photography, I gave one last go to something outside my comfort zone. Fashion confuses me, but photography I can do. With stylists on board, I’m free to shoot the way I like without having to worry about things I know little about (clothes, to be specific. I’m a jeans and tee shirt kinda guy). We headed to Bull Island and avoided the crowds by heading off the beaten track. It was pretty chilly and exposed (not to mention all the dog doo we had to avoid), but it made for some cool backgrounds.

I’d planned to head to the long grass there, and use the Anne Liebowitz ‘Rhianna’ shoot as my basis for the shoot. Unfortunately the weather didn’t break as well as I’d planned and the sky was pretty overcast, but I think I got something acceptable.

All shots were shot with two lights, excluding the ambient light.
I exposed for the background first as always, introduced my first light, then based on the ambient light reading. With a shutter speed of 1/200 and an aperture of f/14 (ISO always at 200 for shoots like this), I brought in the large softbox first. I wanted to get close with the softbox, to retain lots of softness. This was great as I needed the flash at 1/2 at about 4 feet away for most shots. I added a rim light too. To be perfectly honest I’m not that specific with my rim lights. If it defines my model and isn’t massively over-exposed, I’m not going to tweak it too much.

 

I brought some smoke bombs with me, but as they burn for about 30 seconds max, you really have little room for flash misfires, model blinks, dropped poses etc. I’m sure I’ve one, but none presentable at present. In the meantime hopefully these are pleasing to your eye. I’ve a few more ideas for shoots later on in the year, but for now, I think I’ll concentrate on bands.

Models: Chelsea Byrne, Jade Stapleton & Paul Lyons 
MUA: Julia Babahina 
Style: DollyFrocks Clothing, Dublin 
Assistant: Yan Bourke





Girls Photoshoot, Dublin August 2010

27 08 2010

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After an interview with the guys from ‘Girls‘ for our radio show (Two States), my co-host Danny organised a little photoshoot with the band for me. I was given three minutes, which meant an elaborate light-set up was not possible, so natural light was key. I shot RAW and managed to produce this baby with some tinkering.

The interview will be broadcast Monday 6th September at 10am and repeated on the 9th at 8pm.





Hoax

9 08 2010

The lads from Hoax were the latest crowd to get the Deadl.ie treatment. We met up at the docks and after a few minutes they were totally relaxed and some of the best models I’ve worked with yet. You can check the guys out here and if you like what you hear they’re playing Sunday 15th August in the Mezz

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Photographer’s Notes:

The lads chose to meet at 9pm, which was perfect lighting-wise. The sun was setting and the lights at the docklands were coming alive. Worked out perfectly. Two strobes were used, two SB-600s fired using Nikon’s on-baord CLS, both at full power. The lights were situated at 45′ to each side of the band, the left using a shoot through umbrella and the right through my new Ezybox.

The left light was aimed at the member furthest on the right and vice-versa with the left strobe, ensuring a nice even spread of light across the band. There was no back-lighting this time.

The green-shot  (no.3) was performed with a shutter speed of 1/80 whilst moving the camera freely in my hand as I shot. It was enough to lightly blur the scene, with the flashes (firing at the end of the shutter) was strong enough to ensure detail and clarity.

The set, so far is available here:





The Looks – Photoshoot

23 07 2010

Today Dublin five-piece (drummer absent from pictures) dropped into the Two States studios for a session and interview. The lads were more than happy for a photoshoot and despite some technical issues with my flashes I think I managed to get at least one decent shot of them. The interview will be airing mid-August on 2XM – more details will follow as they come.





FAT – Fringe Festival Photoshoot

1 06 2010

You know the deal by now, click the image to see it larger

Having been contacted by the lovely people behind FAT, my first photoshoot was arranged. The bag was packed, two strobes in tow and my new umbrella set-up was taken along too. I was very excirreh.

Turned out the photoshoot was in a bathroom, so the umbrella was abandoned as it was far too big to fit into the room itself when open, without obstructing someone within the shot. So I was shooting with two bare flashes, hidden within the scenes. I took a reading of the room, getting a nice scene and as per David Hobby’s Strobist advice, I underexposed two stops (I actually brought it down a little more later) and adjusted the flashes to below 1/10 power each (because they were direct and not being dispersed by the umbrella). There was a little bit of flying by the pants going on here – tweaking on up and one down as need depended. Small spaces are a nightmare to shoot in – too much bouncing light and the cluttered room drew odd shadows all over the place. 90% of the time the flashes were pointed directly up, hoping to eliminate these shadows and give a nice, even spread of light.

Thankfully the girls and boy knew exactly what they wanted, and almost how they wanted it, so I was left with the simple task of shooting beautiful people, who were not camera shy. I needed to give minimal instructions – “watch your positioning” and “faces towards me” was about as difficult as it got – these guys knew how to work a camera. Took a load off my mind, I was worried about directing strangers, being bossy to them in their own home. But I got lucky first time out.

The show is an interesting concept; it looks at the fascination with image in today’s world and the importance placed upon glamour – even in things that are not necessarily that beautiful. Don’t take my word for it – especially given my ability to get the wrong end of the stick and appalling grasp of the English language. Check it out yourself (link will be added when available!)

I toyed with the images in Photoshop afterwards, but nothing too strenuous – high pass filters, gaussian blurs, fiddling with curves and colour balances. Here are some quick examples:

Here I selected the pants of Stephen, both bras on show and the lips’ of the ladies. Each got a selection of their own and an adjustment with the colour balance tool. The pants  became quite garish and needed the saturation to be pulled down and a small bit of dodging and burning to get them looking somewhat realistic. The yellow bra was changed  from a pale purple, and Im quite happy that it comes across believable enough. Think the yellow is needed too – the primary colours really make this image ‘pop’!

The lips are a little bit overdone, but I think that’s part of the point! Again, this was just a colour balance tweak.

The whites of everyone’s eyes (everyone except Oonagh’s – whose you can’t see anyway) have been boosted. I took this idea from a book of wartime photography I was given. I  didn’t realise this was an after effect, but in retrospect, who the hell has eyes naturally that white?! I first utilized this in the Faithless edits, but i think I’ve come to use it to  better effect here.

This one is a little bit more constrained. The main edit here was brightening up the foreground. The flashes (yes, I know, you can see one on the bath there…) were all aimed high, resulting in lovely tones up top, but a very shaded lower part of the image. A quick selection and curves adjustment got it up to something a little better, without taking the focus away from the main character in this scene. Think this one came out nicely exposed, the outside window is still clean and not burned-out and the faces are all well lit!

Lovely floor too, innit?

And finally there was the headshots.

This came out best:

It was desaturated using the colour balance method, her face was selected inverted and then the rest of the scene was subject to a gaussian blur of 3.7 pixels. Her eyes were  selected and given a smart sharpen and the lipstick was made darker with a small bit of burning.

Unsurprisingly, it’s already been a hit over on flickr (modest, me? yeah, I know). Less than 60 after being  uploaded it had been favourited. As had quite a few of this shoot. Beautiful people in revealing clothes will do wonders for your flickr stats. I’m up to 300 views in less than an  hour after this batch was put up.

As always there’s more over on my Flickr

Oh, and there’s still more editing to be done – 700 shots from yesterday and I’ve only gotten around to addressing about half so far, so stay tuned!