Category Archives: rock photography

Shooting Music

Let’s take a break in the whole portraiture series. I’ve experimented with music photography on and off. Music *was* my first love, so all the better when I can combine that with my current first love, photography. While I have altogether given up taking marky Mark to concerts and festivals any more – I’d rather see the event through my eyes rather than through the lens – I did not hesitate to go out and shoot at a concert that a good friend of mine was playing last month. The Choir Invisible are a Dublin-based band and I was at their gig in The Workmen’s Club to try and capture some impression.

Now, shooting in clubs is ridiculously hard (I think). You are dealing with a dimly lit which requires either strong flash or high ISO. Strong flash irritates musicians and audience. High ISO inevitably results in grainy, fuzzy imagery. Hmph. But what else can you do? Open up the aperture, shoot slow at 1/30 s and pray that the band doesn’t move around too much. As per usual, I was unenamoured with my band shots. Maybe I am too hard on myself, I’ll show them another time. My favourite instead is a technically faulty shot that I personally find quite nice.

Choir Invisible

Yup, shot so slow that the movement of the guitarist results in multiple exposure on the sensor.

Well, it’s all deliberate, I will claim. The rest is silence.

PS: The Choir boys are playing Whelan’s this weekend, May 30th, 2014, supporting Carriages. Check them out!

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Music was my first love

Ok, I admit. Photography was not my first love. Music was. It still plays a huge part in my life – I listen to music all the time, I sing, I dance, I love finding out what my friends recommend. I never leave the house without my current favourite music on the iPodPhone. (But neither do I leave the house without a camera, so there…). And there is nothing better than shooting a musician or doing a rock photography shoot, where my two loves combine…

Not so long ago I had the pleasure of taking pictures of a young musician. Marcin is a total Guitar God. Well, you guessed that from the image above – at least the guitar bit. Shooting with him was great fun, because it meant I could experiment with some nice strong light and different backgrounds. He was very clear about what he wanted – no phoney shots pretending he was playing the guitar when it is clear from the picture that it is shot in a studio situation. Photographic studio, that is. While the shot above is not necessarily usable for him – I chopped his head off *hehe* – this is still one of my favourite images of that shoot.

It took me a while to warm up to my role as the “director” of the shoot. Ordering around other people does not come easily to me. (Who is that giggling in the background??? Seriously, I do find it hard to tell others what to do!!) But when shooting portraits that is exactly what the photographer has to do. “Turn this way!” “Look at me!” “Put your chin up a bit!” “Look a bit more aggressive!” It certainly helps when you are not shooting your friends!!! By the end of this particular session I had finally gotten into the groove and was able to tell my sitter what to do, which way to turn and what kind of look to put on his face.

The best way of learning this, however, is being the subject of a portrait shoot yourself. And observing how your photographer is handling the situation. I put myself into that position the other day – and it was a horrific uncomfortable experience. And one that has taught me more than what I have read in books or been taught in college. But that’s a story for another day…