Last week I did a promo session with Salome, the Virginia-based doom metal band whom I’ve now shot live three times. Pretty fun shoot, didn’t really pull off anything amazingly creative, but they built a mountain of amps, I stuck them in front, and I lit the amps with a red-gelled strobe. Bingo. Very simple but I think the effect looks pretty good. In the shot above the band members are lit by two more strobes, one on each side of the camera. In others I just triggered one of those two lights to create a more shadowy, mysterious look.
I stuck with hard light the whole time – I’d brought my umbrellas but never used them. The harsh shadows and noticeable falloff work better with their image than soft, diffuse light, I think. I did keep the flash-to-subject distance relatively short, though, mostly to save power, but this also had the effect of keeping the light from getting too hard.
We also did a couple shots with no background, as below, and instead of using a background light I used my third strobe high camera left to add more light to the front and center band member. We tried several configurations with each band member taking a turn in front, but I think the ones with Kat up there, like the shot above, turned out the best compositionally by far (sorry, Kat).
After the full-band shots we banged out a few individual shots of each band member, which was a simple affair since we just used the same background and I didn’t even really change the lighting setup at all. Got a few different looks by using or not using the background light, and by using or not using the fill light. I like the sudden light falloff in this one – the lighting ratio is off though – it’s almost 1:1 main:fill. Oops. Also, I should have used my third strobe as a kicker/hair light to get some separation up there, oh well.
UPDATE 2-26-09: Well, there’s the first usage of a photo from this shoot: an interview with Kat at BrooklynVegan.