Retrospect - Flying Canadian Photography

noun

a survey or review of a past course of events or period of time. "a full retrospect of the battle"

And Retrospect is also the name of a Bury based band which I had the pleasure of photographing last week. Retrospect plays a mix of covers and have a really cool ska sound. (You can hear them here: https://soundcloud.com/retrospectbury) The introduction to the band was again through Emily (thank-you) who is friends with Mark, the trumpeter.

Mark had said he wanted some promotional photography of the group (as opposed to pictures of them playing at a gig).  I did a bit of research on band photography and had a few ideas of what I thought might work.  I headed across to their practice studio last Friday and set myself up while listening to the band practice for a performance the following night. I found some roller shutter doors outside which I thought might work well as a background and I also thought I could do something with the stairs up to the practice room. I used the practice area itself as my mini mobile studio with its long dark curtains as the backdrop.

I took some shots with instruments and some without, some where everyone was smiling and some where they were not. As an experiment I tried some shots with the lights flashing off behind the band to try to get them as silhouettes. I wasn’t quite sure how they were going to work out but the band was very accommodating in letting me “play”. I think these pictures actually ended up being the ones I like best from the shoot.

I always like to reflect on what I learned during these shoots as I like to feel like I'm progressing and moving forward with my photography. So here we go...

- I learned that posing a group of adults is entirely different from posing a family with children. Balloons and bubbles as props are not really appropriate here!

- My experiment worked with the silhouettes! Lesson being it is good to experiment and take risks - perhaps after getting some “safe shots” in the bag. And really - what’s the worst that can happen?

- Having three different spots to take pictures in one shoot (one outside, one inside using natural lights and one inside using studio lights) forced some quick thought about camera settings to adjust to each of these very different levels of light.

- Going prepared with ideas of poses is proving to be a good tool for my bag.

- I need to be clear and specific when giving directions on what I want from my subjects including body positioning and facial expressions.

- Post processing always seems to take longer than I think! I try to do a high level review of the files at first removing the ones that are really obviously weird in some way (exposure wrong, eye’s shut or whatever) and then follow that up with a more refined pass over them. Coming back to the pictures over a couple of nights works better for me than trying to do them all in one night. If I’ve been working on them for a while and then leave them and come back to them with fresh eyes, I often discover I’ve pushed things a bit far with the processing and have to bring it back to a more natural look…

- Black and white seems to work best for these type of shots.

I am having a little break from portrait photography for now (other than snapping shots of Paul and Stella, of course!) as we’re heading off on our holidays to the Yorkshire Moors at the end of next week. Fingers crossed for some stunning landscape pictures instead!? When we get back, I’ll be thinking about Emily’s BBQ and plans for taking pictures there - including getting some shots of the above mentioned Mark, his wife and their quickly growing bump! :-)


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