Singer/songwriter Hilary Scott recently commissioned me to create some new photos of her and her new band for their upcoming album. Over the span of a couple weeks, Hilary and I discussed various ideas for the shoot and we settled on working on location at a nearby lakefront park. She liked the idea of shooting in the water, as did I, but I also wanted to maximize everyone’s time (and her record company’s investment!) and provide some visual options. The location we chose ended up working remarkably well since there was a rock grotto, beachfront sands, and green forest all within mere steps of each other. We were also blessed with fantastic natural light which I (as usual) used solely as an accent, choosing instead to create my own lighting for the sake of control.
Since we needed the sun to drop a bit before shooting in the water, we started at the grotto, where I used a single gridded strobe to create a circle of light on the group while opening up my shutter speed enough to allow some ambient light into the camera as well. With an entire day at my disposal, I could have created some truly amazing shots in this spot by busting out a bunch more lights, but we were hogging the location as it was and the band’s vibe wouldn’t have jived with what I had in mind anyway. Visions of glistening rock and falling water dancing in my head, I gave way to the group of park-goers eager to explore the grotto. There’s always next time…
I did pause to shoot toward my light (with a reflector in front of Hilary for fill) for a couple quick head shots before we descended toward the lake.
The sun still wasn’t right for the water shots yet, so the band made a quick wardrobe change and we did some shooting against the greenery of the encroaching forest. Hilary had mentioned earlier in the day that she wanted to avoid “natural light” and “outdoorsy” shots, so I tried a few different things like squared-off poses and placing a light behind her to offset the hippie-chick vibe that she was trying to avoid. We all liked the results, and the bonus is that the band gets a completely different look for their future use.
The shot above was lit with an Alien Bees B800 strobe in a 50″ Westcott Apollo softbox (my new fave) and the one below used the same strobe with a bare bulb, directly behind Hilary.
With the sun finally ducking behind the horizon, the band changed into their “water” clothes and I setup for the final shots of the day. It’s always a challenge working at sunset since the light changes so rapidly, but since I was shooting with a speedlight in the 50″ softbox I knew I had control over the light–the dying sunlight was just giving me a glowing background to play with. We began by shooting a few solo and group shots on the shoreline, then Hilary waded into the lake for a few solo shots in the water. After playing around with the reflections for a few minutes, her bandmates AJ and Josh joined her in the water.
Once I had exhausted the possibilities from shore, I ditched the long lens and waded in myself for some closeups and wide angle photos. I’m always nervous working around water with my gear, and this was no exception. As I squatted in the lake (THAT will wake you up) I was careful to maintain a solid grip on my camera, and the light stand was sandbagged to prevent it dunking my light into the drink. I’m VERY glad there was no wind to contend with!
Overall we got a wide variety of shots for Hilary and her label to use in promoting the new record, all in a single location and in just under three hours of shooting. Not bad!
What do you think of the images? Leave a comment below!