Florida entertainer & guitarist headshots with Dan

Florida entertainer & guitarist headshots with Dan

Dan needed updated headshots for his career as an entertainer which includes being a guitarist and being an MC around the west coast of Florida.  I told him I could come right to his living room, which was nice and roomy, to make the headshots he wanted, just have the guitar and mic ready!

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Guitarist Playing into the Sunset St. Petersburg Commercial Photography

Guitarist commercial promotional photography on St. Petersburg Florida beach - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/7.1 ISO 200 1/80th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame leftA shoot on Pass-a-Grille Beach a few years ago of a guitarist for his album cover and promotional materials remains one of my all-time favorites for several reasons.  I edited quite a few shots from the shoot at the time, but thought now that over two years have passed, might I be able to find another shot I could add to my edited archives? (and also send the client a nice unexpected bonus shot)  Going through the remaining photos I liked how the sun was just at the tip of the guitar and I thought by cropping a good amount off the top and bottom the focus can be put on that particular point in the image.  

I did not do much editing to the shot, mostly actually just darkening the subject to make him standout against the bright sunset sky background more.  Go back to one of your favorite shoots and see if you cannot mine another gem or two out of it.

Guitarist Promotional Materials & Album Cover Shoot Pass-A-Grille Beach Part 2

Commercial Photography for guitarist promotion - f/9 ISO 200 1/250th SB-800 to frame right SB-600 to frame left

A grainy, holga, look is what guitarist Nathan (artist name Redd Sun) told me he wanted for the edited versions of the photographs I made for him during our commercial photography shoot on Pass-A-Grille Beach.  I kept that information in mind the whole time I was shooting, despite the setting sun providing a plethora of color in the wide Florida sky that evening.  The grainy look is one of the things that interested me most about this shoot because 99% of the time when shooting on the beach vivid color shots are desired.  I saw this as an opportunity to produce something different, something . . . simpler.

Commercial Photography for guitarist promotion - f/4 ISO 200 1/400th natural lightAfter seeing the results of this shoot, I may do an entire series of black & white beach shots.  The holga effect was applied to the above photograph using the awesome Silver Efex Pro, which if you do not have it and you like black & white, then you need to get Silver Efex Pro immediately!

Commercial Photography for musician promotion - f/4 ISO 200 1/400th natural lightI centered the subject (Nathan) much more than I normally would during this shoot because I knew that type of composition best lent itself to the holga effect with its harsh vertical edge burning.  This is why it is always very important to previsualize a shot, or a whole shoot even, before pressing the shutter.

Guitarist Promotional Materials & Album Cover Shoot Pass-A-Grille Beach Part 1

Guitarist Musician Promo Shoot - Pass-A-Grille Beach St. Petersburg Florida Commercial Photography

To state it simply, this was one of the best shoots I have ever done, in all aspects.  Nathan (artist name Redd Sun) contacted me about making some photographs for use as his own promotional materials for his music as he liked the style of this vanishing point photograph.  The photographs in this post are obviously not that style, rather these are my own favorites from the shoot.  In post Part 2 I will put the shots Nathan chose edited in the grainy style he requested.  

What made this shoot one of the best, if not the best, for me was how Nathan wanted to be photographed.  He told me at the start that he did not want any poses or anything like that.  Of course I specialize in candid style so this was perfect for me.  He then said just photograph him as he changed his guitar strings and then as he played.  This could not have been more ideal instructions for me.  The bonus was I got to listen to his guitar playing while shooting, which I really believe helped me capture the types of shots he wanted.  Normally I just shoot in silence.  This gives me the idea to bring along a music source of some kind for future shoots.

Guitarist Musician Promo Shoot - natural light portrait on Pass-A-Grille Beach St. Petersburg FloridaI (we) was also lucky in that the Pass-A-Grille Beach was not that crowded, there was a great sunset and the natural light before sunset time was fantastic (see above natural light photograph).  This natural light allowed me to roam freely with my preferred Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens on my Nikon D300.

Guitarist profile shot for promotional materials - Pass-A-Grille Beach St. Petersburg Florida commercial photographyOf course I also used my own personally developed two-strobe setup for proper sunset shots.  Even in the above shot, however, the photograph remained a candid as Nathan seemed to not notice me setup my lights around him and just kept on playing.

Guitarist silhouette promotional shot - Pass-A-Grille Beach St. Petersburg Florida commercial photographyEven though we were at basically the same location for the entire one-hour shoot due to the ability to make both natural light and strobist shots, as well as using three different lenses, I was able to provide Nathan with a wide variety of shot styles.  

I really look forward to seeing how Nathan uses the photographs in his promotional materials.  Part 2 of this photo shoot, to come soon.

Photography Tip - change dimensions with a tripod and slow shutter speed

Pane Rustica restaurant - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/8 ISO 200 10 sec tripod mounted & cable releaseThe above shot was not an accident, but one I made on purpose.  The birthday party I was hired to photograph had not started in earnest yet.  The room was mostly empty, but the guitarist was already playing.  My DSLR was already mounted to my tripod for some wide shots of the party space, so since I had the time and opportunity . . .

The room was crazy dark, so I knew I could keep the shutter open a good long time (10 seconds) without overexposing everything.  The guitarist was not exactly rocking out, but even with his slight moving and strumming over 10 seconds it was enough to make him look unrecognizable.  Of course everything else remained still in the frame creating what I call an "out of phase" look for the subject (the guitarist).  

A lifetime ago I was studying computer engineering at USF, and even before that getting my first taste of physics in high school.  I became and have remained fascinated by how vibrations basically keep us in this dimension.  If we could engage a phase shift, then could crossing dimensions be possible?  In my imagination at the time of making this shot, the guitarist was going through just such a phase shift.  

Thus, tripods and cable releases are not just for taking landscape photos.  They are great fun to experiment with and possibly reveal other dimensions.