Shooting bands for me is a process. It begins with picking the equipment to be used which for me is dictated by the venue, some places allow DSLR cameras and some don't and some venues just don't allow any photography. For example most clubs allow DSLRs and bigger venues like Phillips Arena don't. I have a number of different cameras which i use depending on the situation. Positioning is always crucial. It's best to be as close as possible but also to be able to move around to capture different angles. Sometimes I'm free to move around and other times I'm stuck and have to work within a given space. Lighting or lack of (which I plan to talk about in a different blog) is also extremely important and to which is almost exclusively out of my control. A good or great photo is dependent on a moment in time when the action and lighting are ideal and the ability to anticipate that moment or just guess. Lady Luck plays a role in that aspect as well. In this age of digital, I shoot a lot of shots and it sometimes takes around 200 or more images to find 40 or fifty I end up publishing. Definitely the most time consuming of this process is editing. I usually spend between 8 and 24 hours in photoshop, cropping, color correcting and tweaking my work on a shot by shot basis.
It's a long process that most people don't realize I go through (or any artist for that matter) and that's ok. They're not suppose to be conscience of that, but hopefully an image I shot and worked on will stir an emotion or positive reaction and it's always rewarding to get positive feedback from people who enjoy your work. I'm no exception. High praise feeds the ego and is the fuel that keeps the creative juices flowing and the incentive to strive for the best work you can do.
Normally after I shoot a band and publish the gallery, I send a link to that particular artist so they can take a look as well and I have been lucky enough to get a lot of positive praise. Normally it's short like "Great Photos!" "We love this shot," "Very Nice," etc. Recently I got a really great email response I want to share.
On December 2, 2016 I shot James Hall and The Steady Wicked at The L5P Community Star Bar for a record release show. James is a extremely talented veteran of the Atlanta Music Scene and he and his band gave a charged and explosive performance on Saturday Night. The energy level of the band and the crowd who were feeding off it was incredible. As a result, I ended up with some really nice images which I posted a few days later (and a link to the band of course) and then I got this email response from James:
Thank you for your valuable work and eye for detail on Friday night. You really captured the Star Bar as a living, breathing entity. The photos you took of each of us have an electric quality, and the ones of the full band deliver the spirit right from the stage to the screen.
When you get a response like that, coming from another (and well respected) artist, it just stirs the soul and reaffirms all the hard work and dedication that goes into creative photography.