What better way to kick off 2010 than shooting a feature with Benjamin Burnley and Aaron Fink of the multi-platinum selling rock outfit Breaking Benjamin. I caught up with Ben and Aaron on-location in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for the January cover of Guitar Edge magazine.
More photos from the article and all of the the how-to goodies are just a click away.
About the Assignment
The job was very straight forward; drive to Wilkes-Barre, scout locations and shoot enough to yield a good selection of cover shots and a few shots for the interior of the mag.
My editor requested that the lighting be contrasty and rock’n’roll while leaving a lot of headroom for final toning and atmospheric adjustments in photoshop. (In the end, the photos did receive a lot of toning in post, though almost no retouching in the corrective sense).
Scouting the Location
My assistant and I spent roughly 45 minutes location scouting prior to the shoot. The search yielded four locations that I documented with my iphone along the way. The photo shows one of the best features of the final location of the shoot:
Obligatory List of Gear
- Nikon D3
- Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
- Nikon 24-70mm f2.8
- 5 X Nikon SB-900
- 12′ Manfrotto Light Stands
- Lastolite 24″ EzBox Hot Shoe Softbox
- 3 Section Calumet Monopod
- Pelican Case (doubles as on-the-fly posing stool)
Since the 12mp files of the Nikon D3 have more than enough resolution for a double page magazine spread, choice of camera body wasn’t an issue. The main decision was what system to use for lighting.
Even though I had a Dynalite pack and head system in tow, the lack of a constant power source demanded the portability of the AA battery powered Nikon CLS system. Luckily, overcast skies meant that the SB900s had more than enough juice to overpower the ambient light.
(As can be seen in my post on band portraits at Warped Tour, the CLS system is just powerful enough to be used in full sunlight if you don’t need to kill ambient too much).
The Lighting Setup
A total of four Nikon SB900 speedlights were used for the cover shot. A single SB900 was clipped to train car behind Ben and Aaron with twin rim lights and softbox completing the picture.
The Cover Shot
I arguably could have shot this assignment with ambient light only were it not for the need to highlight Ben and Aaron’s guitars for the feature. As you can see in the cover shot below, the position of the softbox and the camera-left rim light did a really nice job of showing off Ben’s custom hollow body PRS.
Enormous thanks go out to Ben and Aaron for being all around great samples of humanity and such easy subjects to work with. Additional thanks go out to my assistant Sara, Heather from Hollywood and, of course to, Laurie Baldwin whose skill with both hair and makeup were essential.
Leave ‘em in a comment below?