Bon Jovi photographed in Tribeca, New York City, 2010 (photo by Chris Owyoung)

I caught up with Bon Jovi for a quick shoot before one of their New York gigs in September. I shot on-set stills during the band’s video interview, portraits and the concert (of course).

I had less than 10 minutes for the portrait shoot – which may not sound like a lot¬† – but as I’ve experienced time and time again, luck favors the prepared. I spent roughly three minutes on a few standard guys-against-a-wall shots before moving into the main event in the back of the band’s touring trailer.

If you’re not familiar with trailers it’s important to note that most of them don’t have two beautiful rows of skylights built into them.¬†Luckily for me, this was Bon Jovi’s trailer and the skylights turned what would otherwise be a dirty cave into the perfect place to spend my remaining minutes.

I’d previously asked the road crew to clear out the last six feet of cases so when the band was ready, all they had to do was step in. When first thought to try the back of the trailer, I set up two speedlights behind the band for separation and planned to use the Chinatown Special DIY Beauty Dish as the key light.

When it came time to shoot, I shot 50% strobes and 50% ambient light so that I could give my client two looks out of the same backdrop. For Nikon users this is as easy as configuring the preview button on the front of the camera to “Flash Off” setting so that you can decide whether the speedlights fire from one shot to the next without the need to turn the commander on and off and without taking the camera away from your eye.

Here’s what the same setup looks like with speedlights firing.

I think it’s pretty clear that the ambient shot has a lot more going for it – the more intimate spacing, the longer focal length, the lower angle, and the overall warmer color tone.

Photo: Bon Jovi performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: Bon Jovi performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: Bon Jovi performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: Bon Jovi performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: Bon Jovi performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: Bon Jovi performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: David Bryan (Bon Jovi) performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: Bon Jovi performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: Tico Torres (Bon Jovi) performs in New York City, 2010 Photo: Bon Jovi performs in New York City, 2010
  1. Great shots Chris – I especially like the one of them all laughing. Can’t beat a good candid photo!

    • Thanks Jamie,

      I like that one too. It was nice to see that after 25 years of rocking together the guys still enjoy each other’s company.

  2. Wow, a little portrait time with Bon Jovi. I’m surprised they gave you 10 minutes! The natural light and beauty dish combo is a great shot.

    Also, thanks for leaving the EXIF data on your photos, it really provides a lot of insight into your photography!

    Nice work.

    • Hey Groovehouse,

      Glad you like the portrait. The time the band was actually in front of my lens was a lot less than 10 minutes, I’d have to look at the time stamps on the shots, but I’d guess it was more like 5?

      Glad you find the EXIF useful.

  3. Great shots Chris. You definitely lucked out with that trailer…the skylights are just perfect for those portraits. Live shots are stellar as usual as well.

    • Thanks Kevin!

      I’m enjoying your fashion work.

  4. A few favs from my recent portrait/concert shoot with Bon Jovi – http://bit.ly/bBRCuA

  5. RT @chrisowyoung: A few favs from my recent portrait/concert shoot with Bon Jovi – http://bit.ly/bBRCuA

  6. RT @chrisowyoung: A few favs from my recent portrait/concert shoot with Bon Jovi – http://bit.ly/bBRCuA

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