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.