2016 Neal Morse Band Shoot

Shooting the Neal Morse Band.

Shooting the Neal Morse Band.

I recently had the pleasure of shooting the Neal Morse Band for their upcoming CD and tour.  I’ve known Neal since about 2010 and I’ve toured with him several times.  I also shot the photos for his last album (The Grand Experiment) and tour.  Check out the post on that shoot here.
They were in the middle of writing and recording the latest NMB album, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to get the shots we needed.  In a case like this I like to get the essential shots first, and if there is any time left we can experiment a bit with other locations and poses.
We had decided in advance to shoot some images in front of a green screen background that was already at the recording studio.  This would make it easier for the CD layout designer to extract the images and put them on whatever background they wind up using in the booklet (they had done this on the previous CD as well).
The backdrop was already set up when I arrived, so I got to work setting up some lights while the band ate lunch.  I opted for a pretty simple setup of one key light and one fill light for the band (I also put one light on the background).  For the key light I used a Paul C. Buff Alien Bees B800 into a Soft Silver PLM umbrella with diffusion fabric on the front.  The fill was a Yongnuo speedlight into a shoot-through umbrella.  I love the PLM with the diffusion fabric – the light is bounced and then diffused, so it has a nice soft quality that I like.
We did a bunch of full band shots first, then individual band members.  I shot 3 different crops for each person – a waist up shot, a mid-torso up, and a tighter head shot.  This gives them some options when it comes to the CD layout as well as things like promo posters and tour laminates.
We knocked these out pretty quickly, so we ventured outside to get some additional band and individual shots.  There was plenty of natural midday (harsh) sun, so I put them in some shade and brought the speedlight/umbrella out to add a little kick.  There was a large open field behind them so I did some wide-angle shots to get a sense of the space.  We also did some more band and individual shots against a cool-looking exterior wall.
They had a lot of work to do on the album, so we wrapped and I packed up while they went back inside to write and record.  I grabbed some quick candid shots of them working in the studio and called it a day.
I’m still in the process of getting everyone’s choices narrowed down so I can finish editing and deliver the final files.  It can be tough with 5 different people picking their favorites – it usually takes a little time before we decide on a final selection of images that everyone is happy with.  I’ll be sure to post a few images once they are approved.
Thanks for stopping by!

Gear used:

Canon EOS 6D
Tamron 28-75mm f2.8
Paul C Buff Alien Bees B800
Yongnuo YN560IV
Paul C Buff Umbrellas
Phottix Wireless Triggers

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About John Zocco

Founder and administrator of ThePhotoRoadie.com

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