Neal Morse Band Shoot

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately – the Dream Theater tour wrapped up and I’ve been doing some shooting here in my home area. One of these shoots was for my friend Neal Morse, who is an amazing musician and songwriter. Neal is one of those guys who plays several instruments better than most people play one. He was holding a two-day concert event outside of Nashville and needed some shots of his band for their upcoming tour.

I was also working the shows as a guitar/bass/keyboard tech, so we squeezed in the shoot before a long day of rehearsal (and it was a LONG day!)

We did band shots and individual shots. One of my favorite individual shots was this one of Mike Portnoy, who plays drums in Neal’s band:

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

I didn’t have a lot of time, so I went with a simple setup. The key light was a speedlight through a 51” umbrella on camera left, and I had a bare speedlight way off to camera right as a rim light. I shot this with my Canon 6D and 70-200 lens. The camera settings were 1/160 second, f9.0, and ISO 400.

I did some basic adjustments in Lightroom and then took the image into Photoshop for some retouching using the Frequency Separation technique. I use this to even out skin tones and fix any blemishes while retaining the natural skin texture.

Here is one of the band shots:

Neal Morse Band

Neal Morse Band

I used the same speedlight/umbrella combo for the key light on camera left, and I used a second speedlight/umbrella as a fill on camera right. I wanted to make sure everyone in the group was lit well, and the two umbrellas did the trick.

I shot this at 1/60, f5.6 and ISO 800. I wanted some ambient light from the stage lights, so that’s why I dropped my shutter speed and raised my ISO. I used the new Canon 16-35mm f4L IS lens for this shot and it worked out really well.

I used Lightroom for the basic adjustments and NIK Color Efex Pro 4 for some enhancements.

These images are being used for tour promotion so I’ve been seeing them pop up in various locations online, which is always kind of cool!

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About John Zocco

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2 Responses to “Neal Morse Band Shoot”

  1. Oliv Eternal-Dreamer Reply December 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Hi John,

    Good work !!!

    Thx to share.