Recently an old friend of mine, Jeff Selby of The Jackson Rider, contacted me about shooting some portraits of him for promotional use. Jeff pretty much has an all access pass to The Legendary Dobbs, a bar in Philadelphia known for a long history of musicians that have passed through it.
When I have the opportunity, I always prefer to see the location prior to shooting in order to inspect every crevice. It allows me to create images in my mind prior to shooting, so I know exactly how I am going to light, and where I am going to shoot each photo. Needless to say, there was a lot to work with, I could have spent an additional three hours doing different stuff.
First location was in the middle of South Street right outside Dobbs… This was not on the agenda, but when I stepped out of my car, Jeff was walking down the street to meet me, a cop had traffic stopped for about 10 minutes a 100 yards down the road. So why not? Shooting in the middle of the South Street in Philly… complete.
Next stop: the roof. This was actually my plan prior to ever setting eyes on Dobbs. Even though I hadn’t seen the location, the thought of creating images on a roof with the city of Philadelphia in the background seemed like a killer idea. The feature image (top) in this post was created with three lights, two bare bulb strobes behind and pointing back at a 45 degree angle to Jeff, and a soft box directly above. I believe I learn something every time I shoot: on this occasion the lesson was not to wear flip flops while running around on a roof. Brilliant I am sometimes.
As I stated earlier, I really like to see everything. There is a tiny kitchen on the second floor that hasn’t been used in 20 years, and I really liked the stainless steel sheet metal behind the fryolator. I think some people think I am nuts when I “see” something and they can’t quite grasp what’s in my brain for an image. I wouldn’t say Jeff was the biggest fan of my idea to sit him on top of the Fryolator in a 100 degree kitchen with zero ventilation, but after a bit of coaxing… there he was sitting on top of a Fryolator.
How could I not shoot in the Green Room? There is unbelivable mural of the various artists who have passed through The Legengary Dobb’s, painted by Caleigh Rose Designs: Everclear, Bunny Savage, G. Love, The Jackson Rider and, of course, my main man Frankie Bones to name a few. Two lights for this shot, and nope… the spotlight on The Jackson Rider is not a Photoshop effect.
Last stop was the stage in the bar area with Jeff messing around with his Taylor guitar. Yep… I broke out the smoke machine I paid $200 for a couple years ago. Cost me $100 per use so far Ha! With this image I changed my white balance to achieve that blue effect. Two Nikon SB-900s were used in this shot. One was placed behind him without a light modifier to backlight the smoke. I placed the other light in front of him with a tungsten filter and a 40 degree grid spot to narrow the beam. The tungsten filter on the light brings back natural skin tones, had I not used it, the entire image would be blue.
After shooting 741 images on my Nikon D3s, here are my favorites, as well as a few behind the scenes. Feel free to leave a comment, and if there is a certain image you would like to see a blog post on, let me know!