In the ongoing quest to produce as much fresh work as possible, I’m constantly trying to self-assign shoots. Some are well planned out with a good chunk of time (and sometimes budget) put into them to pull it all off. Others are much more spur of the moment and involve a lot of winging it on-location– which I’ve actually grown to love.
I’m a long-time fan of singer/songwriter, Donavon Frankenreiter (who started his career as a pro-surfer), and happened to be playing at a small venue in my town recently. I got in touch with his management, and pitched the idea of shooting a super quick pre-show portrait at the venue, which they were kind enough to grant access to.
During sound check, I scouted around the venue to try to find some good angles, but was struggling a bit. About the only truly graphic element in the entire theatre was the seats. The above shot was my first scouting photo..which is OK, but really isn’t overly exciting.
In the midst of struggling to find a better angle, I ran up to the balcony, and found a much more interesting vantage point looking straight down towards the seats…
A shoot-through umbrella was my main light, as I knew it would be a broad enough light to let him move around a bit, unlike a small soft box. Since umbrellas tend to throw light all over the place, I left the bottom half of the umbrella’s fabric on, to help control spill onto the floor.
I also dragged shutter just enough to let the lighting already in the theatre play into the shot, and help to fill the background.
I spent about five minutes with Donavon, and here’s two of my favorites from that day…