A couple of weeks ago I did my first photo shoot with my new camera, creating promotional images for Jane Cooke Jazz a local musical duo. We did the shoot in a recording studio which is in a converted church and is only a couple of minutes away from my house. I was looking forward to it as I was hoping I’d finally get to lay the ghost of my old camera to rest!
We were there on a Sunday afternoon. The previous band had finished laying down tracks and were working through their session in the control room on the first floor whilst we had the ground floor to shoot in, so we could hear bursts of the music coming through the doors as they went in and out and the bass of the tracks through the walls. Having a background in radio, (but absolutely no musical talent) I love being back in a place full of recording equipment and it was a great venue to shoot in.
My aim for the session was to try and give Jane & Rob quite versatile images. So as well as shooting them together, I wanted to shoot them apart in case they do any gigs separately or in case they want to use them on a biography page on their website. I also tried to create some quite traditional jazz images of them at the piano
Before the shoot I spent quite a bit of time on Pinterest building a board of images to inspire me. A lot of jazz duos are romantic partners and are photographed to reflect this, my two are not and I didn’t want the photos to end up looking awkward. A piano/singer combination is also a little tricky because the piano player is low down seated and the jazz singer is standing up. Often this is overcome by having the singer draped across the piano, but Jane and I both felt this wasn’t really her! I got round it by seating both of them on the piano stool or standing both of them up without instruments/microphones.
I’ve been to the Old Chapel Studios several times in different capacities, but most recently to film a live session for the same jazz group. On that occasion Jane left with some regrets about her choice of dress, so this time she came prepared with several changes, this also helped to add variety to the images.
The final batch of images I shot used a technique known as The Invisible Black Backdrop, which uses off camera flash and fast shutter speed to capture a lit subject against black.
I really enjoyed our session and I think Jane & Rob did too. Rob in particular said he came in as a bundle of nerves, but actually left having enjoyed the afternoon which is always a great compliment.
Jane Cooke Jazz website
Old Chapel Recording Studio
Main Road, Nutbourne
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