Elsie Binx Promo Photos
In case you haven't noticed (or are new to the site!) I love taking photos of musicians.
People performing live music are opening themselves up to an audience in a way that most people never do, and this leads to moments that I'm always thrilled to capture.
So what happens then, when I'm taking photos of musicians when they aren't performing, but are instead standing in a studio in front of a backdrop? Difficulties, that's what.
It can be hard for me to direct in these situations. I've seen these people put themselves out there, seen them be themselves and have fun on a stage. But for them, being on stage is generally much less scary than being alone in a room with me and a camera.
So what's scary here - is it me? (Let's be real... Maybe.)
I think these folks are worried of opening up and having it captured, with no buffer between.
At a show there's instruments and lights and smoke. There are other things to worry about. And the musician is doing what he or she loves.
In a a studio they're hyper-aware of every inch of themselves, and the fact that everything is being captured. It's tough to put them at ease.
Luckily with this session I was working mostly with people I've known for some time, and had some idea how to get what I wanted out of them. It's been two years now that I've been shooting Elsie Binx on the regular. I've even travelled with them to L.A. Having this knowledge and familiarity certainly helped the session.
For members that I know are very anti-smiling, I would make jokes at the expense of other band members, and capture reactions. No one even realized this is what I was doing until I pointed it out later - it just felt natural to them.
Which brings me to another great point.
It's not just the photographer being familiar with his or her subject.
Having the subject be familiar and comfortable with the photographer also makes a world of difference to the outcome of the photos. While they've certainly been in more comfortable situations with me, they've also been in less. They have some idea of what to expect in terms of outcome from the photos, and making conversation during the shoot (which I always love to do) is infinitely easier than if we had just met.
Now might be a good time to point out that studio photography isn't my favourite.
I love candids. I love raw emotion, real settings, and natural postures.
This is why I'm so into conversation and jokes when I am in a studio setting. It helps me feel like I'm getting at least some of that.
But it's still tough, and definitely not my strong suit.
Nevertheless, when I met up with EBX at The Sound Shop in Macomb at the end of December I had a plan, a rented lens, and some willing(ish) subjects.
Sometimes I found ways to get some cool images out of what was already going on, like this shot of lead vocalist Erin putting on her shoes. As she was getting ready, I simply said "hey, look over here!" and this is what we got:
One of my favourite prompts for this shoot was to have each person channel their favourite 90's rapper. Putting members of a rock band into the headspace of a very different type of musician helped them to relax and have fun. It indicated that we weren't taking things too seriously, and that they could feel free to do whatever came to them.
While the majority of this group is well known to me, this was my first time meeting the band's new drummer, Darin, so I was a little wary of how that would go. Turns out he's as cool as the rest of them! At one point I asked if he was familiar with 'The People's Eyebrow,' and he goes "Oh! Like The Rock?" and it worked out perfectly.
After the individual shots we did a few of the group as a whole - and while the space wasn't the greatest for this, we managed to get a few good ones out of it, including a neat long-exposure. This shot is 3 different exposures ranging from 10 - 30 seconds, all stacked atop each other.
After sending the first few edits to the group, Erin came back with her own awesome edit of the second group photo:
It's worth noting that the band has seen a slight lineup chance between the taking and posting of these images, so there might be some inconsistencies in members between shots.
I also used the individual shots from this session to put together a couple of group composites, with varying degrees of success:
And to close it out, here are a few individual images after varying stages of the editing process: