Prequel to the Sequel

“Recent” band shoots

Posted in Bands, Personal by brmeyer3 on 02/22/2011

Here are my two most recent band shoots. I’m starting to like what I am doing with my band promos editing wise, and I think I’ve come a long way since I started. But I need to become a lot better and flushing out ideas and concepts for these shoots.

The first was Rosaline and I shot them back in November. Ideas were short between us and we were running out of sunlight, so we just drove to a nearby forest preserve, hiked through a ton of dead reeds, and knocked
out a couple shots.

In January my buddies in Admiral of Black contacted me to take some shots of them for their upcoming album. They talked to their local watering hole and got approved to shoot inside the bar before it opened. I was pretty pleased to hear that because they wanted to do a more of a narrative shot, rather then them posing (which we still did anyways). The guys also had an old Cadillac from the 80’s that they had painted flat back (it looked pretty bad ass) and wanted to incorporate that into some shots too.

*All images copyright Brad Meyer

Passion Pit Concert

Posted in Bands, Editorial by brmeyer3 on 10/25/2010

Last weekend I was called by my photo editor asking If I was available to shoot Passion Pit who were playing on campus at Assembly Hall. I accepted because shooting a concert is way more fun then shooting someone standing at a podium or in front of their computer. I met up with Josh (you can find his photos on his blog), who was shooting for Assembly Hall that night, and we both noticed that the crowd was extremely small. The concert was also pretty boring. Indie bands don’t move around on stage very much and don’t really interact with the crowd as much, which is the polar opposite of the hardcore/metal shows I attend and shoot. The music wasn’t my taste, but it is still nice to shoot a performance during the week.

*All images copyright Brad Meyer and the Daily Illini

Knockout Kid promos

Posted in Bands by brmeyer3 on 10/19/2010

A few weekends ago I drove up to the suburbs to shoot promo photos for Knockout Kid. They were a great group of d00ds who had a ton of character and made the shoot really enjoyable. Im really liking shooting these pop-punk bands because they actually want some emotion and a narrative in their photos, whereas metal bands just stand in a line and try to look way too tough, which isn’t that exciting visually. For some reason i felt like bitmapping some of the images, it’s different and i felt like it worked for the band and how the photo has a solid yellow background. Mikey Kay came along with for the shoot and grabbed some behind the scenes photos. Later he filmed an interview of me for a new website he’s launching tomorrow (Oct. 20), www.isonoise.com, which sounds really cool. My footage wont be featured for some time tho.

*All images copyright Brad Meyer

*Behind the Scenes photos copyright Mikey Kay

Kid Cudi Concert

Posted in Bands, Editorial by brmeyer3 on 10/06/2010

Last night I shot my first concert of the year for Assembly Hall. Kid Cudi was to take the stage at 9:30, which is a half hour past my deadline for transmitting photos to the News-Gazette. Another problem was that I had no idea if I was approved to the show until a couple hours before it started. After being in contact with the News-Gazette all day, I was told that I would be pushing the limits of getting my photo to them before their paper was sent off to the printer. After shooting my allowed two songs of Kid Cudi’s performance, I ran to the media room to quickly caption, edit and transmit. I sent the photo off at 9:47 and the paper didn’t receive it until 9:50, but I made it in time and the photo was printed. The first photo is the one that I sent them.

The performance itself was alright. The lighting was very inconsistent, and the stage was filled with smoke by a machine, which meant my photos were a bit hazy. I also had a ton a lens flare in my photos and they were washed out a lot with the color of the lights, which produces an odd result that could be good or bad.

Hip Hop artist Kid Cudi performs at Assembly Hall in Champaign on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010

*All images copyright Brad Meyer and the Assembly Hall

From The Sidelines Promos

Posted in Bands, Personal by brmeyer3 on 08/14/2010

Last weekend I took a long drive up to Vernon Hills to take some promos of the pop-punk band, From The Sidelines. They told me about an abandoned house they wanted to shoot at and I was excited to shoot there. The dead house ended up being in the middle of the woods and was infested with mosquitos ( I think I ended up getting bitten over 30 times). They also didnt want to do traditional boring shots of them trying to look way to tough, which is what almost all bands do and I get bored with that really fast. They wanted more of a narrative of exploring the house and have this gorilla/zombie sneaking up behind them, which was something different for me to shoot and a bit of a challenge to make work. These photos had probably the most extensive post processing I have done yet on anything, which is different from my newspaper edits, where I keep my editing as minimal as possible. Included are 3 photos of my work progress: Straight out of camera, processing in Lightroom, then Processing in Photoshop. Also included is a standard shot of them in a 2:1 crop, which I’m really into all of a sudden. Lighting was my B800 into a socked beauty dish boomed over them, and a 430ex firing on the gorilla or behind them as a rim light.

Camera RAW:

Post Lightroom:

Post Photoshop: Final Photo

*All images copyright Brad Meyer

Recent Band Photos

Posted in Bands, Personal by brmeyer3 on 07/12/2010

Here is an update from shoots I’ve had the past 2 weekends. I think I’m going to start sharing my lighting set ups for all of my strobed stuff, and set up shots and before/afters. All of which will be included in this post.

I drove up to Chicago to shoot Forever Never Lasts. They didn’t have a location in mind when I got there, and I was interested in this red wall right outside where one of the guys lives. They were hesitant, and we ended up shooting in alley right behind their apartment. This was my first band shoot with all of my new stuff, which was a boomed B800 into a beauty dish over the guys.

The next day I drove all the way up to Wheeling to shoot All But A Memory. They wanted to shoot in their practice space with smoke behind them. I didn’t execute shooting the fog like how I imagined, which was very contrasty. I think this was due to the whole room filling up and becoming hazy really fast. We had to open the door and blow all the smoke out with a fan every couple of minutes. It was also above 90 degrees outside and in the space, which meant all of us wanted to finish up as quickly as possible before we had heatstrokes, so I didn’t have a chance to really fine tune my lights perfectly.

I boomed my B800 into a softbox directly in the center of the guys and had my old Genesis 200 strobe in the back firing at me to light up the smoke. For their individual shots I had the softbox boomed again, and had 2 direct 430ex’s behind them on either side as rim lights and to illuminate the smoke.

They also wanted me to take a portrait of a girl that is going to be used as their main artwork for their new myspace layout. This was something I’m used too but was excited to do it because its something different for me. I’m really happy with how it came out and I really got into post-processing it, touching up her skin and dodging and burning. This was shot with my B800 into a softbox camera right, and a 430ex behind her camera left as a hair light.

Yesterday I drove up to Chicago to shoot The Fight Night. They wanted to shoot on the lake right next to the Shedd Aquarium and have the skyline as the background. Thankfully we didn’t get hassled by the police or any security people. We planned to shoot around noon, which I was nervous about because I was afraid the sun was going to be at full blast and make lighting difficult. It turned out to have some cool cloud coverage, which allowed me to shoot over the sun, creating a darker sky. I was really happy with the end result, and spent a lot of time processing them, and working on my dodging and burning skills.

Boomed B800 into a socked beauty dish over head.

After

Before

*All images copyright Brad Meyer

School is done.

Posted in Bands, Editorial by brmeyer3 on 05/17/2010

The school year finally ended, which means im not studying and working on final projects and have time to update the blog. Here are some shots since the last update. I didn’t shoot much for the paper because I was concentrating on my studies, so there aren’t that many photos to post.

I shot my first country concert at Assembly Hall. Alan Jackson and Josh Turner were the 2 main acts. This was a really hard show to shoot, because there was no barricade to keep the crowd away from the stage and a space for me to shoot from. So I was surrounded by 100 or so screaming girls while shooting, and I had to throw some bows to move about and get the shots I needed.

I shot softball for the Daily Illini during the week. During the first inning I wanted to try and grab a frozen ball photo. I prefocused my lens so the focus was in between the pitcher and batter, and took a photo of when I thought the ball was in the focus zone. Surprisingly, I ended up with a lot of shots in focus and had a higher keeper rate then I thought I would get. I am relatively happy with this one, but I am still going to try these in the future to grab a really good one.

U.S. Senate canidate and currrent Illinois State Tresurer, Alexi Giannoulias, came to campus to have a roundtable meeting with some students a couple weeks ago. It was held in a really, really small cafe with terrible lighting. Between all of the students, PR people, media, and TV crews, it was next to impossible to move around and grab different shots. Also, Giannoulias looked down at his notes most of the time, and rarely looked up at the students. He was asking them about their thoughts about the price of higher education and concerns they had.

My last assignment for the paper this year was to try and get a photo of someone putting on Sunscreen. I knew this was going to be almost impossible to get a photo of this specific action, and failed to get one in the 2 hour walk I had on the quad. I switched my focus to get shots of people tanning in the high noon sun.

All images copyright Brad Meyer and The Daily Illini and Assembly Hall.

Recent Assignments

Posted in Bands, Editorial by brmeyer3 on 04/21/2010

Below are some shots from assignments I have had to shoot in the past two weeks.

I had to portrait of a Computer Science professor. Normally when I do portraits, I light them with off camera flash. For this one I wanted to just bounce my flash off the ceiling because I didn’t feel like hauling all of my gear on a friday morning. I ended up forgetting to bring my speed light, and when I walked into his office and saw 2 giant windows back lighting him and almost had a heart attack. Thank God for the shadow/highlight feature in photoshop, I was able to recover my underexposed and overexposed area….kinda. I really liked how he had a lot of character in his office with all of the plants and asian theme.

This assignment was about shaving heads for the St. Baldrick’s foundation for helping cure cancer. I had to shoot one of these for the Daily Herald over the summer, and I wanted to shoot this one really tight. This photo ended up being one of the farther away, looser, shots of all of the photos I took. The first person to volunteer to have their head shaved ended up being a girl (above) and she was joking about it and took it very light, knowing that her hair would grow back and it wouldn’t be the end of the world being bald for a while. I was also loving the golden hour light, it was a shame that the photo printed in black and white.

I had to shoot performers practicing for India Night at the ARC for this assignment. I met this dance troop of girls practicing in the hallway and asked if I could shoot them dancing (they said yes). I thought it was going to be a super quick assignment and I was going to be done in a couple minutes. They spent most of the time talking amongst each other about the choreography, rather then actually practicing it, which meant I had to wait longer then I thought to get my photo.

I ran over to Scott Park on campus to get photos of people cleaning up. When I got their, the only volunteers were students from Next Generation Elementry school. I grabbed some shots of the kids and teachers cleaning up the place. At first I was nervous to shoot the kids because our paper focuses on University Issues, and parental permission is generally needed to get information of children. The teacher above said the school had no problem with me shooting the kids, and that I could get their names and information as well, even without their parents present.

I had to shoot the band Daughtry for Assembly Hall. The time they took the stage was ¬†pushing it close to my deadline of transmitting to the News-Gazette. Also, the singer always sang with his hands in front of his face and was always looking up into the ceiling, which meant I wasn’t getting the photos I wanted. This is probably my favorite of him that I shot because you can easily see his face, but I have to send a vertical shot the Gazette because the page is laid out before hand, so I didnt get the chance to have this printed.

Students had the opportunity to repel down one of the dorms to raise money for a charity. Mike Stein, one of the DI photographers, participated in the plunge and did a photo story of it. I ended up missing his drop down the wall, but did grab this silhouette of some random kid going down. View his gallery here.

*All images copyright Brad Meyer and the Daily Illini and Assembly Hall

More Promos

Posted in Bands, Personal by brmeyer3 on 04/07/2010

Way to much homework/work = stale blog.

Over spring break I had the opportunity to take promo shots of The Afternoon and Five Oh First. Both went really bad in my mind, but the bands ended up liking the photos. I drove back from school, and as soon as I made it to my house, I was leaving to try and meet up with the guys in The Afternoon to get some shots in before all of the natural light was gone. Sadly, we were too late and I pretty much didn’t get any shots of a cool sky/sunset. We found a camping roof thing and set up my lights in their and shot. We had to use the headlight of their car to see what we were doing and so I could focus on them. On Saturday, my second day of break, I made it up to Carol Stream to shoot Five Oh First again. I had a bunch of ideas in my head, but to my bad luck it was snowing out ( on spring break, not cool). We tried some shots in their basement of them pretending to watch a movie. I wasn’t happy with my results and I’ve seen shots like it before. I then asked if they wanted to find an open asphalt parking lot to shoot in, and try something with the wet ground. I was hoping to get a cool reflection with my rim light, but that didn’t really work out. Also, snow was still falling, which meant I had a ton of photoshopping it out, as they didnt want it. It was a pain. I tried a new lighting placement with them, kind of. I stuck my light directly behind me and in front of them, instead of my usual placing it to the side and doing my Rembrandt lighting. More posts to come hopefully.

*All images copyright Brad Meyer

Girls Next Door shoot

Posted in Bands, Personal by brmeyer3 on 02/08/2010

Last wednesday I took promo shots for the girls accapella group on campus, The Girls Next Door. The shoot went alright and I learned some things from it. First, 13 people on a roll of seamless paper is way to much, and I was struggling to keep all of their extremeties within the papers edge. It was also my first time shooting on a chromakey green background, and I learned that the green reflects onto skin, and is a pain to try and photoshop it out. It was also my first time using a 4 light set up. I had two rim lights on either side shot through some umbrellas. And I had the main strobe over head on a boom bounced into a silver umbrella, and another silver umbrella camera left for some fill.

*All images copyright Brad Meyer