Saturday, September 3, 2011

Out of the Zone

Every once in a while, you get to try something completely, totally new. While in Colorado, I had the opportunity to take photos of a band my brother is in, Cedar Avenue Blues Band or CABB for short. (My brother is the drummer, the tall one on the left, in the blue shirt.)

We didn't have much time together, and I didn't have time to scout a location, so I asked them to pick one. They worked it out with the Yellow Cab company to use their lot. We could wander around and take photos anywhere, but nothing would be moved for us. We met in the early evening, as the sun was lowering in the sky. It was hotter than heck and they were wearing these nice clothes.

Can we talk about uncomfortable? I'm usually not a people photographer. Now I had four adults I had to make simultaneously look good. I had a location with lots of distracting background, and light that was changing rapidly. Thank goodness, they were a great group to work with. As we moved around the lot, everyone made suggestions and worked together on ideas. The best idea of all was to have them pull out their instruments and play. Everyone relaxed and started having fun. You can see they are a band, and you can tell they have fun together. Don't you want to hear them play now, after seeing this image?

What started out as really uncomfortable and nerve-wracking yielded something great. My skills with street scenes and varying light situations worked here as well, but I needed to use them quickly. It was worthwhile to get out of my comfort zone and experiment with a new situation and new subject. As I tell the participants of my Find Your Eye classes, each time you step outside of your comfort zone you expand it a little further. I doubt I'll head in the direction of taking band promo shots on a regular basis, but at least I know I can get something useful. I've learned a little bit more, and my confidence has grown because of it.

In honor of our Process of Elimination exploration going on now, I'm going to share the straight out of camera shot too. When comparing with the image above you'll note that I did some cropping and exposure adjustments in post processing. In this case, I was trying to get everything in the shot with a "clean" background, with room to adjust and crop later. I was taking a lot of shots as they sang, several frames per second, to get different expressions. It's amazing how hard it is to get four people looking natural all at the same time!

I also played around with some post-processing, to see what they might like. Their favorite is the color boost. Mine's the black and white. What's yours?

Color boost
Black and White

You can hear the Cedar Avenue Blues Band here, or look for them playing around the Denver area. You'll have a fun time!

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  1. Definitely the b&w, although the color boost is awesome too. Hooray for stepping out of your comfort zone, Miss Kat! (I'm doing the same. Slowly.)

  2. I am going to agree with the b/w. That is a cool shot! You did well stepping out of your comfort zone :)

  3. Fun shot, it's always great to experiment and try something new.

  4. I like the B&W too, and I'm not a bit B&W fan. It just really works for this pic. Great job, Kat!

  5. It's good to step out of your comfort zone. Looks like a fun shoot. I think i like the B&W too.

  6. Great shot - I like them both, but the colour one has it for me - the way the blue and the yellow zing together is great.

    Your post is also a bit of a coincidence - I've been asked to do some promo shots for a local musician and I'm not really a people photographer either. It's very much outside my comfort zone, but too good an opportunity to pass up. I feel a little better seeing what you've achieved while having much the same worries about it that I have.

  7. I like the B&W, but I do think the color boost is more joyous or something. I can see why it is their favorite. :)

  8. The b&w is my favorite. Thanks for sharing the process and how you dealt (wonderfully, I might add) with your discomfort. Great framing, cropping and cleaning, btw.

  9. This is awesome, Kat! The b&w is also my favourite - so gorgeous!

  10. I love them both, and your exploration of photographing out of your comfort zone!!!

  11. Kat,
    How brave - not only to shoot people (which cause me to shake in my boots) but for a professional purpose. Talk about big goals! As our FYE leader, you certainly led by example.

    I like both shots but the color boost seems more musical to me. I can certainly see uses for both in promotional literature. Well done! Comfort zone expanded.

  12. How cool that you're "stepping out" too. You are brave to get 4 individuals at once. I love their idea of the cab, considering their CABB name.
    I think I like the color version without the color boost the best, but not sure why. Their personalities show through as colorful and I think that's why I don't like the more vibrant version as much-it takes away from them. The black and white is nice too.
    Your bro is a drummer? Me too. Love those beats.


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