It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Robby Klein!
A big “Thanks” to Scott and Brad for allowing me to share this shoot with you guys. I am a music and advertising photographer currently living in Nashville, by way of New Orleans, LA. I recently had the privilege of photographing The Band Perry for the Billboard Magazine cover story. In this blog I’ll share my experience, thought process and some of the technical details behind this shoot.
Like most editorial shoots, I was given a fair amount of creative freedom. That freedom provided a great opportunity to showcase ideas and unique vision aligned with the image of the magazine and, in this case, the particular image of the talent as well. It’s someone’s job to brand the band and have them seen in a certain light so it’s always very important to understand what such branding might consist of visually. As much as The Band Perry is country, they have an edge to them that I liked and wanted to emphasize – no cowboy hats on this set!! As difficult as it is to have numerous “cooks in the kitchen” as they say, it’s important to have an open collaborative relationship with the talent, their manager, publicist, stylist, etc. that are on set.
The shoot consisted of 3 looks that I nicknamed lights, cover and fun while on set so we would all know what setup we were discussing.
Here is a breakdown of those 3 setups:
The first look, lights, was designed to be more painterly and serious than the others.
Lights required the most setup so I planned for several hours of pre-lighting and used every minute tweaking, moving and thinking. For this look we mixed constant lights and strobes.
The constant lights were Mole-Richardson 2000W Juniors. Since these lights were both part of the actual set and functioning as light sources I did a decent amount of research into what would look AND work best while keeping budget in mind. The Juniors were certainly not the most powerful lights we could have rented but their size was right and they would be close to the subjects so the lower power wasn’t going to be an issue.
For strobes we used AlienBees and focused on each band member individually giving them their own light sources. I started with one and as I tweaked the look I added one more, then one more, then another and before I knew it there was a beautiful c-stand jungle. I don’t recall exactly how many strobes we had for that look, but I remember someone behind me saying something about having 8 or 9.
Throw in some fog for atmosphere, Beyoncé blasting through the speakers, a very talented country trio and POOF! our first look is finished.
Now, the ironic thing about the setup called cover is that it did not turn out to be the cover shot although at the time I assumed it would.
When ideas were first getting tossed around for the shoot between Billboard and myself, it became clear that the cover needed to have color. For whatever reason my mind went almost straight to red then straight to a rich velvet stage curtain. After a day of searching multiple places, my buddy Shane suggested a rental house in Nashville called Drop Everything. They had exactly what we wanted.
We moved the Mole-Richardson Juniors and a few AlienBees over during the band’s wardrobe change after lights. The Mole-Richardsons were placed high and above the curtain as both a curtain light and a hair light. One AlienBees unit with a gridded large octobank was used as the key light. With the lighting scheme already determined it was only a matter of a few test shots before we had what we were looking for.
Cue Beyoncé, and we began shooting our 2nd look.
Our last setup of the day was named fun because it was the setup that we wanted to capture a very lively and energetic scene. We used the same setup from cover for this shot, just moved some of the lights around.
My vision, as I explained to Billboard, was to capture your typical brothers- picking-on-the-sister look. In case you didn’t know, The Band Perry is made up of Kimberly Perry and her two brothers Reid and Neil. When I explained it to the band they laughed and said “Oh, so just a normal day?”
The scene was of the brothers pointing the Mole Richardson at Kimberly in an annoying brotherly way and them just laughing it off. The storyline behind this image was not quite as important to me as the emotions that play along with siblings being silly together and that is what really came through.
I love what I do and I am passionate about really soaking up every experience I have and every opportunity that comes my way. I am grateful and always excited to be able to execute any job, especially ones as enjoyable as this one. The Band Perry could not be a nicer family; from their attitudes, excitement and cooperation, to their entire team on set. It was a joy to meet and work with all of them.
Check out some of the behind the scenes video from the shoot.
Behind the scenes photos by: Nathan Rocky