Shooting An Album Cover from Concept to Finish

Big thanks to both Scott and Brad for inviting me back to be the guest blogger this week!

This past September I was hired by Eleven Seven Music to photograph and create the album artwork for heavy metal band Drowning Pool's new album, "Resilience.” I was presented with a great opportunity to produce work for the band that would not only showcase them in a dynamic new way, but also push new personal boundaries within my work and challenge me to create something exceptional.

Early in the "concepting" phase of the project, I was given a rough set of inspirational ideas from the band and needed to shape these into photographic images for the album cover and final packaging. I knew right away that I needed to formulate a plan to provide my clients with a final series of images that would be visually relevant to their music and also express the underlying story within their message.

The concepts were general, but finally brought a specific aquatic theme into the band's image. I saw this as an opportunity to create fresh new visuals for Drowning Pool while maintaining a certain amount of consistency. Even as a kid, I loved getting my hands on a new album and looking at the artwork⦠especially those that are thematic and contain a subtle storyline to coincide with the music. It's a complete package and hails from a creative and collaborative process.  I love nothing more than being a part of this process and seeing it through to fruition.

I firmly believe the creative process is more than simply knowing how to use a camera and light your subject properly. It's more than any post-production technique. It's more than merely being inspired. For me, it begins and ends with development of tangible relationships. Being a "people-person" has been one of the most important attributes for me as a photographer and has continued to open new doors for me.

So much of what we do as creative people relies on gaining trust, effectively communicating our ideas and maintaining a personal connection with our clients. And to that end, it relies not only on understanding your own vision, but how it correlates and completes their vision.

We put together a 10-minute video (below) talking about the album artwork from both a creative and technical standpoint, along with a peak behind the scenes from the shoot and image editing process. Check it out!

http://vimeo.com/62714003
(contains mild language)

You can see more of David’s work at DavidEJackson.com, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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19 Comments

  1. Dude, you continue to inspire me. Seriously. Amazing.

  2. Cool, as usual my twitter friend! :)

  3. Do we really want to see morbid pictures of people drowning on here? Not impressed.

    • That’s why I made this post so that you had to click “continue reading” before you saw all those images. The heavy metal world isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but that doesn’t detract from the skillful process of making these images. If you read the first paragraph, it says exactly what the post is going to be about. Keep reading if it sounds like something you’d want to see/read, or just skip over it if not.

      • I’m all for creativity and the PS work in these images is incredible. But this is like going to a morgue. I love Scott’s blog and read it everyday but this is definitely not Scott Kelby material. Disappointed….

      • I’m a Coroner Investigator, it’s nothing like going to the morgue….really.

  4. Very cool images! I love the conceptual approach that you took in creating these images as well as the overall tonality. Mad skills indeed, thanks for sharing bro. Definitely going to have to check out your website. I love metal m/ Keep up the awesome work man

  5. Wow..some pretty awesome Creativity..And Tom Hohl..the fact that you looked at these pics and are talking about dead bodies and all means that you don’t get it AT ALL!!! This is a guest Blog, it doesn’t have to reflect Scott’s work or ideas or anything..(Hence the guest blog part) Photography is an ART, and the best thing about art is that it is completely Subjective and there are no Limitations..So look past the parts of the images you don’t like and appreciate the parts that you do :)

  6. When are you going to cross the 49th parallel. Would love to see your show in Toronto.

  7. images are awesome! drowning pooling awesome! video awesome! I like being able to see the thought process that went behind this. +1

  8. Wow what incredible talent. I personally don’t know how anyone could look at this work and not be impressed (even if the images aren’t their cup of tea).

  9. Keep up the awesome work! – D. TUCKER

  10. You nailed it David! Great work as usual, and I love that you pushed yourself – I’m sure the label and the band are pleased. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I liked the video. it’s always cool seeing how it went from studio to PS. The band is sick, I’ve been a fan since their first album. It was nice to see how David shot this and what ideas the band brought to the shoot. I think if you have a good collaboration with your client as well as your own vision, you can have “perfection” as David mentioned.

    Bravo David, and thanks for posting on Kelby.

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