Story Behind the Shot: Theory of the Fall
Our Teen Photo guest writer today is Calvin Merry from England. He’s taken shots of the up and coming band “Theory of the Fall”, and wrote us a guide on photographing groups!
Number One Tip:
My number one tip would be most definitely, “Chill out”. I cannot tell you how difficult it is when you’re trying to be serious, and they try to follow that – it just creates a rather tense atmosphere to work in. If you relax and allow people to ‘mess around’ a bit, then you will find that you can experiment a whole lot more with different ideas because they are also a lot more relaxed. Aside from that tip, I would highly recommend you initially keep things simple and then you then have room to alter little details in which you can expand on from your original idea.
Group shots are incredibly rewarding because of the huge amount of opportunities you have to make something look completely epic, but at the same time it can be such a pain! One member of the band would often be messing around and then one would get the others cracking up, and everyone would begin to break out in complete laughter! When it came to deciding on how I coordinated the band members, I often had Tom (the one consistently wearing the hat), in the forefront of the photo due to him being a vocalist, as vocalists are usually the “front-men” and the “faces” of the band. I then just simply arranged the others into what I felt was appropriate. In the second photo, I put the drummer to the back left and the bassist to the back right, because they had the least “show-off” roles, and they are there to keep the song together. After that, it was an easy decision to get the two guitarists behind Tom as they are closest to the stage and provide the “flavour” to performances, aside from the vocalist.
I ended up photographing the band because I knew the drummer and one of the guitarists very well. This then continued to knowing the rest of the band members, including the Vocalist which joined after I got to know everyone. It was then a case of them needing things to ‘get themselves out there’. For example, they created a Facebook Page, stared to play at more venues and also got a few songs recorded which were available for purchase and also as a media to demonstrate their ability to promotes. I was asked at one point if I could ‘get some snaps’ of the Band just so they had something to work with, which ended up turning out really great! The photos that I had shown of them was at the second photoshoot after the vocalist had joined and that we had realised that we work well together! We just hung out for a bit, chilled, all that fun stuff – and then took a train to a place which reflected the sort of ‘rugged’ and ‘grunge’ element of the band, which was an old abandoned farm.
Finding a Theme:
My ideas grew from the rather ‘dark, contrasting, grunge’ ideas I already had. I often try to find a background that reflects that sort of mood, and then just work with it. I will get them to look particularly angry or ‘hostile’ in order to convey an emotion. When it came to post-processing, I added various texture over the top of the original photo, to give it another dimension and aspect. Turning up Clarity and Contrast is a rather large part of the reasons my photos look how they do, I like to keep things crisp, dark and moody and I think I manage to achieve that. However, when it came to colours, I just experimented a lot with various colours overlaying the photo and just seeing how it turned out. Once I like what I have created, I will save it as a pre-set so I can consistently make some photos look like that, so they have a theme.
Theory of the Fall:
Facebook Page: Theory of the Fall
Flickr: Calvin Merry
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