I was recently asked by the organisers of the L!STEN 2017 talent show to help them out with shooting their grand final at the Pizza Express Live - Music Room in Maidstone. FOR FREE. That's right, they had the gall to ask a professional photographer to drive miles to a venue, work for hours during the shoot, edit and then digitally deliver the photos. I know, appalling behaviour right? WRONG! I was happy to do it and in my humble opinion if someone from a reputable charity asks for your help and you are able to give it, you could do a lot worse than helping them out.
The people at Kent, Surry and Sussex Air Ambulance work tirelessly to provide essential, life-saving transport and medical care to critically injured people who need to reach a hospital for life-saving treatment as soon as possible. To continue this work they obviously need substantial funding and support. The L!STEN talent competition is just one of the many events James Vince and his team have put together to help raise money and awareness of this admirable charity. I for one was happy to use my skills with a camera to help them out.
The evening was compered by the engagingly funny Kieran Poole and opened with four winners from previous years (Alex Beharrall, Charlotte Rose Ellis, Tasha McCoy and Steve Hewitt). Enchanting the audience with their varied musical styles, they were the perfect set-up for the next part of the evening.
This was an X-Factor style show with the three finalists performing their own compositions in front and a live audience and the panel of judges selected from the local music scene. Izzy B. Uke opened with some hauntingly melodic songs on, as her name suggests, a ukulele. She finished with a more upbeat number to great appreciation from the crowd. Next up were passionate numbers from Frankie Swain with her acoustic guitar providing a perfect counter-point to her soaring vocals. Gutsy songs from Ryan Weeks came next. Real down to earth stuff that struck a chord with me and obviously the judges too as he went on to win.
Whilst the judges were deliberating, the entertainment didn't stop as two previous winners (Hannah Richards and Luke Pope) took the stage, taking turns singing their own songs until Hannah Richrds decided to get funky with a Michael Jackson cover.
So all in all a pretty decent night. Not bad for a gig I didn't have to pay to go see and I can't wait for the next one!
Just a quick little update today to point you all in the direction of my first major foray into shooting a music video. It was a bit of a rush job and it was also for my band - The Silent Companions - (check us out on Facebook). Overall though I'm pretty happy with the result. It was shot on three cameras (Pentax K1, Canon 60D and GoPro Hero 3) and in three takes. Each take had the two main cameras moved to give me more angles to work with as I couldn't hold a camera and play Bass at the same time!
Post production was a bit of a learning experience for me too. I'd done a bit of video stuff here and there, but hadn't put together one like this before with different cameras, angles and a music track to sync them to. Once I'd got the hang of multi-cam editing though it was a breeze! What gave me the most trouble however was the grading. As I'd been in a bit of a rush, I forgot to set the white balance on each camera to match up. Not a major issue but it ended up interfering with the overall feel of the video. I played around with the exposure settings in Final Cut for a while to help lessen the problem a bit which works for the most part. However, as I mentioned this whole shoot was a learning experience for me, so I'll know to check my WB for next time!
There will definitely be a next time as this was great fun to do! I hope you enjoy the video, let me know what you think!
Take a shot, take another, recompose, check settings, take another ad infinitum... As a live music photographer I have to try and get at least a decent 20-30 shots within about 15 minutes, often in very low light conditions. This can be a tremendous pressure but is also where the magic happens! When I'm in the moment time slows, the rhythm of the music beats through me and I kind of get a little lost in the moment. This means I can rack up the shutter count pretty quickly leading to a whole bunch of shots hitting my hard-drive when I get home. This didn't used to be much of an issue until I got the dreaded warning message that there is only 2 gigs of space left on my external drive! I know shocker right? Cue me spending days going through my catalogue and deleting a whole slew of unusable shots, freeing up a bit of workspace. I know, boring to do and even more boring to read about I bet! The interesting thing was finding shots I had quickly dismissed as rubbish years ago and giving them a bit of editing love meant that there are a lot of shots that have never even seen the light of day heading to www.shutterbladephotography.com in the near future. I've also got a nice tidy hard drive now...
Hello and welcome to my blog. This is a new venture for me and first off, thanks for taking the time to visit my site and read this! My name is Ren and I'm a music photographer from the south-east of England. I specialise in and am extremely passionate about shooting live performances. The raw energy on show captivates me, I always aim to capture that in the form of striking images. I'm in a band myself so I know how good it feels to hit the zone and be completely lost in the performance.
With this blog I hope to bring you along on my journey and describe what it's like to experience these moments up-close and personal!
Whilst you're here, have a look around and let me know what you think of the site and images on show. Constructive criticism is always well received and appreciated. If you are in a band and would like me to come shoot for you, hit me up on the contact page and I'll get straight back to you.
William Redfern - The Silent Companions