An email from the Kerrang Magazine editor came in on a Wednesday morning asking if I could do a cover shoot with pop-punk rockers All Time Low. In addition to the cover photo, they would need extra images for the story inside and a potential poster.
The band’s manager added, “We would really like to get this done in Baltimore tomorrow if possible.”
Baltimore is 200 miles away from my home in New York City. With less than 24 hours of prep time for a major shoot out of town, I went into logistics-mode overdrive.
My favorite way to travel in the Northeast is on Amtrak’s Acela business class train. It’s comfortable, there are power outlets at every seat, and there’s free wi-fi. You can also arrive at the station five minutes before your train and don’t have to deal with airport TSA agents.
But what about my gear? I needed to bring big lights for this job.
The answer is simple. Rent.
I called my pal, Baltimore resident David Hobby (yes, the Strobist himself!) and made a deal to rent some of his lighting equipment for the day.
The rest was easy. I hired Baltimore assistant Dave Buchanan, had him pick up the gear from David, and meet me at the train station.
I’ve photographed All Time Low before and the guys are always easy to work with. Here’s guitarist Jack Barakat getting some air. I shot the frame wide to show the lights.
(Nikon D3, 24-70 at 52mm, ISO 200, 1/250, f/16)
For my main light on the right, I used a Profoto Acute2 2400 pack in a 64” silver Paul Buff PLM and a white diffuser. I filled in on the left with a Profoto Acute2 1200 pack in a 60” Photek Softlighter II, also with a diffuser.
I used the same setup for this group shot.
(Nikon D3, 24-70 at 24mm, ISO 200, 1/125, f/14)
Since the guys were about to embark on a tour of the UK, the magazine wanted a “hitting the road” image. I imagine it’s been a while since they loaded their own gear, but it was fun to put them in this situation.
(Nikon D3, 24-70 at 48mm, ISO 500, 1/250, f/6.3)
I put a bare flash on the 1200 pack at far right up high with a warming gel to simulate the late afternoon setting sun. The 2400 pack with the 64” PLM was behind me to fill in the shadows.
I also stuck a bare bulb strobe with a blue gel inside of the van, which you can see in this image from another angle.
(Nikon D3, 24-70 at 42mm, ISO 500, 1/250, f/9)
The magazine came out recently with my cover shot of the four guys and five more photos inside. Everyone was happy.
I’m a big fan of renting expensive equipment when possible. Whether it’s for convenience, or to try new gear that you normally wouldn’t be able to afford, it’s the most cost-effective way to have access to every piece of photo gear in existence.