Before the Coffee

August 12, 2009

Rapper Does His Thing

Filed under: Bands, people, Urban Decay — beforethecoffee @ 3:32 pm

When Breezy the rapper called me to photograph him for his CD cover I wasn’t really interested in doing anything more than a documentary shot of him. Mainly because he didn’t have any ideas except that he wanted to wear a suit and his CD was going to be titled “Billionaire Dreams.” After some brainstorming I started to get an image of what could be a fun shoot. I imagined a person that acted like they have it all yet their surroundings say they don’t. I liked the contrasting ideas so things started to gel and I felt the Henryton Facility would be a cool backdrop.

On location Breezy was a little stiff, he needed lots of encouragement and instructions before he found his groove. He liked to point at the camera a lot, which works for the first 5 shots, but you have to mix it up a bit. I told him “Breezy, forget the camera, forget about getting your suit dirty, forget about answering your phone and forget the cops could show up here and arrest us.” I walked over to the scene and pointed to the ground, “here, right here, dance like you LOVE your life and you LOVE what you are doing. If you can’t convince me right here you’ll never convince your fan club.” Breezy laughed, then pulled it off very nicely.


Here’s Breezy in the burned out floor doing what he loves.

May 26, 2009

I can’t believe it…. I just got this purse

Filed under: Bands, people — beforethecoffee @ 2:34 pm

Justin Moyer is a female impersonator on tour in the US and Europe. He writes, sings and sashays around the stage, paying no mind to the hecklers.


March 23, 2009

Jordan Page

Filed under: Bands, HDR, musician, people — beforethecoffee @ 6:16 pm

Here’s another shot of the musician, Jordan Page in the burned out bus. This bus caught fire from an electrical short, the passengers decided to walk rather than wait for the backup ride, I wonder why? Not the best day of publicity for mass transit.  Jordan is actually sitting on the bus in the bus parking lot and I’m standing in another bus (burned out too) with my ringflash shooting down on him. I set up an SB800 behind and in front of him. The background was added later. I told him to relax and just strum away, then he broke into the song “The wheels on the bus go round and round…..” Now that had us laughing.


September 20, 2008

First Date Mistakes

Filed under: Bands, HDR, people — beforethecoffee @ 5:10 pm

The band “Victory By Revenge” is preparing to release their first CD. The CD is titled “First Date Mistakes” and the band decided to use me to come up with a few pic ideas for the CD jacket. I had two ideas I felt strongly about. First, a scene where the car has run out of gas and the guy is pushing the car while his date carries the gas can. Second, the guy is in the restaurant checking out a girl walking by while his date reacts with strong disapproval. Has that happened to me, I’ll never tell.

I picked out the location for the “Out of Gas” scene – a quiet piece of roadway with the sun setting in the background. Then for the restaurant I asked a local restaurant owner if I could set up a shoot at closing time. I used models, Carlin, Molly and Anthony for the shoot. Both shoots took place the same evening.

For the “Out of Gas” shoot I was very careful to get the right expressions from the models. I wanted him to appear straining and her to appear annoyed by the whole situation – “look at him in disgust” I kept telling her.

For the restaurant scene it was equally important that expressions and body language were perfect. I told Molly (sitting) that for the last shot I wanted her to pick up the glass of water and throw it on him. Anthony had no idea it was coming and right on cue, Molly had her hand on the glass, I motioned for Carlin to walk through the scene and strike her pose and as soon as Carlin got to her spot, Molly threw the water on him. A cool surprise for him. It became the CD cover.

Here is the CD cover with a few of the other images we took that evening. Other First Date Mistakes added to the CD: running late, trying to kiss her at the wrong time, bringing broken flowers.

June 16, 2008

Jordan Page

Jordan Page is a musician from Annapolis, Maryland with a title song called Pendulum. His music has been inspired by his passion for social change throughout the world. His lyrics are powerful (from Pendulum):

The pendulum swings from the left to the right and momentum increases the need for the fight
It’s a moment of blindness in a lifetime of sight
& I am lost somewhere the middle
and it became clear that putting him in front of a clock with the pendulum swinging would support the lyrics.
Working with Jordan on this project has been very uplifting, inspiring me to be more aware of how my choices in life affect the entire world, starting with my own inner world.
Here is his myspace page to hear some of his music

This image is a composite image made from one HDR and 10 single images. Here’s the breakdown:

1. The Jetty and water is a single image.
2. The grandfather clock is an HDR image.
3. Jordan’s pic was taken in the studio with a 3 light setup.
4. The sky was intended to be an HDR image but the -1EV image did the trick, tone mapped.
5. The birds were photographed from the jetty on a different day – a high shutter speed was the main objective.
6. The airplanes are models that were photographed at a local hobby store.

The jetty and water didn’t need much treatment, only curves and a color gradient was added for effect.

The grandfather clock is from a local store with a $3750 price tag. I asked the clerk if I could set up a tripod and take some shots, “no problem.” I merged 3 images (-2EV, 0EV, +2EV) in Photomatix. The clock was in perfect condition so in Photoshop I decided to mess it up. I added some cracks, broke off a corner, rotated some of the wood in the cabinet (top), broke the counter weight loose and laid it sideways in the cabinet. Then I added texture from a pic of clay I had.

The clock got some final treatment to depict the passage of time. I moved the clock hands around the face and created a swinging pendulum.

When Jordan arrived it was certain right away he had to be wearing the “Trust Me” shirt. Then he pointed out that the bottom of his shoe said “world.” So now we have a message, “Trust Me, World.”

The lighting for Jordan started out as a 6 light setup and after some testing I decided it was too much light for that shiny head of his. The final setup was a reflector back left and back right for rim lighting and a ringflash at the camera. I used a bronze background for better blending with the clock.

The sky started out as HDR from 5 images then I found I was happiest with just using the -1EV image and doing some curve adjustments on it.

The warplanes were taken with flash held near the camera at the hobby store. I took a bunch of shots and left just before I wore out my welcome. Selecting the warplanes from the background turned out to be tedious work but I finally got it.

Thank you Christina Buffington and Jordan Page for making this a successful project.

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