My church band asked me to make a band portrait for the upcoming Christmas concert.

We put a little fog on the stage and set the lights as we wanted them. Initially, the stage was photographed without band members. This was used as the background for a composite image. Contrast and saturation were increased to punch up the lighting, fog and stage details.

Then, it was simply a matter of individually lighting and photographing each member. This should have been easy enough except for the fact that we had an equipment malfunction. I was lighting with two DIY LCD panels. When I turned them on, they were initially very bright but would soon dim to about 1/10th power. I had planned to modify the light through a shoot through umbrella. When the lights dimmed to a barely declarable glow, the umbrella had to be discarded because it ate up too much of the light, which was already not enough.

I set the light panel to full power and set it about one foot to camera left of each band member. It was like trying to light a scene with a Bic lighter and positive thinking. Even then, the faces were underexposed a stop or so. Because I was shooting in RAW, this preserved enough data increase exposure in post.

Each individual shot was edited in Darktable and then brought into Gimp as individual layers for final editing and compositing. I stacked multiple lowpass filter effects to increase detail in the clothing and give a chiseled look to the faces. This helped to cover the lack of proper exposure with a bit of artistic license.

This assignment is a perfect example of think on your feet and still getting the shot when everything is working against you. It would have been much nicer to have created the image with an abundance of light, but sometimes you get what you get.

Finished Band Photo

Christmas Band, Rocky Mountain Ministries
Christmas Band, Rocky Mountain Ministries

Here is an example of how the image was used.

Christmas Concert Poster, Rocky Mountain Ministries
Christmas Concert Poster, Rocky Mountain Ministries

Got a little crazy because there is no law against it

RMM Martian Band
RMM Martian Band

 

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