To Svartediket with Hadens
Hadens is one of the bands I’ve known for the longest. I’m no longer sure of how or when I met them, but I’ve been following them more or less throughout my whole career. I’ve watched them evolve and grow – while doing just the same myself. I think we’ve been planning to do a photo session together ever since I met them, but with Hadens being the most unlucky band ever, it’s been postponed and postponed for around five years.
So many of the photo shoots I’ve done, have been using ideas originally planned for Hadens. So finally getting them in front of the camera was great. We walked into a valley near Bergen by the lake Svartediket (The Black Dike, hah!) and just looked around for good spots. Like so often during the spring (and fall, and summer and…) here in Norway, the weather was changing rapidly throughout the whole shoot. The boys weren’t too happy about it.
We went along trying different things, but I wasn’t really feeling like I nailed any of the shots. Hadens being a death metal band, I mostly shot them with natural light. It was a mainly overcast day, which gives a nice, gloomy look, with heavy shadows over the eyes. Hey, it’s death metal!
The only thing we had really planned, was to get a few shots of them with the valley and lake behind them. I popped up a softbox to get the exposure of the scene right, but it looked sort of cheesy. I left the softbox and brought them into the woods using my baby, the 85mm, and finally I got a look that worked. Seriously, that lens can get you great shots anywhere!
After playing around, being ridiculous in the forest for a bit, we were all immensely tired of the weather, and headed back. I don’t know why this keeps happening, but for some reason I get my best shots right after I think I’m done with a shoot.
As we were walking back, the rain finally stopped, and suddenly the fog came seeping in. Sort of abruptly, I ordered them to the top of hill we had passed on the way up. They got together on the top, I gave a few directions, and shot two frames. Then it was over. The fog had cleared. Fortunately, I had the shot.
As always, the first thing I did, was to do the RAW conversion. Unlike when I edit concert photos, I try to make the shots as flat as possible before I load them into Photoshop. This give me a lot more detailed control of the contrast in the photo, since I don’t throw away too many pixels in the conversion. I would rather let the many plugins I use have as much information as possible to work with, or selectively dodge/burn to get the result I want. I would prefer to do concert shots this way, as well, but it would just take too much time. Sure, it’s probably a bit of nitpicking, but when working with promo shots, I feel there’s a bigger need for perfection than when doing editorial stuff, like concert photos.
Use the slider to see before and after
When working with promo shots, I tend to use several plugins for Photoshop to get the look I’m after. Analog Efex Pro 2 is in my opinion the best film-emulator on the market right now and lately I’ve used it in one way or another on almost all my promo shoots (perhaps a bit too much). Even though it comes loaded with ready-to-go presets that look great, you truly unlock the power in the plugin when you manually control each adjustment it does to the photo. If you’re going to use it for more than just a couple of shots, you absolutely have to use the manual controls, or else you’ll end up with way too similar shoots, and you really don’t want to become a one-trick pony. For this shoot, I used Analog Efex for all the photos except the black and white ones, where I used the Exposure plugin by Alien Skin.
To see all the photos from this shoot, click here.