Today I’m sharing a couple of my favourite photographs from a music promo shoot with Jay, a drummer and vocalist, for his new website.

The shoot was arranged by my photographer friend Darren, also a drummer, so with two drummers in the studio I learned quite a bit about the skill involved in tuning and playing the drums.  Like myself, Darren and Jay are both huge Alan Partridge fans, so, as you can imagine, there was non-stop fun and several cries of “A-Ha!” throughout the shoot.  Needless to say, I had the last laugh.

Jay - Musician Promo Shoot - Lighting DiagramThe brief was simply to provide Jay with a selection of images to use throughout the new website and in social media.  Jay brought a range of clothes that he felt comfortable in and we tried out various ideas.

If I’m photographing a woman I’ll more often than not choose soft lighting to flatter her, with either a softbox or beauty dish for my main light.  In these shots I opted for hard light, with just one studio flash in a bare reflector dish.  Very simple lighting, yet quite effective, I think.

The Inverse Square Law of Light

For both of the photographs below, Jay is standing in front of a plain white background, yet you can see that the background has come out as dark, almost black, in the first photograph and mid-grey in the second.  The amount of light and quality of the light on the background is affected by how close the light is, how close the model is, and the way that the light falls off.  Similarly, the quality (hardness of softness) of the light on the model and the intensity of the shadows is affected by the distance of the light to the model.   A general rule is that the closer the light is to the model, the quicker the light will fall off.  Moving the light farther away will lead to more even lighting (less intense shadows).  This is because light doesn’t travel in a straight line, but spreads out as distance increases.

This ‘Inverse Square Law of Light’ theory is important to know, particularly if you are going to be using flash lighting.  It becomes even more important when you are faced with photographing two people or a group of people as you will want to make sure that there is enough light on everyone in the photograph.

If you Google “The Inverse Square Law of Light” you will find dozens of websites full of mathematical equations explaining the Physics behind how light behaves over distance.  I was never very good at Physics at school, though I do have a fondness for ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (gotta love Sheldon Cooper, and, of course, Penny!).  So I’m not going to attempt to explain it in layman’s terms when there are much better sources out there.  If you want it explained in a very easy-to-follow way for photographers, I recommend you watch the two videos that Karl Taylor has posted on his excellent photography blog:

Karl Taylor – The Inverse Square Law of Light Part One
Karl Taylor – The Inverse Square Law of Light Part Two


It’s always a debate about how much post-processing to do on one’s images.  I am generally aiming to make the person look as good they can, without making them look over-processed or false.  I have also said in previous blog posts that I often alter colours and skin tones.  In the first image I have added a slight cross-processed look to bring out the greens and blues just because I thought the image suited it and because I liked it.  In the second image I liked the colour original but opted for a black and white treatment to give it a more gritty look.


I’m pleased to report that Jay loved the images, emailing me:

“Many thanks for the photographs.  Really happy with them!  I’ve shared them on my Facebook page and received really positive feedback.  They’re really high quality.  The colour ones have that magazine look to them, and the black and whites are really classy looking.  You’re a talented chap for sure!  Really appreciate the work you’ve put into the shots.  They look awesome!”  Jay

Another good photoshoot and happy ‘model’…  Back of the Net!

Click the images to enlarge and please feel free to post a comment below.  Thanks for reading.

Jay - Musician Promo Shoot by Paul Jones

Jay - Musician Promo Shoot by Paul Jones

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