Backed by dramatic lighting, the Followill clan brought an epic set of the rock music to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. In the first three songs, we saw just about all the kinds of lighting you're likely to see at a show: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
First three, no flash. We we dropped into the photo pit, we were met by someone from the tour who explained the rules for the set. Basically, no photography from the center half of the stage, so shooting had to be done from the outer quarters of the stage. You had to pick a side and stay there; no moving back and forth. These are the same rules I had the last time I shot Kings of Leon, though we could move back and forth for that show (we just couldn't shoot from the middle).
The tour rep suggested going house right, mentioning that you'd get good photos of all the band members, while house left would allow only shots of Caleb, the singer. I'm a sucker for a challenge, so I choose house left.
The reason I chose the position I did was simple: Caleb holds his guitar neck high. A high guitar neck means shooting a headstock where Caleb's face is supposed to be.
In addition, we were not allowed to photograph close to the stage. There were bass stacks at intervals that stuck out from the stage halfway into the photo pit; we were not allowed to go past the front of the speakers. Of course, stage was high enough and the back set back far enough that going closer to the stage wasn't really something that would have resulted in any benefit.
The first song is the best for lighting with pinkish/magenta frontlighting and greenish/white light from the back of the stage. The second song was entirely a magenta wash. The third song treatment was a deep blue/cyan wash with yellow uplights/accents on the band.
I shot this set entirely with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 on the Nikon D3, with one exception. Of course, leave it to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 to deliver the most interesting shots of the night – who says midrange zooms are boring?
For me, the best moment for compelling shots was easily when Caleb Followill came out to the edge of the stage during the first song and rocked out (lead image in this set). Since the rest of the set was shot exclusively with the 70-200mm f/2.8, the closer distance to the singer made for a nice contrast in perspective.
I knew that going in this would be a telephoto shoot, so I twisted on the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 to the D700 and had it at the ready, just in case the band decided to get friendly. Were it not for Caleb's quick venture out to the edge of the stage, the midrange zoom – and a second body – would have been unnecessary.