Portraits: Band Of Skulls

Portraits: Band Of Skulls

While they were out on tour with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, I met up with Band of Skulls for a quick portrait session. Even fresh from SXSW, the three-piece was lovely to photograph. High speed sync, a few fast prime lenses, my DIY beauty dish, and a sunset later: here are the results.

Portraits: Band Of Skulls

Portraits: Band Of Skulls

Portraits: Band Of Skulls

Photographer's Notes:

For this portrait shoot with Band of Skulls, I wanted to try something just a bit different. In contrast to their hard name, I wanted to try a softer, more airy look for these images. To achieve this, I employed fast primes, wide apertures, and shooting with high-speed sync on the Nikon D3 with the Nikon CLS system.

We shot at sunset with just a touch of warm light in the sky. Supplementing the ambient light, I used a Nikon SB-900 shot through my Chinatown Special DIY beauty dish as a keylight on the band gelled with a TN-A1 filter to give a warm look to the images. With the sun behind the three-piece band, I basically got a free warm-gelled hairlight.

Enter: High Speed Sync

Enabling high-speed sync (AKA Auto FP via the camera menus) on the Nikon D3, I was able to shoot above the camera's standard flash sync speed of 1/250, all the way up to 1/1000 for some images in this set. This feature let me to shoot at a wide aperture of f/2-2.5 on the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 lenses that I used for this session. Without this additional one or two stops of cutting the ambient, it would have been necessary to stop down much more than I did to properly balance the ambient light, thus changing the look of the images.

End Notes:

Big shout out to the fine folks of Band of Skulls. If you haven't heard these guys, check out their debut album, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey.

And if you haven't seen them already, you can check out live shots from Band of Skull's performance here:

Photos: Band of Skulls @ The Pageant

My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

Nikon Z 7:
I use two Nikon Z 7 for my live music photography. A true do-it-all mirrorless camera with amazing AF, great speed and fantastic resolution.


Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8S:
The 24-70mm is my go-to lens. The range is ideal for stage front photography and the image quality is superb.


Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR:
A perfect pair to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, I can basically shoot any job with the midrange and this lens. Superb image quality.


Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8:
Ultra-wide perspective, ridiculously sharp even wide open at f/2.8. I love using this lens up-close and personal, where it excels.

See My Full Kit for Concert Photography

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