Portraits: Cancer Bats

In July, I caught up with the Cancer Bats while they were on tour with As I Lay Dying and Underoath for The Cool Tour 2010. For these shots, I used a simple two-light set against a simple backdrop for a slightly moody shot with a little graphic pop.

Photographer's Notes:

When doing tour portraits like this, locations are always going to be a little tricky, as you generally have to work with a location that's nearby to the venue.

While I normally try to avoid shooting straight into a wall, I found this nice red garage door at a warehouse a few minutes from the venue. My approach for this look was more like that of a studio shoot with some true grit thrown in.

First frame to last, I shot with the Cancer Bats for about 8 minutes. Super simple setup on this one – beauty dish above the guys and a light behind them washing over the wall.

Here's a shot of that two-light setup – just ignore that 46-inch Photek Softlite II behind my assistant Corey, it wasn't used for these two final shots.

Camera Gear Used:

Lighting Gear Used:

The exposure for these images was 1/250 at ISO 200 and f/11. Even just using small flashes like the SB-900, they give plenty of power when working in open shade like we were for this shoot to pretty much kill ambient light if you want.

If you're wondering about the background, it was just lit by one Nikon SB-900 with the flash head zoomed to 200mm. The zoom, together with the position of the flash relatively close to the red door and the falloff of the flash, creates the “vignette” look you see on the background.

As for the light on the band, that's all DIY Beauty Dish, held up and over the band from camera left. Lights triggered via IR – Nikon's CLS.

End Notes:

Big thanks to Cancer Bats for being awesome Canadian dudes, especially after the shoot had to be rescheduled after their performance. They were dead tired when we shots this.

Another special thanks to my assistants Allyssa and Corey for helping throughout the long day of portraits.

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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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