Portraits: Music Photographer Kenny Williamson

Photos: Music Photographer Kenny Williamson

Recently, my friend and fellow music photographer Kenny Williamson commissioned me to shoot a set of portraits for inclusion in the launch of his new website.

For this portrait session, Kenny was interested in producing a set of images shot at his home turf of the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, where he's the house photographer for Live Nation. Kenny had seen my style of band photography and decided on a similar look for his portraits.

Hit the full set after the jump.

Armed with a half dozen speedlights, I went into the amphitheater with the Nikon D3 and utilized my beauty dish as the main light. One very cool thing about this shoot was access to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater before it opened for the season, with pristine asphalt and the entire venue to ourselves.

For this shoot, we started under the “shed” of the amphitheater. In this setup, one challenge was balancing the daylight coming in through the back of the shed with the exposure on Kenny, who was lit entirely by flash.

Photos: Music Photographer Kenny Williamson

Moving outside, we put the beauty dish and SB-900 to the test – both performed like champs. For these shots, we used the sun as an accept light for Kenny, while the beauty dish provided character lighting.

So, beauty dishes are not renown for being the most efficient light modifiers (there's a double-bounce in there, after all), and speedlights aren't the punchiest of sources. So, how'd they do in bright afternoon sun? Nicely, I'd say – when they're in close enough.

Photos: Music Photographer Kenny Williamson

After shooting for about 45 minutes at the amphitheater, we broke for dinner, then tried a slightly different, more urban look just before the sun died down.

In addition to the beauty dish I'd used in the afternoon, I added in a gelled SB-900 on a Manfrotto Justin clamp for some warm accent lighting.

Photos: Music Photographer Kenny Williamson

SB-900 into a beauty dish as the key light, gelled SB-900 camera right and behind for warm rim lighting. Nikon D3 + Nikon 50mm f/1.4

End Notes:

Big thanks to Kenny for being a fun subject and to my assistant Allyssa for her help.

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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