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Blue Bear showcase photo shoot - the funcrunch files


Jun. 20th, 2009 09:57 am Blue Bear showcase photo shoot

This week I shot all of the bands in the quarterly showcase for the Blue Bear School of Music at Café du Nord. I'd done this once before, last March while I was working full-time (though I took a couple of days off that week) and also performing in one of the bands. At the time I said "Never again", but now that I'm doing freelance photography full-time I figured I could handle it, and with the school's blessing try to sell photos to the performers after the fact.


I was suffering from a cold the entire shoot, but I've taken some of my best photos while sick, so I just took some Dayquil right before heading to the club each evening. (Though if I were seriously ill, I would have stayed home from this particular gig. I will definitely miss having sick leave now that I'm self-employed.) boyziggy was very sweet and helpful in picking me up at the club and driving me home each night after the shoot.

I put out my new business cards and postcards on a table with a flyer advertising photo CDs for $49 and $29 for main and lounge stage acts respectively. I figured if a band of 5-6 students went in on a CD that would be a reasonably cheap price to pay, though I also planned to offer individual downloads and prints for $4 and $2 over cost respectively. Justin from Blue Bear had e-mailed the students before the showcase with my web site, so I'd already gotten several inquiries, and I handed out several cards during the showcase nights as well.



I really enjoyed a lot of the music. The first night, four of the songs performed were ones I'd done in previous workshops, including two different bands doing "Gimme Shelter", which I found amusing. But the second night, one of the bands had a guy who played bass and harmonica simultaneously, then got out a didgeridoo for one piece, which was awesome. Other instruments I hadn't seen used much in these workshops before included vibraphone, flute, and trumpet.

The third night, the lounge stage featured a former Blue Bear student named Emily Anne, who I was smitten with immediately. Normally a high voice like hers would send me running screaming the other direction, but with the music and her look and attitude, it all just fit together perfectly. I exchanged contact information with her and her band members and took a couple of posed shots of them after their second set.

The last night closed with The Hormones, the all-female Ramones tribute band who I'd shot before at a Blue Bear event at the Red Devil Lounge. I'm not normally into punk rock, but when Ziggy arrived halfway through their set and offered to hold my camera gear, I just cut loose and danced. It was great to relax and enjoy myself after three nights of intense shooting. I also barely recognized myself in this photo Ziggy took of me dancing, I've lost so much weight... (other than that damn double chin, sigh)



Some of my favorite photos from the showcases:

Context Clues

CAT-6

Jagged Edge Garden

Emily Anne

The Hormones


I did most of the editing on the Thursday and Friday the week of the shoot, as I was conserving energy during the day earlier in the week. I worked from about 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening till 5 a.m., listening to the latest This Week in Tech followed by about 20 Daily Giz Wiz podcasts during that time. Caught a few hours sleep, then worked from about 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., to a soundtrack of The Cars ("Just What I Needed" is probably my favorite "wake-up" song), Nellie McKay, and Nick Drake. Over 600 photos posted in total, out of nearly 2000 shots taken. All of the editing - mostly cropping and color correction - was done in Lightroom. Jeffrey Friedl's SmugMug export plug-in was enormously helpful as always. (Edit: OMG, just noticed that Friedl wrote Mastering Regular Expressions as well. That book was a huge help to me during my programming years. What is it about computer geeks and photography? Philip Greenspun has also inspired me in both the computing and photographic realms...)

I'm hoping enough students order photos to make me feel like this was worth the effort, though even if I make the $300 I initial hoped for that will be slave wages compared to the amount of time I put into this shoot. At least it's for a good cause, as my music school is a non-profit and I want to support them (I'm giving them all of the pix in exchange for promoting me, as they couldn't afford to pay me otherwise). But the real money will come from weddings and corporate events, methinks.

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