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A new Serato Icon episode is now live at http://serato.com/icon/just-blaze
Nikon D4/ Nikkor 24-70 2.8G lens, Nikon SB900 Flash/ Westcott Rapid Box, Lightroom 5.
When taking portraits in a hotel room, you have to work with what you've got - fortunately the room at the Clift was large and stylishly appointed - and I couldn't resist using the large glass table and light shade in the living room as compositional elements.
Mike is lit by daylight coming through a large window to his right.
While the room was being set up for the video interview, I moved Mike to the bedroom and shot an alternate portrait against the floor-to-ceiling drapes using a small soft box.
If Mike was your typical T-shirt/hoody-wearing DJ, these shots may not have been so successful, I think.
Nikon D4/ Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8G lens, Nikon SB900 Flash/ Lastolite Soft Box, Lightroom 5.
Chuck D - rapper, author, producer and leader of the rap group Public Enemy photographed in August, 2013 in Montecito, California.
Nikon D4/ Nikkor 85mm 1.4G lens, Nikon SB900 Flash/ Westcott Rapid Box, Lightroom 5.
It's always nice to be asked by a friend to help out with some photography. Even better when they bring their "A" game.
George FM radio host, DJ and audio technician Aroha is working on a re-vamp of her public image and needed fresh press photos - I was only too happy to oblige (especially as I tend to get to shoot mainly male DJs) - and she turned up to the shoot on time, with perfect hair and make-up, ready and willing to create some great images.
Working from a style guide that Aroha had provided prior, we cracked straight into some punchy 'commercial-style' images (using a beauty-dish soft-box on a white seamless) and banged out a hundred or so keepers.
A quick wardrobe change and a switch to a shoot-through ring-flash gave us a totally different look (kind of indie?) which seemed to work extremely well.
The most satisfying photography for me is when the subject and I are working towards the same goal with the same enthusiasm. Everything seems to fall in place - a solid set of images is the result, and sometimes even a bit of magic happens.
These are the last four frames of the shoot (raised the ring-flash upwards) - totally relaxed and natural. Thanks to Aroha for totally committing to the shoot and being "in the zone". A girl on fire.
Last week I visited Stadium Red Studios in East Harlem, NY, to shoot DJ and producer Just Blaze (Justin Smith). As part of a team from Serato, I spent time with Just Blaze and photographed him in various locations around the studio for a future Serato Icon piece.
This photo was set at his favourite recording desk (Jay-Z's The Blueprint, The Blueprint 2 and The Black Album plus Eminem's Recovery) and was lit with a gelled speed light in a diffused beauty dish balanced with the ambient.
Part of my duties when on assignment with DJ software company Serato, is to cover festivals which feature prominent DJs who use the company's products. As you might expect, summer festivals in the States are super popular, and the Hard Festival in downtown LA was a good example of a large-scale EDM event.
I was there to specifically to shoot DJ and producer Just Blaze who arrived at the venue with only minutes to spare to hit his time slot. Late or not, once on stage Justin was all business and delivered an hour long tour de force set.
Often photographers get only a limited three song allowance or maybe 15 minutes to capture the performance - usually from the 'pit' in front of the stage. In this case, we (me and videographer Erik Lang) had full access on one of the best stages we've been on - this allowed us to capture the full Just Blaze experience and the 'story' of the set. You can see the stress of his arrival and the rushed preparation, the developing performance, the crowd interaction, and the relief and euphoria back stage afterwards.
The Kings Of The Mics Tour hit Austin, TX playing at the famous Stubbs Bar-B-Q, and I was lucky enough to be there to photograph Public Enemy.
The sweaty, 30 degrees outdoor setting was perfect and despite the early 7.30pm start, Chuck D and Flavor Flav charged onto the stage and absolutely tore it up, giving a barnstorming opening set to open the night's line-up.
Flavor Flav was of course the highlight (especially after he whipped out his big clock - ahem) being completely manic on stage, bouncing and leaping about like a man possessed. Damned hard to lock focus when you're shooting from the pit shoulder to shoulder with 20 other local photographers.
I just completed a couple of shoots for Serato in London - one of which was for the venerable DJ Bailey.
I spent some time with Bailey at a private Soho residence, capturing him in classic portrait style for a planned Serato Icon piece. Like most top DJs that I have met and photographed, Bailey is both deadly serious about his music while at the same time having a great sense of humour and fun.
Bailey invited us along to see him broadcast his Intabeats Drum & Bass Show live from the Ministry Of Sound - great to have a whole club complete with lasers, lights and smoke effects - without the punters.
We also took a tour of South London to revisit Bailey's childhood stomping grounds - including the housing block where he was born.
Finished the day with some excellent caribbean food in Brixton. Good times.