The Jukebox Criminals

The Jukebox Criminals

This was a really fun shoot for me.

One of my long time friends from high school Corey Dean had recently formed a new local band with a couple of friends. They call themselves The Jukebox Criminals and they specialize in covering virtually any song from the 60’s to the present. I have known Corey for a while along with lead guitarist Ryan McKenna, both are extremely talented. They are also the driving forces behind the New Jersey based band Roxbury. In the future I will be doing their first music video, so that should be exciting.

Sorry, back on topic! Corey approached me and asked me to shoot The Jukebox Criminals first concert at a local bar, I was going anyway to support them so I was game. I had never shot a concert before and I had no idea what the lighting situation was, I didn’t even know what the room was like, so I was going in with no knowledge, pretty scary to say the least.

50mm F2.2 1/320sec

As soon as I got into the venue I noticed the lighting was utter crap, not to mention that most of the lights were gelled red, which gave a very strong color cast over the whole stage. The place was kind of cramped as well, but I was able to scope out some good shooting positions before they were fully set up. Because of the lighting situation and the tight space I decided it would be best to rely on shooting artistic close ups of the performance. I only had my 50mm 1.4 and my 85mm 1.8, and with the 1.6x crop of my D90 there was no room for me to be able to get any serious wide shots of the performance. So I noted my limitations given the situation, and I shot around them.

50mm F2.8 1/320sec

I shot everything in NEF RAW, and if it were not for that then I wouldn’t have been able to post process the pictures to the extent I had to. The extremely harsh color cast from the lights over saturated and blew out the original files right off of the camera. I was able to pull out all the detail and tone down the color cast a lot, giving me usable pictures. With a few other tweaks I was able to make them look great.

85mm f2.5 1/250sec

50mm F2 1/250sec

Up untill this shoot I had really not used my 85mm 1.8 Nikkor that much. I had consitanly been using my beautiful 50mm 1.4 for virtually every project. However, in this situation I found that the 85mm allowed me to get much better angles and shots. It was still a 1.8 so I was able to get utilize that in combatting the horrid lighting. WIth this in mind, I still used my 50mm a lot! I kept everything at around 500-600 iso, and the noise reduction in Lightroom did a phenomenal job of making everything look great. I tried to keep it above 1.8 and into 2.0-2.8 because it was really hard to keep the moving subjects in focus with such a shallow depth of field.

In general it was also hard to shoot because I couldn’t trust my light meter. I knew that if I wanted to have even the slightest chance of freezing the constant motion of the band members I needed to keep my shutter speed relatively high. Since the lighting was so direct on the stage I knew that the only way to get good shots were to under expose to bring the highlights in as my main light source. As you can see most of the pictures are very dark except for the glints of light hitting the subjects.

85mm f2.2 1/320sec

50mm F2.2 1/320sec

I found that shooting from behind was a really awesome way to catch some great shots with extreme rim and back lighting giving it a very dramatic look.

50mm F2.5 1/400sec

50mm 3.2 1/320sec

85mm f2.2 1/160sec

Long story short The Jukebox criminals killed it, the place was bumping and everyone was having a great time. I am so glad I was able to capture some of the great moments on stage for there very special first show.

Follow the JBC on twitter!


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