The Rubikons are a three piece Indie band from Wolverhampton, West Midlands. I was recently asked by lead guitarist Dan to pop over to Wolverhampton one night to get some promotional photos for the band. I’ll admit it’s not something I’ve done before, but when it comes to photography, trying something new is something I lust for.
I went over to Wolverhampton on Monday, and the band had already picked out some spots they liked. The Royal London, a bar in central Wolverhampton was the first stop, taking advantage of the quiet, white brick clad pool table room. I had decided that in order to get some real character into the images, I’d make a few purposeful mistakes. I used a single off camera flash at chest height, to create some quite harsh shadows on the wall behind the guys. I also used a heavily tone based edit to add it bit more grunge to the photos.
The next spot was also in The Royal London, on some stairs leading up to, the toilets. The whole bar has got a pretty cool, student like feel to it, and the staircase is definitely one of the coolest spots. It was a lot lighter in the staircase, so I didn’t need the flash, I just wanted to take advantage of the colours on the wall, and the ability to position the lads at different heights. For these shots, and the shots previously, I used the Canon 17-40mm F4L lens, mounted on the Canon 5d Mkiii.
The next spot was outside, under the subway, again taking advantage of the brick background. I switched over to the Canon 135mm F2L lens, to allow a high aperture, and get some good DOF into the shots. Pete (in focus) is the lead singer, so the emphasis was on him. The noise handling of the 5d mkiii meant I had no worries at all about leaving the iso on auto.
The last spot was a place that has always been a part of the band. I hitched a lift with John, the drummer, onto an ageing industrial estate in the middle of Wolverhampton, to a rundown barn looking building. It is in fact rented out to local bands, and whilst it has a completely abandoned feel to it, it is ridiculously cool for portrait photography. The Rubikons have used the building for years, having even slept there after a heavy night out. To not get some photos here would have been daft really. I used the flashgun again, as I like the harsh shadows from earlier, and thought they would work well here. I took advantage of the wide angle you can get with the 17-40mm F4L on a full frame camera, and tried to get as much of the surroundings in the shots as possible. After we’d got plenty of shots, I was then asked to get some shots that were all about Pete, so I thought it was a perfect time to use the F2 ability of the 135mm.
I must admit that I was very dubious about this shoot, I am always up for a challenge when it comes to photography, so there was no way I wasn’t going to give it a go. I came away feeling pretty happy with the results, and the editing only made me feel better about the images. Band shoots are definitely something I would be keen to do more of.