1st Bank Center in Denver, Colorado
Time / Date:
21:27 / September 11, 2013
Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon 15mm f/2.8 Diagonal Fisheye
Other: Pocketwizards to trigger
Shutter Speed: 1/160
Focal Length: 15mm
I’ve worked with the band A Day To Remember for about 6 years now. I first met them in 2007 at a show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when they were on the Victory Records tour. After the show, we did a 30 minute portrait shoot in the corner of the venue. It was a really quick shoot, but it was enough to get to know the guys, and from there on out we stayed in touch and I have photographed them at least two times a year ever since.
Flash forward to today, and the band members are all really good friends of mine now and I’ve work with them as their official tour photographer for several tour runs.
When I’m on tour with ADTR, my job is to document their everyday lives for personal and public use. For example, publicly we post a lot of the images on their Facebook and Instagram accounts, and then privately we document/log everything that happens — for use in the future.
I always try to have a few shots I am trying to get each night at the show. They are my portfolio shots I try to grab in between the necessary shots I have to get everyday (crowd shots, full band on stage, etc).
As the band’s photographer, I’ve shot their shows hundreds of times at this point. Live sets, I’ve learned, are a lot more muscle memory than randomness — by now I know exactly where to be at certain songs.
My access to their set everyday is unlimited and unrestricted, so I can basically go anywhere I want to create whatever images I want. It took me years to get to this point and to have the trust from the band a crew. However I am very happy to be at this point and try to make the best images I can… even if it means hanging out in the crowd with everyone else.
During the band’s set, there’s a specific song where Jeremy McKinnon, the lead singer of ADTR, gets into a big inflatable ball and walks over the crowd. He gets inside, runs in a circle around the audience, and then gets back on stage.
This is an image I had been trying to snag for along time. I have shot it multiple times on other runs with ADTR, but this was the first day of the House Party Tour and I really wanted to make it happen.
You are seeing Jeremy, the lead singer of ADTR running over the top of the crowd in a giant plastic ball. It happens pretty quick, I wanted to catch Jeremy right as he turned the corner. This was you could see his profile, as its mostly a silhouette.
For this shot, I really wanted you to see the as much of the venue and atmosphere as possible, so I opted to use my Canon 15mm f/2.8 fisheye. This lens gives a super wide look, so I would be able to capture Jeremy, the whole stage, and show the crowd in the pit.
The trick with a fisheye is that because it’s such a wide field of view, you have to be really close to the subject. I used my Canon 5D Mark III on a monopod for this shot to get up to Jeremy’s level, which along with the fisheye gave a great view of the crowd. I used Pocketwizards to to remotely trigger the shutter.
Making the Shot:
The hardest part of a shot like this is predicting focus and grabbing it beforehand. I had to figure out how far away Jeremy was going to be from me when I took the shot, as it happens too quickly to remotely focus my camera.
I knew that I wanted to be in really close to the “hamster ball,” so I manually set the focus and got in position in the crowd. The whole camera is about 10 feet in the air when I take the shot like this.
When Jeremy goes out into the crowd, he kind of makes a big loop — he goes out to the middle and then turns around. I wanted to catch Jeremy right as he turned the corner, so it took very careful timing, as well as knowing exactly where he’d be. This is the only chance where I could catch him in profile, as its mostly a silhouette, and also show the full stage in the background. This turn when Jeremy was going to be in profile only takes a split second; gotta be quick!
Editing & Processing:
Pretty simple to get the shot, I always just scan through my images and find which one I like best in first few seconds of looking at it. This one did that for me. I shot a burst of shots cause I was kinda just hoping for a good one, and this one was the one.
As far as processing — barely any, just basic edits and some cropping to make it look nicer, no spot editing or anything of the sort. B/W conversion as well.
I like it. I wish this shot was sharper, less noisy, and the colors of the show were nice so I could have in color. However, one of the perks of my job is that I’ll get a chance to shoot it again.
Make sure you don’t smack anyone in the face with your monopod or mess up anyones view: fans come first.
As far as general music photography, one thing I always tell people is to network first and then learn photography along the way. The truth is that you can be the best photographer in the world, but if you don’t know anybody, you’re probably not going anywhere.
Collin Hughes is my main inspiration, in photography and in life. I really look up to him and how he makes the simple things pro. Favorite photographer/ person. I am kinda obsessed, don’t tell him… yet.
About the Photographer
Adam Elmakias is a San Diego-based entertainment photographer who specializes in music photography. Adam has toured around the world with bands such as All Time Low, A Day to Remember, Bring Me The Horizon, Pierce the Veil, and more, acting as their official tour photographer. As an entrepreneur, Adam is also the creator of the original Lens Bracelets, the widely popular photography-themed accessory, as well as his own brand of clothing.
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