Gig Economy 1: Paper Dogs


Sometimes shooting a gig, especially in a small venue with manky lighting and a lot of shouty drunk people half your age can get you questioning your photography.  Then occasionally there’s a band who just hit the spot, visually and musically you’d want to photograph them again and again.  Paper Dogs are a 4 piece from Belfast with a very accesible hard rock/funky/bluesy sound with bit of Hendrix, Jeff Healy, Thin Lizzy and many more.

The band are led from the front by lead guitarist and vocalist, Chris Rooney.  Looking like a young John Power from Cast (to these old eyes anyway), he’s a dynamic presence and a performer with a bit of class.

Chris Rooney, Lead guitar and vocals


The rest of the band, while not as dynamic visually, perform as an exceptionally tight unit.  And with a style that looks effortless, they’re easy to photograph – lighting not withstanding.  The following shot of drummer Kris Young broke the no-flash rule – it was that or nothing as he was out of range of all the stage lighting


Kris Young, Drums


Mark Mahood, bass
Nick McCully, guitar

The band’s EP, “The Lost Art of Conversation” is on Spotify – definitely worth a listen and there are some more shots on The Flickr.

Kit:  Canon 5D, 50mm, 28mm and 85mm lenses
Lightroom, Color Efex and Silver Efex Pro.
(and a Speedlite 450 EXii….)

Metal for the Middle Aged

Photoshoot with metal band Lock Horns

With the .. Horns

It had been a while since I’d done a bit of gig and band photography, so after a few contacts and shooting blokes with guitars and girls with mics, I arranged to do a promo shoot for a young metal band. Four guys, all reasonably photogenic and enthusiastic and with only a rough idea on what to shoot. So the agreed brief:

  • Outdoor shots in a forest (public forest park – not a problem).
  • And in a quarry (private property, no permission but it was early on a Sunday and it will be closed, we’ll improvise getting in and out..)
  • Indoor shots in their rehearsal space
  • Look mean and moody. And metal-ly

It was a very overcast ( intermittently rainy) day, so the outdoor shots were a mixture of natural soft light and a bit of fill-in flash. The band members’ height differentials aside, we did a mix of poses, some emphasis on members just for variation and a good hike through Ballysallagh Forest.  To give a bit of contrast and some drama to the soft woodland vibe, a bleach bypass effect was used in Color Efex.

20mm lens for this one


there is unrest in the forest, there is trouble with the trees…

So.. trespassing.  There is a quarry, it was closed but they fancied a few shots.  Mud and fencing were no barrier to preventing some shots high above the landscape.  Away from the trees and the green colour cast, it was possible to get a few different tones. LH_6

And finally back to the studio with softbox and brolly.  A group shot and then a few singles.


Jr, lead guitar Lock horns

and then Alex, lead vocalist in full scream. As scary as he looks, this is just filtered and contrast adjusted in Color Efex.  The lupine jawline, though,  is all his.

Alex, vocal Lock Horns
Alex, lead vocals Lock horns

So a bit of plug-in filtering and moody poses can turn 4 personable and well spoken young guys into a pretty powerful visual metal band.  They perform and sound the business too.  Even to an oul’ lad with a camera.

More from this shoot on the Flickr.

Kit:  Canon 5D,  50mm f1.4,  85mm f1.8, 20mm f2
Interfit Lights, Speedlite 430 EXii