A few years back I did the first photo shoot of a death metal band, Lock Horns – and they became the subject of this first blog post.
In June 2018, they released their first album Molon Labe – spotify link – and launched it at a home town gig in Bangor, Co Down. The band were sounding and looking magnificent with a great set showcasing much of the album.
I used the usual Canon full frame digital with various prime lenses – I brought the Olympus OM20 with Tri-X with an idea to shoot on film. But mingling with a metal audience doesn’t lend itself to manual focussing and careful metering, so digital it was.
Note to self – for future gigs, don’t forget the ear plugs.
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.
Bleach bypass in Color Efex
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.
And finally back to the studio with softbox and brolly. A group shot and then a few singles.
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.
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.