© 2010 Lu Nelson

Photo shoot with The Trip Fives

On July 10, I met up with the Trip Fives, a Kansas City area improv group, to do some publicity shots for them before their show.  I brought two assistants with me, one of whom was my girlfriend Amanda, who you’re sure to see lots more of on this blog.  The shooting location was the Westport Coffee House, which houses a stage underneath its unassuming coffeehouse upper floor.

It was my first time doing a commissioned shot of a group, so I wanted to come prepared.  I brought my 5D Mark II, 24L II, and other assorted lenses, as well as two flashes, two light stands, and two umbrellas.  I ended up doing the entire shoot (pre-show) with my 5D2/24L2, with additional shots from the show itself courtesy of my 50mm f/1.8 II.  I had my 580EX2 (wow, I like the second versions of Canon gear, don’t I?) connected via PC cord to my camera for fill during the shot, but the main light came courtesy of the stage lighting.

Shooting a comedy group is liberating in a lot of ways.  I felt as though I could experiment more and be a lot more fun and dynamic.  Certain restrictions on business shots go away.  I embraced wide angle distortion.  The stage lights were colorful and interesting, but somewhat inconsistent.  I could have lit the whole group with my strobes, but I wanted to avoid a bland presentation.

The Trip Fives were fantastic to work with.  They’re a hilarious group on-stage, and they seemed very at-home with the camera.  My only issue, which I didn’t fully notice at the time, is that they were maybe a little too full of energy.  Several shots ended up with motion blur even at the 1/60 s shutter speed I was using to keep noise down.  In retrospect I should have used a faster speed even though they were “posed” shots, which I can usually get away with a slower shutter speed for.  We also tried a few shots with them jumping, and though I got some acceptable results I’m not fully pleased with my shots.  Though the lighting seemed bright at the time, it was not bright enough to freeze a free-falling subject acceptably.

You’ll have to excuse some of the strange crops — I left many images with dead space for ad copy to be placed.