Here is the latest photo shoot that I did for Walmart Soundcheck featuring Latino mega stars Los Temerarios. The band began back in the 90′s and have sold over 45 million albums worldwide. They have hit the Miami music scene in recent years, and tour worldwide to sell out stadium crowds. I got the call from Los Angeles to do the shoot right here in Memphis at the historic Tennessee Brewery, where they shot a series of 7 music videos, interviews for Walmart Soundcheck, and the portrait session of the artists who are brothers, Adolfo Angel and Gustavo Angel. I had a blast shooting the music video stills, and then later in the day shooting their portraits for the website and branding photos. Be sure to visit soundcheck.walmart.com/los-temerarios to view the still photos that I shot for the project. (You’ll also get to see me in action on one of the music videos where the director used my photo shoot for one of the scenes!)
For the still photographs, I used both my Canon 5d Mark II, and an original Canon 5d with a wide array of lenses from the 15mm f2.8 fisheye, the 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens, and the Canon 50mm f1.2. All of the live music scenes were shot with available light from the video setup, with ISO ranges from 800 to 1600. For the portrait session, I originally set up a 4×6 California Sunbounce reflector to accent the available light in the warehouse, but late timing and quickly fading daylight moved me into another room where I changed the lighting altogether. I simplified the shoot using 2 Canon 580 speed lights mounted on stands off camera to the right of the subjects. One speed light used a Gary Fong diffuser to offer a soft box effect, and the other flash was aimed straight on with no diffusion, both stands mounted low to cast a direct light across their faces. Using off camera flash triggers, I set the side flash to a manual setting of 1/8 of a second, at about 15 feet away to give me a nice hard light, as well as light the background wall. The other flash acted as a fill light to soften the light, and give me some key lighting on their faces. I used the Canon 24-105 mm IS lens for the indoor shots. I then moved them outside and simply used a Canon 50mm 1.2 L prime lens, found the last light of the day and placed them directly in the sun, letting the buildings bounce the sun around them as a backlight. The portrait session was changed to just under 10 minutes, so I had to be right on target with my lighting plan, and I had to make the last minute location change on top of all that. Finding just the right light and being creative at the very last minute was the key to this segment of the shoot.
Here’s a screen shot from Soundcheck’s home page featuring the shoot.
There are several stories in this press release, I got to shoot an incredible woman who is inspiring millions; I got to use my talents as a photographer to shoot Leigh Anne in an incredible portrait session that captured her love, emotion, and vision; and I got to use my talents that hopefully will help make a difference in someones life through purchasing Leigh Anne’s new book, as she is giving the profits to help young kids in need.
Earlier this year I had the honor of photographing Leigh Anne Tuohy, the inspiration behind the world acclaimed movie “The Blind Side” featuring Sandra Bullock. The photographs were used for Leigh Anne’s new book – Making it Happen, and for use on her website banner. The book is available online at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kindle and Nook. I received a call from her publicist in Hollywood asking I was available to do a session with Leigh Anne, and suggested we shoot in her home rather than the studio to give the session a lifestyle look. Shooting on location has some challenges, bringing lots of lighting and photography gear into someones home can be a huge undertaking. For this session I originally planned to use four 1k fresnels, scrims and flags, mixed with several flash units, but after scouting the house for the best locations, I was able to harness the sun by bouncing in through a huge picture window in Leigh Anne’s living room. The house was facing in the perfect direction to bounce in the bright, full sun. The outdoor reflector was a 4×5 oblong silver reflector mounted on a Cstand and angled to a precise spot in the room, from there I was able to set up another 4×6 california sun bounce reflector to soften the sunlight and gently light Leigh Anne for two separate locations in the room. I also used a third reflector to catch some side light and backlight.
I’ve shot with fresnels for years, but when I can use the power of the sun to shoot, I’ll opt for that. For a typical movie set shoot, I’ve used several 2k fresnels, but that requires lots of diffusion, extra power sources, and can take an hour to set up. Later in the afternoon we moved outside to a shaded area and again bounced a nice fill light from the massive 4×6 frame reflector on her to help the image pop a bit more than available light. For the cameras I used a Canon 5d and Canon 5d Mark II with a Canon 50 mm f 1.2 prime lens and outdoors I used a Canon 70-200mm f 2.8 IS lens. For both lenses I always shoot at f 2.8, and vary the shutter speed to achieve the perfect exposure. I also shoot at ISO 800, which helps act as a fill for darker backgrounds and shaded outdoor areas. I spent about 4 hours on location with my assistant, a makeup artist and a hairstylist, along with Leigh Anne’s assistant and her daughter Collins, who help style some of the shots with me. I find having someone that knows the subject is very helpful, they help point out personal details about the subject that I may not know about, like their favorite camera angle, and it helps the subject be a bit more relaxed, and having Collins on the shoot was a big plus. (Note: The photo of Sandra Bullock shown is not one of my photos, it is a theatrical movie poster image.) Below is one of my images from Leigh Anne Tuohy’s new book cover, using a shot from the session, click on the photo below to visit www.leighannetuohy.com
I am so excited to be the feature photographer for Walmart/Soundcheck on their latest production for Dierks Bentley. Be sure to visit www.soundcheck.walmart.com to see the feature video and exclusive photographs from the Ryman Theatre in Nashville. Dierks new song “Home” was just nominated for ACM’s song of the year for 2012 right at the time of this shoot, and the next week Dierks was a presenter at The 2012 Grammy Awards. The video crew captured a live concert and behind the scenes interviews with the celebrity. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to photograph several prominent people, I have to say the Dierks is probably one of the best people that I’ve photographed in a behind the scenes session, a very nice guy that was so at ease with me behind the camera. I was able to sneak in for stealthy photographs like the one below, he was very much at home with my camera.
For the still photographs, I used both my Canon 5d Mark II, and an original Canon 5d with a wide array of lenses from the 15mm f2.8 fisheye, the 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens, and the Canon 50mm f1.2. All of the live scenes were shot with available light from the video setup, with ISO ranges from 800 to 1600. For Dierks feature portrait session, I used a Canon 50mm f1.2, coupled with an Alien Bees ring light with a 56″ moon unit, triggered by Pocket Wizard TT5′s and TT1, along with a canon 580EX. I also shot one sequence with just the 50mm lens in available light from the massive window at The Ryman, and all of at the outdoor scenes were shot on the 50mm lens as well. I love shooting in Nashville, and make the trip up the Music Highway as often as possible.
Here’s a screen shot from Soundcheck’s home page featuring the shoot.
Probably the biggest retailer of music in the world, Walmart just released a new feature on Soundcheck with American Idol top runner up, Lauren Alaina. Michael Allen was the still photographer for the shoot in Memphis at Ardent Studios. Lauren flew into Memphis and was honored to light the Christmas lights at Graceland, a long tradition held only by very special individuals. Be sure to visit www.soundcheck.walmart.com to see the feature. Lauren’s new album just hit the country billboard charts at number 2, which shows the talent she has as an artist. The crew captured a live concert and behind the scenes interviews with the celebrity along with photographs from the day long shoot. Michael was honored to be selected as the photographer for this incredible shoot. The video crew used (7) Canon 5d’s to capture the live concert inside world renown Ardent Studios.
For the still photographs, Michael used both his Canon 5d Mark II, and an original Canon 5d with a wide array of lenses from the 15mm f2.8 fisheye, the 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens, and the Canon 50mm f1.2. All of the live scenes were shot with available light from the video setup, with ISO ranges from 800 to 1600. For Ms Alaina’s portrait session, Michael used a Canon 24-105mm f4 lens and the 50mm f1.2, coupled with an Alien Bees ring light with a 56″ moon unit, triggered by Pocket Wizard TT5′s and TT1, along with a canon 580EX. Michael loves to shoot high ISO in manual mode, with wide open apertures. Michael’s goal for her shoot was to capture her with a soft, off camera light, offering natural light look for the control room, but also with an edge that fits the music industry. Michael used blue gels to supplement the room light, and help provide some separation from the background. Working behind the scenes on a live video shoot is home ground for Michael, he can often be found behind a video camera on set, as well as shooting stills for movies, concerts and more. The producers wanted to capture Lauren behind the scenes, the details behind a music video shoot, so my camera rarely left my hand the entire day, as to not miss a moment.
Here’s a recent blog post featuring one of our weddings on Emmaline Bride, a very popular wedding blog that focuses on original had made wedding details. We figured the wedding would be a great submission with the flavor of a Southern Wedding from the Delta in Mississippi. Visit Emmaline Bride to read the full article.
Here’s a short film we shot in cooperation with Lonely Planet. They recently featured the Top 5 Eats in Memphis on the worldwide television channel. The footage we shot was edited by Lonely Planet for their special feature on Memphis restaurants. Our segment was shot for The Rendezvous here in Memphis, Tn. shot on the Canon 5d HDDSLR. And yes, we ate the food we shot!
Here’s our latest short film music video for Oxford Mississippi’s Double Decker Festival. The film will be released for use by the Oxford Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website to promote the city and the festival.
Here are a few pages from the recent photo shoot we did for Southern Bride Magazine in Seaside Florida. We hosted a photographers workshop teaching editorial style techniques, challenging the photographers to try new techniques and camera settings. Many of the photographers had a chance to get published in the magazine, which is a photographers dream. The 3 day workshop was intensive, hands on shooting, with location changes throughout the day. We had 18 people on the crew, from models, caterers, hairstylists, makeup, set designers, drivers, the magazine editors, photographers and assistants. Seaside was recently named one of the Top 10 Destinations in the World.
Here is a new travel guide just created by Webzmedia, one of our favorite agencies that we work with on a continual basis. Amber Patten is the designer, and has a successful business with clients across the South. She recently brought us in to shoot & develop professional image portfolios for her books, magazines, and travel guides. This is the latest travel guide produced by Amber (of Webzmedia.com), which utilizes images that she and I both photographed recently for the Gadsden tourism board. Amber’s company, Webzmedia, has won numerous awards, and is a very well known agency that manages tourism development for a number of cities & states across the Southern United States. Our two companies work together for both professional photography and HD films, as well as consulting for emerging communities. We have a new HD film in production for this project that we should have ready by the fall of 2012. Here are some sample pages of the 12 page booklet.
Press Release: June 2011 – Memphis Tennessee
Photographers Michael Allen and Tracy Welch have both had their images selected by the editors of Southern Bride Magazine as the cover shots for
the Tennessee and Alabama issues of Southern Bride Magazine. The magazines will be on newsstands across the South in locations such as Barnes
Michael recently produced a photographers workshop and fashion shoot in Seaside for the magazine. 6 photographers signed up for the workshop and all worked as teams for the shoot. The recent “Photographers Dream” workshop took place in one of the top 12 destinations in the world, Seaside Florida. Michael’s team hosted a 3 day hands on photographers bootcamp, where participants worked along side photographer Michael Allen, shooting for Southern Bride Magazine. The photographers “DREAM CHALLENGE” was to shoot for the magazines feature story, a bridal fashion shoot featuring the latest fashions in the wedding world.
Michael taught the photographers mixed lighting techniques with California Sunbounce reflector systems, and Pocketwizard flash controllers for Canon and Nikon along with editorial photographer Joe DeScoise to capture lifestyle editorial photographs for the magazines fashion layout and cover images.
A behind the scenes look into the photo shoot & the hands on bootcamp, with scenes taken over a week on location in Seaside, interviews with some of the team, and details about shooting for a fashion magazine was shot as a short film documentary and is now being shown on the website and the magazine’s blog.
Seaside provided the locations and the team support, Southern Bride hosted the shoot, and Michael Allen was the lead photographer and instructor for the workshop, teaching photographers editorial lifestyle techniques using California Sunbounce reflectors, ambient lighting, and mixed flash techniques. Our sponsor, www.lensrentals.com, provided some giveaways for the participants, and rented extra gear to the team. Guest photographer Joe DeScoise also helped teach the workshop with Michael. Tracy Welch was the assistant director of the workshop and worked as a camera operator for shooting the short film.
The soundtrack was from www.themusicbed.com, a new resource for stock music for photographers and filmmakers.
SEASIDE Editorial Fashion Photo Workshop – “The Photographers Dream Challenge”
PRODUCED & DIRECTED BY michael allen
ACCOMODATIONS & LOCATION
Cottage Rental Agency