The Challenges of Coming up with Unique Band Photography

This video from photographer Benjamin Von Wong gives us a rare and exciting opportunity to peer into the world of a professional band shoot. First, we’re taken behind the scenes with a documentary-style segment about Belgian indie-pop band SX, their work, and the experience of making a cover for their first studio album, GOLD. Afterwards, Von Wong comes on to tell us more about the shoot—the ideas behind it, the lighting and techniques he used, and some tips he learned for next time:

In a stunt that would give most photographers cardiac arrest, Von Wong takes a Nikon D800 with 70-200mm Nikkor lens into a swimming pool, where the three band members splash and swim, experimenting wildly with all different types of shots. He does use a waterproof casing for his underwater shots, though it won’t accommodate the size of the telephoto lens that he wants to use. Other equipment shown includes a Nikon Speedlite, Pixel radio triggers, and Linkstar strobes. Set to the band’s ethereal viral hit, “Black Video”, the lead singer muses about their career, and on the opportunities that are open to musicians through new technology, illustrating the similarities between her art and the art of photography.

band photography

Even in a brightly lit pool such as this one, Von Wong is able to control his surroundings masterfully. With careful framing, he eliminates the massive windows from interfering, and with patience and skill his lights are able to completely transform the surroundings into the sunlit sea of the final shot. More than that, he demonstrates how band photography works alongside the musicians themselves. Combining their individual talents, the four artists collaborate to create a unified image of who they are, and what they give to the world.

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