Music Photography

Whelan’s Ones to Watch 2020

I recently shot some bands at an annual showcase held in Whelan’s, Dublin. It runs for 5 nights and has the most notable up-and-coming Irish bands on the schedule. Whelan’s is one of my favorite Irish venues as they always have a stage for bands that are still cutting their teeth and on the come-up.

Last year I attended with some friends who were playing the mini festival, I found so many new bands to get hooked on and also went on to work with some. This year I attended 3 out of the 5 nights and tried to get in as many bands as possible, for two reasons. As a music photographer it’s easy to get stuck in a rut shooting the same style bands and getting the same results. This year I focused on shooting outside my comfort zone and not worry about results.

I took along my trusty Nikon D700 (an absolute workhorse of a camera) and the ever present 24-70mm f2.8, the staple of every music photographers camera bag. However I also decided to do something that I have wanted to try for a while and only recently had the means to do. I wanted to shoot 100% manual, this meant manually focusing also. So I popped my Minolta 58mm f1.4 (a lens that came with my Minolta SR7 film camera) onto my newly acquired Sony A6300.

Thanks to the technology that is focus peaking I managed to get some decent results, not “tack” sharp like Youtuber’s and Insta photographers would lead you to believe that your shots must be. The slightly out of focus ones didn’t look too bad once edited, I tend to edit in a more film aesthetic anyways so they combined well.

Down below I’m going to post some of my favorite shots I captured and a little info of the band as I believe if they are playing more, I’m shooting more!

Crisper Kid are a newly formed Dublin band that are remarkably polished for such a short time together. I love the light and colors in this shot, I use to try and only get photos with loads of light but I’ve learned to embrace the dark and shadowy side of my mind.

It was hard to pick only one shot of Dea Matrona but I think this captures their larger than life charisma that this young band have. They look and sound like they were cherry picked out of the 70’s and gifted to us. This northern Irish band are definitely a must see.

This one of Ma-Ka I love purely on the timing that ended up with her hand framing her eye. This was also one of the ones I shot manually focusing, missed slightly but for me it works. This was also the first hip-hop/R’n’B artist I shot, a genre I want to shoot more.

I’ve picked this one as I really thought I wasn’t gonna get a keeper from this band, they were lit with UV lights and blue strobes. Krisdeberg (brilliant name) were one of my favorite acts across the few nights, a total visual showcase with a voice that would rattle bones.

This is a shot of Jackie Beverly, who has her own headline Whelan’s show coming up. I love how it captured the energy she brought to her set. I also got to shoot some portraits with Jackie that I’ll be posting soon.

Another band that was very hard to choose just one photos from was Greyface. This shot for me captures the energy and effort this band put into every second of their performance. Another must see, great alternative rock music from flawless performers.

This next shot is of Dylan E Crampton, who is an absolute showman and has got the tunes to go with his swagger. Although this shot doesn’t capture the lively character he has, it’s a nice paradox capturing a more ambiguous moment.

This last shot is of Toshin, who is a larger than life, soulful performer. A long with her talented band they command attention through infectious beats and melodies. I like how this shot captures some of that nostalgic feel to her music, she really would fit in well back in the 70’s.

As you can probably tell I have favoritism to black and white photography, probably because I grew up listening to and trying to emulate guitarist of the 70’s, 80’s and into the early 90’s. Live music photography back then was predominantly in black and white as it was easier to push black and white film over color film.

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