leicester band photographer

The Southern at Leicester O2

The Southern supporting Catfish and the Bottlemen at Leicester O2 Academy 2014.

 

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© Scott Choucino . All Rights Reserved. NO use without explicit written permission and a license []

Contact angie@artisticindustries.co.uk for use.

Over The House – Leicester Music Photographer –

Over the House are a four-piece English Indie Rock band based in the Midlands who have recently released their debut EP ‘Bonfires’ on March 15th (go check them out here www.overthehouse.bandcamp.com) They had  released a series of demos prior to their EP which gave them a pretty big following and have just recently performed a sold out headline gig  at The Cookie Jar. 

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This is a band who I had not seen play before, so I did a heap of research online and we got a joint mood board put together before shooting them. If you head over to their website you can get there music there and it is certainly worth a play! 

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These lads are a fresh Indie band so I wanted something that really depicted that. We went for a mixture of candid shots with movement and then some more classic posed images shot on medium format film.

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The shoot was a mix of natural light, off camera studio lighting on location and basic reflectors. I wanted things to look natural, but sometimes the light alone was just too flat. Everything had heaps of grain added to it in post process to give it a less polished look and I pushed the blacks a bit more than I usually would to give it that photo lab kinda vibe.

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The shoot was really good fun all in all and I had some really goof help from Kree on the day that was invaluable. Having assistants on the job make so much more possible than just shooting on your own.

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Here is a small selection of the images we got on the day.

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Follow the lads at Over The House HERE

You can see more of my work at www.scottchoucino.com and by following me on Twitter and Facebook. You can also find my photography courses by clicking HERE

Leicester Cathedral Bell Ringing Photo Shoot

I had the somewhat un-expected chance to photograph some bell ringing recently just before my exhibition “Music, beyond the cultural quarter”. I thought this would offer a great opportunity to grab a somewhat different image for my exhibition that showed something besides rock and pop bands. 

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So I headed off to the Leicester Cathedral for a Thursday evening practice session. After being given the health and safety talk of how to avoid getting tangled up in the ropes in a carry on fashion I was ready to go.

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The venue was very dark and tight. So it was max ISO, lens stopped down a bit to avoid ending up with a really soft image. The 20mm lens is really soft until you get to f4. I then found a shutter speed to give me the correct exposure. This turned out to be 1/10th of a second hand held.  I shot in burst mode with 3 photos per burst. This meant the first one hand shake and blur from pressing the button, the second one was sharp and the third was blurry again. The other two important factors were that I was leaning against a wall with my back and I was waiting until I have fully breathed out before shooting.

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I was only after one image, and I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted as soon as I arrived. So I shot a few deviations of it and then had it edited and off to the printers the same night.

 

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I have a new set of photography courses running in Leicester at The Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery. There are two dates atm for available light portrait photography and a second date for off camera flash portrait photography. Both photography courses are being held in Leicester and will have a mix of taught theory and practical aspects. For more details click HERE

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter or you can view my portfolio at www.scottchoucino.com

My Exhibition at Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery-Leicester music photographer

This blog post is written by me, and just me. I usually have a few people kindly help me write them as my writing skills are not so hot. So please excuse any typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

Tuesday night was the opening for my exhibition at The Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery. It went really well. Far better than I had expected and I have heard everyone had a good time. I am now laid up in bed feeling pretty ill and worn out. Hopefully a few days rest will get me back on form.

Now the exhibition is out of the way I have a few things on the way. First of which is spending some time with my partner. Then I am shooting an album cover with a pretty elaborate set up, a couple of bands out on tour and I will be shooting all of Handmade festival.

 

I have decided that I will be running two more workshops. After some test sessions to get a feel for what people were looking for I have decided to revamp the two most popular courses and run them again in Leicester. These are available light portrait photography and how to use off camera flash for portrait photography. Two of the key elements of portrait photography. These will be using the basics from what I have done before + some new more advanced sections toward the back end of each workshop looking at digital workflows, good practices in photography and more information on setting up your own photo shoots with a team of artists.

I have managed to keep the course prices down really low again thanks to support and cheap rent from Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery. This allows me to run photography courses in Leicester for less than a round down the pub. Click HERE for details.

 

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I know a lot of people could not make it to the exhibitions opening night and that for some, Leicester is just too far to travel too! So I have decided to pop up the exhibition in this blog.

If you are in Leicester though, I urge you to go and see the images in the flesh. They look SO much better in print than on your PC/Mac.

 
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Leicester Bell Ringers

Affordable Portrait Photography Equipment – How to get started in portrait photography

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There are SO MANY cameras available right now both used and new. As a portrait photographer, there are a few things that are important to me in a camera system: Image Quality (IQ), Usability/fit for purpose and cost. For the portraits I take, I need something that can deliver great IQ; something that clients can use for promotional material as well as web use. The images need to be printable up to A2, which is pretty big. But, the camera system needs to be useable. I shoot on location a lot, I shoot a lot of dynamic photos. I need small and portable lighting that is battery powered, I need fast sharp lenses and most of the time a camera that I can shoot hand held. Finally, I need something at the right price.

A Canon 1Dx for 5K + a set of 10K L lenses is not something I am likely to be able to get my hands on without getting a VERY big credit card. So I had a few options. Here is what I went for and why. 

I think context is important, I am a portrait photographer. I shoot mainly bands, solo artists around the UK and family portraits photographs in Leicester.  So most of my photographs are group pictures, which has a bearing on what I require.

Now, if I had all the pennies in the world, I would run out to the shops and buy a Hassleblad system, some Elinchrome lights and all the lenses I needed. Sadly, I am not rich, so I have to pick the equipment I actually need, rather than what I want.

I shoot Canon, and there is a really good reason for this. When I started out and I could not afford a camera, I borrowed my Uncle’s 450D until I made enough money to buy some better lenses for it, which were of course Canon fit. And so I continued with it. If he had lent me a Nikon, I would be shooting Nikon. Simple as. It is a camera, and perhaps the least significant part of photography in many ways. If you do not know how to use it, or even more importantly, if you do not have a good concept, idea or eye for the image it is all irrelevant anyway. Which is why I spend so much time trawling magazines, books and the internet for inspiration. Pinterest is the latest tool I am using to keep all of the interesting things I see localised. Which was an idea my partner Roisin had. It seems to be ideal for such use.

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(One of my first portrait session taken using my uncles camera)

I ended up going for a Canon 5D mk1 as a main camera, the reason being was that it was full frame and I only shoot prime lenses, which I will get to later. The benefits of an old full frame over a new crop sensor are very apparent in portraits. The noise is more like grain; the depth of field is more of what you would expect.  I always carry a spare camera body too. Currently this is a Canon 50D which is a 1.6 crop sensor. But it means that should I ever need to get more reach from a lens, I can pop it on that body. Both cameras cost me about the same when I got them from ffordes.co.uk. They both take the same compact flash memory cards and the same batteries. This makes for a great combination.

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Lens wise, for most band shoots I end up using a 28mm lens. The distortion is minimal and the IQ is very good from f4 onwards. I also use a 50mm 1.4 lens. The reason I have this over the cheaper 1.8 lens is purely down to build quality. The optics on both are very good, but the build quality of the 1.8 is pretty poor.

 

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The 50mm 1.4 is great for everything from group photos, tight portraits, all the way through to environmental portraits. It is a very versatile lens and certainly worth the investment. Although the 50mm lens is great for individual subjects, the 85mm lens is often more flattering. This is a lens that I do not use a great deal, as I like to get lots of the surrounding environment into my images, but it is certainly a lens I could not live without. It is great from f2.2 onwards for either headshots or full length portraits of couples or solo artists. It is also lovely wide open for soft baby portraits.  

 

(Tight headshot with a 50mm lens)

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(Environmental portrait taken with a 50mm lens)

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The final lens I own is the 20mm 2.8 prime lens from Canon. This is mainly used for band photography. It is soft at the edges, vignettes a lot and has a lot of distortion. All things which are supposed to be “bad” in a lens. However, this is exactly what I require from a wide angle lens.

(Example of a band shoot using a 20mm lens)

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Besides lenses and cameras, the only other bits of kit I have are reflectors (anything that reflects light will work fine) and strobes. I use the Canon 430 ex2 and pocket wizard TT5s, which allow me to sync my flash off camera up to 8000th of a second. Which I really like being able to do. Next time I need some flashes, I will upgrade to the 580s so I can have additional power to them to increase recycling time. But these do a great job and they are affordable(ish) at 250gbp a pop.  I the use soft boxes, grids and umbrellas + a few different sized light stands.

If I had to travel really light, or could only have 500GBP for equipment, I would go with: a 5Dmk1 and 50mm 1.8, with a cheap 5 in 1 reflector and be happy that I could actually photograph everything I need to with it. That 500 GBP if you were buying new would only get you a entry level DSLR and a kit lens, which is why I am always advocating buying used equipment from people like MPBphotographic, ffordes and The London Camera Exchange.

Now, as well as digital, I shoot a LOT of film (Here are some links to film related blogs). I shoot medium format film on a Bronica ETRSi. The film stocks I use are Kodak Portra 160 and 400. Kodak Ektar 100 and for black and white I shoot HP5+. I develop and scan all of my own film at home. It is something I use on pretty much every photoshoot and most of the time the best images come from this method of shooting!

 

(Taken with my Bronica ETRS and a 75mm 2.8 lens)

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But all said and done, all of this kit is not all that important. Magazines always talk about kit and how good things are but it is very important to remember that a lot of their revenue comes from camera manufacturers and camera shops wanting to sell you the latest and greatest toys. I honestly think money is better spent on education. That could mean buying loads of magazines (National Geographic, fashion magazines etc. NOT photography magazines). Or head to college, university, workshops, courses and assisting photographers who know what they are doing. I am always wanting to work with better photographers so I can learn how they do things and why they are doing them. I would personally gain more making Annie Lebowitz coffee than I would buying a new Canon 5d mk3.

 

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter or by heading to www.scottchoucino.com

 

 

 

 

Leicester Photography Course : How to use flash

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Leicester photography course looking at using flash on camera to create beautiful portraits!

A lot of people frown upon using on camera flash for portraits. However, with a few tricks you can still create amazing results!

 

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This will look at how to take amazing shots with your detachable flash still attached to your camera. All you need to bring is a camera and a flash to pop on top of it.

To get the most from this session, you will already have a good understanding of shooting in full manual mode and how to work the three exposure elements – ISO, F stops and shutter speed.

We will look together at things such as:

  • Balancing ambient light
  • Adding direction to light
  • Adding drama to images
  • Removing/preventing unwanted shadows
  • How to tell a story with light

There will be a model available throughout the session so you can practice what you are learning.

You can see more about course dates HERE, book onto courses HERE or email me for further details at info@scottchoucino.com 

Leicester Photography Course Off Camera Flash

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This photography course held at Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery is designed for those who want to move away from just using on-camera flash. It would be beneficial if you already had a good understanding of how your flash works and how to shoot in manual mode. It will be done in a similar style to my other workshops whereas the theory session is very much based around actual photoshoots and practical examples. Rather than just numbers and rules.

The session will start with a lecture first, followed up by putting what you’ve learned into practice with a model/subject.

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The lecture will cover aspects such as;

  • The basics of lighting (types of light, uses of light, the studio on location etc.)
  • Using Triggers and/or optical slaves
  • Diffusion products and natural diffusion 
  • Flash power
  • Fill light and key light usage
  • Balancing ambient light with flash
  • Using one light on location or in the studio
  • Using two lights
  • Using three lights and how to work out lighting power for each light to give the desired look 

You will need to bring with you a camera and at least a flash. If you own a trigger system and light stands then bring them too. If you are short of any of the equipment listed then please contact me via info@scottchoucino.com

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You can find out more about my courses HERE. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Available light portrait + portrait photography course in Leicester

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This photography workshop run in Leicester looks at portrait photography using the light that is available to you already, wherever you might be taking photos. This allows you take take beautiful natural photographs of friends, families, events and much more.
We will talk about the following key points:

  • Types of light
  • Using available light for effect
  • Shooting in low light
  • Portrait composition/light as a compositional tool
  • Utilising your equipment

It’s not just me talking though; it is also a practical session where you try out what you are learning throughout the session.

To get the most from this particular session, you should already have an understanding of exposure, aperture, shutterspeed and ISO.

All you need to bring is a camera – it doesn’t have to be fancy, so long as it can take a picture (So point & shoots, DSLRs, rangefinders etc. – it’s all good)

You can find my course dates HERE and you can email me to book onto a course or for further information at info@scottchoucino.com or by heading  HERE

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You can view my work at www.scottchoucino.com or follow me on FACEBOOK and TWITTER 

 

Benn Hartmann Promo Shoot

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Benn is one of the first people I met when I came back to Leicester in 2011. His stage presence and personal appeal was instantly recognisable and we struck up a friendship quickly.

To give a bit of background on the subject himself, Benn is a singer/songwriter who is lucky enough to earn a living performing solo gigs with original material, as well as having a fantastic amount of crowd-pleasing covers up his sleeve (My personal favorites are “Dancing On The Ceiling” and “Boom! Shake The Room”)

2013 has been a great year for Benn so far, and he is currently recording 6 new tracks to be available as singles to follow on from his successful debut solo record “Chronicles of Anyone” from 2012 which I shot the cover for.

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Benn has always been supportive of my photography and sometimes this doesn’t just mean liking my photos, it means appearing in them, helping me set up shoots and moving house!

I’ve shot with Benn a few times in and around various Leicester locations, most recently we did a shoot in the Phoenix Cinema in the cultural quarter of Leicester.

My aim was to get some good, simple shots of Benn, keeping the lighting nice and simple. We were lucky enough to be given access to the Pheonix Cinema in Leicester and the Crumblin Cookie. Both venues are very supportive of Leicester creative scenes.

 

We started off at the Phoenix. I shot everything with just one light, mimicking the way the big screen might light a persons face. I then just upped my shutter speed to remove as much of the ambient light as required.

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Taken on my Bronica ETRS with one off camera flash

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These were all shot with a 50mm lens on a canon 5D mk1 and a 75mm lens on a Bronic ETRS

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Once we had finished at the cinema we headed to the back alleys behind The Crumblin’ Cookie to get some more naturally lit shots. I carried on with a mix of mediums for the images. From toy cameras to digital SLRs. Benn is a known smoker who claimed he could always quit. He is still waiting to get round to quitting it would seem. But, smoke always makes for a good photograph. It is just better if it isn’t slowly killing you with cancer (Benn, STOP SMOKING!)

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These were all shot with a 50mm lens on a canon 5D mk1  a 75mm lens on a Bronic ETRS and a Holga. You can view my portfolio at www.scottchoucino.com follow me on FACEBOOK and TWITTER too.

 

 

My Exhibition At Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery (LPPG)

So this is a first for me, but I am very pleased to be announcing my first exhibition! This’ll be a joint exhibition, with details to be confirmed as and when they happen.The exhibition itself is “Music, Beyond The Cultural Quarter” and I’m very lucky to have been given the fantastic space at the Leicester People’s Photographic Gallery to hold it at.

It actually didn’t take me long to come up with the idea for the exhibition. Having been back in Leicester for the past couple of years, I have been very much aware of Leicester’s cultural quarter and the great work the council has put into it. It has gained a lot of attention in the media and is a key part in Leicester’s aim to be the 2017 UK City of Culture.

From this obvious and continuing success, I hope to highlight what can also grow outside of the cultural quarter, and what potential Leicester holds with its plethora of local and talented artists (in this case, I am focusing on music) 

I have carefully selected photographs that I feel show how well Leicester as a city does at bringing in major acts to small venues and festivals, as well as hopefully showing what it’s like for local bands who venture outside of Leicester and perform elsewhere.

The opening party for this exhibition will be on the 14th of May, from 6pm until 9pm and will be at:

Leicester People’s Photographic Gallery
2 Wellington Street (Entrance on Belvoir Street opposite Fenwick)
Leicester,
LE1 6HH

Midnight Wire during a recent gig

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Superevolver recording their EP in the studio
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The Day Dream Club playing a gig in a living room in Leicester with To Kill A King
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Sisterland on the front cover of The Monograph

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Labrinth headlining local festival Strawberry Fields
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For the most up to date information, click HERE to view the Facebook event.
Now it’s all very well having given you this information, but what will really help is you coming along. I really would like to see you there to show support to just some of what Leicester has to offer.

You can view my portfolio at www.scottchoucino.com and follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/scottchoucino

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