Re:edits - 2016 end of year edition
It's a never ending journey being a photographer. Assume I've also thrown in another few cliches for good measures here.
Since I'm also keen on self-reflection, of both myself and my techniques, I decided to take 10 of my favourite gig photos from this year, re-edit them and then compare and contrast them with each other to see what I liked better.
The sub-text of that motivation is that redundancy and job hunting is exhaustingly dull.
1. City and Colour @ The O2 Academy, Glasgow
City and Colour was one of the first gigs of this year. In fact, this photo became the first print of my work I've ever sold. I like the warm nature of the first one, and I think ultimately I still prefer that, but the cool nature of the second one.
It feels a little more subtle compared to the first one and my new found mastery of the HSL sliders helps pull out some of the nasty purple saturation on the skin.
2. Royal Republic @ O2 ABC, Glasgow
Hands down here I still prefer the original edit of this one. The black and white just seems to add an atmosphere that suits the moment a lot better.
But the plus of the new version is I originally did the image as black and white because I was rubbish at sorting the kind of colours in the photo. Now, I'm much better and the new edit reflects that. It is good, and I'd be happy to use it anywhere, but I remain convinced that feeling the black and white seems to highlight is superior in this case.
3. Animals As leaders @ The Cathouse, Glasgow
This one is much harder to call. I still like the impact of those big colours from the original, but I feel like there's a sheen of class to the black and white.
Gun to my head, I'd opt for colour because some of the sharpness was lost by shooting in a really dark venue through a lot of smoke. The brightness of the colours in the original kind of overpowers those imperfections a bit. But I actually really like both, the real power of the image is the shape of that guitar and that really stands out in both.
4. Daughter @ O2 Academy, Glasgow
I've no hesitation here in saying that I think the moodier black and white edit is much sexier and intriguing...but I think the colour elicits the kind of delicate melancholy that defines the music of Daughter.
The richness of the red of the guitar combined with that slightly desaturated blue makes for a really dynamic look. I do prefer the closer crop on the second one, even at 85mm there's still a chunk of dead space in that first version. But if anyone is looking at the dead space you're photographing the subject in the wrong moment aren't you?
5. Refused @ The Garage, Glasgow
Let's not beat about the bush here, getting to photograph Refused is one of the best things I've ever done. One of the best bands ever, one of my favourite bands ever, and I was the only photographer shooting the Glasgow show and then they asked for copies to use on their socials. Nuts.
I 100% think the colours I went for in the second version are much better. It's overly warm and over exposed in the first, and I think the great moment is much better served by the cooler temperatures, higher contrast and deepened blacks.
6. Milk Teeth @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, London
Milk Teeth are a totally banging band. I've had the pleasure of shooting them three times. Shooting them in London though was easily the best, though. They just get better and better every time.
I was really pleased with the initial edit for this shot, it's even ended up on my live portfolio, but I really like the black and white version too. It brings to mind a kind of classic CGGB's vibe, crushing those blacks and cranking the dehaze the make it nice and crunchy.
In retrospect as well, those skin tones should be a little less saturated as well so that also adds to the appeal of the newer version.
7. Thrice @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, London
Thrice are a huge deal for me. Getting to shoot them at their London headline show following their reformation was pretty special.
These pictures though are the perfect example of following your first instincts. I 100% prefer the original colours I went for on this, my second edit is far too hazy and dull. Try harder next time pal eh?
8. The Van Ts @ Broadcast, Glasgow
I'm quite proud of this photo. I took it without flash in a very poorly lit venue and I think it captured the dirty rock 'n' roll aesthetic of The Van Ts pretty well.
I do think the black and white enhances the atmosphere, but I actually feel there is a dark sex appeal to the red version that I really like. Truthfully, I'm pretty happy with both of these, but gun to my head there's a little spark to the coloured version.
Part of that may be because dealing with red is really hard, and the fact I was able to save the photo was a bit of a technical feat. That may have influenced the decision a little.
9. Banshee @ Audio, Glasgow
I've been really lucky to work closely with Banshee for years. They're a huge part of why I've been able to progress as a live music photographer. Knowing them as well as I do, and them allowing me total access, lets me get the best photos I can of their set. It's refreshing to work without the 3 song limitation.
As striking as Erin's colouring is, I think I still prefer the black and white version. The richness of the blacks and strong contrast still strikes me as a much bolder and more dynamic image. That said, I do enjoy the variation in tones and colours across her shirt and the reflections of the venue lights in the coloured one as well.
10. Fatherson @ O2 ABC, Glasgow
Another triumph for the reconsidered edit, I think the purples and stronger contrast add a lot more strength to the image than the original green tinged edit. The warm temperature adds to it as well I think, which is unusual for me as my usual instinct is to cool down my pictures.
The other with this is I used my second hand old Canon 24mm for it and it's auto-focus is pretty poor, to be honest. Love 24mm as a focal length, but I probably need to invest in some better glass to cover it and get much sharper images. No amount of re-editing is going to change that, unfortunately.