The Borodin Quartet are in Bonn right now playing in the Beethoven Festival. I had two hours to get individual head shots and a range of group shots at locations at different ends of the town. They wanted pictures for programmes, website and a possible magazine cover. Big day. I had two cameras (Canon 5Diii & Fuji x100s), two speedlights (Nikon SB80s with pocketwizard triggers), a 60" umbrella, a smallish softbox, a reflector and a brilliant art director/assistant in the form of their agent and my little sister Cat Strange.
We started with the head shots in a rehearsal room at the Beethoven Halle. I taped my ultra-professional shower curtain to the wall for a reflective white background. One flash in the softbox, one behind the subject to wash the background and the reflector to control shadows on the face. I used a 85mm lens on the Canon 5D.
I really wanted to get some shots outside at the Kunstmuseum across town with the Quartet and their instruments but as I suspected the guys didn't want to take the instruments out of their cases outdoors. I needed a picture with them holding them indoors so I changed the softbox for the umbrella and put them between the Fuji x100s and the stone wall of our rehearsal room/studio.
It must be such an ingrained habit but as soon as they took out their instruments they started to tune them. It was a perfect pavlovian moment to keep the mood light. I wanted to put the instruments in the front and we argued about which one was worth the most.
We packed up and drove to the Kunstmuseum hoping to get a shot against the amazing building. Ruben and Sergey both wear light sensitive glasses that react to even hazy Bonn daylight so the shot through the trees that I had planned sadly didn't work. It would have been something like this - with the Borodin Quartet in.... Also since I took this a month ago the leaves had turned brown and fallen off.
When I saw these pillars from this angle, I knew I wanted to use it for this shoot. It's still half open to the sky so the sunglasses look was still a bit of a problem, but it was a bit more shaded so I think we can work with what we got.