Monday, September 26, 2011

On Assignment: The Kurt Thomas Band CD Release Concert

This was a fun assignment and not my typical shoot. It was a pleasure to shoot for several reasons. First of all, I know Kurt through his wife Sabrina. I used to be Sabrina's boss when I worked in TV as an Art Director. I must have been an okay boss, because we remain friends and I photographed her sons' birthday party earlier in the year.

Sabrina contacted me about photographing Kurt's show where he would be releasing his new album. Kurt got his start in music in high school, just north of Atlanta in Dahlonega, GA. He's also opened up for some of the biggest nanes in country music including Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, LeAnn Rimes, Sugarland and Zac Brown Band. Check out his site and give his music a listen.

I was told that along with Kurt and his band, that there would be some special guests & friends performing as well. I knew that one of Kurt's friends and fellow musician from Dahlonaga is Zac Brown. Yes, of the Zac Brown Band that won a Grammy for "Best New Artist" in 2010. I wasn't sure if Zac would be there or not. It was going to be a great show anyway. You'll have to continue reading to find out if he made the show.


This assignment was a challenge because I don't shoot live shows. Not to mention that lack of lighting is the largest obstacle. The fact that it was in a small venue and that I had unlimited access made it a whole lot easier. I was pleased with the photos from the show, but I had to shoot at ISO 6400 which introduced some grain in shadows. I think this is the first time I've ever shot at that high of an ISO. Yes there was some grain, but nothing terrible. If anything, the images had a film look. Recently I upgraded to Lightroom 3 and the noise reduction is phenomenal. All the grain was removed and the images look like they were shot on a higher end camera. There's a nice smoothness to the images that look fantastic with a shallow depth of field. Lots of images to showcase, so I'll keep the narrative short.

Anyway, on to the show. First up is Jessica Dunnagan. Let me preface that all the artists playing tonight have truly amazing voices and an incredible talent.


I wanted to grab some detail shots. If I was a photojournalist, these shots would help tell a story.





Next up, Tim O'Donovan.



Kurt and his band took the stage next.



Kurt was also joined by this young lady. How young? I don't think she'd be allowed into the venue unless her parents weren't there and if she wasn't performing. She has an incredible voice.

My suspicions were confirmed when out of practically no where, Zac Brown walks onto the stage.






An incredible performance by the two high school friends. I've got a lot of respect for someone that has made it in the music business and still remembers his roots and is willing to help out his friends. I don't remember how many songs they played together. I know that Zac took a break and then came back later in the night for another set.

Here are some shots of the rest of the band.






Earlier in the evening, Kurt mentioned to me that he wanted a shot of his wine glass. It's a mason jar made into a wine glass. It was a custom job. Not sure if they're readily available to the public.
I shot this against the neon signs in the background that added a lot of color to the image.

There are several YouTube videos from the evening, so if you missed it or want to know what The Kurt Thomas Band sounds like check them out. Kurt Thomas plays locally in Atlanta and you can check out his schedule and see him live.

At the end of the night, I grabbed one last shot.  I can only imagine what it would be like to see your name on a marquee. It must feel pretty remarkable and I had to capture this shot.

An incredible experience and I'm floored at how well the images turned out. Glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed myself to photograph something new.

Thank you Kurt & Sabrina for letting me be a part of this incredible night. Wish you much success.

If you're looking for a portrait photographer in the Atlanta area, visit my portfolio.

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