Gimme a beat... / by Josh Trudell

The Beat Dolls

Pardon the domination takes time. Or as a more evil man than I once said, “I’ve got  my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped.”

Luckily, what I’ve been most swamped with has been work. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull photographer, so I took a night last week for some play time.

I’ve been looking for opportunities for more indoor and modeling photography for some time, both to broaden my portfolio and for a change of pace in my shooting.

Behold, the wonder of Meetup.

Superwife and I signed up for Meetup a while back to find things to do. We hadn’t taken advantage of it yet, but while browsing possibilities, I found the Juju Foto Factory in Austin regularly hosts band photography nights. The band gets free publicity photos, we – the shoot allows for eight photographers -  get experience using lights and working with models.


The subject on this night was The Beat Dolls, a rockabilly band based in Austin. I had my usual new experience jitters – new place, new environment, hadn’t been through this before – but the studio owner, Juju, was very welcoming and helpful, especially after finding that my Sony camera was incompatible with the remote controls for their lights.

Saving me from some embarrassment and a long fruitless drive home, she let me borrow her Nikon for the shoot.

Going through three rounds of shooting – each photographer got 5-10 minutes with the band in three different setups – gave me a whole new appreciation for photographers who have to shoot a lot in a limited time, such as the meat grinder for photographers shooting the Olympic athletes

The band members were great to work with - projecting several difference vibes that made for interesting shots.  Sitting and watching other photographers work with them was a lesson, too – seeing how different ideas were put into play and executed.

The photo above was, for what it’s worth, my original idea. Frontwoman Angie Munsey and I talked about her dislike of posed photos of musicians and their instruments. My answer was a photo where you didn’t see her face – just the guitar and her trademark hair.

It’s not perfect on a technical sense, but I think it’s interesting and could be used in a lot of different ways – a flyer or an album cover, with the right typography backing it.

The rest of my favorites from the shoot can be seen here.