Rakeem-Andre Chapman, Gospel Artist | A Fujifilm XE-2 Shoot | Boston Music Photographer

Gospel artist Rakeem-Andre Chapman reached out to me a few months ago to do some press/promo and album cover art for the release of his new album, "Soul Revelation".

Andre expressed his desire to be outdoors in the beauty of nature for the majority of the shoot. He wanted the images to convey "introspection, highlighting the soul". And that's what we did! The shoot took place last month, starting off at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, and then moving to an indoor location afterwards, for variety. 

We were incredibly fortunate to get a warm, sunny day for the shoot. The sun played a significant role in backlighting Andre - along with my lights, of course! - to give me that dreamy, etherial, glow-y flare. 

Once we were satisfied with the outdoor portion of the shoot, we broke down the lighting gear and continued on to our indoor location - a small room in Andre's apartment - to knock out some solid indoor portraits. 

©Sarahmica Photography | Chapman-3256.jpg

During the pre-production planning, Andre also expressed a desire to, if possible, incorporate the Christian symbol of a cross into a few of the images. I really wanted to try and do this in a more creative and unique way, avoiding obvious cliches such as shooting in the sanctuary of a church, or using a church steeple, or life-size cross or crucifix in the background. So I ruminated over the possibilities for a few days...and then I got the idea of somehow hanging miniature crosses over his head, kind of like a baby crib mobile (ha!).

Once we had our safe portrait shots in the bag, I pulled out the little crosses (which I found for very cheap on Amazon.com) that I'd hung with thread on a wire hanger. The contraption looked laughably heinous and totally unimpressive to the naked eye. But this little prop added a cool, new element to a few of the portraits. These are my personal favorites from the shoot.

I get these "what if" ideas a lot and I plan them out as best I can. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. But I have to at least try them out. Always try them out. If they fall flat, it's no biggie and I usually learn something. If they're a success, it's icing on the cake!

Many thanks to Andre and his wife for choosing me to create these images! Best wishes on your new album release, Andre!

Check out Andre's website: rakeemandre.com

Photo geek notes: This entire shoot was done with my Fujifilm gear (XE-2 camera, and 23mm 1.4 and 56mm 1.2 lenses), and was my second "Fully Fuji" shoot to date. My first "Fully Fuji" shoot will be coming up next on this blog:  a child lifestyle shoot, which I'm very excited about, so stayed tuned. 

The Grownup Noise, Indie-Pop Band | Boston Indie Band Photographer

The last time I photographed this band was back in 2009, when I was just getting started in this business. Since then, The Grownup Noise have added a few new faces to their group. So when Paul and Adam contacted me to do some updated press images for their new album release, I was stoked. We did the shoot on my birthday, a Sunday in early September. (What a great way to spend my birthday, doing what I love while working with a fantastic group of people!) 

The following images are my personal favorites, the "photographer's picks".

I've done shoots in a lot of challenging places and spaces, but I had never done a shoot in a library! So this was a first for me. Shooting in the library was tricky, but fun. We had permission to shoot there, of course, but we still had to be very quiet. A lot of silent screaming and pantomime went on. (The experience was reminiscent of what Jimmy Fallon and The Roots did here, except without the food and the game show host.) My lighting gear had to be pretty minimal, and we needed to be in and out in under an hour.

These guys made my job easy. They had clear ideas of what they wanted to do. The library location idea was all them. Most of the posing was them just playing around and having fun, but I made some tweaks and modifications in order to ensure that their ideas would resonate. 

After the library, we went to location #2:  their rehearsal space in Somerville.


The environmental portrait below has a different vibe from the others. It's a bit more dramatic, serious. 

It was the last set up of the day shot in their rehearsal space, a loft in Somerville. The space was bright and urban and messy. But a good kind of mess, you know? The kind of mess that says really good music is being created here. I didn't bother to clear the clutter. I didn't even hide my light stand; I intentionally left it in the shot. This environment, this loft where they work and create, has a special ambiance and so I shot it "as is". I simply illuminated these musicians in their space. 

Many thanks to The Grownup Noise for, once again, choosing me to create your images. It was a pleasure working with you all. You guys rock. 

And thanks to the very friendly staff at the Somerville Public Library for letting us shoot there! 

And a VERY special thanks to my wonderful husband, who, when he learned that my usual assistant wasn't available, graciously agreed to assist me on this shoot.