Ever since my dad bought me my first guitar at age 15 Iv’e been listening to Joe Satriani. Joe has always been an influence to me musically. He’s considered to be one of the best guitar players that has ever lived. I remember countless hours in my room trying to learn “Always With Me, Always With You”, one of his greatest songs ever written.
Just a couple of months ago I got a call from Strap Tight, a company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. They were working with Joe in creating a system to keep your guitar strap from coming loose on the guitar. It was a genius creation and who better than Joe Satriani to market and endorse the product. The ad would appear in the 2105 October issue of a national print magazine, Guitar Player Magazine.
I was very excited for the shoot, how often would I get to photograph someone that I grew up listening to? I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous. Once I got the details of the shoot, I learned that I would be shooting Joe in his very own San Francisco home, in the studio where he’s recorded many of his legendary records.
The day had finally arrived and I probably over packed my car with more gear than I’d know what to do with, better to have more than not enough is my motto. Arriving at his home, we met Joe in his garage as he spoke with the construction company that was setting up a new fence. He led us into his studio and showed us around. All I could see were stacks of Marshall amplifiers and a row of Ibanez guitars with amazing paint jobs. We talked for what seemed like an hour about the product and some marketing ideas that they had. As Joe and the client continued to talk, I began setting up the equipment.
One of the biggest challenges of the shoot was the size of his studio space, it’s rather modest and small. Not a lot of room for positioning lights. I tried numerous setups, we had a couple of french doors that let in a good amount of natural light but I was looking for something a little bit more moody. I decided on using directional flash which gave the image the right amount of light/shadow balance that I was looking for. The setup consisted of a main light and occasionally a second light to fill some of the background. I also had a reflector to bounce some fill light.
The shoot took about an hour. I knew I had the shot long before I called it a wrap as I still like to give the client plenty of choices and also give myself some breathing room incase I need to do anything compositing. For the end product, the client provided the graphics and the effects.
I had a great time shooting Joe and hopefully one day I’ll be back to shoot the release of a future album.