jack wildsmith

A photo shoot with Jack Wildsmith saxophanist

27th November 2013


Jack got in touch with me after seeing the photo shoot I did for his friend Jonny Yeoman both saxophonist from the Leeds College of Music. He wanted something similar, but in true jazz fashion you change certain elements so it is never a photocopy of the previous gig.

jack wildsmith

Jack really liked the render I used on this shot. It brings out the shape and textures of the saxophone. You can also see a small speck of light in Jack's right eye. This shows you there is an eye there even if most of it is not visible.

jack wildsmith

In this shot I wanted to keep the nearside of Jack's face in shadow and the farside lit just like it would look on stage during a performance.

jack wildsmith

A little bit more side on than the previous photo. Here I wanted to ensure the closest eye was not in shadow. Also notice the pool of light behind Jack's head. It prevents his dark hair fading into the darkness.

The shoot

Before we started, Jack had a look at some of the photographs I had taken with other saxophonists both live and in a studio setting. We then set about taking the shots he had requested.

The first set was posed, the second was performance based and the third was a bit of an experiment using the flashgun as a strobe.

jack wildsmith

This is the same as the previous shot, but with a different render applied. This one brings out the colour of the saxophone and the way the light hits its surfaces.

jack wildsmith

This is what I meant about the back of the head merging into the darkness if it is not lit. He is still lit from behind, but more on his shoulder and neck. You just about make out the shape of his hair. Again, the nearside eye is lit and the shape of the saxophone can just be seen.

jack wildsmith

In this image the emphasis is on the crook of the saxophone's neck and its colour.

Post processing

Lightroom 3 was used to apply the various post processing effects. I try not to over do it with the post processing, in general. A few areas were darkened for extra effect.

jack wildsmith

A bit of trick photography using strobe lighting.


A 50mm f/1.8 lens on a full-frame camera was used throughout and in manual mode. Light meter readings were used and adjustments made as we went along. A single beauty dish with a grid and diffuser cap was used for the posed shot with a spot added later to light the saxophone.

For the live performance photographs, a Lupolux 800 spotlight was used as the key light and a Arri 300W (again a spotlight) as a kick. The Arri lit the back of Jack's head and shoulders to give his head shape against a black background. This created a separation between the two.

Two and then one flashgun was used to create the strobe effects. The flashguns were set to manual flashing either 3 or 5 times during a second.

jack wildsmith

Here the spotlight has been introduced. It brings out the profile of the player and the instrument itself.

jack wildsmith

This render gives the photo a vintage look harking back to the early days of jazz in the 1920's. You can just make out the spotlight in the top right.

jack wildsmith

The same photo as the previous one but with a different render. I think it looks a lot grittier.


I hope you like the photographs. I think Jack enjoyed the session too.

Please let me know which photographs you liked or leave any other comments below. I will attempt to answer any questions too. If you are a student musician, I have a discounted rate if you want a shoot for yourself or band.


This is what Jack had to say about the shoot,

"I had a musicians shoot with Hubert Hung. Hubert was really easy to get along with and his communication before the shoot was exceptional and very professional. His experience of working with musicians was very apparent throughout the shoot as we talked in length about music and our influences musically. The shoot was very relaxed and he allowed me to play freely and express myself. I also ended up with some wonderful photographs. They were done with a professional quality and were exactly what I asked for and wanted. I have just booked in for another shoot and I am in no doubt that the same high standards will be adhered to."

Thank you, Jack!

jack wildsmith

It would not be a jazz photo shoot without a Blue Note look. Once again the emphasis is more on the instrument than the musician. This shot brings out the straight and curved lines of the saxophone.

Your thoughts


Please leave any thoughts, comments, questions or just say, "Hi!" (not literally) below. I really do appreciate feedback. E.g. What is your favourite photograph and why?

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