Photographing a Music Magazine Cover

I have been photographing Music Magazine covers for a few years now. This is an example of some work I did with Pierce The Veil for Rock Sound Magazine earlier this year. The images used for the magazine aren’t always my personal favorites, so here are some that I like.

It is inevitable that people will ask me about my camera settings, but to be honest they really don’t matter all that much – it is mostly just common sense, there isn’t much trickery going on. So instead of just telling you the answers to my problems, I am going to give you my reasoning. Here is all you need to know for almost every shoot.

Aperture – It will be wide open (low number f/1.4, 2.8 etc) if I want a shallow DOF or if I am shooting in a dark area. It will be a sharper more closed (f/8.0 or above) for pretty much anything else. This is to ensure everything is in focus.

Shutter speed – For a natural light shot that has no intentional motion blur – I figure out my aperture, and set ISO to 100 or 200 and adjust shutter speed to get correct exposure. If the shot has movement – then I will figure that out and adjust aperture to get the correct exposure.

ISO – Outside? Usually 100-200. Inside with no light? Figure out the aperture, figure out the shutter speed – and then adjust ISO accordingly.

Lens – Well how do you want the image to look like? If you are close to the subjects and shoot with a wide lens (16mm-24mm), it is going to be very distorted. If you are far away, the middle of the frame will look relatively normal but it will stretch a lot as you get closer to the edges. At the other end of the spectrum, if you shoot with a telephoto (100mm+) everything will look relatively normal and your background will only be a small section of what is behind your subject, rather than a wide area. The best way to understand lenses are to try them out, so take an image with a bunch of different lenses and you will slowly understand how it works.

Camera – If it works, it works. Mine even had sensor dust on it for this shoot… which I only just noticed in the studio shots.

Other tips for you – Keep it simple, keep it compact, you don’t need much gear, you just need what works. Don’t worry about what other people are doing, just do you. It is what you are best at.

This is all quick and dirty and if you have any questions please ask below I would love to help.

A magazine cover shoot is rather straightforward. You find a few locations with the band and/or publication, and shoot it all in a day. I would say we spent anywhere from 10-30 minutes at each spot, and then finished with the studio shots. It is very run and gun but I like to keep the client happy, as well as the band. The rest is really all up to you.

Pierce The Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Pierce The Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine
Adam Elmakias photographs Pierce The Veil for Rock Sound Magazine
Little bit behind the scenes
Adam Elmakias photographs Pierce The Veil for Rock Sound Magazine
Sometimes I stand on my car, sometimes others sit on theirs
Pierce The Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Pierce The Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine
Pierce The Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Outtake from shoot
Pierce The Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Guitar toss into the ocean
Pierce The Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
This one is my favorite
Pierce The Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
And it’s off
Adam Elmakias photographs Pierce The Veil for Rock Sound Magazine
On the streets in San Diego
Pierce the Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Pierce The Veil in San Diego
example of image in magazine
Example of image in magazine
Pierce the Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
This was fun to shoot
Adam Elmakias photographs Pierce the Veil for Rock Sound Magazine
Shooting

All of these images end up being composited, so the background doesn’t really matter. I just use it so they have an easy time cutting it out.

Pierce the Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Holy sensor dust batman
Pierce the Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Smiles are good
Pierce the Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Yes
Pierce the Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Tony
Pierce the Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
Vic

Adam Elmakias photographs Pierce the Veil for Rock Sound Magazine

Pierce the Veil photographed for Rock Sound Magazine by Adam Elmakias
This could potentially be the magazine cover, they ended up using a different shot but I like this one.