Music Photography Blog

by Adam Elmakias

Pierce The Veil Alternative Press Cover Shoot Behind The Scenes

Pierce The Veil is on the cover of Alternative Press magazine this past month. We shot the cover in early December. I was about to type this up in early January, but it is Jan 15th and I am laying in a bunk in Ireland and I know we didn’t do this shoot a week ago haha. Man time is messing with my head. Anyway! Looking back at e-mails, it looks like AP first e-mailed me about this shoot on December 14th. Target shoot date? The 20th.


Showing Pierce The Veil images during the shoot


A tad rushed, no one’s fault at all, this is how this stuff usually works out most of the time. What did I have to do before the shoot?

  • Get a studio
  • Assistants
  • Arrange behind the scenes video and photos
  • Concepts typed up and e-mailed to AP, modified, then sent to band and manager
  • Day Sheet
  • Food arrangements (we just got Chipotle, cause it’s easy and awesome)
  • Lighting
  • Clothing restrictions for each setup

I think that pretty much sums it up, all of this was getting worked out for the next few days, all the way up to the 19th. Then on the 19th I received a call that my studio had to cancel. Haha… that was a first, had a mini-heart attack but they were nice enough to set me up with another studio in a few hours so it all worked out.

Anyway the shoot went great. We had a list of shots to knock out and a good 8 hours to do so (we finished in 6). I have an order to do my setups and it usually keeps everything flowing nicely.

First setup – Easy on the subject, so nothing stiff or hard to pull off, lots of movement and room to get into “shoot mode”, pretty easy lighting, maybe a box for main and some bare bulbs to light up the background

Second setup – Hardest setup on the subject, this usually means it’s the most difficult to light as well- for this shoot it was the cover shots

Third setup – Concept — have some fun! Shouldn’t take too long as you are trying to get one particular shot

Fourth setup – Easier than anything else- in this case just a light on the cyc wall and portraits/ hang out images with all four guys

Fifth setup – Guys are usually tired by this time, kept this last location to a few minutes.


A setup we never used, but gives you an idea of the studio space


This may be a bit confusing but long story short, in terms of difficulty for both photographer and subject, it goes something like this:

  • Easy/ Warm up
  • Difficult / Cover or most important images
  • Concept/ quick hard to light , take a lot of tries to get one solid image
  • Super easy/ lots of movement/ portraits
  • Everything else after this is sorta play by ear depending on how long your subjects can shoot for, we did one last shot that took 3 minutes

If they don’t feel good, they probably won’t look good, so you sorta have to cater to their needs if you want the best images.

The shoot itself went great. No complaints from my end. I have photographed the Pierce The Veil guys at least twenty times, so working with them is always smooth and painless. I always try to keep everyone busy at all times. So if we are changing lights, the band is changing clothes, or if we have a longer changeover- get lunch delivered.

First shots you see are the cover shots, we did three of them. One of the four guys, and then two more- each with half the band. These were probably the most difficult shots of the whole shoot. It’s harder than you think to get two dudes right next to each other so that their faces line up nicely and the look natural.

Full band
Mike and Vic
Jaime and Tony


This was a studio shot on the cyc wall. I just PS’ed out the background and replaced it with something more uniform. Make sure to add noise whenever you paint backgrounds and mess with opacity so that some shadows from the floor stay. Ya ya.


Mid shoot


These next two are from our simple light setup. We did a ton of shots at this location, I’ll post some other favorites from this setup after AP is done with all the images – we have a ton.

Group photo outtake

All the portraits in the article were shot in a similar fashion.


Portrait shots lighting setup

This shot was a composite. Due to time I couldn’t drive 30 minutes with the dudes anywhere, so I shot it out back. I composited it with a shot that I took a few days later.


Lighting was an AB 800 through a medium octabox and a 580ex with a gel from back as a rim light.

Ghetto Rig

Until next time!