Taylor Swift and Sony A99 Rock for Nigel Barker
When Artisan of Imagery Nigel Barker was asked to shoot pop and country superstar Taylor Swift for an upcoming Sony ad campaign, he responded, “Yes, but I want to make it something bigger than just a photo shoot.” After all, Taylor Swift is a 6-time Grammy winner that has been chosen Billboard Woman of the Year, American Music Awards Artist of the Year, and the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year. It seemed only fitting that a superstar like Taylor be captured during the 2-day shoot with Sony’s newest cameras, including the flagship A99.
Day 1 was Nigel’s first opportunity to work with Taylor and the A99. “The concept was to capture Taylor going about her everyday life with the new Sony cameras,” says Nigel. “We had the RX100, the NEX-5R and a few others. She knew just how to use each one of them. It was amazing.
“Taylor loved that she could upload photos right from the 5R. After all, she’s a famous singer with a huge social media following that loves to share with her fans. We bonded immediately over our passion for photography and technology. And that made for a truly special day.”
On day 2, Nigel had the opportunity to shoot stills of Taylor on a remarkable set built for her newest music video. The expansive stage housed a series of different environments—a house, a street, a garden and more. Taylor had to perform her song while walking and sometimes running through each environment. And she had to do it all in one take. The whole process was choreographed very carefully, and there could be no changes to the set or lighting for Nigel’s shoot.
“The set was very dimly lit. I had only a few minutes with Taylor so I grabbed my go-to camera, the A900. The light was so low I had to push the ISO to 1600, which gave me more noise than I wanted. I wasn’t happy with the images. So I turned to the A99.
“It was like butter. Even with ISO 1250 at 2.8, it looked like shooting at ISO 200. There is simply nothing like it. I couldn’t have done the job the way I wanted to without this camera.”
The low-light capability of the A99 clearly made an impression on Nigel. As he continued to use the camera throughout the day, it grew on him more and more. “The full frame aspect of this camera is huge. While a bigger sensor is better, you need the integrity of the sensor to be the best possible. This is where Sony excels. The sensor’s sensitivity and ability to eliminate noise is stunning. The images are so clear they almost feel retouched.
“I had assumed the camera would be heavier, but it’s svelte, balanced and very well weighted. With 1080p video and the tilt screen, the A99 isn’t just a force to be reckoned with, it’s the next supermodel.”
Nigel and Taylor’s 2-day session yielded hundreds of incredible photos. Some will be featured in the new Sony campaign, while others will make their way to a 60-page book scheduled for release in early 2013.
“The A99 is now the ‘Number 1’ camera in my bag,” says Nigel. He was blown away by Sony’s new full-frame SLT. And based on the performance it delivered for Nigel Barker, you’ll be hearing its praises from many other professionals as well.