My day shooting Sammy Hagar.
So it was a phone call somewhat out of the blue. A good friend of mine, and fellow photographer, down in LA reached out to me on a Wednesday to see if I would be around that weekend. I was momentarily caught off guard because he knows I no longer live in Southern California. But it turned out he was asking if I would be in the San Francisco Bay Area and available that weekend.
He said he might have a lead for me on a project he knew I would dig.
And after a few various emails that afternoon, and confirmation the following day, I was booked to shoot Sammy Hagar for AXS TV and Mercury Insurance!
Growing up I had listened to Van Halen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and all those classic rock groups with my dad. So I knew of Sammy and his music.
This would be awesome.
Going into a shoot like this there is always a schedule and outline of shot needs and expectations. But you never know exactly how things will go.
So you come prepared for everything.
I went out to BorrowLenses.com’s headquarters and rented some gear for the weekend.
The shoot with be combined with a video shoot and interview. This means that I would have to be almost completely silent while shooting – which is tricky unless you’re shooting with mirrorless cameras.
I picked up one of the new Canon EOS-5DSr camera bodies (the 52MP one) and the Canon 11-24 f/4L. There was the possibility of needing an ultra-wide shot of multiple cars. So, better bring an ultra-wide lens. Right?
The day of the shoot I headed out to the location I was given. It was a normal looking building, located there in a city among everything else.
But what made this place awesome was it’s Sammy’s business HQ. His studio. His office. And you’d never know it.
This is one of the images I shot that afternoon that was used online by Mercury
So first we started with images of Sammy’s guitars and studio. Various images that could be used for the different needs that Mercury might have later on.
One of Sammy’s assistants was there that day helping me out by moving everything that way I wouldn’t have to worry about being liable for Sammy’s gear. We also got some studio images. Better to capture anything the client might need.
This was given to Sammy and the guys by some fans. They use it to keep the sound board dust free at night when they’re done working.
Edit: In a comment below Kevin from the UK had this to say
“My flag I threw to Sammy at the Chickenfoot show in Manchester UK has made it to Sammy’s studio O YEA! \m/ “
And this is awesome because the guys at the studio were saying “How cool would it be if the people who gave this to us saw how it’s being used..”
A couple hours into the day Sammy arrived
And Sammy was in a great mood and excited to talk about cars.
His favorite? His Ferrari LaFerrari
And for someone like me, whose worked around supercars and spent the last several years living in LA with Ferraris Lamborghinis and other supercars in the garage at home, I was totally in my element as well. You wanna talk super cars and the difference of driving a Ferrari compared to a Lambo? I’m down! And probably more experienced with supercars than most others in the room. haha!
As soon as the video guys were dialed with their lighting it was time to start the interview part of the afternoon.
This was the part of the day I had to be completely silent.
I took a few test shots right at the start to see if the shutter would be picked up by the mics.
Shooting with the 5DSr there is a Silent mode setting that cuts the shutter sound by well over half. And it was enough that I could shoot freely without worrying about the video.
And being able to freely shoot during the video interview was great. And that alone was worth the camera rental. Typically shoot with my 1D-X, which is a great camera. But most DX owners know that the Silent mode on that is pretty useless. It’s a sports camera after all.
But shooting during the interview resulted is some great images like this
And very real moments like this as well. Sammy laughing while telling driving stories.
Being an interview sponsored by Mercury Insurance, everything was car-centric. The stories were all driving stories and about the love of the road and cars
There were several great stories about his LaFerrari, too.
Afterward Sammy had to hit the recording studio for a few quick VO’s
Later, after a bunch of images of the cars below, I had a short time to work directly with Sammy!
This is what I consider to be THE image from that shoot. So it’s the only one I’m probably going to share in this writeup. I took several images of Sammy with his LaFerrari. Then we moved to shoot with his classic 1983 512 Berlinetta Boxer. The Ferrari from his “I can’t drive 55” music video!
We took a few photos and then Sammy said: “Wait, I know what I’m gonna do for you.” as he sat on the bumper. “I did a shoot just like this years ago. My fans will recognize this pose with this car.”
And this is the look and pose we captured. Again, I think it’s the shot from the whole day.
My time with Sammy ended shortly after a series of photos with this car. We talked for a bit longer, went outside as he discussed one of his other cars with us and showed us that one. And then it was time for me to get back inside and wrap up a few more images of the other vehicles for Mercury.
The only thing I’m bummed about is that I should have asked to get a photo with Sammy. Oh well.
Back inside, shooting the cars by themselves.
I only know one other person who owns a LaFerrari – which honestly is probably one more than most people know. haha! They’re incredibly rare, and Sammy has a white one, which is even more rare. Plus white vehicles look super sharp
I took several images of each car because the client needed plenty of photos. No problem! I can do that
As quickly as the afternoon flew by I still had a great time.
I’ve had some cool opportunities to work with some amazing people that I knew of growing up and throughout school/etc. To get chances now to work directly with those various celebrities on photoshoots is pretty awesome.
Check out the various articles Mercury Insurance from that interview day here: