The Little Drummer Boy - Oli Edwards

16th Jan 2012

It’s nice to help out someone when you can, even a snotty nosed little kid who used to take great delight “power slamming” onto me from the age of about 5. Yep little Oli Edwards introduced himself by way of leaping off the end of the bed onto my sleeping form and as fate would have it landing right on top of the old crown jewels. I was speechless, breathless and felt decidedly sick – a big impression from such a little guy!

Fast forward 11 years and Little Oli has grown into the kind of cool dude other kids hate ( I hated kids like Oli when I was a kid) and to add insult to injury (O there were lots of injuries) he plays the drums. Now when I say he plays the drums I don’t just mean he bangs around a bit, I mean he plays the things like Ginger Baker, Ian Pace or Jon Bonham, you know what I’m saying, he’s good, f_cking good, so it came as no surprise to learn he was asked by an industry “Big Wig” if he had a “show reel”

You know the sort of thing, a short film of Oli and his drumming, unfortunately he didn’t, well he had a film of a recent gig he’d done but to be honest it didn’t show off his talents as best it could. “It didn’t have to be anything special” the guy had said  “just get your mum to take a few photos & a video on her iPhone” Problem was “Mum” didn’t have an iPhone! She told her sister Lucy, my partner, who offered to drive down to Bristol iPhone in hand to shoot a portrait, three-quarter and full length pics as well as well as a short video of him drumming away during a practice session. Evidently the record company needed a drummer to be part of a band they were putting together to back a young and very talented lad they’d recently signed, so this could be Oli’s big break if everything went well. If the photos and video showed the exec that Oli not only looked the part but could actually drum as well!


I thought for a moment of all those times he came crashing down on me, revenge is sweet or so they say, “Tell Oli I’ll take the photos for him” I yelled across the room “and I know just the man to shoot his video”

So all that was needed was for Ali (Oli’s mum) to load up her Van with the drum kit and drive up to Sheffield where the studio is, hey presto the following Saturday we’re all at the studio watching Oli set his kit up. After a little tuning and tweaking it’s enter stage left Ian Burton, the aforementioned cameraman who, when he’s not busy working for the BBC, ITV or Channel 4, he can be found instructing would be filmmakers how to shoot in 3D for Sony. He even brought along a small prototype rig and filmed the whole thing in 3D as well as more conventional formats, how cool is that, you’re very own 3D film.

So once the big guns had finished it was my turn to shoot a couple of set-ups both in and out of the studio. Essentially, all we were looking for was a head and shoulders, three quarter and full length body shots. I took a couple of full length in the studio with Oli sitting at and on his kit, I wanted a slightly dark, moody type of theme so opted not to use background lights and let the white turn to a more sombre grey. I back lit Ol's with a couple of small soft boxes with grids and chose a ring flash as my front light (see above) then it was time to move outside and take advantage of some funky doors and brickwork just down the road from the studio, I love texture and really wanted to include it in these shots. Both the portraits shown here were taken with a single Elinchrom Ringflash powered by a Quadra pack I like the muted colours of the old steel gate with the greys and blues of the clothes.


At one point I looked round and as I was busy snapping away at Oli, his mum was taking photos of me taking photos. Lucy, Ali's sister and Sue, Ali's mum (Oli's grandmother) were all happily snapping away too!

By the time you read this the photos and Video should have been sent through to the people who need them, hopefully they'll like Oli and his drumming, fingers crossed - watch this space