When the Baha Men’s manager over at Talent Ventures reached out to me about creative portraits of the band, my first thought was “how do you pose 9 men without making them look silly?” I’ve worked with large groups before, but never anything quite like the Grammy-award winning Bahaman Baha Men (and it took me 20 years to figure out that little play on words.)
Here’s a look behind-the-scenes look showing how this project came together at Ampersand Studios in Miami.
When I say “the Baha Men” you probably think about the video from their 2000 hit “Who Let the Dogs Out.” A fisheye lens, shirtless young men on the beach, and lots of dogs. That just wasn’t going to work for this group of mature men in 2020.
Together with the band’s branding consultants at Dead Horse Branding, I threw out my suggestions for how we could update the band’s image. My goal was to give the guys clothing that said “We’re veterans of the music industry and we still know how to have a good time.” Once my style ideas were approved, I had 5 days to find a professional stylist, secure an appropriate location, and pull off the session.
About a week before the session, my main studio light broke. I have 3 other lights so I knew I could still handle lighting the group, but I didn’t want to risk having uncontrollable lighting and weather conditions to contend with outdoors. So I settled on finding an indoor studio with plenty of natural light. Thankfully, I had been location scouting in Miami recently and learned about Ampersand Studios. This massive studio space was perfect for our needs, and the staff were accommodating, friendly, and gracious hosts.
The biggest challenge was finding a stylist who could pull off my vision for the clothing on such a short timeframe. While I usually style my bands and personal branding clients myself, I knew this was too big of a job for me and I needed an expert to make sure these guys looked as cool as possible.
Enter my savior: Anna Ruiz. Anna was incredibly professional, and treated the members of the Baha Men with the utmost respect and courtesy. On only 3 days notice, she found the outfits and styled the band members the day of the shoot. I couldn’t be happier with her work!
I knew I would need all hands on deck for this project! Spencer came along as an assistant and to catch some amazing behind-the-scenes video footage. Jenna helped the band members with the hair and a light touch of makeup (it helps everyone!)
With the whole team in place doing their part to make the session go smoothly, I was able to create these portraits!
Posing 9 Men
With a bit of research and planning, my initial fear about posting 9 unrelated men turned out to be no problem at all!
I applied simple posing principles such as creating V shapes, capturing movement, and giving directions to each individual to avoid looking stiff or award. Doing some homework beforehand made the whole process very simple. And looking at other portraits of large groups of men helped me think of ways to position their bodies and evoke expressions that would send just the right message.