Shooting Challenge #30 -- The Sound Of Music (Win Spotify Premium Codes)

By Martin Snelling on at

I'll not lie to you, music is one of the most important things in my life; yes even more important that TV, tech, videogames and photography! For me, re-interpreting other people's words in a visual format is really creative and can be a lot of fun too.

Music is often a source for my photography; whether it's a photograph based simply on the name of a song, a live music event, or an abstract photograph derived from a feeling I get from listening to music. If someone was to ask what I enjoy photographing most of all, I'd probably say live music or solitary trees.

For those that have been participating in the Shooting Challenges since day one, I know I've done a music-based Shooting Challenge before, but this one is slightly different and if I had my way, we'd be doing music-based Shooting Challenges every bloody week. But I won't put you through that, promise.


The Brief:

For this week's Shooting Challenge, I want you to get inspired by the sound of music. No, not the 1965 musical extravaganza, although I will happily accept entries based on the music from the film. What I want to see is photography inspired by music -- it can be anything at all! However, the photo must fit within one of the following categories:

1) Photograph a musical instrument.

2) Make a sleeveface or sleeveplace (I just invented that).

3) Make a photograph inspired by a song/album from your favourite band/singer.

4) Photograph a live music performance.

5) Make a photograph inspired by Soulsavers' Some Misunderstanding.

There's no technique section this time as you have complete free reign to do whatever you want. It is less about the technique, and more about getting creative with your thoughts and your camera. I will however try to answer any questions below.

If you're unsure what a sleeveface is, then check out the link above. Basically, it's taking an album cover with someone's face on and photographing it placed against another's face to create an amusing composite. Sleevefaces work best with vinyl records, so if you don't have any, hit the local charity shops. I don't myself, but I've always wanted to do a bit of sleevefacing.

A sleeveplace is somewhat trickier than a sleeveface as it involves album covers with places on them (think The Beatles' Abbey Road and Oasis' What's The Story, Morning Glory). The challenge with a sleeveplace is to create a composite photograph of the original location with the album cover.


The Prizes:

There's a bumper bag of prizes up for grabs this week as we have 10, yes 10, three-month Spotify Premium codes up for grabs.


The Example:

The example photo entitled The Future of Live Music was taken at a low-key gig by the legend that is Johnny Marr on a Panasonic GF-3. I felt it perfectly captured how live music is seen and 'enjoyed' by many people now -- through the window of a mobile phone (and not always their own). I understand that people want a reminder of the night's entertainment but terrible footage isn't it. As someone who isn't gifted in the height department, I do find myself constantly looking into a sea of brightly lit screens blocking my view of the act on the stage. Put your phones away people and enjoy the live music!


The Rules:

- Follow the brief
- Submissions must be your own work.
- Submit up to five images
- Photos must be taken after the challenge was published, so no existing shots please.
- Minimal image post-processing is permitted (global changes only)
- Explain briefly in your submission email the equipment, settings, technique used and the story behind the image/images.
- Please ensure you include what category your photograph is in
- Ensure EXIF info is intact (if image was taken digitally).
- Email submissions to
- Please ensure your image is at least 600px wide and less than 3MB in size.
- Save your image as a JPG, and use the following naming convention FirstnameLastnameMUSIC.jpg
- Don't forget to include a shooting summary (see above).
- Send your best photos by Monday, March 17th 2014 at 6pm UK time with "Shooting Challenge - MUSIC" in the subject line.
- Anyone can enter, regardless of location.
- The most important rule -- HAVE FUN!

Martin Snelling is a Hampshire-based photomatographer and wearer of fine hats. He tweets here, Flickrs here, and does his website stuff here.