Taking Photos at the Akron Civic Theatre

Portraits of Jazz

Hello and, if you’re reading this right after posting, Happy Holidays!

With that out of the way, let’s get into the meat of this blog post. I understand completely that being a generalist isn’t always a good idea. Specialists oftentimes make more money in a field that’s very specific to their interests. In my other profession as a creative director, I am considered a specialist for what I do. As a photographer, however, I do tend to take a more general approach to the types of jobs I work. Why? Honestly, I love the variety it offers. A good example of this is a gig I worked this last weekend in Akron, OH at the Akron Civic Theatre.

Night is Alive is a producer and publisher of modern Jazz, and when they had a Holiday Concert coming through town in support of their new album, Christmas Ain’t Like It Used To Be, I was tasked with capturing the live performance. What transpired was an hour and a half of beautiful music, dreamy lighting, and impromptu portraits. It gave me a chance to be a commercial, event, and portrait photographer all in one night and it was awesome. Below are some pictures of both the performance and the portraits.

Luckily, I had two flashes with me so I was able to take a few portraits with a little off-camera flash. This lets me give the portraits an almost cut-out look from the darker background. The Akron Civic is rimmed with gold from every direction, which gives the place a very opulent feeling. This also means, however, that your portraits are going to pick up a lot of that color. If you look at the photos of our two guys you’ll notice the gold and yellow creeps in from every angle, especially the shadows. For our singer, Andromeda, I changed up tactics and really reduced the ambient light, and thus the golden color influence, allowing for a more neutral tonality to her portrait.


Benjamin Lehman is a commercial photographer in the Canton, Akron, Cleveland, and Northeastern area of Ohio.