Posting Grids (Puzzles) on Instagram

13 members of March Fourth Marching Band photographed on a rich red velvet curtain

Who doesn’t love a giant grid post on Instagram? Well, pretty much everyone. It’s impressive to discover one, but the process of posting one can annoy your followers. Is it worth the risk? The jury is still out on that.

I’ll be posting puzzle/grid of the dramatic image above from a shoot a few years back of March Fourth Marching Band’s 10th birthday anniversary. Their next birthday is in just a few days, on (you guessed it) March 4th, at the Crystal Ballroom.

I’ve been experimenting with grid posts, with mixed results. I’m about to post one on my largest account, @andybattportfolio – I’ve never done one on this account, but the image I’ve chosen is particularly suited for the idea. I’ll be posting 6 squares from one image, and something is happening in every single square. That said, it could become confusing when viewers wonder why I’m posting so many images of the same thing.

Captions to the rescue! I plan on letting everyone know what I’m up to, by naming the images 1 of 6, 2 of six, and so on.

What has your experience been with grids, either in posting, or getting all those weird partial pictures in your feed?

Here’s another sample of grid posting that I’ve been testing on our @badchoicesproject IG account. If you aren’t following it, YOU SHOULD BE!!!

https://www.instagram.com/badchoicesproject/

And because I couldn’t resist, here’s an out of focus shot of Andy’s sketch for the shoot. Interesting fact: this is a single shot – no photoshopped heads or bodies added. ALL IN CAMERA!

Musical act March Fourth March Band poses for entertainment photographer Andy Batt
March Fourth is a band anywhere from 10 to 20 musicians and performers. How do you photograph this many people without resorting to using risers?

Digging Through the Archive

Entertainment photographer Andy Batt created photographs of band members flying through the air

The other day, I was looking for some info for SEO on my website, and came across this shoot for Roxy Epoxy and The Rebound. Often associated with such fierce and striking artists as Karen O, Siouxsie Sioux, and Chrissie Hynde, Roxy Epoxy made a lasting impact on the punk and indie scene in Portland in the early 2000’s.

Andy wanted to create the sense of falling for the band, so we built a platform, rented a crash pad, and asked them to just go for it! Would I recommend this approach? Maybe not – as one of the band injured their ankle. This was a lesson in ‘oh, that’s why there’s professional stunt people!’

I think I’ll add this work to the ‘entertainment’ gallery on our site. Can’t call Andy an entertainment photographer if he’s not shooting in the genre, right?

Carlos The Rollerblader for Portland Monthly

photographed by Andy Batt, December 2018

When a call comes in to photograph someone who titles themselves “Carlos The Rollerblader“, I say yes first, and then find out what the story is second. I’ve done other profile pieces for Portland Monthly Magazine, but Carlos’ portrait is one of my favorites.


First up, Carlos prefers They/Them pronouns. Yes this is new to some people, but it’s not that hard to do a little retraining and get your brain wrapped around the concept. Maybe it’s all the amazing SF that I’ve read over the past few years, but this just makes sense to me. The tricky bit is getting my brain to not need to be actively thinking about it, to get it firmly in place. This has nothing to do with making the image and everything to do with me being a better photographer.

I did some preliminary sketches and lighting tests on this one—the goal was to find a way of creating motion and direction, to find a visual metaphor for Carlos and their work as a stand up comedian and phone advice giver (seriously, Carlos will answer the phone and give you life advice). Also, Carlos is a rollerblader. Like, they perform on rollerblades, on stage. And everywhere else. Carlos has a constant feeling of motion, even when they are standing still.

Carlos arrived on set and we began the collaboration—they were a lot of fun to have in the studio. They also DJ professionally, so I turned over the airplay stream to them and we had killer music during the entire session.

I ended up with a carefully built, sculpted light look, designed to create beautiful tones where it hit and to drop off quickly to deep shadow where it didn’t.

The graphic quality of the light created that visual momentum, carrying you around the contours and lines of their face.

Of course, since it’s my brain we’re working with here, I had a second idea on the backburner—using a combination of a long shutter, carefully set continuous lights and a multipop sequence to add true visual sense of motion + I really wanted to do a full length shot to get those rollerblades in. It’s an old school technique but done with a deliberate intention in mind—it wasn’t about creating meaningless streaks or blur, it was making a connected graphic, echoing the design ideas in the portraits.

cheers
-andy