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?

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?

Esperanza Spalding

photographed by Andy Batt – October 2018

This is project that took a few years of scheduling and relationship building—but in October I was finally able to get Esperanza into the studio for an incredible portrait session. She’d been touring for a new album, but was going to be in Portland to visit friends and to be part of a gala night for Bienestar, an amazing non-profit that creates housing and opportunity for Portland’s latino community. The event was “An Evening of Esperanza”, with a performance & silent auction. I was asked to create 2 portraits of Esperanza, one to be auctioned and one to be printed and placed in the “goodie bag” the VIP ticket holders would get.

Esperanza’s back catalog is an incredibly diverse range of her music. I listened as I did a bunch of creative sessions, using mind-mapping techniques, sketching and allowing my mind to wander. I began to have a glimpse of an idea—I wasn’t sure what it was exactly, or where it would lead, but I decided to follow it.

I ended up building a tiny tiny setwall box, and painted it with metallic silver paint—I wanted to create a compressed space to put a big personality—to create some visual tension and allow for her to express a physicality with movement or pressure. I used a very specialized lighting technique to create a hard, defined circle of light—I felt that the clean geometry of a circle would make a connection with her.

And because I’m me, I also wanted to create a classic B&W seated portrait, beautifully and simply lit. Something similar to the way I photographed Senator Jeff Merkley.

It was a great session—Esperanza gave me a generous amount of time, and enjoyed the experience; she’s a wonderful collaborator. I look forward to our next project together.

-andy batt

A shout out to Pro Photo Supply – who generously sponsored the printing of the framed auction print and the gift bag portraits! Get your printing (and cameras and media and lights and all the good stuff) at PPS!