The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Cafe Largo

When my daughter, Meg, turned 21 back in February, we gave in to her request for a party and hired Ringford Village Hall for the evening (see previous post) – the same place we used for my 50th.

We knew Meg would want lots of music and dancing, so we needed a band.

It didn't take long to figure out who to ask.

A little over 3 years ago I did a photo shoot for Cafe Largo on a cold, windy, winter's day at the beach in Scotland, while attempting to give it a warm, fun, Latin vibe, with hints of a Jack Vettriano painting.

Against all possible expectations it actually worked (click through to this blog post for more on that shoot:, and bonds were formed through adversity.

In the intervening years there's been a bit of a change of line-up, and the styles of music they cover have expanded. Consequently the photo has become out of date and they were keen for a new one.

The perfect opportunity for a trade of skills.

Despite being one member down (the trumpet player was hit with one of the horrible winter viruses doing the rounds), Cafe Largo happily played for a couple of hours and Meg couldn't have been more delighted.

So now it was time to deliver on my side of the deal.

We spent an evening discussing ideas and possibilities, and what emerged was this time they wanted to go for something that had more of a performance feel to it, with outfits from different time periods to reflect the wider song list.

With this in mind, a stage setting seemed like the ideal place to do the shoot. This had the added advantage of not having to navigate the Scottish weather in late winter.

We ended up at the Theatre Royal in Dumfries, which has a black stage and black backdrops, giving me the perfect space to set up my own lighting to get the effects I wanted.

It also gave me the opportunity to play with a wee smoke machine I bought last year – after asking the Theatre to temporarily switch off their smoke alarms to avoid accidentally calling out the fire brigade.

Although similar in style, the 2 images we created emphasise different aspects and so allow them to pick the right image for the gig they want to promote.

By placing the singer up front, the first photo is more about performance. With the second photo, however, the idea that you would get up and dance takes prominence.

A fun shoot with a fun band. They even bought me lunch afterwards.

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