How to Take Great Band Photos in 5 StepsBy
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
It was a freezing cold day. Sometimes Texas in November is kind, and you’ll get a beautiful 65 degrees with not a cloud in the sky! But this was not one of those days. It was overcast, drizzling off and on, and was easily in the low-30s.
But this was the day that we had booked the photographer, so out into the cold I ventured to take the promotional shots for my next album.
Getting in front of a photographer is a part of being a musician that I don’t really enjoy. I’m definitely not a model. I get self conscious, start to clam up, I worry the entire time how the pictures are going to turn out, and I spend half the shoot wondering if my hair looks super weird.
This time though, I promised myself I wasn’t going to worry. I was going to be prepared, and do some concrete things to make sure the photos turned out great. And they did!
I know that many musicians also struggle with taking great photos, so I’ve put together the tips that got me through my last photo shoot so that you can also take some amazing band photos.
Step 1 – Be Prepared
The best thing you can do to get great photos is know what you want. Do some digging, and find photos you really like. These might be photos of other bands, landscapes, album covers, or portraits.
Try to find about 10 pictures that you really love. Then try and pick out one or two things about each photo that you like. Colors, the “vibe” of the picture, the location, how people are posed in the photo, and the lighting are all things that you should look for. When you’ve defined why you like your 10 photos, you’re ready to start looking for a photographer. The photos you picked out will help you find a photographer with a style that works for your music and your brand, and will also help you to communicate what you want when you hire a photographer.
Step 2 – Choose Wisely
Photographers are artists. If you wanted to listen to thrash metal live, you probably wouldn’t go to a coffeehouse open mic. If you want photos that are a particular style, you need to find a photographer that works within that style.
I’m not saying that a photographer shouldn’t be flexible and try to get the shots that you want. But you should do your research, and find a photographer in your area whose current portfolio is similar to the look you’re going for. If all of their photos look a certain way, and you want something completely different, you should probably choose a different photographer.
When you’re communicating with a potential photographer, try sending them a link to your music. Listening to your music can help them to get a feel for what kinds of photos they will need to take, and if their style will mesh well with your band.
You also need to make sure you have permission from your photographer to use the images for commercial purposes. Remember, they own the copyright to the photos they take. Most professional photographers will have a protocol already in place for granting a commercial licenses for their photos.
When choosing a photographer, style is key. But you also have to look at price.