If you’re in a band and trying to get noticed, one of the most important things you should be thinking about is putting together your Publicity and Press Pack. A crucial part of this Press Pack are the promotional photographs. First impressions are always important and when it comes to booking gigs and getting the attention of A&R people bad photography can ensure your carefully crafted press pack goes straight in the bin; this isn’t the time to be fighting over pennies. That said we are all on a budget of some sort and the good news is you don’t have to break the bank to get great photography.
Before you contact any photographers to discuss things further, think about what you are going to use the photographs for. Are they just for your press pack, website and social media presence or are you planning on using them across your tour posters, CD’s, t-shirts etc. Generally photographers charge according to how you are going to use the images so the price may increase the more things you want to use the images for. If you aren’t on the verge of releasing your first CD there’s no point paying for the right to use images on your CD’s. Most photographers will let you add further licences at a later stage when you’re ready so you don’t have to commit up front if cash is tight. Having said that if you do have specific things you want to use the images for it’s worth discussing it up front with your photographer as they may offer a discount for multiple uses.
While it can be tempting to ask any friend with a camera to do your shoot, there are risks in this approach; not least in terms of the relationship. Telling a friend that there you have a problem with the images can put a strain on the friendship, especially if they’ve been done as a favour whereas a professional will be more interested in having a happy customer than protecting any hurt feelings. There’s also the issue of insurance to consider. Whilst rare, accidents can happen on photo shoots and whereas any Professional Photographer will have public liability insurance the same can’t be assumed if you get a friend to take your shots. When looking for a someone to do your press shoot, the first thing you should look at is the previous work of the photographer. Do you like their work? Does their style fit with your sound? When you’re looking at this, make sure you look at as much of their work as possible, many photographers have a range of styles and while not all will fit, there may be more than one look that will work for you.
Once you’ve found a number of photographers you like the look of, get in touch with them and tell them what you’ve got in mind, if you have a particular look you want to go for trying and find some reference images or sketch your ideas out. You’re far more likely to get what you want if you’ve discussed it up front with the photographer. Let them know how you plan to use the images as well at this stage so that you go into the shoot knowing exactly how much it will cost you – having a great set of images you can’t afford to use is going to leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Okay so you’ve found a photographer you like, discussed your ideas, you’ve agreed on what the images are going to be used for and negotiated an acceptable price and the day of the shoot arrives.
Wear something comfortable on the way to the shoot and take cleanser, moisturiser, towel and a spritzer spray filled with plain water to keep cool, and your skin looking fresh and hydrated. Take a few different outfits with you and avoid using make up until you get to the shoot. If you or the make up artist has to remove existing make up it will waste time. Also, remember that studio lighting can be drain the colour from your sking so make up needs to be applied with care to highlight and enhance your features, and guys you should consider a little light make-up as well, a foundation will even out skin tone, hide blemishes and prevent the face looking pale and washed out.
Depending on the photographer and what has been agreed, a shoot can involve anything from a couple of hours shooting to a full day in the studio. Although it can and should be fun, remember you could be spending a lot of time standing or sitting around under hot lights in different poses. Take some snacks with you to nibble on and a bottle of water or two for the breaks. Also take some music with you, whether it’s your mp3 player or some CDs music can really help create the right mood for your images. Finally don’t forget to have fun and work with the photographer on ideas for images, the best results often come from shoots where the ideas are flowing backwards and forwards between the photographer and the subject so don’t be afraid to try out ideas as they come up.
Once you have chosen the best photo’s and assuming you have purchased the rights from the photographer, there are several ways in which you can use your photo’s to publicise your act/band.
Having a photoshoot may require some investment from you but with a bit of forethought you can reap the benefits from your images. Give me a call or contact me to discuss how we can help you build your profile.