As we’ve all heard a hundred times before, first impressions are everything. When promoters, booking agents, managers, etc. see a picture of you online before meeting you in person, you want that photo to accurately represent you. Having quality photos of you or your band could be what makes or breaks your chance of being booked at that amazing venue or signing a deal with that perfect indie label. Don’t limit your chances of getting that next amazing opportunity by having a shitty online presence. Make sure your photos are professional quality to ensure your first impression is a good one.
Good Press Photos Really Do Matter
When being considered for features, bookings and more, your press photos are very likely one of the first things looked at right after your music. At the very minimum, your photos need to be professionally done. If you want to stand out among the crowd, you’ll need even more than that.
How to Get Started
If you’re lacking inspiration, check out other musicians’ press photos to get the creative juices flowing. Hiring a professional photographer is a great start, but you need to make sure their vision aligns with yours. When the time comes, you want to be already prepared with ideas and ready to collaborate to create something uniquely yours.
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Building Your Team
Hiring a photographer is the first step. However, you should also consider hiring a great stylist and/or a creative director to help guide your vision into the real world. It’s easy to just ask a friend of yours to snap some shots of you at your show on their phone or to try and style all of your bandmates yourself and call it a day. However, I highly recommend you do some research and find serious professionals in your area who really know what they’re doing.
Sometimes, you may have an idea in mind but aren’t able to pull it all together in the way you imagined. That’s where great stylists and creative directors swoop in to save the day. These people specialize in turning your imaginary vision into reality. They’ll add another level of professionalism to your photos and ensure the outcome is perfect.
- Ask your friends in the industry for referrals. They’ll give you trustworthy insight into their work ethic, personality, etc.
- Head over to Instagram and look at stylists’ work in your area. Instagram is great for this because it’s essentially an accessible portfolio where you can see what they’ve done in the past, what they’re working on now and decide if their style fits your vision.
To get a real feel for exactly what stylists can do for a musicians brand, we talked to Creative Director Jocelyn Simone and Pro Colorist Chelsey Pickthorn of We Color Live to find out what makes a great stylist, how to find one, the perks of the craft and more. Check out “What do Stylists do for Musicians?” to learn more.
Studio vs On-Location
Artists should consider having both studio and on-location settings for your photos. If you want more serious photos with dramatic lighting, indoor studio lighting works wonderfully. Shooting on-location somewhere outdoors offers a chance to shoot more fun, creative shots. Ideally, you’ll want both in your arsenal of press photos.
Make sure to offer some variation with your shots. Giving journalists, promoters, managers, etc. more options will make it easier for them to place you in features. The idea here is to make their job as easy as possible, i.e. don’t give them a reason NOT to use your stuff.
Having great quality press photos is almost as important as the quality of your music. You don’t want a blurry pic from the back of a crowd to represent who you are to the public. Think of paying a little more for great press photos as an investment in your future. You wouldn’t buy equipment or hire a manager without doing your research, and the same applies here! These images are what the industry will look to when considering you for bigger opportunities. Put your best foot (and face) forward!
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