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CONNECTING MUSICIANS

The Secret Behind Great Band Photos

by | Master Your Craft, Musician Marketing

Have you ever had a band photoshoot where you’ve stood awkwardly against a wall the entire time? Or where you have to delete every other shot because someone’s eyes are closed? If your answers to the above questions are yes, BandMix is here to help! Our guide to amazing band photos should be able to help you set up a great photoshoot and be happy with your final images. 

Why it’s important to have great band photos

Other than a band’s sound, most listeners will make a first impression based on your image. Your band photos will be posted across your social media profiles, your BandMix profile, and your all-important EPK and press release, so whether you’re trying to gain new fans or get your foot in the door with industry bigwigs, you’ll need to make that first impression a good one! Your overall image will also help paint a picture of your band’s identity and story, so it should go hand in hand with your music, essentially creating your unique brand. In addition to pixel quality and resolution, your clothing, the way you pose, and the photography technique will all shape your photoshoot outcome.

Styling

Before turning up to a shoot, you might mull over your outfit or be unsure of what to wear. Your band fashion is key to setting your pictures’ tone, so your clothing choices will be more important than you think. Here are a few pointers on what to consider before dressing for your shoot:

  • Think about the tone: what are you trying to say with these images? Are you wanting professional EPK photos, or do you like fun shots to promote on social media? Find your intention and dress accordingly.
  • Bring a few options: have two or three outfits ready so that if one option isn’t working, you can quickly change into something else more suitable.
  • Communicate with the entire band: make sure you discuss your outfit choices with all band members before your shoot. Send each other photos of your costumes, so you’re all on the same page and will match with one another on the day. Complimenting each other in your photos is key.
  • Casual vs. Formal: it might be worth setting up a casual shot (jeans and T-shirts) and a slightly more formal shot (smarter shirts and dresses) as you may prefer one over the other when you look back at the photos. Consider what you’ll use the pictures for and see which version fits best.
  • Comfort and practicality: Wear something that you’re comfortable in! If you’re uncomfortable in your outfit, it will show in the photos. If you’re doing a shoot with instruments, consider whether you can play your instrument in whatever you’re wearing. Choosing clothes that you would typically wear on stage is probably the best idea!
  • Hair and make-up: When you’re considering make-up and hairstyles, make sure these are in keeping with your chosen outfits, and be sure they won’t detract from the tone of your photos. 
  • Colors: bring some clothes involving bright colors and get a more neutral option. You may have different uses for each!
  • Logos: as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to stay away from apparel that features large logos or trademarks.

Posing

Group photos are sometimes tricky to negotiate, especially as there are multiple people to get a good shot. When posing for photos, it’s crucial to consider:

  • Band format: is there a front person or leader in your band? If so, it’s probably a good idea to have them near the front of your shots.
  • Shaping: many photographers use triangles to determine their exposure and help shape their subjects. Try creating a triangle with some group members standing behind or with heads at different levels.
  • Height: not everyone in the group will be the same height (unless you have some strict height criteria for joining your band!) so take this into account when positioning yourselves. 
  • Posture: think about how each of you are standing and be aware of your arms and hands. Many people can look relaxed in front of a camera but have awkward-looking hands, helping each other out with posture suggestions.
  • Trial and error: sometimes, you need to try a few combinations of formations to get something that looks great on camera. Don’t be afraid to move around to try out different formations until you get an aesthetically pleasing one.
  • Use of props: depending on whether you’re shooting in a studio or not, you may be able to use some props to help your positioning and posing look more natural. For example, sitting on chairs or a sofa or leaning against a tree might loosen up your posture and change up the height for the camera.

Photography technique

The techniques your photographer uses in your shoot will contribute to your final images too. They might consider:

  • Lighting: a good amount of natural light or some decent artificial lighting will make all the difference to your photos’ quality.
  • Focus: a photographer might play with the camera focus, so they blur a background and have the band upfront in crisp, clear focus.
  • Angle and perspective: try some shots from a slightly different angle to get a new perspective on the group image. Another method is to use the ‘rule of thirds’ to consider where your focal point is in the frame.
  • Background: The background of a shoot can make or break your photos. Make sure it’s relevant for the band and doesn’t distract from you as subjects.
  • Shot checklist: work out whether you need images for specific purposes, like a gig poster or social media header, for example. You may need a picture of a particular size or orientation for this, like a portrait (vertical) shot with lots of text space for a poster. For a header, you’ll probably need a wide horizontal shot with gaps around the edge, so consider this when you turn up to a shoot.

How to choose a photographer

If you’re going to hire a photographer for your band shoot, take into account:

  • Equipment: what equipment do they use, and is it relevant for your particular shoot?
  • Location: some photographers have their studio, so this is advantageous if you want professional-looking shots on a set. If you’re not in a studio, think about what locations you’ll want to use and whether there is somewhere to change clothes nearby – you may have a few different outfit options to work through.
  • Direction: having someone confident in directing a shoot is critical. A photographer should manage the shoot and guide you towards formations and poses that look good on camera.
  • Personality: many bands overlook this step, but making sure you get on with the photographer is important to how your photos turn out. Do they make you feel comfortable in front of the camera, and can they make you laugh for a silly shot? Find someone who has a good personality and can boost morale at your shoot.
  • Style: do your research to find a photographer that works in the style you want. If you’re looking for casual photos outdoors, you may not choose a photographer who works solely from a studio on professional shoots. 

And if in doubt, ask some local bands for recommendations for a fantastic photographer, as they may have had a particularly good or bad experience with one.

If you’re going for a more DIY approach, it’s easy to set up a camera on a tripod and take some shots on a timer. Take your time to consider all the photography techniques above and have someone’ direct’ the shoot if you’re going to do it this way.

Locations

How many band photos have you seen set against a brick wall? The answer is always too many’! Finding interesting background locations for your shoot may add another layer to your images, so go location hunting and get inspired by the world around you. It’s probably worth checking out a location ahead of time so you can take a look around and figure out which areas might make a nice setting for your shoot. Always ask permission if you’re using someone else’s land or property (or boat, you never know!) and consider others if you’re alongside the general public. Consider the natural lighting when you visit, as the location may look even better at sunrise or sunset, or perhaps you know somewhere that has neon lights at nighttime? The most important thing with a location is to set the scene but not be too distracting.

Creative shoot ideas

Who wants to see boring photos against a plain background with no creativity? Liven up your photoshoot with these ideas:

  • An action shot where you all jump into the air or move at the same time
  • Stand still near a busy street or road so that you can see the blur of the world in the back of the shot
  • Photos with instruments, but everyone swaps instruments
  • A reaction shot, with everyone reacting to an image, video, or remark
  • Use props such as hats, glitter, or paint
  • Reenact some famous statues, dances or tv scenes
  • Take inspiration from artwork, tv, or film that you may be able to replicate in your shoot
  • Vary up your color palettes, and use different shades of color in your costumes and background
  • Be inspired by what other bands have done in their shoot and try to emulate it with your unique spin

How best to use your band photos

Now you’ve got the photoshoot out the way; what are you going to do with your new band photos? Here are our top post-shoot tips:

  • Editing: your photos may need some edits, coloring, or small touch-ups to make them look complete. Most photographers can do this. However, it is possible to do it yourself using a simple editing suite.
  • What to use them for: think back to your initial reason for getting band photos done – it may have been specifically for a press kit or an album artwork cover. If they are band-press shots, don’t forget to update all your sources simultaneously, including your website and social media pages. 
  • Brand: be sure that your band photos tie in with your artist’s story and branding so that everything matches up.
  • BandMix: remember to update your BandMix profile and add your new band photos to your media gallery.

How To Add Photos to BandMix

  • Double-check that your photos are in JPEG format before you start (this is the recommended format for BandMix). 
  • Login to your BandMix account and click ‘Photos’ from your dashboard.
  • Drag and drop your JPEG image and click to upload.
  • As a free member, you can upload up to 10 photos to your account – you can always upgrade to a Premier or Elite membership if you wish to upload more.

 

Now you know the secrets of setting up great photos, you’re one step closer to getting the amazing band images you’ve been dreaming of!

You can also read our article about what makes a good profile picture here: https://blog.bandmix.com/the-importance-of-a-profile-picture/ 

 

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