Getting good pictures to represent you as a musicians is important. Sure you can get away with a half decent picture taken with your sister's iphone when you're starting out. After all, having a picture of yourself is better than not showing yourself to fans at all right?
That said, when you want to start making bigger moves in your music career, you're going to want some good quality pictures taken. If you want to be taken seriously by fans, radio stations, websites and companies, you need to portray yourself in a serious manner. In this case, pictures from that iphone camera simply won't cut it.
In this guide, I'll give you some top tips for your next photo shoot, as well as some top photoshoot ideas in general. The last tip I give is one that can make you additional money from your music career, so read this guide in full to see that.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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Who Should You Get To Take Your Pictures?
I don't want to spend a long time on this, but it's important I at least brush over it quickly. To get good quality pictures, you can either do one of two things:
- Hire a professional photographer, or
- Buy a good quality camera, learn it and get someone to take the pictures for you.
The first one is the most straight forward: you pay someone who does this for a living to get you good shots. Easier to do, but more expensive in the long run.
The second will save you money in the long run, but will take you more time to learn the camera and get the right props needed to get you some good shots. You'll also have to learn what makes a good shot. That said, once you've learned all this you can take as many band or solo shots as you want. Furthermore, you can make a side income charging other musicians and people in general for professional looking photos. That's a fun way to help fund your music career.
I'm not going to tell you which is the best option, as both can work. Essentially, it's down to you.
Now, let's look at some musician photography ideas so you can make the most out of your photoshoot.
Musician Photography Ideas: Take A Simple Band Photo
No matter what other ideas you do or don't go with on this photoshoot of yours, you should always go with a simple photo that looks good and can represent you for years to come. As times change, chances are your image will too. For example you may not want to appear as funny, or you may have different sponsors. This image however, should be able to represent you well throughout most of those changes.
Have this photo taken either in a photo studio with a simple background, or outside somewhere if you don't plan to do much editing to it later on. This type of photo is a must for any musician photo shoot.
Photoshoot Tips: Get An Image With An Editable Background
As well as the above ‘all weather' picture, it's a good idea to get a picture with a background that's easy to remove in the editing stage. If you hire a photographer, they'll be able to include the price of studio hire in their deal for you. They usually have set studios they use, and that studio will have a plain color background.
If you're doing the shoot with your own camera, you'll need to get a green screen (you can add a different color paper to the stands if you like) and use that.
The reason you'd want this is so an editor can cut the background out on their image editing software, and put something completely different in there. Say for example another location, or something ‘out there' like a giant ant, outer space, or anything else you'd like.
You can see if your photographer can do something like this for you, but if not, go on Odesk and you'll find someone who can now. Prices are usually below $50 for a good photo edit.
Use Multiple Locations For Each Shoot
When planning your photoshoot you'll need to think about where you'll be taking pictures. While it's possible to get some good pictures from one location, if possible, you should aim to shoot in more than one place.
Studio shots are completely different from outside location shots. So if you've the time and budget to get both, why wouldn't you? You can use some for your current project, and the rest for a future one. This will be cheaper than hiring a photographer all over again, so will save money in the long run.
If you're already shooting outside, you may want to consider getting more than one outdoor location.
Get Pictures Showing Different Sides To You
Another tip is to vary the actual style of pictures you take. Again, this goes back to getting the most usable photos for your money. Hiring a photographer isn't usually cheap, so make the best use of that money.
A good idea is to bring a change of clothes to the shoot. If you take photographs in more that one set of clothes, the different styles can be used in different campaigns. For example, one clothes set you get can be used for your next single launch, while another set can be used to advertise an up coming gig.
As well as changing up the clothes you wear, you'll want to change the feel of the images and your vibe in them. As an example, you might want to take some pictures where you're straight faced and serious looking. In another image you might want to have a big smile on your face and a more open pose. Or you may want an action shot, which can be used for some of your faster music.
There are thousands of different style of image you can take. If you need help with ideas for this, simply have a look at other musicians in your genre (preferably big ones) and see what's working for them. These are usually proven photos, many of which you'll be able to replicate a similar style. Don't copy them, but use them for inspiration. Choose a few and do them all in one photoshoot.
Bonus: Take A Picture With One Of Your Sponsor's Products
While you want the photos to be all about you, chances are you also want to make money from music. If so, you may want to try and unofficially associate yourself with a product or brand so you get on the owner's radar and possibly have the change of an official collaboration in future.
I've talked about this strategy before in this guide so have a look.
If you want people to take you as a serious musician, you need to act like one. And one of the ways you do that is by having a good image. Part of your image are strong and good quality photos.
The above tips will help you have a more productive photoshoot, and get more for your money. I hope it's also given you some ideas for types of photos you can take.
So, have you had experience with a photoshoot before? If so, let us know in the comments.