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DIY promo pics? Or at least, how to get the best from your photographer?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by xush, Feb 1, 2004.


  1. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    We're about to do some photo shoots for promo packages and haven't been terribly impressed with the results we've gotten in the past (we've done some ourselves, other times we used local artists/pro photographers). Trying to do some research/brainstorming ahead of time to get the most out of the next shoot.
    Any suggestions?

    I've been trying to browse the net for sample promo pics and haven't been finding much. Checking out some photography sites, and the content is pretty lacking there too.

    Any of you folks know of some sources for browsing to get some ideas at least? Some kind of inspiration? I think we need to give the photographer some idea of the feel/look/vibe we are going for. Getting tired of the standing-around-Olan Mills-posing routine.

    The only thing that's yielded anything useful at all so far has been perusing sites of bands that we admire or have been compared to. We're not trying to copy anything, just get some ideas of what can be accomplished other than brickwall/railroad-tracking it. Wish I was more creative!

    Any other ideas to get the muse musing?
     
  2. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm a firm believer that promo pics should be the band on a stage with at least two memebers in the air. Preferrably the drummer and keyboardist.

    It'll show them how hard you rock. And make sure you have BC Rich drums. Because pointy guitars are cliche. Pointy drums... you might have something there.
     
  3. no4mk1

    no4mk1

    Feb 21, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Not only that, you have to make sure the venue where the pictures will be taken has a brick wall to perform in front of.


    Here is a usefull website full of horrible promo pic ideas...
    http://www.rockandrollconfidential.com/hall1.htm

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  4. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
  5. I am a believer in a bit of comedy with posters.especially If its a covers band. Rather than the cliche' like alot of bands use, like standing down by the junkyard or dock, with everyone holding guitars puckered with the zoolander "bluesteel" look, trying to look menacing and tough. To me music is ment to be fun, and you cant take image too seriously. Maybe a concept without any band members faces in it, try something different, not cliche. It might stand out better! Maybe it's a bit different in australia, that I dont know. Good luck mate :)
     
  6. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Here's some pointers:

    1) Make sure the photo can be reproduced well over different types of media. What looks great in color can look like a wash of grey when it is printed in a newspaper. Make sure it can be photocopied onto a 8x11 sheet of paper of various colors, as well as blown up into a 11x16 playbill.

    2) The photo should represent an accurate image of the band. If you guys are a tough, serious band then look the part. If you guys a fun, party band then portray that. If you are a corporate/wedding band, then look professional. You get the point.

    3) Alot of times the band's photo will sell the band as much as the music. I know it's kinda crappy, but it's true. In the same way that people buy cereal because of the colorful boxes, people that book bands do the same. It takes less time to look at a picture than it does to listen to a demo. Since this is the way things work, put some thought into it. (Looks like you're doing so already). Look marketable.

    4) Get a photo that sets you apart from the others. Cliche pics make it hard for someone to differentiate you from another band. Maybe add some unique props into your picture?

    Good luck
     
  7. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    thanks for the input.

    #4 is the one that's giving us the most trouble.

    It's proving very hard to come up with something that hasn't been done before. The Rock and Roll Confidential site was exactly what I had in mind in composing this thread as far as what we want to AVOID. But for a promo pic where they need to see you clearly, there's only so much you can do.
    We have some ideas art/prop/style-wise, but dang if they ain't cheap! I feel like we're over-reaching if we put all this time and investment and research into pictures that may or may not make much difference.

    Just another thing to take away from the joy of actually making music...
     
  8. no4mk1

    no4mk1

    Feb 21, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah, it sucks.

    In cases like this instead of trying so hard to be unique, go the other way and find an old favorite band, and do an homage of their photo... Somehow it's not ripping them off if it's in French! :cool:

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  9. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    heh, we thought about doing that. Saw a nice Zep picture that'd be fun, but I don't think she can pull off the Plant bulge...
     
  10. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Zuchini then. Just not in tin foil.
     
  11. no4mk1

    no4mk1

    Feb 21, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Two bulges relocated may be even more effective! :smug:

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  12. What you are asking is essentially, "How do I write a hit song?", except this is in the field of photography.

    Have you tried studying photographs in general? Try to understand basic photographic themes? Maybe you should be looking at other artistic mediums such as architecture, photography (not just bands), literature - understand their devices and translate them to your band picture.
     
  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Did a promo shoot in the ladies room of a club once!!!

    Straight studio shots with solid backdrops can work great, just pose the band in a way to suggest some energy. One useful trick is to shoot with a wide angle lens, this makes the background seem further back plus if some of the band members lean forward a bit, it's very dramatic.

    Staged live performance shots can be good, too; set up in a large uncluttered space and just jam while the photog wanders around shooting.

    Using a mix of flash and available light so you can get streaking in the pic is another nice effect.
     
  14. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Interesting analogy... hadn't thought of it like that. Hard to do when they rush you, either way I guess.
    We have been doing just that recently, at great length. It's yielded a few ideas. We did some location scouting/test shots last night too, that helped a lot.

    thanks for the input!
     
  15. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Hi Brian;

    Yes, we're thinking of doing a few of these for the strictly 'promo' shots, the mug shots if you will...
    I think the wandering around shooting factor is definitely going to be a must with us; the guitarist and I end up looking really goofy when we know they're shooting, guess they're going to have to take us by surprise.

    I bought a book on photography, going to start studying up. I know it'll take a while, but may as well start learning now.
     
  16. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Waaaaaaaaay back when we had a set of promo pics that were literal mugshots, front and profile of everybody. My profile pic was a orangutan.

    Yeah they were every bit as lame as you are thinking. :rolleyes:
     
  17. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    :D
    Funny! I tell ya, you may as well make them mugshots; there's just no way to do this and look natural.

    We took over 500 pictures Saturday.
    I think some might work.
     
  18. no4mk1

    no4mk1

    Feb 21, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Exactly... You are going to look silly no matter what you do. So do your best and figure out who you are marketing to.

    Actually, I am a big proponent of performance shots. It's kind of a truth-in-advertising thing... This is exactly what you get.

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  19. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Well I think you should combine the things that I see the most done by bands making a promo pack. So your band should be wearing g strings posing on railroad tracks with a brick wall in the background, eye makeup won't hurt eithier.
     

  20. That's what I'm talking about. That is funny. Comes down to who and what market you are aiming for. but for a club covers band, thats great. But like I said before, maybe promo is different here in Australia. :D