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GOOD band photos - how do you do them?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by kesslari, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Assuming you've successfully gotten a really good band photo - how did you do it?
    I don't mean the physical how - we've got a great photographer to work with, understand lighting, etc.
    I mean how do you get a good, interesting photo that avoids the "guys standing in front of a brick wall or on a set of railroad tracks" cliches of band douchebaggery?
    <edit> and I'd like to see your band photo if you're providing input - would love to see how it worked out for you.
  2. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    I hot chick in a tight skirt with a large chest, with the band dudes standing behind her~seems to always work. If you don't have a hot chick in your band, no matter what you do, it's pretty much gonna look like a bunch of dudes just standing there trying to look intense.
  3. DanRJBrasil


    Jun 10, 2007
    get a shoot director, or be creative, usually 1 in 100 shoots are good enough
  4. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Since I do product photography for my business, I have backgrounds available to me. My band used a black background, and I find that something more neutral like that to fit better with various color schemes for websites, print, etc.

    Here's my band photo: http://www.thetonicsband.com
    Not the best, but maybe it will give you an idea you can improve upon.
  5. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    You been passing yourself off as a bassist!!!
  6. We went with a lighter colored background with a prop. I think a lighter background lends itself better to printed material. Check out our myspace page for our photos.
  7. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    As I've told others, I'm bassist who plays guitar.

    Oddly, up until a little over a year ago, I never played a gig on guitar. Now, those opportunities seem to pop up more often.
  8. If your band has a certain image or "thing" going, run off that for backdrop ideas. Get the bandname/logo in there somehow, even if it's embedded in the background (like it was part of the wall or something)

    Great photo @ the top:
    The b/g on this... super colourful

    Use something like this and put a sick logo uptop:


    Aug 21, 2006
    thats cool your dad is in your band...:D
  10. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
  11. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Plenty of silly ideas here, including one picture of one of my bands:


    There's plenty of silly props and ridiculous matching outfits, but also note how coherent and eye-catching most of those are, and how the band members are often bunched very close together, not spaced apart.
  12. My friend does amateur photography and he got us a bunch of pictures for free. I think they came out really well. Although we kinda fell into the brick wall railroad tracks "cliche" but anyways here are a few from that shoot.
  13. Meyatch

    Meyatch Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    this is my personal favorite of our's

  14. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    First, make sure everybody in the band is on the same page. Have members show an example of what they like in a promo shot. Narrow it down to 2 or 3. A good photog will welcome this input, it actually makes their job more clear cut. These examples will tell you whether you will be doing a studio or location shot (or both).

    Beyond this point you're going to have to trust the photographer. Like a producer in the recording studio, he/she should know how to get you to relax and 'perform'., This is what separates the great photograhers from the guy with the expensive camara.

  15. jetlaggemini


    Jun 3, 2009
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, GHS, Dunlop, DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan
    Ok, my band's been taking press shots for 6 years, we've done magazine spreads, online features and a ton of other promo and still have no idea how to do this. It is harder than writing a good record in my opinion haha. Not to sound narcissistic, but all four of us are decent looking guys, that was never the problem, its everything else. Here is what we figured out after many many many failed and dumb looking photo shoots.

    1. It has to be natural, the photographer should bring some music that reflects the mood the shoot is supposed to capture and play it the whole time. The ready, pose routine will usually end up looking weird.
    2. Talk to each other before you dress for it. Don't all go to your closet and put on the thing that you believe you look the best in. We've done things where we all went shopping together specifically for a shoot. A couple times we were lucky enough to have a wardrobe person come with us, but those times are few and far between. Buy stuff and return it! Keep the tags on. Also, dont wear a thick jacket and a scarf and have the guy next to you in a sleeveless shirt. (No offense to the post above)
    3. Do not wear make up, unless thats a big part of your band, which in that case sucks for you. A photographer, or even a 3rd grader at this point, can edit anything you dont like out of the picture, whiten your teeth, smoothen your skin, etc. If you wear make up then you're going to look like you wore make up.
    4. Back to photoshop. You can take individual pics and splice them together to make a group picture. You wont believe how often that is done. We did a shoot once where we all liked a certain shot and our guitar player insisted he made a stupid face, so the photographer took his head from a different pic and pasted it into the one we all liked.
    5. Look at other bands press shots, again no offense, but not on here. I'm talking about Coldplay, The kooks, Muse, Kings of Leon, etc. Those bands I listed have great press shots, especially the Kooks. Look at the pic, what they are wearing, the attitude most importantly, and the natural feel of the shots.

    Those are all general guidelines i think could work for most bands. My band, has a ton more ideas and opinions on press shots and shoots in general but those are a reflection of our band and will not work for everyone. Start with that and good luck.
  16. Professional Photographers take care of this. My favorite is our Photo on the cover of Rolling Stone.....:ninja:
  17. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    personally.. in my main band (which ... as of last night just decided to call it quits)
    two of us went to school and graduated with photography degrees.

    my way of doing things is to storyline it.
    for our album we did shots as Clue characters (the three men and butler)
    but came up short on having a good victorian looking house... so we took a victorian style couch into a field and shot in that ... at night.


    we also did shots on the banks of a mostly-frozen lake.


    and once we did zombie shots (it was right after we played a halloween show as zombies... this WAS in front of a brick wall, but seemed appropriate)


    and had two of us dress up and play dead while the other two dug a hole to bury us in.


    and once... 'cause we needed something new... we faked it an shot in front of some nifty lights that we found in a factory (where we were practicing) in the painting part of the shop...


    i also did a shoot for another band that was set up as a cold-war interrogation set.


    and another shoot through a semi-frosted piece of glass.

  18. Stay away from pics with instruments. Presumably they already know you're a band, no need to look insecure hiding behind your axe.

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