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GOOD band photos - how do you do them?

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

  1. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    as a photographer, i WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with this.
    there is nothing that annoys me more in a promo shot than seeing instruments.
    in my opinion it shows a lack of professionalism.

  2. Hayseed


    Feb 18, 2010
    Ensure that you get at least one with a solid, shadowless, background that will allow you to easily manipulate it for different print media, etc.

    Steer clear of brick walls and railroad tracks... Done to death.;-)
  3. Tried posting this pic earlier but for whatever reason it didn't work. We went down to the local tavern and took a few shots, and I think this one came out the best.
  4. michael_atw


    Feb 28, 2009
    Jamestown, NY
    I think all of these are sickkk. Original, humorous, light. Your music can be whatever you want with band photos like that. The frostly glass one is phenomenal to me, especially the different expressions on your faces.

    I always wanted to get a band photo in a random place - two ideas being a laundromat and hanging from monkey bars. Serious photos for the most part make me laugh, because it makes me think of bands taking themselves far too seriously. You can put a funny photo anywhere, even in a serious realm if you do it right. I mean, what comes to my mind is Pink Floyd's Ummagumma. Its just so bizarre but in a funny way (at least to me).
  5. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    Besides the above, here are some Hints at saving some $$$$.
    1) Find a local film/photo school/college program
    2) See if any of the better students have a good camera and want to build their resume(portfolio is what they call it I believe)

    With good gear and talent behind it, you'd be surprised.
    My son's in college for film and did an amazing job with his first wedding shoot yesterday(Canon EOS 7D, photo and some video).
  6. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    We tried several photographers over the course of three years, our most recent pics were with one of Seattle's better guys. There's a lot to be said for how comfortable a pro can make you feel, confidence and good equipment let you relax and have a good time. Cars, trucks and guiitars we use it all and caused a lot of people to stop and stare - any promo is good!

  7. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    have a fake shoot first... then critique it.

    go out and do something fun (meet for happy hour etc)..

    Get a real photographer.. have your test pix with.. then have them pose you.

    These work best when it's a bunch of guys joking around having fun for 1/2 hour and 500 snaps.


    As a marketing guy.. I'll disagree about a tasteful guitar placed in the ad... you're a band.. a guitar is a band icon.
  8. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    I'll see if I can dig up some band pix.
  9. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    oh yeah...
    i forgot about this one:

    this is from the same halloween that the zombie shot is from.
    (we played three halloween shows three days in a row... as zombies, mimes and a black-metal band)

    so here we renamed ourselves (for one night only) Sluthammer

  10. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    What's wrong with instruments in shots? As a fan, I want to put a name to a face.....at least if they're near their instrument I can figure it out. (singers are usually easy to pick out).

    Worst thing I've seen instrument wise is a duo that had a pro photog shoot them, and the pro put them by the wrong instruments. I asked the one that came in, Oh, you play keys and sax and guitar?!? They admitted everyone asked that and they'd wished they had switched spots during the shoot...... so if you're going to be by an instrument, make sure it's yours.

    Besides, one of the things you do as a photog is to incorporate props into the picture that tell a story about the person/people in the picture. Otherwise it's 3-6 people posing for a picture. Some of the non instrument containing promo shots I've seen look like just group shots of people. Nothing said BAND in the picture.

    Go ahead.......use your props :)

    I will say, one bad thing about being into photography and being in the band is you can see perfectly how you'd like to do a band picture.....but unless you have a remote switch you're stuck using someone elses photography skills.
  11. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Someone who has a strong opinion, explain why you don't like instruments in shoots. For example, the photo in TBird1958's post is one of the ones I like best in this bunch. I also see instruments as band icons.
    Many of the non-instrument photos, I don't know if this is a band, a play, a performance troupe, or what.
  12. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    key on instruments is to just be tasteful.. try different combos.. .. not in your face.. just tasteful hints.
  13. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    i guess i've just seen too many bands using them as a crutch.
    it's something to hide behind.
    now... i HAVE seen creative use of instruments in shoots.
    i.e. a drummer with just a snare in high grasses.
    we considered doing some shots like that...
    my shot was going to be me surrounded by effects pedals hanging from a tree like ornaments, our guitarist was going to build a wall of guitars for his... and our drummer was going to get a cheap kit and half sink it in a marsh and stand in amongst the pieces... and then take it and light it on fire in a field...

    but if you're just standing around with your instrument... it doesn't graphically appeal.
    The Nasty Habits shot works. why? because not everybody is holding an instrument. imagine how cluttered that would look if there was a snare drum/drumsticks, a keyboard and a microphone all included? it wouldn't work.

    on the whole? don't use them. it makes it look tacky.
    in a promo shoot do you NEED to know who plays what? not really.
    slap a logo in the background/top/whatever and you know it's a band... you don't need to overstate what is usually obvious already... (why else would you have four or five guys who are obviously not related in a photoshoot?)

    one should not have to sacrifice artistic vision to say
    "hey look at me... i play bass, btw"

    all that being said...
    in heavier styles of music... the trend is to stand around in a tight group (usually overlapping) and make angry/pissed/mean faces.
    this i find just as bad as relying on instruments.
  14. TortillaChip520


    Jun 3, 2008
    Also, it's weird unless you use the same bass all the time. And whatever brand of bass you are using the shot is getting free publicity. I wouldn't take promos with my bass unless I was sponsored.
  15. screaminglucy


    Jul 20, 2009
    TX, USA
  16. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    In the above pictures (no offense if that's your group)....I'd never know that was a band. Seriously. Even with a logo.....could be anything....... :)

    They look relaxed though :)
  17. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    The photographer really does make the difference, lots of folks say "I'm a photographer" but part of being one is being able to exude confidence and allow your subjects to be comfortable even when being posed. I wish we had used this guy all along, it would have saved money and time - we all consider it money very well spent, he shot over 300 pics over the course of 3 1/2 hours at 3 different locations, we didn't use the guitars in all the shots. Of the 300 pics about 10 were "keepers" and that's about the best you can expect from any photo session.
  18. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    i actually have a friend who just picked up a sponsorship by Spector and went and got pictures taken of him with his new bass. (and a very nice bass it is too)

    is he going to use that bass in band promos? i would guess most likely he won't... one of them will.
    but he will promote them anyways in other ways.
    (if you see them, he'll be playing that bass, and he has his individual shots)

    my drummer is sponsored as well and he has never used his drums in promo shots. were we to shoot a video, he most certainly would use them, and he always uses them live (the only kit he plays live with... he's got three)
  19. stephenleejp

    stephenleejp Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2008
    Virginia Beach
    Notice that we took newspaper and covered the floor and walls in our band room. thought it came out pretty good.

    This photo was actually taken by our "candid photographer", we didn't use any of this scene by our main photographer. Funny how things work like that.

    Attached Files:

  20. spunj13


    May 14, 2007
    niles, mi
    sorry about kind of flooding this thread...

    but you're quite right.

    1. there are a lot of people who call themselves photographers (and aren't necessarily)
    2. you need to find someone that YOU are comfortable with... meet or spend some time talking with them ahead of time and see if you gel with them at all and if they will portray you in the way you want to be seen.
    3. a good photographer (if he's shooting digital anyways... not quite the same with film... the number of shots would be quite a bit less) WILL shoot a few hundred pictures... and guaranteed you will only get a few that really stand out.

    the same ideas can be applied to graphic designers. don't just hire the first person that calls themselves what you are looking for. search around... find the right fit for you.

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