Because each band is unique, with a distinctive personality and music style, as a photographer you need to do your research before the shoot to get the poses and looks you want. When you do so, your shoot should be fun for both you and the band and the result should be incredible shots for the band’s promos. There are a lot of moving parts, so let’s explore some tips to achieve promotional photo nirvana for your shoot.
Meet the Band and Explore their Music
Listen to the musical style of your subject and get a feel for it. You might consider heading to a performance and checking out their style. Finally, sit down with the band and chat, gaining an understanding of their expectations as well as how the shots will be used (web, print, etc.).
Talk Locations, Scout Locations, and Take a Few Shots
Though you may have locations in mind, be sure to ask the band their thoughts on the subject. Studio shots are wonderful but hotels, parks, fountains, waterfalls, restaurants, abandoned buildings, and other venues make great choices for their unique atmosphere. Remember to get permission before the shoot. Once the location is chosen, take a few shots from all angles, and determine lighting and other needs before you go so your final product will be on point.
Promos are a Collaborative Effort
From the location to the photographic style needed to express the band’s persona effectively – the entire shoot from start to finish needs to be a collaboration between band and photographer. Just prior to the shoot, this means meeting with band and discussing all the details of the session and discussing the exact shots needed before the shoot begins.
Prep and Poses
Band promo photos are all about the preparation and posing; it’s the way their musical style and identities are expressed. Start with wardrobe and styling, which in most cases should coordinate with the venue of the shoot. At other times, a contrasting wardrobe might be the way to go as long as it continues to speak to the band’s style. The bandmates should bring several complete outfits including those expressing their formal style, their live show style, and their personal style. If the band doesn’t have their own, bring your makeup artists to the shoot – doing so will make your retouching on the back end of the shoot much easier!
Now, you and the band should be ready to go. The poses you and the band choose, whether still standing shots, seated shots, or in motion poses, must communicate the band’s personality, image, and music to the world.
Realism and Improv
Be realistic about the number of shots which can be completed, but don’t be so rigid that if a great idea presents itself, you are afraid to go for it. Look for distinct shots between sets and take them. Mix things up as well, shoot full length shots, head shots, and half or three-quarter shots of the band together, but also do a few individual shots of each band member.
Each of these tips will provide your client, the band, with a multitude of great options, and they’ll be calling on you for the future, once they are rich and famous, or more rich and famous.
Photos by girl boss, music photographer Kayla Surico.