Even for a singer, one of the most vital components of any press kit, EPK, or promotional tool is the head shot and any video clips that frame, focus, and showcase your performance skills. The impression of your expression is also a key selling point for your website and all other online presence.
You want that first impression to be an appealing introduction to a lasting relationship for you as a singer, performer, client, consultant, and even as a friend.
Permission To Play
So how do you achieve the look and feel that is right for you as a singer? The answer is very simple. At first, you give yourself permission to play. You want to get comfortable in front of the camera so that your confidence as well as competence shine through, even if the look youâ€™re going for is one of shyness and vulnerability.
One effective way to get over any discomfort, phony posturing, awkwardness, or self-consciousness is to have someone be present to photograph your rehearsals. Give them permission to be invasive, intrusive, and otherwise disruptive, as they click and flash away at odd angles and even at close range.
Free The Photographer
This initial shoot simply captures you as a singer both onstage and off. So, you want the person taking pictures to feel free to follow you as you perform, as you interact with accompanists or band members. But you donâ€™t want to know what the photographer is up to. You want them to be spontaneous as they move anywhere they wish, even if itâ€™s an extreme, in your face, tight shot.
Once this initial session is complete, set aside a time to review the photos by yourself. Make notes on the shots that grab your attention. You donâ€™t have to go into great detail. You want to single out any photos that you clearly like or canâ€™t stand â€“ for whatever reason.
Review For Boos + Applause
The goal here is to get an emotional read on what youâ€™re hoping to project to an audience.
Donâ€™t venture into any in depth analysis. This is more of a gut reaction to how you look and how you come across in the photos. The ones that make you utter groans or release smiles or sighs of approval are the ones youâ€™re looking for.
Have at least two people that you trust look at these same photos independently of each other. Ideally these should be people with experience in the entertainment industry, public relations, marketing, image consulting, or some related field. Once they have assessed the photos, then you should meet with them as a group to compare notes and to set in motion the next step for putting together photos for promotional purposes through your EPK and any online presence.
Focused Follow Up Shoot
This next step is a more focused attempt to play with your look. It gives you a chance to get to know your face and look as you experiment with various poses, emotions, and expressions. You should try looks with wardrobe, and include any make up or other accents and accessories that you feel are key to your look and image as a performer.
Use your imagination here so that the photos represent you in a variety of places, poses, and postures that present the inner and outer essence of that total package of you as a performer. Be sure to do both interior and exterior shots as well.
Choose songs to sing that move you the most emotionally and that also inspire you to get up and move physically. You want to capture your essence as an inspired artist. Even if your look tends to be more sober or even deadpan, choose those songs that explore that vibe and feel.
Review With A Twist
After this photo shoot, go through the same process for review. You start with the same gut reactions and make note of those. Then, step away, and think back on what you were feeling as you performed that day. Think about what you were hoping to accomplish. Then, review the photos one more time to note any shots that capture or represent those artistic objectives you had for your performance.
Let the others who reviewed your first photos do their individual assessments of the latest shoot. Once they have contacted you to let you know theyâ€™ve reviewed the shots, arrange a time to get together and discuss the results.
Repeat As Needed
Go through this process until you feel a clearly defined sense of who you are as a singer is projected in the photos. Then, you can set up a session with a professional photographer, if you wish.
Go With Video
It is also recommended that this process be conducted with a videographer, with the same freedom giving to the person on the video shoot, along with the same repeated steps for review. Then, conduct any follow up shoots to help get you more focused, confident, and comfortable with that clearly defined image you need to project.
With the video shoot, you will also cite any issues that negatively impact or positively accentuate movement, posture, and visual composition. While a photo captures your look, video frames and focuses all your moves. Together they help to shape and sharpen what will impress with what you express.
On The Same Page
Remember to note any issues with others in your band or accompanists that impact your performance in terms of its look and feel. You do not want anything thatâ€™s distracting or seems out of place to take away from what you are trying to project. The photo and video shoots are great tools for assuring that everyone gets on the same page and stays there before turning the page to explore a new look or feel.
In addition to helping define your image, these video and photo shoots have a tremendous side benefit. The intrusive nature of being followed and having every look and move captured for further study, along with the literal physical presence of having someone â€œin your faceâ€ so to speak, will help you to focus on the material you are singing.
By forcing you to concentrate, it can also aid in strengthening interpretive skills because you dig for deeper meaning while staying focused. It can also help you to focus on any timing, tuning, pitch, or rhythm challenges with your band or accompanists. The cameras act like an extra set of critical eyes that are there to either reject or approve of your performance.
Look into programs in the 7 Tip series, as well as products from live performance guru Tom Jackson, that are offered here at SSTV to help you achieve that level of confidence, comfort, and professionalism you need to frame and focus whatâ€™s unique in your pursuit of singing success.