Your press kit needs to have a quality professional look and feel that clearly represents the essence and strengths of you and your band. The photo is the visual centerpiece. The better the photo quality then the better the chance that someone may dive into your press kit a little more deeply.
Focus On Your Best (Obviously)
If your budget is tight; and you can’t afford a professional photographer, you can always use the best band pics you have and enlarge the best one to an 8×10 for publicity use. An 8X10 of your best group shot should be used as your official publicity shot and must be included in your press kit.
Smaller individual shots of band members could be displayed in a section on performance shots, bios, or some theme related montage or gallery, if you choose. But something straightforward that frames your uniqueness and represents what the band is about will serve you best for the main art.
Your official publicity shot will impact how your act and music are perceived. This photo can be used on the cover of your demo CD since it represents the feel of the music and reinforces the band’s look or image. This will serve to pique curiosity of potential reviewers and for potential fans that read the reviews.
Before choosing a professional photographer, check out samples of their work. Trust your instincts when interacting with the photographer prior to making a commitment. Any sense of discomfort or questions of quality may be a sign of issues that could negatively impact a photo session.
Word Up + Around
The best way to find a reputable photographer is through word-of-mouth. Ask around and contact other bands and singers you know. Check with local media to see who they recommend. Ask managers at venues you like, any record label people you know, your vocal coach, acting teacher, or any other contacts you may have in the music industry, media or arts. Also check to see if the photographer you’ve chosen has experience working with bands, musicians, singers, or the music business in general.
For those that can’t afford a professional session, look into local colleges, art schools, and trade schools that offer photography. Also, talk to friends and associates that you trust who have some experience with photography. You want your session to be as open and free as possible so that you and your fellow artists are comfortable and able to deliver during the photo shoot.
Regardless of who you choose to work with, always have examples of photos or poses that you like with you on the day of the shoot to show them. This gives them an idea of what you’re looking for. Also, feel free to share your CD demo or music samples. It can spark some ideas for the photographer that they can share with you and the band.
Location Is Everything (Almost)
Talk with the photographer beforehand about possible locations for the photo shoot. Take into consideration whether you want outdoor or indoor or studio shots or all of the above. And then, plan accordingly. You don’t want to waste time running around that day. You’ll lose focus, energy, and that will impact the quality of the photos.
Find locations that enhance or support the band’s identity, but you don’t want the photo to be about the location. Remember that the photos you are taking is about the band first and foremost, location is the backdrop.
Your photos must frame and focus on what makes your band unique. Bring a variety of different looks with you to the shoot. This should be outfits that you typically wear when performing and also when traveling if you want to include an additional offstage look. But your main focus is capturing that energy, dynamic and essence of you and your band.
Do’s + Don’ts
Always show up on time, even a little early is ideal. Make sure you have clear directions with you in case you get lost. Remember you want to minimize stress on shoot day!
And be on your best behavior during the shoot. Make sure you clean up after yourself. Make a bad impression and that bad news will travel at least ten times faster than making a positive first impression. Think of how you’re more likely to ask to see the manager after bad service in a restaurant than you are if the meal and service were great. If you expect professionalism, be professional.
There are a few things to steer clear of the day before or even right before the shoot. You want to be well rested. So, don’t party, stay out late, or work late the night before.
Take special care of every piece of your wardrobe. Get everything together the night before, and make sure everything is good to go and presentable. Pack the items so that they will not get crushed, wrinkled, stained, or otherwise damaged.
It’s A Wrap
Remember that the look of your photo can frame and focus the difference between getting heard and booked or being tossed aside. What makes your band unique is worth the time and attention it takes to get that shot you need that will lead to bigger and better shots at your singing success.