Your artist press shots are an essential component of your online EPK and are required by media for inclusion with editorial for both print and online coverage. Getting good press shots is an art in itself. From finding the right photographer for the job, to communicating what you want and need from them, to staging the shoot and then finally selecting the best images. How can you ensure you get the best possible result from your shoot? And what if you’re working with a tight budget? Here’s a few tips for getting the best possible photo shoot on a budget.
1. Choose the right photographer
When you need a photo shoot and budget is an issue, you could seek out a great emerging talent who is still developing their own portfolio. If you are both in the development stage of your career you may help each other out by offering a testimonial in exchange for either a discounted rate or some additional images. Be sure you actually like their work before proceeding though and have at least one meeting to ensure you’re on the same page with the aesthetics of the shoot. No matter how budget friendly it is, if the images don’t represent you effectively, it’s a waste of everybody’s time.
If the shoot is designed to coincide with a new album release then convey the story of the album as well because it’s important that the release and the imagery are relevant to each other.
2. Convey your image effectively
It’s important that whoever is doing the shoot knows in advance what outcome you desire. If you are proactive about communicating what look you want to achieve, then even a student photographer has a good chance of nailing it. Start by creating a Pinterest board and finding images that capture the look and vibe you’re aiming for. Create a document that lists of all the words that sum up your image as an artist. Make a list of the emotions you want your audience to feel when they see your images. If the shoot is designed to coincide with a new album release then convey the story of the album as well because it’s important that the release and the imagery are relevant to each other.
3. Think carefully about the setting
It’s more technically involved to obtain quality images indoors using lighting. If you’re on a budget then working with lighting may not be the best option as it is bound to increase the time spent and therefore the cost. Shooting outdoors in soft natural light is ideal and the best time of day to do that is the ‘magic hour’ in the late afternoon just before sundown.
Always look straight down the lens of the camera as people connect through the eyes.
4. Relax and be the best version of yourself
Photos tend to be fairly unforgiving in their portrayal of reality so if you feel ridiculous in a sparkly onesie then you will probably look uncomfortable too. Wear what feels comfortable for you (perhaps it is a sparkly onesie, don’t hold back if that’s your thing!) then relax and trust whoever is behind the lens. Always look straight down the lens of the camera as people connect through the eyes.
5. Photograph every format
This may sound kind of obvious (you may be surprised at how often this issue comes up) but if you have different formats within your act such as solo, duo or band then photograph each option. If you’re the ‘Steve Something’ band and you’re touring as a 4-piece then sending photos of a duo doesn’t make sense and makes you look unprofessional. Photographing all options will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to go back and re-shoot when the necessity arises.
Have a few outfit and scenery changes planned so that you can shoot a couple of sets of photos to use for different promotional campaigns.
6. Think ahead
Have a few outfit and scenery changes planned so that you can shoot a couple of sets of photos to use for different promotional campaigns. You can make the shoot go further by having multiple sets of images at the end of it. Generally no more than 12 months supply but you could stretch it a little further by planning ahead like this.
Doing photo shoots are definitely one of the more enjoyable aspects of managing your music business so have fun while you’re at it it, but always maintain a sense of professionalism on set. Happy Shooting.