Do’s and Don’ts for the band photoshoot

A brilliant band photograph expresses and captures the story and style of the music. It also reflects the personalities of the musicians and has elements similar to the genre. It’s professional, authentic, and unique. The photos are brilliant and sell the full sonic experience the listener will receive.

Unsuccessful photoshoots are those that produce visual misrepresentations or, worse, visual misrepresentations devoid of authenticity or originality. Too many people make these mistakes.

I spoke with Jacques Schutte, a music industry photographer, to get more information about what a successful photoshoot for a band entails and how to make sure that the photos will “work” for the band.

Here are some dos and don’ts for your photo shoot project.

Don’t copy, but develop your ideas.

With their performance, a great musician can burn an image in the mind of their listener. What image would you like to imprint in your listener’s mind? The listener must perceive the music as the image they have seen.

Visualize your music. What do you imagine? Ask other people the same questions and share ideas. Start collecting references by researching the band photography other musicians of your genre have done. You can use your references to get inspiration but never copy them. Stealing is laziness. I urge you to combine and metamorphosis ideas that resonate with you to create a unique shoot idea.

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Don’t float around in the kid’s pool, but rather dive into the details

Define the mood, the style, and the concept to give your new ideas more depth. What mood are you trying to create? What mood do you want to create? Bright and cheerful or dark and mysterious? Beautiful and simple, aggressive and intimidating, bright and cheerful, or dark and mysterious?

The story is in the concept. You may want to portray a story about an impending disaster, confusion and chaos, calmness, serenity, and loss. It would be best if you balanced authenticity with originality. You need to be creative without losing your authenticity.

Carla Malrowe Jacques Schutte

Create a concept board using the references you have collected and include notes to communicate your vision. Create a Pinterest Board, put it in a Google Drive Folder, or create a presentation using There are many options available – choose one that suits you.

Don’t ask Susan next door to take your photos. Hire a professional photographer.

Your photos will be an asset that you can use anywhere, even on. Hiring a professional will pay off if you execute the project properly and produce high-quality images.

It’s even better to find a professional photographer who “gets” your music. The creative exchange between the subject and the camera is crucial to a successful photoshoot. Hire a photographer who can appreciate your music.

“Before the shoot, ask the musicians what they have in mind and WHY!” Jacques Schutte Photographer

Send your concept board well in advance of the shoot and discuss why you selected your references.

Don’t just wing it, do your homework.

Once your concept is established and shared, you can start to work on important factors like lighting, setting, props, and other aspects. Always refer back to your concept before making any final decisions. Always keep your idea in mind. Everything else should support the story.

Select the best setting.

Select a space that is both interesting and not overwhelming. It is best to use a studio, as you can control the lighting and weather. You might prefer settings such as decaying historic buildings or vast deserts to suit your concept. Before you begin shooting, make sure that you have permission from the owner to use this space.

Select the appropriate props.

Consider props with interesting textures and vibrant colors to add visual interest to your scene. Props with a strong symbolic meaning can be powerful. Props can be abstract.

Consider the lighting

It would be best if you considered your lighting preferences, even though this is usually the area of expertise for photographers. You may prefer natural daylight, bright white light, yellow light subdued, or soft or hard shadows. Your photographer may need to add additional lighting to achieve the desired effect.

Plan your hairstyle, makeup, and wardrobe.

The photographs will always feature you and your band members as the main subjects. The image is only as good as the person who takes it. It would be best if you look both striking and flattering.

If possible, it is best to seek the help of hairdressers and makeup artists. Also, you can welcome local creatives’ talents. If you decide to use stylists, make sure that they understand your vision.

I would advise you not to stray from your stage appearance. You will want to maintain your image but push it to the limit for photos.

Finally, do a trial. What you see in your head might not be what the camera sees.

Create a shortlist

You’ll need different types of photos for social media posts, as well as your band EPK, album covers, and profiles. You’ll want different images for your social media posts, the band EPK, album covers, profile pictures, banners, etc.

There are many different shots that you can consider:

Full-length shots

Close-ups, headshots

The whole group together

Photos of individual band members

Without instruments or with instruments

Without props or with them?

Portrait and landscape

Take a shot where you are on the side.

Squares can be cropped from photos.

Images that can be reduced to a thumbnail

Don’t forget anything! Make a checklist.

Try out your hairstyle, makeup, and clothing

If possible, get stylists to help you.

Create a list of shots and make sure they are on hand

Remember to check your checklist

You want your photos to be better than you imagined, not worse. That’s why it is important to have a plan. A well-planned photo shoot is the best way to get great photos.

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