It sounds so simple. Looks simple too, when you watch it depicted on TV, all those top model contests, but instead of taking pictures of lovely women in a wide variety of fashion outfits with all the accessories, no, we’re taking pictures of bands. So we need the musicians, and their instruments, and a location for the shoot, and an idea of a message that the picture should convey. Starting with, who’s in the band, what instruments do they play, what style or genre of music do they play in. Where do they hail from? Britain? Sweden? America? Canada? Japan? Who’s the frontman? Front woman? Are they advertising a concert, a tour, a CD release? An in-store appearance? Maybe this photo will be uploaded on a fan’s blog, maybe on the band’s website or social media home page, maybe released to the media to be used over and over again, a part of the band’s marketing plan, to impress their band’s brand on their target audience’s brains. See how important band photography can actually be?
Ok, so now we’ve got the band, they’re on set, the instruments are set up, and some ideas have been tossed around earlier over coffee in Styrofoam cups. Get some classic, professional photographs first, something to fall back on if the experimental stuff doesn’t quite pan out. Straight on shots. Profile. Group line-up photos, you know, basic band photography looks; just like you’d see in the… which book?
What kind of look are you going for? Classic, contemporary, or nouveau? Is there an influence from a previous band that this group is trying to emulate? How best then to get across this band’s own identity? Maybe just a prop offering a hint as to who the band’s influences are, like a t-shirt. Now, will your own photos be in black and white or color? Vivid, saturated, or faded? Filtered, distorted…what, you just want to play in Photoshop? I understand! Well, you can do anything you want in band photography, take a picture of the guys with fingers in their noses or other taboo gestures; hey, maybe that’s expected with the type of music they play and the crowd they play to. Argue with success when you get there. Just take the picture!
Band photography can certainly be a fun foray in your photographic portfolio, and if you are a musician looking for a photographer to help you sell your band’s message, look, brand, identity, music, albums, concerts, etc… work with each and every photographer, get a feel for the variety of styles and work they all offer and have fun on the shoots, be cool. Who knows—perhaps the chemistry between band and photographer might show up in the pictures…. Click!