Musician's Tips Index
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The Best Band Photos
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Freeze! If the photographer is shooting you, you may have to freeze your pose for a second to give the camera enough time to capture the image. This doesn't apply to film, but it can be very important when using a digital camera.
- Use a flash. The strobe from the flash unit helps freeze the motion. It also ensures an adequate level of brightness for a distance of up to 15 feet or so. Unfortunately, it can also temporarily blind the subject, so watch out for mic stands and guitar necks until you get your vision back!
- Don't post bad photos on your web site. Out of focus, too light or too dark, red eyes, etc. -- toss 'em out and use the shots that make everyone look like they're alive, fer cryin' out loud! You can salvage some otherwise bad photos by cropping, using red eye correction, or the sharpen feature found in photo retouching software programs, such as PhotoShop Elements.
- Don't post a million photos. Keep the number of photos on the site to a manageable number. If you really want to host lots of photos, separate them by year, or by venue. Don't expect your visitor to surf their way through 50 uninteresting shots to find the one good one. Put the best shots out there near the top of the page.
- Use thumbnail (preview) photos on your site. Link them to larger photos, but keep the file size reasonable. If someone needs a larger photo, they can request one; there's no need to force the casual viewer to download a 2MB photo by default.
- Show some variety. Show a mix of photos from several different venues. It makes it look like the band has done a lot of performing. Do it even if it means doing some free gigs and maybe even opening for other acts you normally wouldn't perform with. Six months from now, who cares that you opened for Polkatallica? As long as you have some great stage shots, no one will know the difference.
- Posed photos? Sure! They're especially good for 'Now Appearing' and 'Coming Attraction' posters. Remember to sit or stand close to each other. Go ahead and invade your drummer's comfort zone! As long as it's for the photo shoot, no one will think anything of it.
- Make it (look) fun. Remember The Beatles? The Monkees? Many of their photos made it seem like they were a bunch of fun guys.
- Make the subject stand out. Blur the background, if it's not important. You can do it with PhotoShop or other graphic software. (Draw a lasso around the background and use the blur tool. Continue blurring until the foreground really stands out.) [see the photo example on page 1] Notice how the size of the boat was also changed to draw more attention to the band members -- and it adds fun, since the size looks just slightly odd.
- Schmooze with the stars. An occasional shot of bandmates posing with celebs adds interest. They don't even have to be taken at your gigs. It could be a music store event or clinic that one of your bandmates just happens to be attending. Take your camera everywhere, especially if it's a small one.
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