Whether you’re a heavy metal band or a solo folk singer, it goes without saying that you need at least one really good artist profile picture.
[NOTE: This is an archived post from Almost Famous, a music blog for unsigned musicians which I ran from 2012-2013]
Apart from the practicalities of having something to use as your Facebook photograph or to put on posters, your pictures will, if done right, tell fans, industry types and others about what kind of band you are and help.
If you’re getting ready for your next photo shoot, here’s four things you might want to think about.
Get a good photographer
Your guitarist’s girlfriend may have the best digital camera on the market and take countless black and white shots of your live gigs, but is she the right girl for the job?
Will she capture the spirit of your band and be able to say more about your music in one image than a thousand words ever could?
Go with somebody who knows what they’re doing, knows how to best shoot your photographs and won’t charge you a small fortune to do so.
Once you’ve got a photographer, it’s helpful to sit down with them and thrash out some ideas.
- What do you really want to say about your band, or about yourself as a solo artist?
- How can you best achieve this?
- What interesting props or locations do you have access to?
- Look like a band (or like a solo musician!)
Nobody’s saying you have to go the whole Slipknot route and wear identical outfits, but if you’re in a band you should at least look like that’s the case.
Look as though you like each other. Hell, even if you don’t like each other, at least look as though you know each other.
If you can have some kind of uniformity in your attire, go for it, even if it’s just a particular colour scheme or style (that isn’t the same old ‘jeans and t-shirt’).
If you’re a solo artist, how can you look like a solo artist and not just like Person Who Just Had Their Photo Taken? Not only that, but how can you stand out from all the countless other solo artists with pictures out there?
Again, think about your attire, where you have the photo taken and what you can do within the frame.
Nobody likes your arty black and white photographs apart from you (because they make you look cool and mysterious) and your photographer (because photographers always seem to love black and white photographs).
Promoters and label folks probably won’t notice them among the pile of several thousand other black and white photographs, journalists will be driven insane when they want to print a good colour photograph of you in their magazine, and potential fans who first come across you as a photograph will have no idea what kind of music you play.
Be different, be you.
There’s no other band or solo artist like you on the planet, right? So don’t be afraid to show it!
It’s a pretty safe bet that you’re probably not a miserable s.o.b who spends all their time leaning against brick walls with their friends, so let the personalities of your band shine through in your photographs.
Do something that hasn’t been done a thousand times before, something that sums up what you and your music are all about.
Be different, be unique, be yourself and have fun with it.