Band photos and why you need them - by Bainejakey and Cheeses Christ.
Here's my two cents.
Rule number 1: Book a session with an experienced, local band friendly photographer like Rudedoodle or Soulfluff, or preferably both. Expect to pay them a nominal fee for their time and expertise. They will know exactly what kind of shots will be suitable for publication, and will be open
to your ideas (unless they are stupid)
Select about three different shots from each session and have them available as jpegs to be e-mailed.
Rule Number 2: See rule number 1
Rule Number 3: Every time you send a demo or gig listing to a journalist, you can attach a pic to your accompanying e-mail. E-mail is the quickest and easiest way to communicate with the media in general, and the perfect way to submit your bios and pics (see separate section on band bios)
NO BIO/NO PIC = NO COVERAGE
Memorise this. It is your new PR mantra.
Why you need good pics.
As media coverage of local bands increases, one of the most important things an act can have is a set of good quality photographs.
Not only does a photo capture the attention of the journalist/ editor who will have the decision of where it gets printed, it will hopefully capture a reader's attention as well.
The print media is a visual medium, and as such it gives preference to articles that come with good visual stimulus. It doesn't matter about the quality of your latest CD, if it doesn't come with a good photo it won't get page lead status. That's just the law of the jungle.
It's why PR firms for big bands bombard us with pictures from expensive photo studio sessions. Getting a photo in print is worth a lot in publicity terms. But that doesn't mean the average local act can't compete.
Next time you buy a paper look at how it's laid out. You'll notice there are photos on every news, features and sport page. Every page needs a photo you see. It's why, if you look at the regional weeklies, certain pictures of cover bands appear week in, week out.
Look at what captures your attention when you first open a page. Look at the photographs a paper uses, take time to look at the pictures and see what you like and dislike about certain photos.
Photos need to be bright, clear and in focus.
Yes, there's a time and a place to be arty, like in the sleeve notes of your next ep, but local newspaper's aren't it.
Magazines are a different story, but the rule for papers is you should be able to see everyone's face clearly.
If you remember this photo will probably be shrunk to half its size and reprinted in black and white, it's easy to see why dark live shots won't work. Given that the printing process is far from an exact science, chances are your moody candlelit picture will come out in print as a blob with various shades of grey.
Feel free to use props and poses as you wish. Don't stray too far from the camera lens, four people standing on the horizon may sound appealing, but to the picture editor it's four dots balancing on a line.
Also, keep space to a minimum. gaps in pictures are like dead air on the radio (bad, in other words), pictures are usually cropped down until they are tight, so while you may think the band look wonderful against the isolating backdrop of the sea, chances are you won't be able to see it in the printed version. Save the picture editor the bother or cropping and keep it tight.
Because of the lighting and the space concerns, live shots are best avoided. You might be able to get away with it for a single member of the group, but trying to get four people bouncing about the stage is an impossible task. Live photos rarely make it into the papers unless they are exceptionally good.
Don't start digitally mucking about with photos unless you know what you're doing. And while wacking on band logos and other stuff may look good on your website, it will just be cut out of the print version.
Now, you're probably wondering why the papers don't send their own photographers out to photograph local bands. Me too, but this whole local band coverage thingy is still an emerging art, and papers are reluctant to commit resources to an area they've never had to deal with before. Most pictures for the features section of any newspaper come from PR agencies and the news wires, without having to involve the photography department. Plus it's difficult to get a snapper down to a late night gig when resources are already so stretched and there's probably an important news story to cover.
Rather than moan about it though, see it as an opportunity to create and control the visual image of your band rather than leaving it in the hands of someone who has no idea who you are. Plus, there are a couple of aspiring photographers on the scene who will be more than happy to take photos for you.
Any further questions, feel free to e-mail me.
EDIT: Links to local photographers' sites can be found [url="http://www.fastfude.com/linkList.asp?showCat=33"]here[/url] Edited by: fastfude at: 1/22/03 6:20:29 pm