This article, written by Hardly Art Records publicist and USF band member, Jason Baxter, originally appeared on Sonicbids. We’re excited to be working with them to bring you the best and most relevant content for your business!
Band photos can be tricky, but even if you’re camera-shy, they’re an absolute necessity for your press kit. If you’re working with a label, they may subsidize a photo shoot with a professional photographer, which is the best way to guarantee you’ll end up with well-composed and useful band photographs. For some artists this isn’t an option though, and hiring a pro can seem like an unnecessary expenditure if you’ve got a friend with a decent eye and a DSLR. Either way, you’re going to want to make sure your photos satisfy these key requirements:
- Variety. The more images you have to choose from, the more likely you are to find three or four that capture everyone’s best angles and give a faithful impression of your band’s “look.”
- Color and black and white. Lots of regional papers and other print media only publish in black and white, and you can’t always assume that a desaturated color photograph will look good on the printed page. It helps to plan ahead and work with a photographer that shoots on both types of film, or has the image editing skills to turn a high-contrast color picture into a striking and eye-pleasing black and white one.
- Resolution. Always shoot at the highest possible resolution. 300 dpi is usually the standard benchmark. A large image can always be shrunk to fit certain dimensions, but a small one will look worse and worse the more you enlarge it.
- Accuracy. Misrepresenting your band is a sin of the highest order. Include every member of your band, don’t dress or pose in a way that’s disingenuous to how you appear when you perform, and for heaven’s sake, don’t hide or obscure your face. The last band to really get away with that, in my opinion, was Disclosure (pictured above) – but they get a pass because they aimed for something that was iconic and pretty much heretofore unseen, and it paid off in press coverage.
Even within the confines of these requirements, there’s still a lot of room to be creative – just ensure your photo is saying what you want it to say about your band.
Of all the band photos I’ve encountered in my career, they typically fall into six general categories: