Written by Petra Hule

Photoshoots can be a great asset for any aspiring band or musician. A nice photo can go a long way on things like your social media platforms or musician website to help expand your reach. Whether it’s your first experience or you’ve previously worked with a photographer on set, these simple tips will make sure you get your bang for your buck, rookie or not. 

How To Prepare For Your Photoshoot

Preparing for a shoot is just one of the many steps when you’re about to release new music. Here are some tips that’ll help you better prepare for your shoot.

Set Goals & Have A Vision

Like anything put out on the internet, what’s out there stays out there. Thus, a social media presence is not only crucial but the content that is put out there is even more important. Make sure you know what you want out of the photoshoot.

After all, it’s your own image and brand you’re looking to promote, more so, your music and presence in the music industry. Your photoshoot images should resemble what words would not. A couple of things to take into consideration are vibes, scenery, colors, clean-cut photos, or outright nonsense.

Let your personality get captured with the photoshoot. If you’re a teenager wanting to show the world “I don’t know what I’m doing, but let’s have fun with it” vibe, portray that in your shoot.

The possibilities are endless and the limit to what you can create with anything ceases to exist. For example, if you’re a guitar soloist who prides yourself on your acoustics… heading into a photoshoot prepared and organized with a set-out plan of how you want the end product to be doesn’t make you bossy or snobby, just driven, plus it’ll make you more comfortable in front of the camera and the photographer will be better guided as to what vision you have.

Determine A Location

First, let’s start with location, as the scenery can speak wonders and even tell a story about your music or even you. If it’s for a specific cover or album, try and match the energy of your music with your shoot and scenery. If there’s a specific location you have in mind that requires permission or a permit, don’t be afraid to ask.

Attire, Attire & More Attire

Next up on your preparation list should be your wardrobe. Here is where more is better. Showing up to a shoot with a suitcase full of potential outfits and vibes goes a long way. If unsure of what to bring, imagine you’re going to a live performance, what would you naturally gravitate to in your closet?

Know Your Theme

Lacking inspiration or ideas? A great way to find the theme or what you’re looking to get out of your shoot is by creating a mood board. Some great tips that can get you started are by looking on Pinterest or gathering some photos of artists or albums you like and put them all together. Taking the extra step of printing them out and creating a physical visual representation can help you and your photographer even further as you can establish themes, colors you enjoy, and the overall vibe you want to create yourself.

As much as the photographer can take lead on the shoot and capture what you’re looking to create, creating that open relationship where conversations about your ideas and theirs combine will bring great success. Being able to have these open conversations with your photographer not only allows you to build on the relationship, but allows you to understand their process and how they operate. It’s crucial to be bluntly honest to ensure you get what you’re after.

Ask Your Photographer About Their Editing Process

For example, some photographers will send you only their favorite bundle of photos, others will allow you to see all of them before edits. It depends on the photographer, so keep in mind they all function differently and it’s important to know their routine before hiring.

Although your ideas combined with theirs can create the products you were after, take note that they are professionals and any advice or suggestions, even for future shoots, are super important and insightful. After all, they are the experts in their field as you are in yours. This starts with the open communication relationship we touched on earlier, so always keep that in mind when working with photographers. 

What Photos Should A Musician Take?

Photoshoots don’t have to be just for a specific cover, you could have a photoshoot that produces products for a range of uses such as headshots, profile pics, magazines, articles, or posters.

Another addition to the preparation list, think through what you’re going to do with each of the photos you want to create. However, the more pictures you have, the more variety you have to choose from and are able to use them for multiple purposes including your musician website. Here are a couple of photos you’d want to capture if you’re just getting started in music:

  • Headshots (such as close up photos)
  • Full body
  • Group shots (if in a band)
  • Photos with and without instruments
  • Color and black and white
  • Landscape and portrait

Elicit Tip: Keep in mind that you want to make sure you capture images that can be zoomed in and out of without compromising the entire photo, and photos that can be used for profile photos that capture everything in the size of a thumbnail. 

Ultimately, your greatest moments will be captured when you’re simply being yourself, so let your unique self and qualities be what others see. 

How Much Does A Musician Photoshoot Cost?

Music photographers vary in cost, some have a per-hour rate, others will charge for the overall photoshoot, thus, research and reaching out to know what you’re getting yourself into is key.

Generally, music photographers can cost between $300 and $1000, depending on how long the shoot will take and how many shots will be taken.

Although price is important, spending a large amount of money on a shoot may not be best advised, but the quality is important when it comes to these things. You want to ensure you get the most out of the price you are paying.

A Good Photographer Can Make All The Difference

Taking these things into consideration can also help narrow down your photographer options as there is an abundance of them out there. It’s not necessary to find a music photographer, however, finding one that is well established or has experience in the field of working with musicians can also assist you in making the most out of your shoot.