Lighting, composition, beautiful faces etc – most of the ingredients of a good band photo are well known. But one element is often overlooked.


Detail from a great photo by Bob Seidemann - Neil Young's On The Beach album cover
Detail from a great photo by Bob Seidemann – Neil Young’s On The Beach album cover



My favourite, most important tip: Bring a concept, add layers of meaning.

This is what professional photographers get paid for. You could interpret the band’s lyrics or attitude or create your own story around the music. Play with ideas.

For example: People engage with stories because they often examine people doing one thing and saying the other.

By using photos that send an opposite message to their music they create a “disconnect”. With the disconnect comes ambiguity, and confusion and interest. Your audience fills in the gaps, it makes your image more engaging.

“… when any communication is contributed to, and completed by, its audience, it’s infinitely stronger. That’s what Arthur Koestler meant when he wrote: ‘The artist rules his subjects by turning them into accomplices.'” Jeremy Bullmore

The disconnect between photo image and music is usually a good sign that a band can afford a professional photographer to add another layer. The audience recognise these layers (even though they may not be able to articulate them) and use them to figure out which music to listen to. The point is… ideas are required to create interesting photographs.

Good photos are rarely taken. Good photos are made.


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  1. […] See also Memories of Trish from Broadcast Blur at Hyde Park review What makes a good band photo? […]

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