No, don't take a friend that makes great Instagram pictures to take your band photos! No, don't be so damn artistic that you don’t know what the pictures are supposed to portray! And for f**k sake, if you don't know how to work with colours and lighting and make then in black and white, we just know that it's not good. Black and white can be cool, but you need to have the option to also have it in colour.
I got a phone call from a booker that will take out some bands at our festival. Of course, he has no chance to listen to all 150 bands that are on the site. Instead, he went into the bands that he knew and after that those that had great pictures and said something. Usually, if the band has a professional picture, they usually have a full show.
I could see so many good bands just be overlooked because they haven't taken the time to work with the picture. Yes, it needs to be a good photographer that knows about lighting that should take pictures not your best friend with a system camera. This is what gets people to look at your band in a roster or a post.
Nice picture? I took it. The Magnettes needed a new band picture very fast and they were playing in Visby in Sweden so we quickly went down to the harbour and did some shots. Yes, I had a flash but only one. This picture you can see is very indie but utterly boring and really the lightning is not good at all. The band looks cool, but they always look cool. Many would consider this a good shot and a good promo picture, but in reality, it doesn't hold up the standards. Many bands have just these kinds of pictures.
This is more like it. A real photographer, real flashes. Also painted with coloured light. This tells more about what the band is all about. look at how crisp the picture is. How you can see everything in the picture, it's not shaded in the wrong places as the first one. This picture had many bloggers as and the press saying "wow".
Also, don't put a lot of text in the picture with the band logo and shit. This makes it harder for people to use it and in the end, you will lose many opportunities for it.
I know this since I book so much stuff. I have to hunt for pictures all the time. And on the average, they are just pure crap. And this is how you show your great music. If I would buy a new sportscar I won’t have it painted as poop brown.
What you need is a bunch of good photos that the press can easily access (don’t hide them behind passwords). To have several on your professional page also secure that they won’t go out and search for other pictures that you don’t like or approve. Because that is what happens if you just give them one picture that is not working for their format. And no we don’t have time to wait for you to answer our email to get the picture you choose.
Editor's Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and SuperBowl.