Steps to consider when working with a band

HUEYMORGAN_140812_009

Bands are difficult, and when saying that I mean no offence; I’ve worked with bands for years and so know the things to look out for to help you prepare in advance and make your shoot run smoothly (or as smoothly as possible)

There are so many things to consider when working with musicians (solo and group) and I’ve not got the time to list them all as you would have hit 70 by the time you get to the end of this piece! I’ve decided to share 5 tips or things to look out for to help you get the most out of your shoot.

I’m going to quickly say that bands can be difficult to work with but for the most part it they are fantastic, hilarious and just generally a huge amount of fun, enjoy it!

LOWERTHANATLANTIS_280814_0171_BW

Here’s the tips…

There’s always one…

I’m not saying it’s always the drummer but… No of course I’m not saying that but what I will say is that in a group of five nice people there will inevitably be one who is a little difficult. When I say difficult that does range from ‘paying no attention’ to ‘I’m going to make your life hell picture man’. It’s an extreme range and a difficult mood or one that if left to gain traction can really break a shoot, it can make it a less enjoyable experience (because this is meant to be fun right!!) but more importantly it can knock the confidence of the other people being shot. Put yourself in the musicians shoes, most of them are musicians for the same reason we are photographers, we are all artists. Imagine being put in a room totally out of your comfort zone and told to play guitar, comfortable? No, thought not. Some play up to the camera but many do not like it, aren’t used to it and it is your responsibility as a photographer to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible. That means making sure no one is being difficult and if they are making sure you know how to deal with it. I can’t tell you how to deal with it as each person involved has a different personality but being able to spot it and nip it in the bud at the start of a shoot will help you get off to a good start.

IKTPQ_071013_266

Calendar…

This obviously differs on the size of the band, if they are a larger band they might have a manager who should be on top of their calendar and who will be your point of contact. For smaller bands it’s a different matter entirely! You’ll normally have contact with a band email address of the ‘contact’ for the band who acts like an internal manager who organises things like shoots. The key with bands is to be flexible, offer plenty of shoot days so they can find one that works for you, remember they are trying to organise 3/4/5/6/7+ different people all with their different calendars, simply put it’ll be easier for you to find a free date as its only you. If you send them a selection of dates they should be able to find one that works for them all.

FFAF_280812_007

Idea/plan…

Bands will turn up and ask you to ‘do your thing’ which is great but really you want to get prepared ahead of time, make sure you speak to your contact ahead of the shoot date and make sure you know what you are trying to achieve, even if it is only a rough idea. I’m not saying that you should lose all your spontaneity but even if it’s just to get you started have a rough plan so the band feel comfortable that you are in control of the situation.

CROSSFAITH_071112_394

Sex, drugs and rock and roll…

Being in a band is fun, I’ve personally not done it but I have toured the world with bands, I’ve lived that life for months on end and it’s a laugh. The stereotypes are true (sort of… It depends entirely on the band) band members like to have a drink and party till late, no problems there but you should be professional and realise that photographing people who have stayed up drinking till 9am and are still half cut is not going to yield the best images for anyone involved. Professional bands understand this and most are good with it but it is mainly the younger bands that have the issue, they still have the invincibility cloak on and will ask you to fix it in Photoshop. If you email them with some prep notes ahead of the shoot you might save yourself some time in the edit!

LOUIEKNUXX_260712_034_BW

Outfits…

We get it, you’re in a band and that’s great but don’t wear your mates bands shirt or some other bands merch, it screams amateur hour and nothing says ‘my first band shoot’ than you all wearing your favourite logo’d shirt. Most bands have a group chat on Facebook or whatsapp so email them in advance and ask them to make sure they discuss the overall look and request that they bring a selection of clean clothes to the shoot that are ready to wear (no creases here please!) if you’ve got a stylist or budget for a stylist then don’t worry – just make sure you communicate with them in advance so there are no nasty surprises on the day of the shoot.

HACKTIVIST_141215_00331

So that’s a basic couple of tips that should hopefully help you refine a shoot with a band. Enjoy it and enjoy the banter!

KNOXA_181215_0357

About Tom Barnes

“I’m obsessed with photography, have been since I first got my hands on a camera at the age of 5. It’s the fascination of trying to capture something as I see it that intrigues me the most. I started teaching myself at 14 after saving money from paper rounds and odd jobs to afford old tutorial books from charity shops, I then put what I read to the test though years of trial and error on my dads old film cameras."

One thought on “Steps to consider when working with a band

  1. Great Read, Really liked this post! Also LOVE funeral for a Friend! So Disappointed I didnt See them on their farewell tour! Looking to do more music videos with bands and a lot of these tips can apply too! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *