Hiring a talented photographer with you on the road can help bring your show to life, sharing photos and memories with the fans who attend and those at home. This must-read guide teaches you how to choose the best photographer for your performances. We'll outline all the different ways you can find the perfect show photographer!
As the artist, one of the main questions you want to ask yourself and your team before you even start your search is deciding whether you're looking for a tour photographer to join you for the whole duration of your tour o for a show or two. Or maybe you're looking for multiple professional photographers!
Some artists like to have one constant photographer at every one of their shows. With them traveling on the road with you, this almost guarantees a quicker turnaround time for edits and choosing the photos, you'd like to have edited in real-time. Hiring one photographer for your tour will help achieve a consistent look throughout your show photos! Having a designated photographer also helps with archival purposes and knowing who to contact if you need to dig up some old pictures from a past show. Additionally, bringing on someone full-time will allow them to focus solely on photos and content for each show. You can even hire multiple professional photographers specializing in music photography if you want different creative styles. There's no right or wrong way to go about it!
If you don’t have it in your budget to hire a full-time touring photographer, you're not looking to have someone document every stop of your tour, or even if you're not going on a month-long tour, you can hire someone for one performance. This way, you can still get some photos to use for future marketing assets, as a keepsake, etc. Decide how long you would want your desired photographer to tag along with your team or meet up with you at a show or two before you get into the nitty gritty of your photos.
There are many factors to consider when it comes to selecting a photograph that truly captures who you are as an artist, your audience, and the story you're trying to tell with your shows.
First and foremost, you will want to assess the photographer's portfolio and make sure that they have experience in shooting concerts or live events. Searching for someone well versed in music photography will go a long way. It's also important to consider their style of photography and whether it aligns with the look and feel you are trying to achieve for your shows. And are you wanting them for the entire event, from setup to breakdown? Are you looking for behind the scene shots in the Green Room. Do you want close-ups, wide shots, or a mix of both? Or do you want more creative angles to add flare to your images?
The editing style is just as crucial as the angles! If you want a particular aesthetic for your images, make sure the photographer's style, specifically their editing style, matches yours. However, suppose the angles they shoot in are great, but the editing style is not your vibe. In that case, it's also worth asking if they can edit it to your liking, whether manipulating the color of the lights, adding more contrast to give it some edge, brightening or darkening the photos, etc. You, as the artist, also have your artistic vision, so it's worth finding a photographer who can help curate that vision and bring it to life for your shows.
Though the photographer's brand or type of equipment doesn't necessarily matter, as long as the final product is what you're looking for, this is something to keep in mind when choosing the right one for you. Depending on the types of venues you're playing at, it's worth checking in with your photographer whether they would need a wide lens, one for close-ups, a film camera if you want a more vintage look, etc. Unless you're familiar with specific camera gear, this may not be as crucial, but it's always worth asking.
Now that you've decided on the type of photographer that you want for your show(s), how do you go about looking for one? Where do you start?
One of the easiest ways to look for a concert/music photographer is to ask your fellow artist network! Reaching out through your connections can guarantee you find an experienced photographer...
This may be your best approach if you're looking for a photographer for just one or two shows. One great way to find great photographers is by reaching out to the communities you're performing in to find local talent. They may also be a part of your fanbase, which is a plus since they will already be familiar with your setlist and your performance style, which will help better asses their shooting process. An artist I follow, Tiffany Day, recently made an Instagram post listing the locations she'll be on tour, asking for local photographers if they're interested in shooting for their city. I've seen quite a few artists do this in the past also. This would almost guarantee you finding a photographer for your show and give you a different photo style for each of your stops. Depending on your budget, you can pay out each photographer, though some opportunities similar to this have been unpaid. In turn, this can help create an incredible repertoire with the local community while helping out the local talent in exchange. It's a win-win for everyone.
Now that you know what to look for, based on your photo needs, here are more logistical things to keep in mind to make sure you're accommodating your photographer(s) to make sure they're taken care of! Of course, this varies with every photographer you may be in contact with, so devise up a plan that works for both of y'all.
You’ll want to make sure that the photographer's rates are within your budget and that they are transparent about any additional fees or expenses that may be incurred... most concert photographers may already have a set rate for their services, but whatever that budget may be, it's important to stay transparent with them. Band photos, a styled photo shoot, and live concert photography may have different rates so it is important to be specific about what you want.
Keeping in mind the rate you're able to pay them for their work and time, make sure to budget that in with any needed transportation, stay, food, etc. Whether you're bringing someone on for a couple of months, or just for a few shows, work out a plan/policy with them on what your team will provide and won't. This may not necessarily apply to one-show photographers, but is a good thing to keep it mind when it comes to accommodating all of the creatives you bring on your team throughout your artist journey for their time shooting, editing, etc.
Now that you have the photos, it's time to review and select your favorites. There's no right or wrong way to do this, though it all depends on what you plan on using the photos for. You want to have individual photos handy for any possible uses.
After you've compiled all of your favorite photos, you can use these images in a variety of ways. Here are a few options: A social media post for each tour stop, create a tour/show poster, replace your profile picture and/or social media banner, update any outdated website assets, a new headshot, etc. The possibilities for your photos are endless!
Whether you stuck with one photographer to travel with you for a full duration of a tour, or were able to meet several freelance photographers while on the road, with a different one shooting your show every night, you have now created a network of talent to keep in consideration for future shows. If you do want the same full-time photographer for your next tour, it's worth building a schedule with them so they can block out potential dates for your shoot. Or if one local photographer had stood out to you, it's worth keeping a recording of who shot what so you can reach out to those creatives whenever you're back in their city.
By taking these factors into account, you can find a photographer who will capture the true essence of your shows and create stunning images that reflect who you are as an artist, along with your craft. Having fresh, new photos will not only help promote your events and attract new audiences but give you images that you’re proud of as memorabilia can help inspire you to expand and share your craft with the world through images.
You have several options: full-time touring photographers or professional photographers for a few shows. It's up to you to decide which option aligns with your budget and your artistic vision.
You will need to consider a few factors when choosing the right photographer for your concert. These factors include the photography style, editing style, and equipment used. Make sure that the photographer you choose aligns with your vision.
You want to look for a photographer who is experienced in shooting concerts or live events. It's also important to consider their style of photography and whether it aligns with the look and feel you are trying to achieve for your shows.
You can find a music show photographer by asking your artist network or reaching out to local photographers. You can also find photographers through online platforms and social media, such as Instagram.
The price of a music show photographer depends on the experience and skill level of the photographer. You should expect to pay a higher rate for a full-time touring photographer than for a photographer for a few shows.
To ensure that you get the best photos from your music show photographer, make sure that you communicate your vision clearly. You can do this by providing the photographer with a list of shots you want, discussing editing preferences, and setting expectations for the final product.
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