How your press photos can make or break your career
A promotional photo is as it says. It’s an image of you as the “persona” you have made for yourself as a DJ or artist. Your photos should speak to your fans and give them a fair and accurate representation of who you are. But now more than ever, in the visual world that 2018 has become, people are more likely to look at an image and base an opinion on that, as opposed to trawling through heaps of text. The importance of the press photo has never been more paramount, and the quality of your images can make or break a career. How can you ensure your photos are the very best they can be? And why are they so pivotal to the career of a DJ/producer? Let’s take a look at how to ensure your photos are boosting your career.
A shoot is not as easy as just turning up with a camera, and things have to be timed and fall into place well. Settings, clothes, hair, all important parts to consider. Taking a great photo is the culmination of these factors all coming together in unison so in the weeks leading up to your shoot, plan a list of settings you’d potentially to shoot at, plan a few image changes and varied clothing choices for the shoot – different types of photos will work better for some promoters and events than others, for example. Though most artists shoot with a plain background, the idea is not only to have photos you can put on your website or social media but also for designers to use when they need a photo of you. Outdoor photos can also make for great EP covers, and show an adventurous side.
Many artists favor sunglasses in press photo shoots. Unless you’re a serious Berghain-style techno resident, this might not be the best choice for your image, and branding. Not only can indoor glasses appear pretentious, but smiling eyes can help form an emotional bond with fans. Dressing naturally is also part of the process and thought it might seem like a good idea to turn up to a shoot in a flamboyant costume that echoes shades of 1980s Elton John, realistically fans want to see the same person they see up on stage. If that’s just a black tee and jeans, so be it. But be real to who you are.
You don’t need props
Many DJs feel the need to throw a pair of headphones around their neck during a shoot, or leave a finger poised on a crossfader. Your biography will do the work for you when describing your career, let the photos ‘breathe’ and speak for themselves. It’s also ok to smile, often a relaxed look in a press photo will give a fanbase an idea of the human, rather than just the performer.
The technical side
When it comes to shooting, varied shots are your ally. If possible, provide a landscape, portrait and square photo. Some website designs require photos to be a certain shape, so you need to show flexibility towards this, and provide them with all types, and sizes. It’s also a good idea to have a couple of photos which are close up on your face and a couple which show your full body, giving the media more flexibility in how they use your pictures. It’s also a good idea to have a selection of both color, and black & white photos available, as once again – every publication is different with their requirements and what they will want. Don’t limit yourself, and once you have your great photos, make them available in as many places as possible. Have a section on your website for press photos and make them available in the photos tab on your Facebook profile too.
Make high-resolution photos available
Media can always reduce resolution, but they can’t increase it. So make sure your photos are as HD as possible. A high-end DSLR will be capable of producing such content. Sometimes this can be the difference between an editor’s decision to feature the photo on a website homepage, or not. The editor of popular dance music website We Rave You, added that:
“A blurred image will not be used on our website as the quality of our content – photos included – is of paramount importance to our readers. A poorly taken, or poor quality photo, indicates that an artist may have other elements of their work that they’re not 100% bothered by, which is a concern, especially in an industry where thousands of DJs are trying to stand out from one another and make a name for themselves.”
The press photo makes up just one of a number of essential tools needed to forge a successful promotional campaign, along with a strong online presence, a detailed biography, and a concise social bio, but remember, your press photo is the face that everyone in the industry is going to see — you need to make these images count.