Music Photography and Promotional band photography has exploded, with amateur and professional snappers all over the world converting to this type of photography. If you’re interested in music, band photography is a good way to combine your love of taking photographs with this other passion. But with so many band photographers out there, how can you make your pictures stand out? Here are some top music photography tips for aspiring band photographers.

1. Listen to the music

Nothing is worse than turning up to a shoot and knowing nothing about the band your photographing. A good way to get an idea about their aesthetic and what kind of shots they might like is to listen to their music first. This will not only help you plan your shots, but will also give you an idea of appropriate lighting, locations and costume.

Lady Gaga, portrait taken by Martin Schoeller

Lady Gaga, portrait taken by Martin Schoeller

2. Find the right location

Location is an important factor in band photography. Of course, the exact location you pick will come down to the band your photographing, but whatever genre of music they might be, you always need to plan. Finding a location as far in advance as possible means you will get longer to test the light and think about your shots, and the more time you spend planning, the better your photographs will be.

A simple picture taken in Abbey Road became one of the most iconic images about Beatles

A simple picture taken in Abbey Road became one of the most iconic images about Beatles

3. Plan your shots

Once you’ve found the perfect location, you can begin planning your shoot. It is a good idea to communicate with the band first to see what ideas they have and what they would like the shoot to convey to their fans. Once you’ve got something to work with you can jot down some ideas, take some test shots, and get these back to the band for their thoughts. Communication is key at this stage of the shoot – you don’t want an unhappy client.

Again a picture of the Beatles, this time taken by Richard Avedon

Again a picture of the Beatles, this time taken by Richard Avedon

4. Try something different

Lots of band photography follows the same principles, especially within certain musical genres. If you’re feeling confident in your abilities, why not try something different? Instead of following the promotional photograph rubric, why not try some different shots, or stage your shoot somewhere obscure or unfamiliar? Standing out can only be a good thing, and one good, different shoot could get you noticed by a whole army of prospective clients.

David Lachapelle carefully planned the photo-shooting with Elton John

David Lachapelle carefully planned the photo-shooting with Elton John

Featured Image: Patti Smith, portraits taken by Robert Mapplethorpe. The Third picture will become the cover of the album Horses.